Leadership development (LD) is a crucial success factor for startups to increase their human capital, survival rate, and overall performance. However, only a minority of young ventures actively engage in LD, and research rather focuses on large corporations and SMEs, which do not share the typical startup characteristics such as a rather young workforce, flat hierarchies, resource scarcity, and high time pressure. To overcome this practical and theoretical lack of knowledge, we engage in foresight and explore which leadership development techniques will be most relevant for startups within the next five to ten years. To formulate the most probable scenario, we conduct an international, two-stage Delphi study with 27 projections among industry experts. According to the expert panel, the majority of startups will engage in leadership development over the next decade. Most startups will aim to develop the leadership capabilities of their workforce as a whole and use external support. The most prominent prospective LD measures in startups include experiential learning methods, such as action learning, developmental job assignments, multi-rater feedback, as well as digital experiential learning programs, and developmental relationships such as coaching in digital one-to-one sessions. Self-managed learning will play a more important role than formal training.


Prommer, L., Tiberius, V., & Kraus, S. (2020). Exploring the future of startup leadership development, Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 14, e00200, doi:10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00200.