Some interesting articles we read recently on rethinking leadership.
Understanding responsible management: emerging themes and variations from European business school programs
This literature review reveals a call for changes in business education to encourage responsible management. The Principles for Responsible Management Education were developed in 2007 under the coordination of the United Nations Global Compact, AACSB International, and other leading academic institutions for the purpose of promoting responsible management in education.
Literature review shows that responsible management as such remains undefined. This gap in literature leads potentially to an absence of clarity in research, education, and management, regarding responsible management among scholars and practitioners.
The aim of this research is to develop a preliminary definition of responsible management, exploring the use of the term in literature and practice. Its objective is to define the main characteristics of responsible management aimed at creating a platform for discussion so as to help organisations clarify their own vision of responsible management. It builds on preliminary findings from literature review that responsible management remains undefined. As business school students are primary stakeholders in management education and are future management leaders, and as there have not been empirical studies to date that examine business school students’ understanding of responsible management, a qualitative study was conducted with European business school students concerning their understanding of the term.
A framework summarizing perceptions of responsible management characteristics and broad approach of responsible management definition were created and used to introduce a draft theoretical platform for discussion on this topic.
Nonet, G., Kassel, K. & Meijs, L. 2016. Understanding Responsible Management: Emerging Themes and Variations from European Business School Programs.
Journal of Business Ethics, 139(4), 717–736.
Rethinking nonprofit business strategies
In the last decade, Australian federal and state governments’ commitment to the economic rationalist imperatives of performance measures, accountability for outcomes, and value-for-money has driven significant change in the Australian not-for-profit community services sector.
In an environment shaped by neoliberal-inspired government policies and a renewed government commitment to austerity, Australian not-for-profit community service organisations are now, more than ever, actively engaged in a variety of income-generating strategies to achieve and/or maintain economic sustainability. Central to this process is meeting the dual challenge of succeeding financially in a competitive environment and simultaneously serving mission. In this context, it is time to more closely examine the impact of these challenges, in particular the implications for the organisational values of not-for-profit community service providers themselves.
This paper reports on a qualitative study of fourteen not-for-profit community service organisations, their core purposes, and their strategies for economic sustainability. In addition to the new data presented here, this paper contributes to the broader theoretical framework—the lens of value pluralism, which, Green and Dalton argue, provides a sharper focus on the relationship between mission and margin.
Green, J. & Dalton, B. Out of the Shadows: Using Value Pluralism to Make Explicit Economic Values in Not-for-Profit Business Strategies.
Journal of Business Ethics, 139(2), 299–312.
Champions of gender equality: Female and male executives as leaders of gender change
The purpose of this paper is to examine male and female executives as leaders “championing” gender change interventions. It problematizes current exhortations for male leaders to lead gender change, much as they might lead any other business-driven change agenda. It argues that organizational gender scholarship is critical to understanding the gendered nature of championing.
This paper draws on a feminist qualitative research project examining the efficacy of a gender intervention in a university and a policing institution. Interviews with four leaders have been chosen from the larger study for analysis against the backdrop of material from interviewees and the participant observation of the researcher. It brings a social constructionist view of gender and Acker’s gendering processes to bear on understanding organizational gender change. The sex/gender of the leader is inescapably fore-fronted by the gender change intervention. Gendered expectations and choices positioned men as powerful and effective champions while undermining the effectiveness of the woman in this study.
This research identifies effective champion behaviours, provides suggestions for ensuring that gender equity interventions are well championed and proposes a partnership model where senior men and women play complementary roles leading gender change. This paper is of value to practitioners and scholars. It draws attention to contemporary issues of leadership and gender change, seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice that undermines our change efforts.
de Vries, J.A. 2015. Champions of gender equality: Female and male executives as leaders of gender change.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 34(1), 21-36.
Economy of mutuality: Merging financial and social sustainability
The article posits the concept of economy of mutuality as an intellectual mediation space for shifts in emphasis between market and social structures within economic theory and practice. Economy of mutuality, it is contended, provides an alternative frame of reference to the dichotomy of market economy and social economy, for inquiry about what business is for and what values it presupposes and creates.
The article centres around the objective of gaining a broadened understanding of business so as to include not just market economy, but social enterprise and social economy. In pursuit of this objective, a range of various archetypes of business enterprise are considered in light of higher ends of economic life. The highest telos of business encompassing all such archetypes, it is argued, is founded on reciprocity and integral human development.
The article concludes that, compared to market economy per se, economy of mutuality provides a better conceptual framework for business in undertaking the challenges of sustainability.
Kevin T. Jackson. 2016. Economy of Mutuality: Merging Financial and Social Sustainability.
Journal of Business Ethics, 133(3), 499-517.
Literature review of shared value: A theoretical concept or a management buzzword?
Porter and Kramer (Harv Bus Rev 84(12):78–92, 2006; Harv Bus Rev 89(1/2), 62–77, 2011) introduced ‘shared value’ as a ‘new conception of capitalism,’ claiming it is a powerful driver of economic growth and reconciliation between business and society. The idea has generated strong interest in business and academia; however, its theoretical precepts have not been rigorously assessed.
In this paper, the authors provide a systematic and thorough analysis of shared value, focusing on its ontological and epistemological properties. The review highlights that ‘shared value’ has spread into the language of multiple disciplines, but that its current conceptualisation is vague, and it presents important discrepancies in the way it is defined and operationalised, such that it is more of a buzzword than a substantive concept. It also overlaps with many other (related) concepts and lacks empirical grounding.
The authors offer recommendations for defining and measuring the concept, take a step toward disentangling it from related concepts, and identify relevant theories and research methods that would facilitate extending the knowledge frontier on shared value.
Krzysztof Dembek, Prakash Singh & Vikram Bhakoo. 2016. Literature Review of Shared Value: A Theoretical Concept or a Management Buzzword?
Journal of Business Ethics, 137(2), 231-267.
The ‘Biophilic Organisation’ and corporate sustainability
This paper proposes a new organisational metaphor, the ‘Biophilic Organisation’, which aims to counter the bio-cultural disconnection of many organisations despite their espoused commitment to sustainability. This conceptual research draws on multiple disciplines such as evolutionary psychology and architecture to not only develop a diverse bio-cultural connection but to show how this connection tackles sustainability, in a holistic and systemic sense. Moreover, the paper takes an integrative view of sustainability, which effectively means that it embraces the different emergent tensions.
Three specific tensions are explored: efficiency versus resilience, organisational versus personal agendas and isomorphism versus institutional change. In order to illustrate how the Biophilic Organisation could potentially provide a synthesis strategy for such tensions, healthcare examples are drawn from the emerging fields of Biophilic Design in Singapore and Generative Design in the U.S.A.
Finally, an example is provided which highlights how a Taoist cultural context has impacted on a business leader in China, to illustrative the significance of a transcendent belief system to such a bio-cultural narrative.
Jones, D.R. 2016. The ‘Biophilic Organization’: An Integrative Metaphor for Corporate Sustainability.
Journal of Business Ethics, 138(3), 401-416.
Ethics, corporate social responsibility, and developing country multinationals
In this article, Doh, Husted and Yang provide an overview of the literature on ethics and social responsibility of developing country multinationals (DMNEs) and an introduction to the contributions of the articles in this special section. With the rising influence of DMNEs in the global economy, there is increasing interest in applying descriptive, explanatory, and normative theories to understand the ethics and CSR behaviour and practices of DMNEs.
This article provides an overarching review of perspectives first from ethics, CSR, and business and society, and then from international business and management scholarship. Doh et al. identify limits and gaps in the current literature and show how the articles in this special section contribute to fill these gaps. The authors highlight the emerging, transitional and distinct features of DMNEs that are different from their domestic and foreign counterparts.
The very limited extant literature and the contributions of this special section underscore the influence of institutional voids and duality that appear to prompt DMNEs to pursue CSR as a signaling mechanism to gain legitimacy, overcome liabilities of foreignness and obtain a “license to operate” in developed countries. The authors outline the key contributions from the articles in this special section and discuss the future research agenda espoused by the issues raised in these articles.
Read the full text for free: Jonathan Doh. Bryan W. Husted and Xiaohua Yang. 2016. Guest Editors’ Introduction: Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Developing Country Multinationals.
Business Ethics Quarterly, 26(3), 301-315.