Leadership and Relational Skills: A Lifestyle Approach for Analyzing the Talent Gap and Developing Targeted Interventions

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 2:15 PM-3:45 PM
TW1.3.04 (Tower One)
Reynaldo Gustavo Rivera, InterMedia Social Innovation NGO, Rome, Italy; InterMedia Social Innovation NGO, Rome, Italy; University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
David Santos, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Youth unemployment is a huge issue: ILO estimated in 2012 that 75 million young people are without a job in the world today. In Europe, developed countries from EU are experiencing that kind of inequality too. Simultaneously, some studies report a gap in talent and soft skills: in countries like UK there are thousands of open positions because there are not enough skilled supply of people that companies can hire (Coutu, 2014). In a dynamic economic environment, entrepreneurship and leadership competences are topics that have increasingly received attention from researchers and policy makers. Since many of the soft skills are formed in the socialization process, family relationships may have a key role in determining the decision to start up a new business and the relational capabilities that are needed by the labor market. Among leadership theories, servant leadership is the one focused in the development of people who are motivated and committed with key values such as integrity, courage, empowerment, team building, etc. and are oriented to processes and relationships in addition to outcomes (Page & Wong, 2000). In this research, based in relational reflexive theory (Archer, 2012) we measure the behavioral intentions young people have to start two types of entrepreneurial activities: social and business. Social entrepreneurship refers to creating projects and organizations with the goal of transforming and improving society. On the other hand, business entrepreneurship refers to the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. The present research, using a version of two validated scales, aimed to examine whether lifestyle factors (i.e., family relationships such as the dialogue adolescents have with their parents, the received support and supervision given by them; risky behaviors; leisure time; and self-regulation strategies) and servant leadership capabilities influence social and business entrepreneurial behavioral intentions. The sample included 725 youth from different European countries, with ages between 13 and 25 years old (Mage = 19.87, SD = 2.65). Results indicated that servant leadership is a relevant predictor of both social and business entrepreneurship. In addition to servant leadership, some lifestyles factors are positively related to social and business entrepreneurship (positive leisure time, friendship relationships and self-regulative lifestyle) while others are negatively associated (risk behaviors and certain type of family relationships). This study makes a contribution to the theoretical and political discussion about the future of youth employment, showing the key relational and leadership competences to be trained, even in the context of the non-for-profit sector. Reflexivity modes proposed by Archer should be useful for targeting interventions design.