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Deconstructing the shared leadership emergence process in entrepreneurial teams

Shiji Lyndon (K J Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai, India)
Ashish Pandey (Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 17 February 2021

Issue publication date: 23 April 2021




Entrepreneurship literature has not sufficiently explored the process of how, at different points in time, different members of the co-founding team emerge as leaders. The purpose of this paper is to deconstruct the phenomenon of shared leadership emergence process amongst co-founders in entrepreneurial teams.


The study adopted a qualitative approach. 21 co-founders from 7 entrepreneurial teams participated in the study. In-depth interviews were conducted. The data were analysed using Nvivo 11 software.


The study elaborates the process model of shared leadership emergence. The study found that shared interpersonal cognition and trust amongst the co-founders lead to claiming and granting of leadership. The findings also illustrate various strategies used by co-founders to emerge as leaders.

Practical implications

The findings provide key insights to entrepreneurial teams by illuminating what kind of leadership dynamics should be developed, right from the initial stages of the venture. Also, the findings would be beneficial to investors, mentors and coaches of the entrepreneurial teams and ventures, by highlighting team dynamics to be considered before making any investment or team development decisions.


The inductive approach adopted in the study helps in understanding the process of shared leadership emergence in entrepreneurial teams, which is not adequately answered by previous studies. The study extends both shared leadership and entrepreneurship literature by providing a process theory of leadership emergence.



Lyndon, S. and Pandey, A. (2021), "Deconstructing the shared leadership emergence process in entrepreneurial teams", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 360-379.



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