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Components of CEO Transformational Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility


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  • David A. Waldman
  • Donald S. Siegel
  • Mansour Javidan


We use transformational leadership theory to explore the role of CEOs in determining the extent to which their firms engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR). We test this theory using data from 56 US and Canadian firms. CEO intellectual stimulation (but not CEO charismatic leadership) is found to be significantly associated with the propensity of the firm to engage in 'strategic' CSR, or those CSR activities that are most likely to be related to the firm's corporate and business-level strategies. Thus, studies that ignore the role of leadership in CSR may yield imprecise conclusions regarding the antecedents and consequences of these activities. We also critique transformational leadership theory, in terms of its overemphasis on charismatic forms of leadership. This leads to a reconceptualization of transformational leadership, which emphasizes the intellectual stimulation component in the context of CSR. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2006.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

Volume (Year): 43 (2006)
Issue (Month): 8 (December)
Pages: 1703-1725

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:43:y:2006:i:8:p:1703-1725

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Cited by:
  1. Belen Blanco & Encarna Guillamón-Saorín & Andrés Guiral, 2013. "Do Non-socially Responsible Companies Achieve Legitimacy Through Socially Responsible Actions? The Mediating Effect of Innovation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 67-83, September.
  2. Pavlos Vlachos & Nikolaos Panagopoulos & Adam Rapp, 2013. "Feeling Good by Doing Good: Employee CSR-Induced Attributions, Job Satisfaction, and the Role of Charismatic Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 577-588, December.
  3. Tamsin Angus-Leppan & Louise Metcalf & Sue Benn, 2010. "Leadership Styles and CSR Practice: An Examination of Sensemaking, Institutional Drivers and CSR Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(2), pages 189-213, May.
  4. Louise Metcalf & Sue Benn, 2013. "Leadership for Sustainability: An Evolution of Leadership Ability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 369-384, February.
  5. Mikko Manner, 2010. "The Impact of CEO Characteristics on Corporate Social Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 93(1), pages 53-72, June.
  6. Kurt A. Desender & Mircea Epure, 2014. "Corporate Governance and Corporate Social Performance," Working Papers 730, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  7. Shiang-Min Meng, 2013. "Application of Laozi’s Daodejing to Current Corporate Governance," International Journal of Asian Social Science, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(10), pages 2114-2133, October.
  8. Wagner, Marcus, 2010. "The role of corporate sustainability performance for economic performance: A firm-level analysis of moderation effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1553-1560, May.
  9. Donald Siegel, 2009. "Green Management Matters Only If It Yields More Green: An Economic/Strategic Perspective," Working Papers 8, Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS).
  10. David Waldman, 2011. "Moving Forward with the Concept of Responsible Leadership: Three Caveats to Guide Theory and Research," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 75-83, January.
  11. Lora Reed & Deborah Vidaver-Cohen & Scott Colwell, 2011. "A New Scale to Measure Executive Servant Leadership: Development, Analysis, and Implications for Research," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(3), pages 415-434, July.
  12. Daniel Slater & Heather Dixon-Fowler, 2009. "CEO International Assignment Experience and Corporate Social Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(3), pages 473-489, October.
  13. Wang, Hui & Waldman, David A. & Zhang, Hongyu, 2012. "Strategic leadership across cultures: Current findings and future research directions," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 571-580.
  14. Schippers, M.C. & den Hartog, D.N. & Koopman, P.L. & van Knippenberg, D.L., 2007. "The Role of Transformational Leadership in Enhancing Team Reflexivity," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2007-080-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.
  15. Christian Voegtlin & Moritz Patzer & Andreas Scherer, 2012. "Responsible Leadership in Global Business: A New Approach to Leadership and Its Multi-Level Outcomes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(1), pages 1-16, January.
  16. Kumar, Bipul & Sinha, Piyush Kumar & Shukla, P. R. & Abhishek, . "Broadening the Concept of Sustainability and Measuring its Impact on Firm’s Performance," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-08-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
  17. Rasi Kunapatarawong & Ester Martínez-Ros, 2013. "Influences of institutional pressures on corporate social responsibility attitude and corporate social responsibility outcomes," Business Economics Working Papers wb130301, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
  18. Yuval Deutsch & Mike Valente, 2013. "Compensating Outside Directors with Stock: The Impact on Non-Primary Stakeholders," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 67-85, August.
  19. Shuili Du & Valérie Swaen & Adam Lindgreen & Sankar Sen, 2013. "The Roles of Leadership Styles in Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 114(1), pages 155-169, April.
  20. Ans Kolk & Willemijn Dolen & Marlene Vock, 2010. "Trickle Effects of Cross-Sector Social Partnerships," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 123-137, July.
  21. Suzanne Benn & Lindi Todd & Jannet Pendleton, 2010. "Public Relations Leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 96(3), pages 403-423, October.
  22. Isabel-María García-Sánchez & Luis Rodríguez-Domínguez & Isabel Gallego-Álvarez, 2013. "CEO qualities and codes of ethics," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 295-312, April.
  23. Christian Voegtlin, 2011. "Development of a Scale Measuring Discursive Responsible Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 57-73, January.
  24. Kevin Groves & Michael LaRocca, 2011. "Responsible Leadership Outcomes Via Stakeholder CSR Values: Testing a Values-Centered Model of Transformational Leadership," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 37-55, January.


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