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Beyond cultural values? Cultural leadership ideals and entrepreneurship
Ute Stephan Saurav Pathak
Abstract This paper offers a fresh perspective on national culture and entrepreneurship research. It explores the role of Culturally-endorsed implicit Leadership Theories (CLTs) – i.e., the cultural expectations about outstanding, ideal leadership – on individual entrepreneurship. Developing arguments based on culture-entrepreneurship fit, we predict that charismatic and self-protective CLTs positively affect entrepreneurship. They provide a context that enables entrepreneurs to be co-operative in order to initiate change but also to be self-protective and competitive so as to safeguard their venture and avoid being exploited. We further theorize that CLTs are more proximal drivers of cross-country differences in entrepreneurship as compared with distal cultural values. We find support for our propositions in a multi-level study of 42 countries. Cultural values (of uncertainty avoidance and collectivism) influence entrepreneurship mainly indirectly, via charismatic and self-protective CLTs. We do not find a similar indirect effect for cultural practices.