As a global public health emergency, COVID-19 has brought uncertainties to the survival and development of new ventures, as well as challenges to the organization’s crisis management capabilities and effective leadership capabilities. Organizational resilience, as a dynamic organizational capability that helps enterprises recover from a crisis, emphasizes the ability of enterprises to adapt, change and rebound after a crisis. The improvement of organizational resilience can enable enterprises to effectively respond to crises and achieve sustainable development. Facing the unpredictable entrepreneurial environment, how to improve the management capability of new ventures and combine limited resources with dynamic opportunities is a topic worthy of further exploration. Entrepreneurial leadership, as a new type of leadership that integrates entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, can create a vision to inspire subordinates, lead enterprises to clarify innovation paths, and explore and develop opportunities. Entrepreneurial leadership is considered as an effective leadership style to lead new ventures to deal with external uncertainties and resist the crisis.
Under the guidance of dynamic capability framework, this paper aims to explore how entrepreneurial leaders interact with organizational resilience in a complex environment and promote venture performance in combination with the actual situation in China. Through a questionnaire survey and data analysis of 213 entrepreneurs and senior managers of new ventures in the Yangtze River Delta, this study finds that:（1）Entrepreneurial leadership has a positive impact on the performance of new venture.（2）Entrepreneurial leadership positively affects organizational resilience, and the improvement of entrepreneurial leadership is conducive to enhancing the organizational resilience of enterprises.（3）Entrepreneurial leadership can positively affect the performance of new ventures by improving the organizational resilience of enterprises.（4）Changes in the external environment will also affect this relationship, that is, the stronger the entrepreneur’s perception of the competitiveness and dynamics of the external environment, the stronger the positive impact of entrepreneurial leadership on venture performance through organizational resilience.
This paper incorporates entrepreneurial leadership, organizational resilience, performance and environmental characteristics of new ventures into the integrated research framework, and demonstrates how leaders of new ventures in the Chinese context can utilize entrepreneurial leadership to improve their organizational resilience. Theoretically, this paper expands the avenue of dynamic capabilities, provides a new perspective for the relationship between entrepreneurial leadership and venture performance, and demonstrates the mechanism and boundary conditions of organizational resilience in complex situations. Practically, this paper puts the research situation under the background of local environment and national strategy, and points out that new ventures should actively exert entrepreneurial leadership in a crisis state, in order to improve organizational resilience and performance. This research provides corresponding countermeasures for the enhancement of management and organizational capabilities of new ventures in China under the influence of COVID-19.