Organizational performance with a broader focus: the case for a stakeholder approach to leadership

G. James Lemoine, Nathan Eva, Jeremy D. Meuser, Patricia Falotico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 2019, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and the other 179 CEO members of the Business Roundtable argued that the purpose of a corporation must reflect not only the fiduciary interests of owners but also the varied interests of all stakeholders: employees, customers, partners, and broader society. This idea challenges a decades-old norm of shareholder primacy, so it is reasonable for organizational leaders to wonder whether doing so is truly in their firms’ best interests, and if so, how to implement this approach to leadership. To answer these questions, we draw on over 200 peer-reviewed articles covering leadership research to demonstrate how servant leadership, a stakeholder-focused approach to management, outperforms other leadership approaches across both shareholder and stakeholder criteria. We leverage case studies of organizational leaders from SAS, Zappos, Starbucks, and Jason's Deli, financially successful organizations that exemplify how managers provide value and sustainability to stakeholders and shareholders through servant leadership. We also include practical steps managers can take to begin putting this form of leadership into practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-413
Number of pages13
JournalBusiness Horizons
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Organizational performance
  • Servant leadership
  • Leadership role
  • Organizational Ethics
  • Stakeholders

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