Organisations can try to foster individual skills to deal with complexity by providing training and development, for instance by sending managers to take part in activities with NGOs, social entrepreneurs, or international organisations in developing countries. Alternatively, such skills can be encouraged through the creation of a stimulating company context. This can include HR policies that favour the recruitment of open-minded people, that offer training in situations of ambiguity and conflict, and that encourage staff to practice auto-evaluation and self-criticism.
What research therefore highlights is that the responsibility for responding to current societal and environmental problems is much more a shared, collective, and communicative endeavour than is portrayed in current leadership approaches. We have data that indicates that leaders who care for their company, their employees and society simultaneously, are perceived as more effective compared to others in the organization. Clearly, there is much to be gained from embracing responsible leadership.
It is time they accepted that what might previously have been viewed as a fad by many, is now a necessary and desirable culture change. Moreover, we propose that responsible leadership can contribute to solving pressing problems of our time, like the problem of how to integrate foreigners into the workforce in countries where the tolerance for other cultures and other ways of living is diminishing.
It might also be a relevant counterbalance in what appears to be an age of emerging populism. In such an environment, where discussions are no longer based on facts and reason but on sentiments, it would require responsible leaders who can steer these discussions toward a more rational exchange of arguments about the values that members of an organization, but also members of the community in which the organization is doing business, want to endorse and how they could solve problems collectively.
Maak, T. Business statesman or shareholder advocate? Journal of Management Studies, 53 3 : — Voegtlin, C. What does it mean to be responsible? Addressing the missing responsibility dimension in ethical leadership research. Leadership, 12 5 : — Development of a scale measuring discursive responsible leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 98 Suppl 1 : 57— Responsible leadership in global business: A new approach to leadership an its multi-level outcomes.
Journal of Business Ethics, 1 : 1— Sign in. Get started. The global leadership responsibility imperative has firmly moved corporate social responsibility CSR to the forefront of the management agenda. Why is now the right time for you to launch your book Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility? My book captures and is designed to help lead a major shift that is currently taking place.
The focus has also been on how CSR serves business and shareholders, which is important, but it cannot continue to be the only reason to be more responsible. The book emphasises the importance of strategic CSR, which is holistic and comprehensive, about being responsible in everything that we do, including core operations, and with everyone with whom we do business namely all our stakeholders.
It also incorporates a long-term approach instead of a short-term one. CSR cannot continue to be little more than a side show focusing on charity. We face tremendous global challenges and business can play a vital role in helping address them through the power of strategic CSR.
‘Act Fair’- driving the responsibility transformation
We can make profit, but not maximise profit at the expense of humanity and this planet. Do you think sufficient numbers of business leaders around the world are putting CSR into their strategic agendas? The business sector is like a huge ship moving slowly in the ocean.
It is now shifting direction, but due to its size, it is not always easy to see. As such, I focus on inspirational leaders, such as Paul Polman of Unilever, who, with his sustainable living plan, has shifted the entire focus of the company to sustainability, and leaders such as Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, who leads performance with purpose. There is a shift: CSR is becoming an important part of the strategic agenda for many companies, instead of a charitable sideshow. Is it enough?
Not just yet, but we are getting there.
'Act Fair'- driving the responsibility transformation | Delivering Tomorrow
CSR was previously considered something that could impact the bottom line if done properly. Do we need to move away from this and think strategically, yet altruistically, when it comes to CSR? I am glad that CSR helps to impact the financial bottom line. It means that people care about these issues more than ever before when they buy from a company as consumers or work for it as employees. Research shows a strong relationship between being genuinely responsible and employee engagement and performance.
Smart for good.
Consumers, employees and other stakeholders can usually tell, even if not immediately, that CSR is not genuine. Usually, there will be some unethical behaviour involved. And greenwashing will lead not only to lack to trust in the company, but to lack of trust in CSR in general. So yes — you need to think strategically about CSR, work hard for real stakeholder integration, avoid shortcuts and above all — be genuine.
The SDGs are so important, not only because they aim to achieve remarkable goals, such as ending poverty and hunger by , but also because they offer a great opportunity for humans to discuss what is important for us as a race and how we can achieve it together. The SDGs present an enormous task and challenge, and therefore require global and cross-sectorial collaboration like never before.
As I wrote in the European Financial Review , this is not only a challenge for business, but also a great opportunity to align strategy with something that matters to everyone.
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I see large multinational companies, as well as smaller ones, that choose to focus on several SDGs and take amazing and innovative actions to help achieve them. There is work to be done to get more companies and stakeholders on board, but I have never seen so many companies aligned around shared goals as in the case of the SDGs.
What are some of the best ways to implement CSR strategies into an organisation, so employees take these initiatives on board, and so stakeholders, in turn, can see the organisation is making a difference? If a company wants to adopt strategic CSR, it must integrate and involve all its stakeholders to do so. First, because it is an enormous task, and second, due to the definition and nature of strategic CSR.
By definition, it requires working with a broad set of stakeholders and for CSR to be embedded in everything that we do — and you cannot do this with the executive leadership alone. In my book, I discuss employee-led CSR and provide some great examples of it. Companies involve their consumers, who show higher levels of consumer social responsibility than ever before, in their giving, volunteering and sustainable development.
Should an organisation market its CSR? If so, how can it do it in a way that is ethical? It was important for me to offer a book that outlines the theories, concepts and models on the one hand, but also the practical tools of CSR on the other. To answer your question — yes, we should market our CSR, because it is a good way to communicate with our stakeholders, inspire others and be held accountable for what we are doing.
I give examples in the book of companies that were not genuine and holistic, and how CSR marketing backfired. How would you define a responsible leader and what are the challenges they are facing today? I discuss concepts such as responsible, ethical, sustainable, servant, conscious, and transformational leadership in the book, as each of these concepts bring another important aspect of responsible leadership. They share the leadership with others in the organisation in order to achieve these goals. How important is it to measure the impact of CSR, and what are some of the best and innovative ways in which this can be done?