Leadership in young firms

back to overview

Type and Duration

PhD-Thesis, March 2010 until June 2014 (finished)


Van Riemsdijk Chair in Entrepreneurship

Main Research

Growth and Complexity

Field of Research



Growth in young companies also requires them to hire new employees. Along with that change, interpersonal leadership in entrepreneurs' roles is becoming increasingly important for company success. However, the correlation between entrepreneurship and leadership has seldomely been observed, or even empirically investigated. The theoretical basis is based on the Full-Range-Leadership-Model which differentiates between the passiv-avoidant, transactional and transformational leadership styles. The sample of 474 interview respondents consists of 102 entrepreneurs and 372 employees. Results illustrate that the transformational leadership in young companies often, the transactional leadership sometimes to often, and the passiv-avoidant leadership rarely get used. In contrast to existing research findings from analysis of large, established companies, the transformational and transactional leadership styles are more distinct. The external assessments of leadership styles by employees were similar to the self-assessments of the entrepreneurs and results illustrate a strongly significant correlation between the leadership styles. This existing research results are partly refuted and suggest that the differences between a self-assessment and external assessments are influenced by the context. The results of the hierarchical, multiple regression-analysis show different predictory qualities for the individual leadership styles. Therefore, the entrepreneurs' assessment of the laissez-faire leadership styles are a significantly negative predictor for company success, while the two scales of Management by Exception proved to be a significantly positive predictor. In the assessment of the leadership styles through the employees, the transformational leadership style explains a significant proportion of variance compared to the transactional leadership style, through which the augmentation hypothesis of Bass (1987) can be accepted and confirmed.


Entrepreneurship, Leadership


  • Zäch, S., & Baldegger, U. (2014). Führungsverhalten in jungen Unternehmen. Zeitschrift für KMU und Entrepreneurship, 62(4), 295-322. (VHB_3: C)

  • Zäch, S. (2014). Leadership in jungen Unternehmen. Vaduz: Universität Liechtenstein.

  • Zäch, S., & Baldegger, U. (2014). Leadership in Start-ups. Paper presented at the Rencontres de St-Gall 2014, St. Gallen, Schweiz.

  • Zäch, S. (2010). Attraktivität junger Wachstumsunternehmen: Eine empirische Analyse der Unternehmensattraktivität. Paper presented at the Forschungskongress Entrepreneurship, Fribourg, Schweiz.