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*Call for Papers*

Special Issue on ‘*Responsible Leadership in China and Beyond: **A
Responsible Research Approach’*

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2021

Guest Editors

Xu Huang,1 Xiao-Ping Chen,2 Michael Hitt,3 Runtian Jing,4 Arie Y. Lewin,5
Johann Peter Murmann,6 Anne S. Tsui,7 Lori Yue,8 and Jianjun Zhang9

*1**Hong Kong Baptist University, China*, 2*University of Washington,
USA*, *3Texas
A&M University, USA*, 4*Shanghai Jia Tong University, China*, 5*Duke
University, USA*, 6*University of St. Gallen*, *Switzerland*, 7*University
of Notre Dame, USA*, 8*University of Southern California, USA*, and 9*Peking
University, China*

*Special Issue Background*

Larry Fink, the CEO of Blackrock whose firm manages nearly $7 trillion of
assets has argued, in an open letter to CEOs, that business leaders may be
compelled by their consumers, and by society in general, to behave
differently. Fundamental economic changes and government failure to provide
new solutions are increasingly directing attention to companies, both
public and private, for profit and non-profit, to address pressing social
and economic issues (Fink, 2019).[1]

The New Enlightenment Conference (Edinburgh,  July 1–2, 2019) on
re-inventing capitalism issued the First Declaration of Panmure House,
which urged international leaders to base their policies and
decision-making on a set of common principles, as espoused and formulated
by Adam Smith, which cherish the required values of an ethically-based
liberal democratic system, a moral commitment to the well-being of our
communities, and affirm responsibility to protect economic, political, and
social freedoms, use resources wisely, avoid unintentional consequences,
follow the rule of law, favour markets and prices as guides to resource
allocation, and take a long-term view of private and public investments, to
support inclusive economic growth and prosperity for all.

It is not altogether clear how The Panmure House declaration or Fink’s
strong words will translate into redefining corporate performance beyond
financial returns. But such important statements of intent highlight the
growing awareness among leaders of major corporations that something must
be done differently to realign business with the rapidly changing global
economic context. This new realization is evident in the redefinition of
‘Corporate Purpose’ by the Business Roundtable (members are CEOs of leading
US companies) on April 19, 2019.[2] The signatories of this statement, 181
CEOs, ‘commit to lead their companies for the benefit of all
stakeholders—customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and
shareholders’. This declaration directs attention to an expanded set of
stakeholders of the firm and offers insight into the idea of responsible
leadership, a term used more and more often in the communities of both
research and practice.

In China, the state council has issued in 2007, ‘Guiding Opinions about
Central SOEs’ Fulfillment of Social Responsibilities’, urging all SOEs
(State-Owned Enterprises) controlled by the central government to adopt
corporate governance practices to fulfill their CSR and to issue CSR
reports. In 2018, the media representative of the State Asset Management
Committee restated that fulfilling social responsibilities is the ‘born
attribute’ of SOEs

Many leaders of Privately-Owned Enterprises (POEs) also believe in making
contributions to society, beyond benefiting shareholders. For example, POEs
have contributed the majority of charitable donations in China. The Li and
Liang (2015) study on Chinese leaders’ prosocial motivation provides
systematic evidence on their desires to serve the greater good. Majority
owners of POEs often emphasize their orientation towards serving employees,
customers, and the broader community (see examples of such CEOs in Tsui,
Zhang, & Chen, 2017). Jack Ma from Alibaba, for instance, is known for his
philosophy of serving ‘customers first, employees second, and shareholders

However, why are some enterprise leaders of SOEs or POEs more attentive
than others to the interests of their stakeholders, even though they all
face the same expectations from government and from society to behave
responsibly? As China enters its next stage of global development,
manifestations of understanding the meaning of responsible leadership and
different approaches leaders use to lead responsibly is an important
research agenda for the development of the next generation of leaders, both
in China and beyond.

This special issue of *Management and Organization Review* seeks research
that identifies various forms of responsible leadership, including theory
development, qualitative studies, as well as hypotheses testing using
quantitative, qualitative, or experimental methods. The former may include
well-grounded cases of responsible leadership that describe corporate or
governmental experiments (on addressing pressing social and economic
issues). The latter may be the testing of hypotheses on responsible actions
by leaders at different levels in the organization. Our goal is to discover
Responsible Leadership at any level of the firm that addresses pressing
social and economic issues. This special issue aims to contribute to both
theory development and the practice of responsible leadership at different
levels and in different contexts, especially in China.

*A Responsible Research Approach to Studying Responsible Leadership*

Leadership research has a long tradition, but the literature on
‘responsible leadership’ is fairly recent and is mostly conceptual or
normative, with some case studies, focusing on the leader’s role in
corporate social responsibility (e.g., Waldman & Balven, 2014), or on
addressing stakeholder needs beyond shareholder returns (e.g., Maak &
Pless, 2006). There is a wide-open opportunity for systematic empirical
studies on responsible leaders using actual experiments or taking real
actions addressing specific social consequences beyond high level
declarations and redefinitions of corporate purpose. We treat ‘responsible
leadership’ as an umbrella term that covers various leadership approaches,
which address legitimate concerns and needs of relevant stakeholders at
multiple levels and in different domains, e.g., individual, group,
organization, sociocultural, environmental, and so forth. We hope the
empirical projects to be reported in this special issue will help both the
academic field and corporate practice by clarifying the definition and
scope of responsible leadership from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

This special issue on responsible leadership departs from traditional
leadership studies in its focus on leadership practices (e.g., policies,
actions, or actual experiments) that aim to address specific issues and
deliver specific value to the different stakeholders of the firm or of
government agencies. Hence, we de-emphasize leadership style studies and
give priority to broader actions and practices of leaders.

Responsible leadership research is also reflected in a movement calling for
business research to focus on both rigor and relevance. The former refers
to researchers’ responsibility to science in producing reliable and
replicable findings, while the latter refers to their responsibility to
society by developing actionable knowledge that can contribute to business,
organization, and management practices for a better world. We encourage
research proposals and papers that follow or exemplify the seven principles
of responsible research (cRRBM, 2017; Tsui, 2019).

*Core Research Question and Extensions*

The core question to be explored in this special issue is ‘How and why do
Chinese organizational leaders and their firms conceive and implement
socially or societally oriented policies and practices that address the
range of distributive justice issues’? Distributive justice issues include
balancing attention to different external stakeholders (such as employees,
customers, suppliers, and community) beyond owners or shareholders. But
also the role of government to address distributive justice issues such as
migrants, income, and wealth inequalities.

Possible extensions of the core research question include but are not
limited to the following:

   - Why are some Chinese leaders and their firms more societally oriented,
   i.e., they give balanced attention to different external stakeholders (such
   as customers, suppliers, community, and not only shareholders) than other
   - How is such societally oriented responsible leadership manifested at
   the lower, middle, and strategic levels?
   - What might be some cultural, economic, political, or psychological
   reasons explaining the differences in societally oriented responsible
   - Why do some leaders of Chinese firms treat employees with dignity and
   respect their rights to decent compensation, benefits, working conditions,
   well-being, voice in decision making, or a high investment in the
   employment relationship?
   - Does responsible leadership differ across types of enterprises in
   China (e.g., state-owned, privately listed, family owned, non-governmental
   organizations, social enterprises) or different industries (e.g.,
   manufacturing, service, financial, e-commerce, high technology)? How is
   responsible leadership manifested in the different types of firms?
   - How are social innovations created and developed in for-profit or
   non-profit firms? What is the role of responsible leadership in social
   innovation within and between organizations or between levels within an
   - How is responsible leadership of some Chinese MNCs manifested in their
   foreign operations? How does the local context impact the reactions to or
   outcomes of the Chinese MNCs’ socially responsible practices? Does
   societally oriented responsible leadership offer a better or worse
   explanation than other leadership or institutional factors, such as the
   nation, industry, social networks, in understanding the Chinese MNC’s
   reputation and success abroad?
   - How do culture and economic systems shape the definition and practice
   of responsible leadership? What are the similarities and differences in
   responsible leadership practices between Chinese and other economies,
   emerging and developed? What might explain the similarities or differences?

Submissions must be empirical studies and we encourage research designs
involving multidisciplinary lenses, different levels of analyses, creative
methodologies, and replications.

Submission deadline is December 1, 2021. We expect editorial decisions
within 90 days after submission (end of February, 2022) Authors of papers
that have received a revise and resubmit will be invited to an MOR Special
Issue Paper Development Workshop (most likely a virtual workshop). Date and
location to be determined (around March/April 2022).

Following the practices of MOR Paper Development Workshops, each paper
author will receive detailed reviews and editorial guidelines as well as a
specific editorial decision within two months of the Workshop (before the
end of June, 2022). We expect to publish the special issue in December 2022
or early 2023.

We welcome the submission of papers that report longitudinal experiments,
or constructive replications of these projects, or examination of the
consequences of responsible leadership practices, policies, or field
experiments. The tentative deadline for submission of the follow-up
longitudinal studies is January 31, 2023.

Inquiries about this special issue may be directed to any of the guest
editors by emailing [log in to unmask]

*Submission Information*

Please submit full papers by December 1, 2021 via the MOR submission
website by selecting the ‘Responsible Leadership in China and Beyond’
special issue designation:






cRRBM. 2017. Responsible research in business and management: Striving for
useful and credible knowledge. Available from URL:

Li, X. H., & Liang, X. 2015. A Confucian social model of political
appointments among Chinese private-firm entrepreneurs. *Academy of
Management Journal*, 58(2): 592–617.

Maak, T., & Pless, N. M. 2006. Responsible leadership in a stakeholder
society–a relational perspective. *Journal of Business Ethics*, 66(1):

Tsui, A. S. 2019. Guidepost: Responsible research and responsible
leadership studies. *Academy of Management Discoveries**, *in press.

Tsui, A. S., Zhang, Y. Y., & Chen, X. P. 2017. *Leadership of Chinese
private enterprises: Insights and interviews*. London: Palgrave-McMillan.

Waldman, D. A., & Balven, R. M. 2014. Responsible leadership: Theoretical
issues and research directions. *Academy of Management Perspectives*, 28(3):

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