Revised closing date for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2023
South African Journal of Business Management
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Guest Editors:Nicola Pless, University of South Australia
Arnold Smit, Stellenbosch Business School
Natasha Winkler-Titus, Stellenbosch Business School
Since the conceptualisation of the concept of responsible leadership and a plea for leadership to be more responsible, the discourse on responsible leadership has grown significantly. By 2021, more than 70 articles focused on responsible leadership have appeared in peer-reviewed journals. However, most research on responsible leadership has been conducted in Western countries and developed economies in the northern hemisphere, whereas only three articles originated from Africa and one from South America (De Klerk & Jooste, unpublished 2020). Both these continents only house economies classified as emerging. In contrast, emerging markets account for more than 50% of global economic output (Horwitz, 2017).
Emerging economies are facing unique challenges and issues that developed economies face in more muted forms (De Klerk et al., 2022), and must deal with realities that might fall outside more idealistic approaches that apply to developed economies. Poverty is perhaps the most extreme challenge facing emerging economies, with over 75% of the world's poorest countries in Africa. This situation is compounded by high unemployment and a large complement of poor, unskilled or semi-skilled labour. As result, social responsibility and strict labour practices often promote employment at the cost of automation (Devereux, 2020), with adverse effects on competitiveness. The dire need for job creation also has a paradoxical relationship with sustainability goals. Workers tend to be more unionised in emerging economies, with labour unions' interpretation of responsible leadership biased towards members rather than a multiple-stakeholder focus (De Klerk & Nkomo, unpublished 2020). Aspirations for employment equality remain far from reality for many marginalised employees, despite a myriad of policies (Ozturk & Berber 2022). Norms around gender equality can differ strongly and inequalities along racial lines are often prominent due to colonial histories.
Emerging economies tend to be dependent on primary extraction (mining) and agricultural industries. Both these industries are associated with an imbalanced wealth distribution toward those in power, at the expense of the environment and communities (Maier et al., 2014). The mining industry and its destructive impact on the natural environment and worker safety is well documented (Paull et al., 2006). Indeed, responsible leadership in the mining sector of an emerging economy represents a complex mixture of paradoxes and dilemmas, requiring continuous trade-offs between short-term profit maximisation and long-term sustainable business practices to remain competitive and create sustainable stakeholder value, complicated by an array of social responsibilities (De Klerk & Swart, 2022).
It is apt that Pless et al. (2021, p. 1) commented that although "significant advances have been made in recent years towards a better understanding of the concept, a gap exists in the understanding of responsible leadership in emerging countries, specifically how leaders resolve prevalent moral dilemmas." Understanding responsible leadership in emerging economies, where environmental stability, short-term business viability and profit margins must continually be traded off against pressing social needs in a complex stakeholder environment, is essential. For responsible leadership to be globally relevant, we need insights that will guide leaders in emerging economies to shape a better and more sustainable future for all.
In response to the shortage of research that examines the understanding of responsible leadership in emerging economies, the South African Journal of Business Management is launching a special collection on responsible leadership in emerging economies, especially in Africa.
Please note the following list of suggested topics is not exhaustive – authors are welcome to consult the Guest Editors to check if their submission fits the aims of the special issue. Although all submissions regarding responsible leadership in emerging economies are encouraged, we are especially interested in submissions that relate to Africa. Suggested topics include:
Deadline for submission: 31 October 2023
Expected Publication Date: May 2024
More information about the SAJBM can be found here: Journal accreditation
To submit your article to the special collection, go to https://sajbm.org. When you submit the article, select "Original Research – Special Collection: Responsible leadership in emerging economies, especially in Africa" as the article type. Click here for more details on the submission procedure and please consult the journal's guidelines for the manuscript guidelines. All submissions will undergo anonymous review to guarantee high scientific quality and relevance to the subject. The final decision regarding acceptance/revision/rejection will be based on the reviews received from the reviewers and at the sole discretion of the Guest Editor and/or Editor-in-Chief.
De Klerk, J. J. & Jooste, M. (Unpublished, 2020). The meaning of responsible leadership and its place in the leadership discourse: A synthesizing systematic review. Masters research, University of Stellenbosch Business School.
De Klerk, J. J., & Nkomo, Z. (Unpublised, 2020). Understanding the definition and characteristics of responsible leadership of executives and union leaders in emerging markets. Masters research, University of Stellenbosch Business School.
De Klerk, J.J. & Swart, H. B. (2023). Responsible leadership dilemmas in emerging economies – it is complex. Emerald Open Research. Available at https://emeraldopenresearch.com/articles/5-4/v1.
De Klerk, M., Smith, M., & Bam, A. (2022). A responsible leadership blind spot – where are the emerging economies? Global Focus - The EFMD Business Magazine. https://www.globalfocusmagazine.com/a-responsible-leadership-blind-spot-where-are-the-emerging-economies/
Horwitz, F. (2017). International HRM in South African multinational companies. Journal of International Management, 23(2), 208–222. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intman.2017.01.005
Maier, R. M., Díaz-Barriga, F., Field, J. A., Hopkins, J., Klein, B., & Poulton, M. M. (2014). Socially responsible mining: The relationship between mining and poverty, human health and the environment. Reviews on Environmental Health, 29(1–2), 83–89. https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2014-0022
Paull, D., Banks, G., Ballard, C., & Gillieson, D. (2006). Monitoring the environmental impact of mining in remote locations through remotely sensed data. Geocarto International, 21(1), 33–42. https://doi.org/10.1080/10106040608542372
Pless, N. M., Sengupta, A., Wheeler, M. A., & Maak, T. (2021). Responsible leadership and the reflective CEO: Resolving stakeholder conflict by imagining what could be done. Journal of Business Ethics, Online, 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04865-6
------------------------------Mias de Klerk (PhD)Stellenbosch Business SchoolEditor-in-Chief: South African Journal of Business Management------------------------------