Reconciling Different Views on Responsible Leadership: A Rationality-Based Approach [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 125 (2):1-12 (2014)
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Abstract

Business leaders are increasingly responsible for the societal and environmental impacts of their actions. Yet conceptual views on responsible leadership differ in their definitions and theoretical foundations. This study attempts to reconcile these diverse views and uncover the phenomenon from a business leader’s point of view. Based on rational egoism theory, this article proposes a formal mathematical model of responsible leadership that considers different types of incentives for stakeholder engagement. The analyses reveal that monetary and instrumental incentives are neither sufficient nor necessary for business leaders to consider societal and environmental stakeholder needs. Non-monetary and non-instrumental incentives, such as leaders’ values and authenticity, as well as their planning horizons, counterbalance pure monetary and instrumental orientations. The model in this article complements the growing body of research on responsible leadership by reconciling its various conceptual views and providing a foundation for future theory development and testing

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