Chapter Ten. Best Practices in Leading at Strategic Levels: A Social Responsibility Perspective

David A. Waldman

There can be little doubt that executive leaders of organizations have come under increased scrutiny in recent times. In the United States, corporate scandals that are associated with leadership failures have fueled legislative reactions, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Employees and the public as a whole largely perceive the image of corporate leaders in an unfavorable manner, including attributions of distrust and greed.[1] Similarly, organizations and leaders at strategic or the highest echelons of organizations are becoming increasingly concerned with corporate social responsibility and how it can be used for competitive advantage.[2] There is a growing recognition that characteristics and behaviors on the part of leaders at the upper echelons of organizations may be relevant to performance in the area of social responsibility.[3] In sum, the ground is fertile for academics to help strategic leaders better understand such challenges and the best practices for dealing with them.

The purposes of this chapter are threefold. First, I put forth an argument for why a social responsibility theme is so relevant to effective leadership at strategic levels. Second, I outline the leadership principles and practices that promote or support socially responsible leadership. Third, I address the challenges facing leaders and organizations wishing to put such principles and practices ...

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