Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business
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Handbook on Responsible Leadership and Governance in Global Business

Edited by Jonathan P. Doh and Stephen A. Stumpf

Ethics, social responsibility, leadership, governance. These terms are heard in the classroom, in the boardroom, and viewed on the front page of newspapers and magazines. Yet serious attention to the relationships among these concepts is lacking. Although commitments to leadership, ethics, and social responsibility are evident, individuals and companies are falling short in combining these duties into policies and cultures that guide behavior and decisions. The missing element is a broad-based and integrated approach to responsible leadership and governance. This volume provides the leading thinking on these issues and includes a discussion of emerging areas that require future attention.
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Chapter 12: Is There Free Will in Business? Leadership and Social Impact Management

Mary C. Gentile


Mary C. Gentile Introduction When I first went to work at a business school – well, not just any business school actually but the Harvard Business School in the mid-1980s – I experienced culture shock. This was a time when even the student newspapers at business schools crowed that students would attempt a hostile takeover of their grandmothers if they could make a profit at it. I was fresh out of graduate school with a doctorate in the Humanities and nothing had prepared me for this new world. I was excited by the energy, the clarity of intention and the sheer logic of the place. It seemed the opposite of everything I had known. I would joke with my friends that, when my fellow doctoral students in literature and film used to ask ‘how are you?’, I would be considered suspect – either shallow or ignorant – if I had answered without the requisite level of angst, seasoned with knowing despair. At the business school, on the other hand, the accepted response to that greeting was ‘Great, just great!’ delivered in a firm and confident tone with direct eye contact and preferably accompanied by an energetic shake of one’s right arm and closed fist. What looking glass had I stumbled through? Business school and the corporate offices of senior executives I was privileged to frequent as a result of my then job as researcher, case writer and eventually faculty member at such a school were halls of purposefulness and...

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