Identity work and the development of entrepreneurial leadership: Does gender matter

Claire Leitch, Richard Harrison, M McAdam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the role of women-only leadership development programmes in shaping women’s entrepreneurial leader identity. We conceptualise entrepreneurial leadership as the leadership role performed in entrepreneurial ventures, rather than in the more general sense of an entrepreneurial style of leadership (Leitch, McMullan and Harrison, 2012). The enactment of entrepreneurial leadership is a complex process of identity work (Watson, 2009). In essence, identity, which is concerned with an individual’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, provides entrepreneurial leaders with a source of meaning from which to operate (Day and Harrison, 2007). However, many leaders of entrepreneurial ventures fail to see themselves as leaders (Anderson and Gold, 2009). This can be exacerbated for women, as the gendering of the dominant entrepreneurship discourse assumes a male entrepreneurial identity (Bruni, Gherardi and Poggio, 2004: Hamilton, 2013).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Global Female Entrepreneurship
EditorsC Henry, T Nelson, K Lewis
ISBN (Electronic)9781315794570, 9781317744924
ISBN (Print)9781138015180
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting


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