Antecedents of responsible leader behavior: A research synthesis, conceptual framework, and agenda for future research

Günter K. Stahl, Mary Sully De Luque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Responsible leadership has emerged as a major theme in academic and practical management discourse. In this paper we provide an overview and synthesis of existing and emerging research on responsible leadership and propose a unifying framework for explaining leaders' propensity to engage in two types of socially responsible behavior: "do good" and "avoid harm." The framework models the linkages among individual, situational, organizational, institutional, and supranational influences on responsible leader behavior and describes the mechanisms by which these factors may affect a leader's decisions and actions. Our analysis suggests that "do good" and "avoid harm" behaviors are conceptually distinct categories, with different psychological bases and different antecedents that predict them. Further, we find that individuallevel and contextual factors combine and interact to influence responsible leader behavior, and a key aspect of the environment in which leaders act and make decisions- situational strength-moderates the relationship between individual-level factors and a leader's propensity to engage in "do good" and "avoid harm" behavior. In addition to providing directions for future research on responsible leader behavior, this article has several implications for practice, specifically how to select, train, and develop socially responsible leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-254
Number of pages20
JournalAcademy of Management Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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