The contribution of shared leadership in the development of international entrepreneurial orientation
Abstract: Under the background of the competitive and dynamic international market, many enterprises started or intended to develop international entrepreneurial orientation (IEO) as a strategic posture. For achieving this kind of orientation, leadership behaviours are necessary and shared leadership is put forward to support enterprises to adapt to the fast-changing global market. Moreover, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are an essential type of business enterprises, especially in China. Therefore, the purpose of the research is to study how shared leadership contributes to the development of IEO in a Chinese SME. As a qualitative research, data were collected by interviews and processed by content analysis. The findings of this research are: (1) shared leadership contributes on the establishment of common IEO thinking at the phase of building the IEO awareness; (2) shared leadership plays a role as explicit support and implicit support on implementing IEO; (3) these contributions of shared leadership are mutually reinforcing and complementary, which result in the reinforcement and complementation between the awareness and the implementation of IEO. These findings contribute to the research in the combination of shared leadership and IEO through studying the effects of shared leadership and the process of IEO development. Moreover, this research enriches the study on the field of SMEs and provides guidance for SME leaders who intend to develop IEO.
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