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The Roles of Leadership Styles in Corporate Social Responsibility


  • Shuili Du


  • Valérie Swaen


  • Adam Lindgreen


  • Sankar Sen



This research investigates the interplay between leadership styles and institutional corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. A large-scale field survey of managers reveals that firms with greater transformational leadership are more likely to engage in institutional CSR practices, whereas transactional leadership is not associated with such practices. Furthermore, stakeholder-oriented marketing reinforces the positive link between transformational leadership and institutional CSR practices. Finally, transactional leadership enhances, whereas transformational leadership diminishes, the positive relationship between institutional CSR practices and organizational outcomes. This research highlights the differential roles that transformational and transactional leadership styles play for a firm’s institutional CSR practices and has significant implications for theory and practice. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:114:y:2013:i:1:p:155-169
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1333-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin Groves & Michael LaRocca, 2011. "An Empirical Study of Leader Ethical Values, Transformational and Transactional Leadership, and Follower Attitudes Toward Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 103(4), pages 511-528, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Nicola Pless & Thomas Maak, 2011. "Responsible Leadership: Pathways to the Future," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 3-13, January.
    4. Shuili Du & C. B. Bhattacharya & Sankar Sen, 2011. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Competitive Advantage: Overcoming the Trust Barrier," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1528-1545, March.
    5. W.J. Johnston & V. Swaen, 2009. "The supporting function of marketing in corporate social responsibility," Post-Print hal-00575805, HAL.
    6. Duygu Turker, 2009. "How Corporate Social Responsibility Influences Organizational Commitment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(2), pages 189-204, October.
    7. Shuili Du & Sankar Sen & C. B. Bhattacharya, 2008. "Exploring the Social and Business Returns of a Corporate Oral Health Initiative Aimed at Disadvantaged Hispanic Families," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 483-494, April.
    8. Thomas Maak & Nicola M. Pless, 2006. "Responsible Leadership in a Stakeholder Society – A Relational Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 99-115, June.
    9. Guido Palazzo & Andreas Scherer, 2006. "Corporate Legitimacy as Deliberation: A Communicative Framework," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 71-88, June.
    10. David A. Waldman & Donald S. Siegel & Mansour Javidan, 2006. "Components of CEO Transformational Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(8), pages 1703-1725, December.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sadaf Iqbal & Tahir Farid & Jianhong Ma & Amira Khattak & Mohammad Nurunnabi, 2018. "The Impact of Authentic Leadership on Organizational Citizenship Behaviours and the Mediating Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Banking Sector of Pakistan," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-11, June.
    2. Min-Seong Kim & Brijesh Thapa, 2018. "Relationship of Ethical Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and Organizational Performance," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(2), pages 1-16, February.
    3. Seda KIZIL & Atılhan NAKTİYOK, 2019. "Bu araştırmanın temel amacı, yöneticilerin göstermiş olduğu stratejik liderlik davranışlarının çalışanlarda oluşan kurumsal itibar algısı üzerindeki etkisinde kurumsal sosyal sorumluluğun (KSS) rolünü," Istanbul Business Research, Istanbul University Business School, vol. 48(1), pages 64-83, May.
    4. Andrea Felicetti, 2018. "A Deliberative Case for Democracy in Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 803-814, July.
    5. João Guerreiro & Paulo Rita & Duarte Trigueiros, 2016. "A Text Mining-Based Review of Cause-Related Marketing Literature," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 111-128, November.
    6. Qian Hongdao & Sughra Bibi & Asif Khan & Lorenzo Ardito & Mohammad Nurunnabi, 2019. "Does What Goes Around Really Comes Around? The Mediating Effect of CSR on the Relationship between Transformational Leadership and Employee’s Job Performance in Law Firms," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-19, June.
    7. Christof Miska & Mark E. Mendenhall, 2018. "Responsible Leadership: A Mapping of Extant Research and Future Directions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 148(1), pages 117-134, March.
    8. Laura Marie Edinger-Schons & Lars Lengler-Graiff & Sabrina Scheidler & Jan Wieseke, 2019. "Frontline Employees as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Ambassadors: A Quasi-Field Experiment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 359-373, June.
    9. Christopher Groening & Vamsi K. Kanuri, 2018. "Investor Reactions to Concurrent Positive and Negative Stakeholder News," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 149(4), pages 833-856, June.
    10. Claudia Eger & Graham Miller & Caroline Scarles, 2019. "Corporate Philanthropy Through the Lens of Ethical Subjectivity," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 141-153, April.
    11. Yasemin Bal & Serdar Bozkurt & Pinar Buyukbalci, 2014. "Improving Social Responsibility Through Ethical Leadership: A Perceptions Based View," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 0701667, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.


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