Leadership for Sustainable Futures

Leadership for Sustainable Futures

Achieving Success in a Competitive World

Gayle C. Avery

Many managers in the English-speaking world are seeking an alternative to the prevailing business model which promotes a short-term, shareholder-value approach. In this accessible and highly topical book, Gayle Avery argues that this Anglo/US approach to capitalism and business is seriously flawed and does not bring the quality of life to individuals and societies that many people seek. But what is the alternative and do business leaders have a different choice?

Chapter 3: Management and Decision Making

Gayle C. Avery

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


In this chapter, six elements in the Sustainable Leadership Grid that relate to management and decision making are introduced. Each section starts with a quotation from a prominent US management thinker. The elements are CEO concept, decision making, ethical behavior, taking a long-term perspective, considering a range of stakeholders and valuing a culture of teamwork. CEO CONCEPT The CEO can’t be the lonely man at the top. We need a group of people whom we can trust. (Warren Bennis159) The Anglo/US and Rhineland models differ greatly in the way in which the role of the top executive(s) is viewed and in the management style expected of such a leader. Even within Europe, expectations differ. UK managers prefer a style quite different from that found on the Continent, but one that is also practiced in the USA (see Box 3.1). From an Anglo/US perspective, leadership often involves a prominent individual who leads from the front, such as Richard Branson at Virgin. This person is typically held accountable for the success of the enterprise. The traditional Rhineland approach is to play down the top person and appoint ‘speakers’ of the top team instead. The Rhineland model thus de-emphasizes the role of one top person, focusing more on a top team forming the management board. This is reinforced by the 2003 German Corporate Governance Code, which specifies that management board members are jointly accountable for the management of the enterprise. Leadership under the two models would operate on different paradigms. According...

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