Entrepreneurial leadership in a developing economy: a skill-based analysis

Christian Harrison, Kevin Burnard, Stuart Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
508 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine entrepreneurial leadership and to determine the entrepreneurial leadership skills which are important for success in a developing economy environment. Specifically, the focus of this research was on entrepreneurial leadership within the retail pharmacy sector in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach - This study was guided by an interpretivist–constructionist perspective. By adopting a qualitative approach, the lived experiences of the retail pharmacy entrepreneurs could be understood. 51 semi-structured interviews were the mode of data collection, and data was triangulated via three sources: entrepreneurs, employees, and literature.

Findings - From the study results, a vivid picture of entrepreneurial leadership was formed, which in turn provides the basis for an empirical skill-based model of this phenomenon in a developing economy. This study identifies four distinct entrepreneurial leadership skill categories. These include technical/business skills, interpersonal skills, conceptual skills and entrepreneurial skills. The findings of this study also show the factors and conditions necessary for entrepreneurial leadership in a developing economy.

Originality/value - The findings of this study have implications in theory and practice. Its results provide an empirical, skill-based framework on entrepreneurial leadership in a developing economy, a subject area for which there exists a lack of background literature. In practice, the findings of this study serve as a useful reference for practitioners and policy makers of the skills and other factors required for people to succeed as entrepreneurial leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-548
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number3
Early online date21 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018


  • Entrepreneurial leadership
  • African Entrepreneurship
  • Africa
  • Developing economy
  • Leadership
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Skills


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