The chapter aims at critically analyzing current conceptual and empirical papers on sustainability leadership, considering both private and public sector organizations, and at drawing some implications for further research based on the identified common patterns. The study is based on a systematic literature review. Papers were classified based on three criteria: the theoretical conceptualization of leadership used in each paper (distinguishing from individual leadership perspective, organizational leadership perspective, distributed/collaborative leadership, and mixed approach); the subject or organizational entity to which leadership was referenced; the research methodology used. Most of the studies have investigated the perceptions of leaders and other actors involved in sustainability, with reference to the role of managers/administrators covering formal positions within the organization/projects for sustainable development (SD). Moreover, when organizational perspective of leadership is adopted, top management is clearly the one who has to apply these sustainability leadership practices. Few studies addressed distributed and collaborative leadership approaches in community SD projects. While the majority of papers highlighted the role of managers/administrators covering formal positions as relevant for the promotion of the sustainability effort, the role of sustainability champions other than these figures was left unexplored. The study represents the first attempt to frame sustainability leadership from a conceptual and practical point of view. Research is needed to test models of distributed leadership in community sustainable development projects based on a multi-stakeholders participatory approach, to identify the role of sustainability champions as leaders. Action research has the potential to foster society’s transition towards SD: to this trail, researchers can promote a process-oriented approach focusing on the application of sustainability leadership to concrete problems.

Sustainability leadership in private and public organizations: opening the black box

Cavicchi C.
Co-primo
;
Vagnoni E.
Co-primo
2018

Abstract

The chapter aims at critically analyzing current conceptual and empirical papers on sustainability leadership, considering both private and public sector organizations, and at drawing some implications for further research based on the identified common patterns. The study is based on a systematic literature review. Papers were classified based on three criteria: the theoretical conceptualization of leadership used in each paper (distinguishing from individual leadership perspective, organizational leadership perspective, distributed/collaborative leadership, and mixed approach); the subject or organizational entity to which leadership was referenced; the research methodology used. Most of the studies have investigated the perceptions of leaders and other actors involved in sustainability, with reference to the role of managers/administrators covering formal positions within the organization/projects for sustainable development (SD). Moreover, when organizational perspective of leadership is adopted, top management is clearly the one who has to apply these sustainability leadership practices. Few studies addressed distributed and collaborative leadership approaches in community SD projects. While the majority of papers highlighted the role of managers/administrators covering formal positions as relevant for the promotion of the sustainability effort, the role of sustainability champions other than these figures was left unexplored. The study represents the first attempt to frame sustainability leadership from a conceptual and practical point of view. Research is needed to test models of distributed leadership in community sustainable development projects based on a multi-stakeholders participatory approach, to identify the role of sustainability champions as leaders. Action research has the potential to foster society’s transition towards SD: to this trail, researchers can promote a process-oriented approach focusing on the application of sustainability leadership to concrete problems.
978-88-15-28057-2
Sustainability leadership, sustainability champions, distributed leadership, stakeholders
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2385511
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