Enhancing Entrepreneurial Leadership Through Vertical Dyad Leadership

By October 25, 2019Academic, Business

By Lawrence Jones, Ph.D.

Johns Hopkins Alumnus

Understanding Entrepreneurial Leadership Through Vertical Dyad Leadership

Leadership theory definitions evolve overtime to give them more distinction. Entrepreneurs may find that they may need to appreciate the importance of leadership conceptional theories as they build their business teams and businesses. This article visits foundational leadership approaches to the influences of the leader on the follower and  follower influences on the leader. Yukl (2013) “describes the level of conceptualization or constructs to describe leaders and their influence on others” (p.14). 

The term Dyadic leadership theory focuses on the relationships between leaders and their followers and the level of reciprocity within those relationships. One popular form of the Dyadic leadership theory is the leader-member exchange theory (LMX). The “LMX theory recognizes that the leader has multiple dyadic relationships; the focus is clearly on what happens within a single relationship” (p.16). Although this may sound very “textbookish” explanation on organizational leadership theory, however, the nuggets that ring loud and clear is that as an entrepreneur’s journey starts with them. Yukl (2013) adds that the explanation of leader influence is usually in terms of how the leader causes the subordinate to be more motivated and more capable of accomplishing task assignments (p. 15).

Vertical Dyadic Theory

Yukl (2013) points out “that dyadic relationships are not identical for all leader’s direct subordinates” (p.221). The quality of the exchange relationship between the leader and follower assessed through attribution theory (which is how the leader perceives follower performance, the attitudes, and behavior of leaders have a significant influence on followership).

Transformational Leadership

De Jong and Den Hartog (2007) posit that leadership means different things to many people and that over the years that it has taken different on different connotations. Transformational leadership motivates followers to view problems from a different perspective, which can contribute to their enhancement (p. 44). Tarabishy, Fernald, and Solomon (2003) define entrepreneurial leadership as a transformational leader who operates in a dynamic market that offers lucrative opportunities (p. 5). 

Charismatic Leadership

Sashkin (1998) that “charismatic leaders use power to arouse charismatic effects in followers to get followers to identify with and obey the leader” (p.3). Innovation influenced by leader entrepreneurial orientations deserves attention on the subject of relationship building. The transformational leadership component of entrepreneurial leadership seeks to empower and individual and moves to create an atmosphere that is conducive to innovation and creativity. 

Entrepreneurial leadership has much research ahead, especially considering the dynamics of corporations and business change and fast-paced competitive markets. By increasing the number of followers who have high-quality relationships with their leaders increase the organization’s productivity. Relationships, relationship building, and the maintenance of relationships where mutual respect is present may be the sign of a resilient and nimble leader in an ever-changing environment. 


De Jong, J. P., & Den Hartog, D. N. (2007). How leaders influence employees’ innovative behavior. European Journal of innovation management10(1), 41-64.

Sashkin, M. (1995). Transformational leadership: A review and synthesis. Working paper 31395, Institute for the Study of Learning, The George Washington University.

Tarabishy, A., Fernald Jr, L. W., & Solomon, G. T. (2003). Understanding entrepreneurial leadership in today’s dynamic markets. Small Business Advancement.

Yukl, G. A. (2013). Leadership in organizations. Pearson Education, India.

Image Courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_dyad_linkage_theory#/media/File:Vertical_Dyad_Linkage_Theory.jpeg


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