Theoretical Development and Empirical Examination of a Three-Roles Model of Responsible Leadership

Journal of Business Ethics 167 (3):411-431 (2020)
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This article develops theory on responsible leadership based on a model involving three leadership roles: an expert who displays organizational expertise, a facilitator who cares for and motivates employees and a citizen who considers the consequences of her or his decisions for society. It draws on previous responsible leadership research, stakeholder theory and theories of behavioral complexity to conceptualize the roles model of responsible leadership. Responsible leadership is positioned as a concept that requires leaders to show behavioral complexity in addressing all three roles. In three studies, we provide a first empirical test of antecedents and outcomes of the roles model of responsible leadership. The results of the studies indicate that responsible leadership is positively related to the leader’s perceived effectiveness, favorable stakeholder evaluations and employee engagement with the organization and society. Responsible leadership behavior, in turn, seems to be facilitated by leader empathy, positive affect and universal value orientation.



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Andreas Walther
Universität Konstanz