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Call for Abstract Submission (by 30 Nov 21) for Responsible Leadership Conference in Stellenbosch (March 2022)

  • 1.  Call for Abstract Submission (by 30 Nov 21) for Responsible Leadership Conference in Stellenbosch (March 2022)

    Posted 11-27-2021 23:16

    Dear Colleagues, with apologies for cross-posting, I like to send a friendly reminder to everyone that abstracts for Responsible Leadership Reimagined are due at the end of this month (30 November 2021, submit to RLRConference@usb.ac.za). 



    STELLENBOSCH (16-18 March 22) 

    Abstract submission: 30 November 2021 

    We look back on 16 years of research on responsible leadership and South Africa has played an important role in driving the topic with the first International Conference on Responsible Leadership being held in 2010 at the University of Pretoria. Nine years later, the Academy of Management held a specialised conference on Responsible Leadership in Bled, Slovenia.  

    Responsible leadership research has soared over the past 10 years and entered corporate boardrooms (see Pless & Wuffli 2021, Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative CEO interview). This is due not only to recurring corporate scandals, the aggravation of global warming and the COVID-19 pandemic but also to business leaders' growing awareness and recognition of their coresponsibility in resolving societal issues. However, responsible leadership is not the same in the mind of all (Waldman & Galvin, 2008) and is viewed differently depending on individual approach, industry mindset, ownership structure, and country culture and history (Maak et al., 2016). 

    In particular, further collaboration, imagination and development are needed to specify responsible leadership for the African context, to make sense of the concept and to cocreate meaning with stakeholders and leaders from different sectors to shape a better and more sustainable future. 

    The 2022 international conference will again be hosted in Africa by Stellenbosch University and will be set in the serene surroundings of Lanzerac Wine Estate (Stellenbosch). The conference takes place 16-18 March and is a uniquely African collaboration between the USB Centre for Responsible Leadership Studies, the Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership (University of Cape Town), the Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute (University of Pretoria) and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative. 


    Please send paper and practitioner presentation submissions to RLRConference@usb.ac.za. 

    The following deadlines apply: 

    Scholarly paper abstract submissions: 30 November 2021. 

    Practitioner presentation submissions: 30 November 2021. 

    Notification of review results of abstract/presentation submissions: 15 December 2021. 

    Final paper submissions: 31 January 2022. 


    Conference dates: 16-18 March 2022 

    Conference location: Lanzerac Wine Estate, Stellenbosch 

    RLR is hosted by the Centre for Responsible Leadership Studies (University of Stellenbosch Business School), in collaboration with the Allan Gray Centre for Values-based Leadership (University of Cape Town), the Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute (University of Pretoria) and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative. 

    Full call for papers here: https://www.usb.ac.za/usb_events/responsible-leadership-reimagined-conference/ 



    The conference seeks to address these questions and to encourage further research and academic-practitioner dialogue to advance the discussion on responsible leadership in Africa. 

    The aim is to move towards a common understanding of what responsible leadership is and what it can achieve on the African continent. We seek contributions that theoretically and empirically assess responsible leadership and its relation to individual ethical decision making, best responsible business practice (in for-profit, nonprofit, hybrid and international organisations and in government), stakeholder engagement, community partnerships and cross-sector collaboration. 

    We will address aspects connected to responsible leadership at the individual level (e.g. leader decision making), the group level (e.g. the role of shared leadership in corporate responsibility), the relational level (e.g. leader-stakeholder interaction), the organisational level (e.g. responsible leader behaviour and ethical climate) and the societal level (e.g. the impact of responsible leadership on triple-bottom-line performance, social value creation and the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]). 


    We encourage contributions that address (but are not restricted to) the following topics: 

    Conceptual and theoretical issues 

    How do we make sense of the concept of responsible leadership globally as well as in the African context? 

    What is important now? What are the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the responsible leadership discourse? What are the emerging topics relevant for responsible leadership in Africa? What is the vision for the future? 

    What does responsible leadership mean in different professional contexts (e.g. government, nongovernmental organisations, small and medium-sized companies, family businesses and multinational corporations), country contexts (developing countries, emerging countries and developed countries) and cultural contexts? 

    What is the link between responsible leadership and the SDGs? 

    What are best practice examples of responsible leadership, also in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

    What are the best approaches for our continent to approach the SDGs through responsible leadership? 

    What are the boundary conditions and contingency factors for responsible leadership? 

    Building on and following up on a research stream on Responsible Leadership at the European Group for Organizational Studies conference in 2015 (convened by Pless, Stahl and Voegtlin with Maak and Sully de Luque), we would also like to encourage continued empirical research in the following areas: 

    Empirical research 

    How can responsible leadership be modelled and measured at multiple levels of analysis? 

    What is the role of individual leaders in the formulation of corporate social responsibility and sustainability strategies, the creation of ethical norms and their gradual integration into the company? 

    How do responsible leaders cope with conflict of interests among stakeholders and reconcile dilemmas? 

    What is the relative importance of individual, organisational and societal influences on responsible leadership, and how do these factors combine and interact to influence leader behaviour and ethical choices? 

    What is the role of responsible followership in the processes of responsible leadership and in jointly achieving objectives? 

    What is the relationship between responsible leadership and social innovation? 

    How do responsible leaders and followers interact and work in cross-sector partnerships? 

    How do they build positive cultures, responsible businesses and supporting systems and processes? 

    Little attention has been given to cross-national variations in leaders' responsibility orientations. How does the wider cultural and institutional context within which global corporations and their leaders operate affect the nature and enactment of responsible leadership? 

    Practical implications 

    Finally, the overarching goal of our conference is to develop recommendations on how organisations can effectively prevent managerial misconduct and promote responsible leadership. What approaches, practices or tools can be utilised to minimise the risk of irresponsible leader behaviour, and what approaches can be utilised to foster the emergence of responsible leadership? Other questions that could be explored are the following: 

    How do responsible leaders engage with stakeholders inside and outside the organisation and the broader social ecosystem? 

    How can responsible leadership contribute to the humanisation of the workplace (dignity, fairness and equality)? 

    How do responsible leaders safeguard trust and positive impact to foster an inclusive environment where diverse individuals have a voice and feel heard? 

    How do responsible leaders go beyond profit to create a sustainable future with shared benefits for business and society by pursuing profitable growth in tandem with positive and equitable social and environmental impact? 

    How can organisations develop and nurture responsible leaders internally (e.g. through service-learning programmes)? 

    What are leaders in business, government and society already doing in regard to the SDGs, and where do we see a void? 

    What does responsible leadership mean in the digital age and in managing big data and artificial intelligence? 

    What is the role of academia in building bridges? What are the best and most inspiring approaches to develop the current and future generation of responsible leaders? What is the role of universities and business schools? 

    How can we establish a dialogue between sectors, cocreate best practices and shape pathways and actions towards responsible leadership? 



    • Maak, T., Pless, N. M., and Voegtlin, C. (2016). Business statesman or shareholder advocate? CEO responsible leadership styles and the micro-foundations of political CSR. Journal of Management Studies, 53(3), 463–493. 

    • Pless, N. M. and Wuffli, P. (2021). GRLI responsible leadership dialogues: Dr Peter Wuffli and Prof Dr Nicola Pless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTjnjYEZTEY 

    • Waldman, D. A. and Galvin, B. M. (2008). Alternative perspectives of responsible leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 37, 327–341. 



    Nicola M. Pless 

    Professor of Management, and Chair of Positive Business 

    University of South Australia Business 

    Guardian of the GRLI Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative