Theoretical Spotlight: Model of Entrepreneurial Leadership

Literature Review

Many students struggle to find the right theory to use for their dissertation. In this blog series, we highlight the most popular theories we come across in our work with doctoral students. Just be aware that these are merely theory overviews and are in no way all encompassing. These overviews are designed to give you some familiarity with major theories that you might consider using. 

Theory: Thornberry’s (2006) model of entrepreneurial leadership

Thornberry’s (2006) model of entrepreneurial leadership is rooted in combining facets of transformational, transactional, and charismatic leadership styles to develop an integrated approach to leadership. Within this combination is entrepreneurial leadership, which can be broken into five distinct dimensions: general entrepreneurial leader behavior (GELB), explorer behavior (EXPB), miner behavior (MINB), accelerator behavior (ACCB), and integrator behavior (INTB).

GELB is how leaders provide followers with an environment wherein followers’ innovation, behaviors, and accomplishments are supported as being part of overall job duties. EXPB deals with the ability of the entrepreneurial leader to recognize new opportunities and embrace them to increase organizational creativity and performance. MINB occurs when leaders expand the competitive advantage of their organizations by applying innovative approaches to people, procedures, and processes. ACCB allows for leaders to use their skills and focus to encourage their followers to embrace innovative behaviors and thinking, allowing a creative environment to be developed for subordinates. Finally, INTB characterizes leaders who are inherently innovative and creative thinkers, who then apply their mindset throughout their organization by effectively communicating how innovation furthers the organization’s goals. As such, Thornberry’s model provides an assessment in how entrepreneurial leaders apply innovation, proactivity, and risk-taking abilities in the execution of their work tasks.

This theory is best suited for studies on:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Mentorship
  • Organizational psychology

Further reading:

Thornberry, N. (2006). Lead like an entrepreneur: Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive within the corporation. Fairfield, PA: McGraw Hill.

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