Topic 11: Building teams and the company leadership


This topic provides an overview of some of the elements associated with team building and leadership with entrepreneurial companies. The importance of assembling a well-balanced management team with a complimentary range of skills is highlighted. This management team should be supported by a competent management board made up of individuals who compliment the executive management team and assist in providing strategic guidance.

In establishing a board of governance, care should be taken to get a good cross-section of members who can work together, and to avoid individuals who might wish to pursue narrow interests, interfere too much with the operational management, or see board membership as a ‘second job’. How the company is structured is often critical to success.

Entrepreneurial firms should have strong values, a commitment to quality, a willingness to make flexible changes, and strong working relations between employees and the senior management. Team building is crucial to success and should involve understanding the intellectual skills of the team and how to combine these effectively for the benefit of the entire organisation. Successful entrepreneurs hire good people and seek to develop their potential, adapting the organisation’s structure as the business grows. 

The entrepreneurial manager will need to employ both a transactional leadership style to ensure that projects are completed and quality is maintained, but also a transformational leadership style for innovation and change. Different leadership styles will be required depending the situation in which the venture and its employees are found.

It is also necessary to establish strategic partnerships with leading customers, key suppliers or other third party organisations. Entrepreneurial managers must learn how to manage strategic alliances and control risk.

Textbooks and readings


Mazzarol, T., and Reboud, S. (2017) Entrepreneurship and Innovation 3rd edn, Melbourne, Tilde University Press, ISBN: 978-0-7346-1225-0. Chapter 8.


Mazzarol, T., and Reboud, S. (2017) Entrepreneurship and Innovation Workbook, Melbourne, Tilde University Press, ISBN 978-0--7346-1227-4.


Mazzarol, T. (2011) Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Readings and Cases 2nd Edition, Tilde University Press, Melbourne, chapter 11.

Recommended readings:

Adams, R. B. and D. Ferreira (2009). "Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance." Journal of Financial Economics 94(2): 291-309.

Applebaum, S., St-Pierre, N. and Glavas, W. (1998). "Strategic Organizational Change: the role of leadership, learning, motivation and productivity." Management Decision 36(5): 289-301.

Borch, O. J., and Huse, M. (1993). "Informal strategic networks and the board of directors." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 18(1): 23-37.

Chandler, G. N., Keller, C., & Lyon, D.W. (2000). "Unraveling the Determinants and Consequences of an Innovation-Supportive Organizational Culture." Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 25(1): 59-76.

Daily, C. M., McDougall, P.P., Covin, J.G. and Dalton, D.R. (2002). "Governance and strategic leadership in entrepreneurial firms." Journal of Management 28(3): 387-412.

Dingee, A. I., Haslett, B., and Smollen, L.E. (1997). "Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneurial Management Team." Pratt's Guide to Venture Capital Sources: 23-28.

Drew, S., and Coulson-Thomas, C. (1996). "Transformation through teamwork: the path to the new organization?" Management Decision 34(1): 7-17.

Forrest, J. E. (1990). "Strategic Alliances and the Small Technology-Based Firm." Journal of Small Business Management 28(3): 37-45.

Gabrielsson, J. (2007). "Boards of Directors and Entrepreneurial Posture in Medium-size Companies: Putting the Board Demography Approach to a Test." International Small Business Journal 25(10): 511-537.

Huse, M. (2000). "Boards of Directors in SMEs: A Review and Research Agenda." Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 12(4): 271-290.

Johnson, S. G., Schnatterly, K., and Hill, A.D. (2013). "Board Composition Beyond Independence." Journal of Management 39(1): 232-262.

Kaufman, B. (2002). "Grappling with Dysfunctional Board Relationships." Journal of Business Strategy 23(6): 26-31.

Pugliese, A., & Zhang, P.W. (2007). "Board members' contribution to strategic decision-making in small firms." Journal of Management & Governance 11(4): 383-405.

Lecture notes

Topic 11: Building teams and the company leadership lecture slides.