Preferred Name

Kathleen Q. Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Strategic Leadership Studies


Margaret Sloan

Karen Ford

Benjamin Selznick

Nara Yoon


This quantitative study examined individual entrepreneurial orientation and social justice advocacy as antecedents to leader self-efficacy in the complex and dynamic context of the opioid epidemic. Throughout history, leaders have emerged in response to societal challenges; leadership is not restricted to the boundaries of hierarchical, administrative, bureaucratic organizational frameworks. Complexity leadership theory and its recognition of leadership in complex adaptive systems provides an overarching framing. Five characteristics of individual entrepreneurial orientation were incorporated: risk-taking, innovativeness, perseverance, passion and proactiveness (Santos et al., 2020). Social advocacy activity was measured using the social issues advocacy scale (Nilsson et al., 2011). The dependent variable, leader self-efficacy, was measured using two dimensions of the Multidimensional Leadership Self-Efficacy scale (Bobbio & Mangenelli, 2009). Participants were recruited via snowball sampling using social media platforms as the primary outreach method. The quantitative data (N = 77) was analyzed using independent T-tests, multiple linear regression, and mediation analysis. Individual entrepreneurial orientation is correlated with advocacy, activist identity, leader self-efficacy, prior leader experience, and age. Social issues advocacy is correlated with activist identity and leader experience. Social issues advocacy experiences do not mediate the relationship between individual entrepreneurial orientation and leader self-efficacy. Individual entrepreneurial orientation and prior leader experience are significant predictors of leader self-efficacy within the context of advocacy related to the opioid epidemic. The prevalence of entrepreneurial characteristics and prior leader experience in individuals who are active in advocacy efforts affirms the relevance of entrepreneurship to social movements and to the relationship between entrepreneurship and leader self-efficacy.

Available for download on Wednesday, November 15, 2023