Conceptualising sustainable leadership

Article English OPEN
Gerard, Laura. ; McMillan, Janice. ; D'Annunzio-Green, Norma. ; D’Annunzio-Green, Norma. (2017)
  • Publisher: Emerald
  • Subject: Sustainable leadership, sustainability, | 658 General management | HD28 Management. Industrial Management | Management | Sustainable Communities

Literature encompassing Sustainable Leadership and developing leaders sustainably are still in infancy (Lambert, 2011). Nevertheless indications identify leadership as a vital cog in achieving sustainable organisations. Sustainable leadership can allow a fast, resilient response which is competitive and appealing to all stakeholders (Avery and Bergsteiner, 2011). Arguably, organisations’ need to stop considering leadership as a control function (Casserley and Critchley, 2010; Crews, 2010) and instead focus on dialogue and mutual-interdependency between leaders and their followers (Barrand Dowding, 2012). This paper aims to explore and analyse the concept of sustainable leadership to present a conceptual framework surrounding sustainable leadership. Design/methodology/approachThis conceptual paper will review the existing frameworks of sustainable leadership and present a conceptualisation of the frameworks. This conceptualisation synthesises frameworks and literature surrounding the concept of sustainable leadership which involves work from seminal authors Casserley and Critchley (2010),Avery and Bergsteiner (2011), Hargreaves and Fink (2006), Davies (2009) and Lambert (2011). Seminal themes from the synthesised frameworks are presented to explore and unify the conceptualisation of sustainable leadership.FindingsWithin leadership literature, stakeholder approaches (Groves and LaRocca, 2011; Avery and Bergsteiner, 2011a); discourses underlining the importance of relationship between leaders and followers (Barr and Dowding, 2012); and discussions about theneed to develop reflexive and participative leadership models (Kopp and Martinuzzi, 2013) have become prominent. Sustainable leadership embraces all of these new components. The concept advocates organisations should shift emphasis from a traditional singular focus on finances, to a view that organisations are contributors to wider environmental and social influences (Crews, 2010; Avery and Bergsteiner, 2011a).Originality/valueThis paper explores the theoretical frameworks which surround sustainable leadership and will synthesise and present commonly referenced facets of the concept within the internal and external factors influencing sustainable leadership framework.
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