Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 155–169

The Roles of Leadership Styles in Corporate Social Responsibility


  • Shuili Du
    • Simmons School of Management
  • Valérie Swaen
    • Louvain School of ManagementUniversité Catholique de Louvain
    • IESEG School of Management
    • Department of Marketing, Cardiff Business SchoolUniversity of Cardiff
  • Sankar Sen
    • Department of Marketing & International Business, Zicklin School of BusinessBaruch College/City University of New York

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1333-3

Cite this article as:
Du, S., Swaen, V., Lindgreen, A. et al. J Bus Ethics (2013) 114: 155. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1333-3


This research investigates the interplay between leadership styles and institutional corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. A large-scale field survey of managers reveals that firms with greater transformational leadership are more likely to engage in institutional CSR practices, whereas transactional leadership is not associated with such practices. Furthermore, stakeholder-oriented marketing reinforces the positive link between transformational leadership and institutional CSR practices. Finally, transactional leadership enhances, whereas transformational leadership diminishes, the positive relationship between institutional CSR practices and organizational outcomes. This research highlights the differential roles that transformational and transactional leadership styles play for a firm’s institutional CSR practices and has significant implications for theory and practice.


Corporate social responsibilityTransformational leadershipTransactional leadershipStakeholder-oriented marketingOrganizational outcomes

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012