Edited by Jonathan P. Doh and Stephen A. Stumpf
Kim Cameron and Arran Caza Introduction The idea of responsible leadership is not new, and the literature on effective leadership has always been characterized by an element of responsibility (Burns, 1978; Yukl et al., 2002). Responsibility most often has been synonymous with accountability (as in being accountable for performance) or with freedom of action indicating that responsible individuals have discretion or volition (as in having responsibility at work). These two connotations of responsibility are closely related, as people are more likely to be accountable if they are able to act freely (Brown, 1986; Salancik and Meindl, 1984). In these two senses, responsibility means ‘response-able’, or possessing the capability and the accountability needed to respond. A third connotation of the concept of responsible leadership is less frequently used but equally meaningful. It refers to the ability or inclination to act in an appropriate fashion. Appropriateness is key to this connotation in that it associates responsible action with what is right, correct, or beneﬁcial. Behaving responsibly means doing good (Walsh et al., 2003). This latter usage of responsibility places the concept in the domain of a newly emerging ﬁeld of study called Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS). This focuses on the investigation of what goes right in organizations (rather than what goes wrong), what is life-giving (rather than life-depleting), what is experienced as good (rather than bad), what is inspiring (rather than depressing) and what brings elevation to individuals and systems (rather than diminishing). Responsibility used in the ﬁrst two ways is...
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