Leadership and entrepreneurship from a sociocultural perspective: An international study

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


It is increasingly recognized that leadership and entrepreneurship play an essential role in economic and social development. Consequently, researchers, educators, policy makers, and practitioners have shown particular interest in understanding these phenomena. Leadership and entrepreneurship research has encompassed factors such as personality, traits, knowledge, skills, and behaviors. These elements are shaped by the sociocultural environment. While both disciplines leadership and entrepreneurship, have shown progress in identifying these factors, there has been far less focus on proposing their joint analysis and on integrating empirical research to increase the capacity and performance of leaders and entrepreneurs all over the world. The main objective of this investigation is to analyze the relationship between leadership and entrepreneurial activity from a sociocultural perspective. Thus, the specific objectives are: 1) to explore the content and evolution of the research on the sociocultural factors (informal institutions) that influence entrepreneurship and leadership; 2) to analyze the informal institutions that influence entrepreneurial leadership; 3) to study the informal institutions that affect leadership behavior (considering the international context and also focusing on developing countries); and 4) to analyze the leadership dimensions that influence entrepreneurship. This research is grounded in two theoretical frameworks. Institutional economics (North, 1990) will be used as the theoretical framework for the study of entrepreneurship. The theory of social and economic organization (Weber, 1947) will be introduced as the theoretical framework for the study of leadership. The main findings of the research reveal that the informal institutions, such as the beliefs, values, and attitudes of a society (independence, risk taking, religion, tolerance, creativity, power, responsibility, resilience, networking, and social capital) determine the behavior of that society's members, thereby affecting the decision to become a leader. It also shows that leadership has a strong effect on entrepreneurship, especially charismatic/transformational leadership behaviors. The methodology used is quantitative and is fundamentally based on international data from the World Values Survey (WVS), Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE), and Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), along with national data from the National Institute of Statistic and Geography (INEGI), Mexico. This data is complemented by other data sources of information such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project. This thesis combines several research techniques: correspondence analysis, factor analysis, regression models, and data panel analysis. Finally, this investigation suggests a series of implications at the academic level, as it positions institutional economics as an appropriate conceptual framework for integrating the analysis of the sociocultural factors that contribute to the promotion of leadership and entrepreneurship. From the practical perspective, this study may help managers and educators to generate training programs that promote and develop leadership and entrepreneurship that contribute to a better society. Equally, the results could be helpful to government policy that is meant to support entrepreneurial initiatives. Research on leadership and entrepreneurship has the potential to reveal many new ways to improve business practice, education, and public policy in the twenty-first century.
Date of Award12 May 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDavid Urbano Pulido (Director)

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