Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Call for Papers: Journal of Business Ethics

"Responsible Leadership"

Special Issue of the Journal of Business Ethics

Guest EditorsNicola Pless, ESADE Business School, Ramon Llull University, Spain
Derick de Jongh, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Thomas Maak, ESADE Business School & University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Submissions due April 02, 2010
During 2011 (tentative) publication of JBE Special Issue

Among the key lessons from the current global crisis is arguably that it takes responsible leadership - and responsible leaders - to build and sustain business that benefits multiple stakeholders rather than just a few risk-seeking individuals. Corporate scandals and the global economic crisis have triggered a broad discussion on the role of markets in value creation (and destruction) and that of business in society - its legitimacy, its obligations and its responsibilities. As a result, business leaders are increasingly held accountable for their actions (and failure to act) by a host of stakeholders and by society at large. These stakeholder expectations extend beyond mere compliance with rules and regulations and sustaining the economic bottom line. They include adhering to ethical standards, acting as good citizens and ensuring safe, fair, equal and respectful treatment of all employees. Moreover, given the power of large corporations in particular, stakeholders expect business leaders to take a more active role in addressing some of the world's most pressing problems such as protecting and fostering human rights, fighting corruption, ensuring sustainability, fighting global warming, helping alleviate, treating diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria.

In light of these developments a new theoretical approach towards leadership is emerging under the umbrella term Responsible Leadership. (see e.g., Doh & Stumpf, 2005; Maak & Pless, 2006a; Waldmann & Galvin, 2008) It considers the context of leadership, reflects on the ethical underpinnings and makes the link with CSR, or more broadly, corporate responsibility. In this sense responsible leadership broadens the view of leaders' responsibilities from economic matters to environmental and societal issues. It “expands from an internal leadership perspective to a broader world view, from a shareholder mindset to a stakeholder orientation with respect to the leadership mandate” (Maak & Pless 2006b, 100) and operates at multiple levels of analysis, including the individual, group, organizational and societal levels.

We therefore call for papers advancing discussion and research on the nature of responsible leadership and its impact on business and society (see the topics listed below). We invite both theoretical and empirical papers, as well as case studies on exemplary responsible leadership.

The Nature of Responsible Leadership

  • What is the purpose of leadership in a global stakeholder society?
  • What do we learn from the literature about responsible leadership?
  • How does responsible leadership relate to other leadership theories?
  • What are the paradigmatic implications of a responsible leadership approach?
  • What responsibilities do leaders have with regard to their followers, to the firm, to society and to nature and also to themselves?
  • Who are the actors in the leader-follower relationship? What are the ethical underpinnings of this relationship? And what relationship understanding do we need to foster responsible leadership to emerge?
  • What hinders responsible leadership from emerging?

    Societal level:
  • Considering the societal context in which leadership takes place
    What are the responsibilities of business leaders in society, specifically in dealing with social, environmental and humanitarian challenges?
  • What role can business leadership play in solving social, humanitarian and environmental problems in developing regions such as Africa?
  • How does a responsible leadership approach help solve some of the most pressing problems?
  • How can a responsible leadership approach help create sustainable triple-bottom-line performance?
  • How can responsible business leaders mobilize different stakeholders to create social change for the better?
  • What is the relationship between cultural context and the understanding of responsible leadership?

    Organizational level:
  • Shaping the organizational context of leadership
    What are the implications of a responsible leadership approach for a new understanding of corporate governance?
  • What are the relationships between responsible leadership and ethical climate, stakeholder culture, citizenship orientation?
  • What is the role of Human Resource Management (HRM) in fostering a responsible leadership approach in the organization?
  • How can HRM systems and processes (performance management systems, selection processes, competency models, remuneration systems) be adapted to foster the practice of responsible leadership?
  • How can responsible leadership contribute to the creation of social innovation?

    Individual level:
  • Looking at the leader-follower interaction and into the "inner theater" of responsible leaders
  • What are the characteristics of responsible leaders and their followers?
  • What leadership style best suits a responsible leadership approach?
  • What motivates responsible leadership behavior?
  • How do responsible leaders contribute to building social capital?
  • How do responsible leaders make decisions, solve problems and cope with dilemmas?
  • How to develop talented people to become responsible leaders?
  • What is the relationship between responsible leadership and social entrepreneurship?

    Timeline, Process & Standards
  • All submissions will go through a double-blind review process.
    Therefore, all author-identifying information should be removed from the paper except for a cover page.
    The formatting of the paper has to follow the guidelines of the Journal of Business Ethics.
    To be considered for the special issue on "Responsible Leadership" full papers need to be submitted by April 02, 2010.
    Full papers should be submitted electronically (word-file) to nicola.pless@esade.edu.


    Doh, J. P. and S. A. Stumpf (eds.): 2005, Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham/Northampton, MA).
    Maak, T. and N. M. Pless (eds.): 2006a, Responsible Leadership (Routledge, London, New York).
    Maak, T. and N. M. Pless: 2006b, ‘Responsible Leadership in a Stakeholder Society. A Relational Perspective’, Journal of Business Ethics 66, 99–115.
    Waldman, D. A. and B. M. Galvin: 2008, 'Alternative Perspectives of Responsible Leadership. Organizational Dynamics', Organizational Dynamics 37(4), 327-341

    Dr. Nicola M. Pless
    Associate Professor
    ESADE Business School
    Ramon Llull University
    Av. Pedralbes, 60-62
    E-08034 Barcelona
    Tel: +34 935 670 194
    Direct: + 34 935 543 516
    Fax +34 932 048 105

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