Strategy, Innovation & Leadership LAB

How responsible is the responsible leader?

October 10, 2014

Managers consider themselves responsible leaders, but this assessment is not based on well-founded reasons. This is evident from the results of a poll among 40 of TIAS School for Business and Society's alumni. The results were presented during the ‘Responsible leadership’ alumni day which took place on October 2, 2014.

According to the Financial Times, 'responsible' leadership involves making decisions which take the interests of other interested parties, like clients, employees, the local community, the environment and future generations, into account.

Definition of responsible leadership

Respondents define responsible leadership in a comparable manner. First and foremost, 30% indicate that responsible leadership involves due consideration for the organization's stakeholders, the balancing of interests or the implementation of balanced responsibility. Another 22.5% consider responsible leadership as business with purpose, in which case the social value, along with the economic value, is deemed relevant. Of the respondents, 20% and 15% respectively define responsible leadership as feeling a sense of responsibility, taking such responsibility, and accounting for such responsibility, and in the case of taking responsibility for employees, ensuring that one's behavior is of an exemplary standard.

When it comes to individual actions, it seems like suppliers, the local community, and especially the environment, play a limited role. The aspect which is most strongly endorsed for individual actions is integrity in client relations. Of the respondents, 90% consider this to be one of their strong individual attributes. Based on the discussion with the respondents who were present on this alumni day, we deduce that this integrity is only aimed at financial results. This also raises the question of the extent to which one can actually talk about responsible leadership.

Read more

Private en (semi-)publieke organisaties: waar zijn de ‘responsible’ leiders?, MDonline.nl (2014) - in Dutch

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