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What does it mean to be responsible? Addressing the missing responsibility dimension in ethical leadership research

Abstract : This paper extends research on ethical leadership by proposing a responsibility orientation for leaders. Responsible leadership is based on the concept of leaders who are not isolated from the environment, who critically evaluate prevailing norms, are forward-looking, share responsibility, and aim to solve problems collectively. Adding such a responsibility orientation helps to address critical issues that persist in research on ethical leadership. The paper discusses important aspects of responsible leadership, which include being able to make informed ethical judgments about prevailing norms and rules, communicating effectively with stakeholders, engaging in long-term thinking and in perspective-taking, displaying moral courage, and aspiring to positive change. Furthermore, responsible leadership means actively engaging stakeholders, encouraging participative decision-making, and aiming for shared problem-solving. A case study that draws on in-depth interviews with the representatives of businesses and non-governmental organizations illustrates the practical relevance of thinking about responsibility and reveals the challenges of responsible leadership.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 4:19:43 PM
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Christian Voegtlin. What does it mean to be responsible? Addressing the missing responsibility dimension in ethical leadership research. Leadership, SAGE Publications, 2016, 12, pp.581-608. ⟨10.1177/1742715015578936⟩. ⟨hal-01481471⟩



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