Leadership styles in SMEs: a mixed-method approach

  • Mário FrancoEmail author
  • Pedro Gonçalo Matos


Despite the vast quantity of studies in the domain of leadership, very little work has been done on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Taking into account the relevance of this research topic, this paper aims to identify and understand leadership styles in SMEs. To reach this goal, a mixed-method approach was applied in three Portuguese SMEs (multiple case studies). Data were obtained from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), from SMEs’ collaborators and interviews with their owner-manager/leader. Descriptive and content analyses were used. The findings attested to the central role of leadership in SME management. Different levels of leadership results were identified in the SMEs selected. Thus, the findings give additional support to the argument that leadership plays an important role in management results in SMEs. The practical implications of findings are also discussed.


Leadership styles Leader Management Results, SMEs Portugal 



This study was supported by a Research Unit (NECE), financed by the FCT – Science and Technology Foundation of Portugal. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments that contributed to the development of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management and Economics Department, NECE–Research Center in Business SciencesUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.University of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal

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