The difference between hearing and listening : A qualitative comparative case study about the inter-relations between leaders and employees within agile start-ups
Abstract: Leadership are often a central part of organizations’ success. Consequently, it never ceases to attract attention and curiosity. What makes a good leader can vary depending on what kind of organization or setting one may be in and therefore different traits and styles are needed. However, one could argue that more aspects matter and what actually defines a great leader are for the ones being led to decide. The people within an organization need to trust and feel secure with the one leading and if that is not the case there is a big risk that the organization won’t survive. Moreover, the leadership styles and traits that come from earlier theories are often applicable on well-established companies but not easily applied on start-ups since such organizations are different and not built on the same parameters. The relations between leaders and employees within start-ups is also unexplored and therefore in need of enlightening. The purpose of this thesis is to examine whether the leadership within agile start-ups reflect the wants of the employees that are working there. To be able to do this, a comparative case study design with an inductive research approach was used while investigating three agile start-ups. When studying the sample organizations, the authors extracted four major resemblances that testimonies that there is a high correlation between what the leader and the followers thinks are good attributes for a leader to have. The four major resemblances are the importance of truly listening, the importance of delegating responsibility, the importance of having a clearly defined direction and finally, the importance of embracing trial and errors. Nevertheless, there were some influencing factors that came up during the research where everyone did not share the same vision and that may be wise remembering. Lastly, a few suggestions are mentioned that a leader could bear in mind when working within an agile start-up. The suggestions take the leader-follower perspective into account and would hopefully be beneficial for the leader to have in mind when managing the organization.
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