Cultural Leadership Stereotypes and the Entrepreneurial Process: a Multi-level, Cross-national Study



This paper offers a fresh perspective on national culture and entrepreneurship research by exploring the role of charismatic and self-protective Culturally-endorsed implicit Leadership Theories (CLTs) – culturally shared stereotypes of effective, outstanding leaders – on individuals’ engagement in entrepreneurship through a multi-level study of 42 countries and 336,425 individuals. In doing so, we also highlight the usefulness of viewing and measuring entrepreneurship as a process. We find strong and consistent effects of self-protective and charismatic CLTs on entrepreneurial intention, nascent, new and established entrepreneurship. By comparison cultural values, especially uncertainty avoidance and collectivism, only influence entrepreneurship only indirectly – via CLTs, which we suggest are more proximal drivers of cross-national differences in entrepreneurship. Our findings advance comparative entrepreneurship research, and also add to leadership research investigating drivers of the motivation to lead and the emergence of strategic leaders across cultures.