A Comparative Study of Leadership Styles Affecting the Success of Iranian New Knowledge-Based Companies - Multiple Case Study

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student, Technology Management, Allame Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Faculty Member of Management and Accounting, Allame Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran.


The knowledge-based companies are among the main drivers of the knowledge-based economies. Therefore, it is important to study the reasons for their success. Among the affecting factors, organizational leadership and innovation leadership are very important. In this research, attempts have been made to investigate the successful leadership styles in accordance with the popular leadership styles, which were previously introduced in the literature. Regarding the purpose, this research is considered as developmental research and the data collection and analysis have been done via multiple qualitative case study methods. By selecting samples with maximum characteristics from among 186 profitable knowledge-based companies that still work with the original team, the theoretical saturation was finally achieved in the ninth and tenth case studies. The data extracted from the semi-structured interviews with 21 of the leaders and key employees of these companies and the content of the interviews were analyzed and the codes and categories were extracted and their relationship was identified. Finally, it has been shown that the inspirational motivation as one of the fundamental aspects of transformational leadership method is obvious in these companies, but charisma, individual considerations and intellectual stimulation are rare. In addition, despite observing some important aspects of “initiating structure style” and "servant leadership style", these two styles are not dominant in the organizations, and in fact, a combination of components of these three styles ensures success in these companies.


آتشی، علی، رستگار، عباسعلی و دامغانیان، حسین. (۱۳۹۷). ارائه مدل زمینه‌ای رهبری در سازمان‌های دانش‌بنیان ایرانی. فصلنامه مطالعات رفتار سازمانی، 7(2)، ۳۱-۶۶.
آدیزس، ایساک. (۱۳۹۲). دوره عمر سازمان: پیدایش و مرگ سازمان: چگونه از مرگ آن‌ها جلوگیری کرده و امکان رشدشان را فراهم آوریم (کاوه محمدسیروس، مترجم). تهران: انتشارات دانشگاه صنعتی امیرکبیر.
استراوس، انسلم وکربین، جولیت. (1390). مبانی پژوهش کیفی (ابراهیم افشار، مترجم). تهران: نی.
تاری، مهدیه، مرادی، محمود و ابراهیم پور، مصطفی. (۱۳۹۴). بررسی عوامل مؤثر بر رشد و موفقیت‌ شرکت‌های دانش‌بنیان. رشد فناوری،12(45)، ۳۶-۴۵.
تونکه‌نژاد، ماندنی. (1385). مقایسه دو سبک رهبری خدمتگزار و تحول‌گرا (دو محیط، دو سبک رهبری). تدبیر، 174، 2۵-2۲
حمزه‌پور, م. (۱۳۹۷). ارائه الگوی بومی رهبری کوانتومی در شرکت‌های دانش‌بنیان ایرانی. اندیشه مدیریت راهبردی، 12(1)، ۱۵۳-۱۸۴.
خیاطیان‌یزدی، محمدصادق. (۱۳۹۳). الگوی پایداری شرکت‌های دانش‌بنیان در ایران [پایان‌نامه دکتری، منتشر نشده]. دانشگاه علامه طباطبایی، تهران، ایران.
طیبی ابوالحسنی، سید امیرحسین. (۱۳۹۸). درآمدی بر روش تحقیق: رویه‌های استاندارد تحلیل داده‌های کیفی. فصلنامه سیاست‌نامه علم و فناوری، 9(2)، ۶۶-۹۷.
کاظمی، مهدی. (۱۳۹۵). نقش‌های رهبری رئیس هیئت‌مدیره‌ی شرکت‌های تابعه‌ی یک گروه شرکت در اثربخشی کارکردهای کنترل و خدمت [پایان‌نامه دکتری، منتشر نشده]. دانشگاه صنعتی شریف، تهران، ایران.
گلمن، دانیل. (۱۳۹۳). قدرت هوش هیجانی. (سیامک دولتی، مترجم)، تهران: دنیای اقتصاد.
مرادی‌پور، حجت‌الله و حسن‌لو، حمید. (۱۳۹۰). شناسایی عوامل مؤثر در رشد سریع شرکت‌ها: مطالعه موردی شرکت بهستان دارو. رشد فناوری، 8(29)، ۵۵-۶۲.
Barbuto, J. E., & Wheeler, D. W. (2006). Scale development and construct clarification of servant leadership. Group & Organization Management, 31(3), 300-326.
Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2004). Multifactor leadership questionnaire: Manual and sample set. Palo Alto: Mind Garden Inc.
Eisenhardt, K., & Graebner, M. (2007). Building theory from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 532–550.
Ejermo, O., & Xiao, J. (2014). Entrepreneurship and survival over the business cycle: How do new technology-based firms differ? Small Business Economics, 411-426.
Ensley, M. D., Hmieleski, K., & Pearce, C. (2006). The importance of vertical and shared leadership within new venture top management teams. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(3), 217-231.
Freeman, J., & Jerome, S. (2007). Models of innovation: Startups and mature corporations. California Management Review, 94-119.
Hartog, D. N., Muijen, J. J., & Koopman, P. L. (1997). Transactional versus transformational leadership: An analysis of the MLQ. Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 19-34.
Hoch, J. (2013). Shared leadership and innovation: The role of vertical leadership and employee integrity. Journal of Business Psychology, 25(3), 263-281.
Howell, J. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1993). Transformational leadership, transactional leadership, locus of control, and support for innovation. Applied Psychology, 891-902.
Hughes, D. J., Lee, A., Tian, A. W., Newman, A., & Legood, A. (2018). Leadership, creativity, and innovation: A critical review. The Leadership Quarterly, 549-569.
Hunter, S. T., & Cushenbery, L. (2011). Leading for innovation: Direct and indirect influences. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 3(2), 25-36.
Keller, R. T. (2006). Transformational leadership, initiating structure, and substitutes for leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(1), 202- 210.
Lee, J. (2008). Effects of leadership and leader-member exchange on innovativeness. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23 (6), 670 – 687.
Muller, R., & Turner, J. R. (2007). Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type. International Journal of Project Management, 21-32.
O’Regan, N., & Ghobadian, A. (2006). Innovation in NTBFs: Does leadership really matter? International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 2(2), 299-314.
Rosing, K., Frese, M., & Bausch, A. (2011). Explaining the heterogeneity of the leadership-innovation relationship: Ambidextrous leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 22, 956-974.
Ryan, A., & Tipu, S. (2013). Leadership effects on innovation propensity: A two-factor full range leadership model. Journal of Business Research, 2116-2129.
Saad, M., Shamsuri, M., & Mazzarol, T. (2010). The Impact of leadership on organizational innovation performance among malaysia’s SMEs. International Conference on Applied Business Research (ICABR).
Smith, B. N., Montagno, R. V., & Kuzmenko, T. N. (2004). Transformational and servant leadership: Content and contextual comparisons. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 80-91.
Song, M., Podoynitsyna, K., Van Der Bij, H., & Halman, J. I. (2008). Success factors in new ventures: A meta‐analysis. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 7-27.
Stogdill, R. M. (1963). Manual for the leader behavior description questionnaire-Form XII. Bureau of Business Research,College of Commerce and Administration, Ohio State University.
Swiercz, P. M., & Lydon, S. R. (2002). Entrepreneurial leadership in high-tech firms: a field study. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 380-389.
Yang, C. W. (2008). The relationships among leadership styles, entrepreneurial orientation, and business performance. Managing Global Transitions, 257-275.
Yin, R. K. (2002). case studey research. Sage.
Yoshida, D. T., Sendjaya, S., Hirst, G., & Cooper, B. (2014). Does servant leadership foster creativity and innovation?. Journal of Business Research, 1395-1404.
Yukl, G. (2012). leadership in organization. New Jersey: Pearson.
Zaech, S., & Baldegger, U. (2017). Leadership in startups. International Small Business Journal, 157-177.
Volume 7, Issue 4
March 2020
Pages 9-27
  • Receive Date: 23 July 2019
  • Revise Date: 02 February 2021
  • Accept Date: 28 February 2020
  • First Publish Date: 28 February 2020