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Henry Mintzberg and Oliver Laasch

This chapter’s title “Mintzberg on (ir)responsible management”, is a play on words eluding to Henry’s seminal publication “Mintzberg on management”. Its purpose is to make Henry’s perspective on responsible management accessible, both for managerial practice and future research. We tie together the pearls of Henry’s wisdom on the string that is the extant responsible management literature: On the impossibility of ignoring social consequences; On rebalancing society through management; On irresponsibility in and outside the letter of the law; On responsible management puzzles; On responsibility to the ones closest to us; On the responsible action plane; On face-to-face responsibility; On judging managers by their (ir)responsibilities. Henry’s thought on responsible management is expressed in a manner that is frank and candid, controversial and political. It includes practical illustrations of (ir)responsible management practices in varieties of settings and cases, from tourist-trap restaurants in Paris, Uber, and Cambridge Analytica, to (ir)responsible leaders and managers like General Electric’s Jeffrey R. Immelt, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Donald Trump, and Robert McNamara. Brief commentaries connect Henry’s ideas with the extant responsible management literature, and pinpoint salient implications, and future research directions.

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Archie B. Carroll and Oliver Laasch

Archie Carroll is arguably one of the most iconic pioneers of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) discussion. Here, Archie connects CSR’s organizational level conceptualization back to its roots in the individual-level study of managerial responsibility. He explains how the discussion of responsibility had moved from the discussion of individual managerial responsibility, to organizational responsibility in the form of CSR, and is now moving back to the individual level discussion of responsible management. This most recent move implies a shift from an organizational-level discussion of CSR to an individual-level discussion of responsible management. Archie then defends the business case for responsibility as equally important on the individual level, while admitting that also paradoxes and tensions play a vital role in responsible management. Archie furthermore stresses the Value-Balance-Accountability (VBA) framework as a core conceptualization that connects responsible management to the larger business and society field. He illustrates how VBA can be translated from its typical application on the organizational level, to an individual-level analysis of responsible management research. We discuss the shift from CSR to responsible management, as a necessary oscillation of the study of responsibility between individual level, which accounts for the intimate entanglement of the manager and her corporation: From managerial responsibility to CSR and back to responsible management.

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Roy Suddaby and Oliver Laasch

We recognize the over-rationalized nature of contemporary management theory and practice as one of the main roots of irresponsible management. Responsible managers, therefore, first and foremost have to internalize that managerial myths of rationality are not above and beyond human agency. This insight may empower responsible managers to engage in the institutional work of re-enchanting the economic world. Crucial tasks of such institutional work include both the creation of a responsible management profession and a change of the corporation’s institutional character. Both institutionalization projects hinge on realizing managers’ and corporations’ entangled positive roles in the service of society. We discuss craft modes of production as an alternative to the rationalized bigger-is-better management paradigm. We stress the need for similar responsible management innovations that break with current paradigms of an over-rationalized economic world. Craft modes of management exemplify the potential of ‘retrovation’, novelty through the revival of managerial practices from a less-rationalized economic past.

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Nancy J. Adler and Oliver Laasch

Nancy Adler is one of the most influential scholars in cross-cultural management and leadership. The exchange documented in this chapter showcases the value of Nancy’s contributions to responsible management and leadership. The chapter starts with discussing the relationship between responsible leadership and responsible management, and then moves on to explore key concerns in both fields. Themes addressed include the importance of being able to walk away from a job that requires irresponsibility; the distinction between responsibility, irresponsibility, and ‘aresponsibility’; a comparative perspective on (ir)responsibility; the role of women leaders and diversity; and the importance of beauty in responsible leadership and management. A commentary follows each of Nancy’s responses that creates a connection to the extant responsible management discussion while highlighting related opportunities for future research.

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R. Edward Freeman and Oliver Laasch

Edward (Ed) Freeman, often called the father of stakeholder theory, is arguably one of the most influential and prolific thinkers in business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Here, he translates key ideas from his work to the context of responsible management. Ed discusses how responsible management might help to overcome the ‘management sucks’ narrative by reinventing management. First, bringing management and responsibility together in responsible management may help to overcome the management-responsibility separation. Second, to create managerial freedom enabled by a mesh of stakeholder relations helps to overcome the manager-against-them separation. Third, rethinking the role of money from being the purpose of management, to being an enabler for realizing responsible management’s social purpose, reduces the managerial stigma of being a soulless mercenary. Finally, we discuss how these three shifts towards responsible management have the potential to transform the dominant narrative from ‘management sucks’ to ‘responsible management rocks’.

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Nevena Radoynovska, William Ocasio and Oliver Laasch

The chapter outlines the relevance of an institutional logics, pluralism, and leadership perspective on responsible management. The responsibility of corporate managers has been interpreted, to a large extent and for a long time, as giving primacy to the financial interests of shareholders. Yet, the growing emphasis on responsible management invites a redefinition of the fundamental role of leaders and managers in bringing about and sustaining responsible management. To the extent that responsible management (RM) implies attending to the demands of diverse stakeholders with multiple and potentially competing interests (e.g. shareholders, managers, employees, communities, the environment, etc.), we can think of the latter as fundamentally connected to the practices, values, and assumptions that guide and constrain their behavior – that is, institutional logics. The co-existence of multiple logics within RM – including those of the market, corporation, professions, and the community, along with a transversal focus on sustainability – suggests that organizations that strive to manage responsibly operate in environments of institutional pluralism. By considering the implications of an emerging logic of responsible management, an institutional pluralism perspective can facilitate a rethinking of the role of managers in society. We argue that corporations play a key role in achieving RM, and that leaders and managers within such corporations are essential figures in managing responsibly for economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development. In fact, managers must be true institutional leaders along technical, political, and cultural dimensions. A pluralistic perspective on RM also requires rethinking the role of managers and leaders as pertains to core elements of organizational strategy (business models, governance, and non-market strategy).

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Edited by Oliver Laasch, Roy Suddaby, R. E. Freeman and Dima Jamali

Outlining origins of the field and latest research trends, this Research Handbook offers a unique and cutting-edge take on the numerous avenues to responsible management in the 21st century. Renowned contributors present iconic viewpoints that have formed the foundation of responsible management research, introducing cutting-edge conceptual lenses for the study of the responsible management process.
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Oliver Laasch, Roy Suddaby, R. Edward Freeman and Dima Jamali

Since responsible management originally appeared on the agenda of management researchers in the early twentieth century, the research field of responsible management has gone through an extended period of labor. It has not been, however, until the early twenty-first century, with the establishment of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management, that responsible management had begun to form as a coherent field of academic interest. Most recently, the initial educational interest in responsible management has given birth to a swiftly developing field of research. This publication is aimed at mapping this emerging field of responsible management research. The map is composed of the disciplinary domains of ethics, responsibility, and sustainability plus cognates (ERS+); spheres of responsible management with the manager at the center, extending outwards to managerial job, group, organization, occupation, on to planetary society; and three core themes centered on managing responsibly: Learning, change, innovation; praxis, practices, process(es); and alternative management frameworks. We are suggesting three salient future research directions, mundanely responsible management; normalization of responsible management; and performative agency of management academics.

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Archie B. Carroll, Nancy J. Adler, Henry Mintzberg, François Cooren, Roy Suddaby, R. Edward Freeman and Oliver Laasch

What is responsible management? The responsible management field so far has been looking for a convergent one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Conversely, we choose to ask the grammatically incorrect, but generatively paradoxical question of “What are responsible management?” In response, this chapter features a rich potluck of six academic pioneers’ distinct conceptualizations of responsible management: Responsible management as responsibility management (Archie B. Carroll); as responsible leadership (Nancy J. Adler); as rebalancing society through management (Henry Mintzberg); as response-able situation management (François Cooren); as human(e) management and institutional character (Roy Suddaby); and as stakeholder harmonization (R. Edward Freeman). Each conceptualization is followed by a brief stylized interpretation of each pioneer’s perspective that links it to the extant responsible management literature. Finally, these responsible management conceptualizations are juxtaposed along the four categories of managerial agency, responsibility managed, sphere of responsibility, and management process. This juxtaposition serves to highlight each perspective’s distinctive features, and all perspectives’ joint contribution to a multifaceted understanding that can guide future study of responsible management.