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Alternative Perspectives of Responsible Leadership

by DAVID A. WALDMAN, BENJAMIN M. GALVIN
Organizational Dynamics ()

Abstract

Are you a responsible leader? At first glance, this question may seem rhetorical. It is unlikely that many leaders are selfaware enough to answer no. What person in a position of leadership doesn’t want to think of him or herself as responsible? The answer is probably very few. Our contention is that showing responsibility as a leader may be the key to leader effectiveness. Increasing scrutiny by shareholders, employees, Boards of Directors, and even the general public demand that people in positions of leadership in organizations be responsible. At the same time, people in these positions often view responsibility in a narrow or incomplete manner, and accordingly, might not meet a comprehensive definition of responsible leadership, at least in the minds of some people. The goals of this paper are threefold. First, we will define the parameters of responsible leadership, especially at strategic levels of management. Second, we will describe alternative and somewhat divergent perspectives of what responsible leadership is all about. Third, we will provide guidelines and best practices for individuals who seek to be responsible leaders. Our overall purpose is to clarify this important, and perhaps overlooked, aspect of leadership effectiveness.

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