Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 155-169

First online:

The Roles of Leadership Styles in Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Shuili DuAffiliated withSimmons School of Management
  • , Valérie SwaenAffiliated withLouvain School of Management, Université Catholique de LouvainIESEG School of Management
  • , Adam LindgreenAffiliated withDepartment of Marketing, Cardiff Business School, University of Cardiff Email author 
  • , Sankar SenAffiliated withDepartment of Marketing & International Business, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College/City University of New York

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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 responsibility Transformational leadership Transactional leadership Stakeholder-oriented marketing Organizational outcomes