Entrepreneurship is needed in the postmodern reality of 21st Century life. The “enterprise zone,” which got so much press (at least in the United States) during the 1990s, must be defined in a new way, engaging an entrepreneurial spirit to courageously and effectively address the postmodern challenges of complexity, unpredictability and turbulence. Organizational psychologists can play an important role in meeting the distinctive challenges associated with entrepreneurial leadership in closely held enterprises. What are these challenges and how might an organizational psychologist help an entrepreneur meet these challenges? Furthermore, what are the unique challenges that the organizational psychologist faces when working with entrepreneurs in closely held enterprises?
The Closely Held Enterprise
Before identifying and describing these challenges, we must indicate what a “closely held enterprise” is—given that this is not yet a commonly used term. We propose that there are four types of organizations that fit in this category:
Type One/The Family-Owned Business: single person ownership, immediate family ownership, extended family ownership, corporate stock held exclusively by family members (for example, a large family-owned insurance company, a major automobile dealership, a high-status restaurant chain).