Entrepreneurial Identity and Leadership: The Research Imperative

Michele Rusk, Kellie Forbes-Simpson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Within the last two decades entrepreneurship education has exponentially grown within UK Higher Education Institutions and has thus seen the development of Entrepreneurship Education as an academic field of inquiry. Many scholars have focused on trying to understand both the stated outcomes and intended outcomes of this type of education. Although focusing solely on the outcomes of entrepreneurship education is problematic as there is still much theoretical debate on what it takes to develop entrepreneurial individuals. The literature on entrepreneurial learning suggests that the creation of an entrepreneurial identity in nascent entrepreneurs is as critical as the development of skills which enable them to act entrepreneurially. Although the literature surrounding entrepreneurship education in the UK has not focused on exploring participants’ identity construction, identity construction has often been used with successful entrepreneurs who are seeking to review their entrepreneurial life through narrative storytelling. Supporting the aspect of identity construction is the development of entrepreneurial leadership. Traditionally entrepreneurs have been agents for change in the economic sphere but increasingly they are also becoming the drivers of social change and innovation, altering the future of work, the way organisations are designed and redefining whole industry dynamics. Whilst at the same time it could be argued that all leaders have to be entrepreneurial given today’s climate of rapidly shifting economic forces, prolific technology, demographic fluctuation and social change. Consequently, these leaders need the capacity to identify and solve complex multi‐faceted problems by mobilizing entrepreneurial attributes in many different contexts from governments, higher education and global corporations. This paper reviews the literature of entrepreneurial learning, entrepreneurial identity construction and entrepreneurial leadership. As research within entrepreneurship education has not focused on identity construction this paper will link the three areas together discussing how identity construction and entrepreneurial leadership in entrepreneurship education can be explored further in order to understand participants' experience of Entrepreneurship Education. The purpose of this paper is to support the suggestion that further research is needed to explore how participants of entrepreneurship education construct entrepreneurial identities and establish a propensity for entrepreneurial leadership.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    EditorsMinna Tunkkari Eskelinen, Iiria Aaltio
    Place of PublicationReading, UK
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International
    ISBN (Print)9781911218074
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016
    Event11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Jyväskylä, Finland
    Duration: 15 Sept 2016 → …


    Conference11th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    Period15/09/16 → …
    Internet address


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