Chat with us, powered by LiveChat This weeks journal articles focus on transformational leadership and knowledge and knowledge sharing within an organization, | EssayAbode

This weeks journal articles focus on transformational leadership and knowledge and knowledge sharing within an organization,

 This week’s journal articles focus on transformational leadership and knowledge and knowledge sharing within an organization, please review these concepts and answer the following questions:

  1. How do trustworthy and ethical leaders enhance knowledge sharing in organizations?  How does this impact the rate of information technology implementations?  How does this impact data management within organizations? 
  2. How does servant leadership assist with transferring knowledge in an organization?
  3. When thinking about data analytics, how does transformational leadership assist with building good data structures?

Be sure to use the UC Library for scholarly research. Google Scholar is also a great source for research.  Please be sure that journal articles are peer-reviewed and are published within the last five years.The paper should meet the following requirements:

  • 3-5 pages in length (not including title page or references)
  • APA guidelines must be followed.  The paper must include a cover page, an introduction, a body with fully developed content, and a conclusion.
  • A minimum of five peer-reviewed journal articles.

Organization & Environment 2020, Vol. 33(2) 155 –174

© The Author(s) 2018 Article reuse guidelines: DOI: 10.1177/1086026618806201


Making It Personal: Developing Sustainability Leaders in Business

Aoife Brophy Haney1 , Jenny Pope2,3,4, and Zoë Arden5

Abstract Sustainability challenges present organizations in many industries with the need to change. Leaders are critical to the process of becoming more sustainable, and yet leading change for sustainability requires new competencies. Learning at an individual level is central to developing new competencies; however, there has been limited focus to date in the literature on corporate sustainability on how leaders can learn to respond to sustainability challenges. In this article, we focus on how managers learn to become sustainability leaders in their organizations by exploring the phenomenon of experiential learning programmes. We do this by interviewing participants and organizers of four programmes about what they learned and how the programmes helped them achieve these learning outcomes. We find that the programmes supported the development of understanding, personal connection, and empowerment to act for sustainability. In particular, making sustainability personal for participants led to deep learning in each of these three areas. We contribute to conversations in the corporate sustainability literature on the potential for individuals within organizations to respond to and connect with sustainability issues in different ways. We also contribute to the literature on education for sustainability and provide practical implications for experiential learning programmes in business and business education.

Keywords corporate sustainability, corporate social responsibility, learning, sustainability leadership, experiential learning


Corporate sustainability confronts business with the challenge of addressing not just commercial but also environmental and social goals (Goleman & Lueneburger, 2010). Leaders are crucial to the process of organizational change that is needed for organizations to become more sustainable

1ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 2Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia 3Integral Sustainability, South Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia 4North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa 5University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Cambridge, UK

Corresponding Author: Aoife Brophy Haney, Group for Sustainability and Technology, ETH Zurich, Weinbergstrasse 56/58, Zurich, 8037, Switzerland. Email: [email protected]

806201OAEXXX10.1177/1086026618806201Organization & EnvironmentHaney et al. research-article2018

156 Organization & Environment 33(2)

(Eccles & Perkins, 2012). But there is increasing acknowledgement that addressing complex sustainability challenges requires the development of new leadership skills and attributes (Barth, Godemann, Rieckmann, & Stoltenberg, 2007; Osagie, Wesselink, Blok, Lans, & Mulder, 2016; Ploum, Blok, Lans, & Omta, 2017; Rieckmann, 2012). Although there has been some recent research on how university programmes can be designed to develop sustainability skills (Hesselbarth & Schaltegger, 2014), there has been less focus on the attainment of skills for sus- tainability in business. In this article, we explore the particular phenomenon of experiential learn- ing programmes (ELPs) designed for sustainability professionals from the business world, to understand how these programmes support managers to become effective sustainability leaders in their organizations.

The interdependence of economic, environmental, and social objectives at the heart of corpo- rate sustainability requires an expansive view of the role of business in society (Bondy, Moon, & Matten, 2012; Gitsham, 2012; Quinn & Dalton, 2009). According to this view, the financial or economic imperative of business is intertwined with the interrelated challenges of

(1) long-term viability of natural systems and the services they provide for human existence; (2) unacceptable social conditions at home and in communities around the world; and (3) the potential for local and global economies to create a modicum of wealth and prosperity for all inhabitants of the earth. (Ferdig, 2007, p. 26)

These challenges have significant implications for leaders charged with setting the strategic direction of their organizations in response (Coleman, 2013). First, combining these different goals is challenging for leaders in business because there are often many tensions involved. For example, just as there are tensions between competing goals (Margolis & Walsh, 2003), there are tensions between the traditional short-term focus of managerial decision making and the long- term focus that firms are increasingly expected to exhibit in order to respond to big societal chal- lenges such as climate change (Slawinski & Bansal, 2012; Hahn, Preuss, Pinkse, & Figge, 2014). Second, sustainability challenges are often categorized as “wicked problems,” that is, they are complex, are ill-defined, and do not have clear solutions (Lans, Blok, & Wesselink, 2014). Hence, management approaches grounded in learning from past experiences to predict and control the future are increasingly found to be inadequate (Ferdig, 2007; Rieckmann, 2012; Sterling, 2011; Wesselink, Blok, van Leur, Lans, & Dentoni, 2015), because knowledge structures based on past experience may be too rigid to allow for innovative alternatives to be recognized (Benner & Tripsas, 2012; Tripsas & Gavetti, 2000). Third, dealing with these challenges requires engage- ment with multiple stakeholders with different views, values, and perceptions not only of the problem (Lans et al., 2014), but also of the desirable goals or objectives (Goleman & Lueneburger, 2010).

In the face of these challenges, it is increasingly recognized that leadership that engages with sustainability and seeks to promote sustainability outcomes through business activities, often referred to as “sustainability leadership” (Visser & Courtice, 2011), is both crucial (Eccles & Perkins, 2012; Gloet, 2006) and different from traditional business leadership (Gitsham, 2012; Martin & Ernst, 2005). The role of the individual business leader in sustainability has received much less focus in the literature than institutional and organizational dimensions (Aguinis & Glavas, 2012). But there is increasing focus on individual managers and a recognition that it is important to understand the challenges they face (Allen, Marshall, & Easterby-Smith, 2015), as well as the potential they represent within their organizations to think and act differently in response to sustainability (Hahn & Aragón-Correa, 2015). Businesses are also clearly recogniz- ing the important role that informed, motivated, and empowered business leaders can play in driving change for sustainability through sponsoring their participation in ELPs. In fact, many organizations are now turning to intensive, field-based training programmes designed to support

Haney et al. 157

sustainability leadership. These programmes, often described as “‘experiential learning pro- grammes” (Baden & Parkes, 2013), are based on bringing participants close to sustainability issues and providing opportunities to engage with a wide range of people with different perspec- tives (Gitsham, 2012). Most research on field-based learning has focused on contexts such as schools and universities or professions such as nursing and teaching (Kolb & Kolb, 2005; Quinn, 2000). Bringing business leaders into the field to develop sustainability leadership has only recently started to receive attention. There has been little research to date that has sought to understand how and to what extent ELPs support managers in developing the competencies needed for sustainability leadership (Gitsham, 2012). Developing a better understanding of ELPs can also contribute to general conversations in the literature about the potential of indi- vidual leaders to address sustainability within their organizations and the educational means through which to support this potential (Hahn & Aragón-Correa, 2015; Sharma & Hart, 2014; Shrivastava, 2010).

In this article, we analyze the experiences of managers from a range of different organizations who have participated in ELPs for sustainability leadership, as well as the perspectives of some of the organizers of these programmes. Our research is based on a series of semi-structured inter- views to explore, first, what managers learned and, second, how this learning occurred. We ask, “How do ELPs support the development of sustainability leadership?” In the following section, we review the key literature on competencies for sustainability leadership, and learning and edu- cation for sustainability. We draw on this literature to articulate the characteristics of effective ELPs for sustainability leadership. In the subsequent section, we illustrate how the programmes selected for this research reflect these characteristics, and we explain our research methodology in more detail. We then show in the results section, first, the learning outcomes of the pro- grammes, and, second, how learning occurred, as experienced by participants. Finally, we dis- cuss our findings in the context of the literature on sustainability leadership and corporate sustainability more broadly.

Theoretical Background

Competencies for Sustainability Leadership

Much of the literature on the attributes of sustainability leaders is focused on the competencies such leaders require. The term competency has been used to mean different things in different contexts (Barth et al., 2007; Wesselink et al., 2015), and several different schools of thought can be distinguished (Osagie et al., 2016). There is broad agreement, however, that a comprehensive perspective of competency includes more than just cognitive and functional dimensions such as skills and knowledge; it also embraces attitudes, motives, values, and ethics (Barth & Michelsen, 2013; Hesselbarth & Schaltegger, 2014; Osagie et al., 2016; Ploum et al., 2017; Rieckmann, 2012; Svanström, Lozano-García, & Rowe, 2008; UNESCO, 2017; Visser & Crane, 2010; Wesselink et al., 2015). In this article, we follow Wiek, Withycombe, and Redman (2011) to define competency as “a functionally linked complex of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that enable successful task performance and problem solving” (p. 204). The purpose of the compe- tency is then clearly linked to a task or a problem, in our case related to sustainability.

In their discussion of sustainability leadership, Visser and Crane (2010) also emphasize the importance of personality traits and leadership styles. Arguably, these softer, more intangible dimensions are particularly important for sustainability leadership since sustainability is essen- tially a values-driven concept (Barth & Michelsen, 2013; Frisk & Larson, 2011). It is noted that the development of an ethical imperative, motivation (Sinatra, Kardash, Taasoobshirazi, & Lombardi, 2012) or “moral emotion” (Ferdig, 2007; Sekerka & Stimel, 2012) to act for sustain- ability is often associated with a particular value set (Svanström et al., 2008), reflecting “more

158 Organization & Environment 33(2)

ethical and more responsible values” (Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2010, p. 358). Gaining compe- tence for sustainability therefore involves both cognitive and practical development in the form of ability to deal with increasing complexity, and the learning of values and ongoing reflection on these (Barth & Michelsen, 2013; Savage, Tapics, Evarts, Wilson, & Tirone, 2015).

While there have been numerous studies seeking to identify competencies for sustainability, Ploum et al. (2017) point out that many of these are conceptual in nature and specifically seek to inform the higher education sector (Barth et al., 2007; Rieckmann, 2012; Wiek et al., 2011). For example Wiek et al. (2011) identify five core competencies they believe are required to address sustainability challenges and to solve complex multidimensional problems, namely, systems thinking (“the ability to collectively analyze complex systems across different domains . . . and across different scales,” p. 207), anticipatory (“the ability to collectively analyze, evaluate, and craft rich ‘pictures’ of the future related to sustainability issues and sustainability problem-solv- ing frameworks,” pp. 207 and 209), normative (“the ability to collectively map, specify, apply, reconcile, and negotiate sustainability values, principles, goals, and targets,” p. 209), strategic (“the ability to collectively design and implement interventions, transitions, and transformative governance strategies toward sustainability,” p. 210), and interpersonal (“ the ability to motivate, enable, and facilitate collaborative and participatory sustainability research and problem solv- ing,” p. 211) competencies. In recent years, a number of studies have been undertaken specifi- cally within a professional context (Hesselbarth & Schaltegger, 2014; Lans et al., 2014; Osagie et al., 2016; Wesselink et al., 2015). These studies are reviewed by Ploum et al. (2017) who find three competencies common to the four studies: strategic (management) competence, systems thinking competence, and interpersonal competence.

What is notable about these contributions, which have proliferated in recent years, is that the resulting lists of competencies are remarkably similar regardless of whether they are conceptual or empirical, or whether focused on the higher education or business sectors. They all tend to include both core competencies for sustainability and competencies related to management skills, many of which are similar to the leadership competencies articulated by Martin and Ernst (2005) for leadership in times of paradox and complexity more generally. Osagie et al. (2016) suggest that many of the competencies described in the literature are somewhat instrumental and under- play the importance of ethics. Based on their empirical study of corporate social responsibility professionals within business, they emphasize the importance of “personal value-driven compe- tencies” relating to the ability to apply personal ethics to a business situation and to “strike an appropriate balance between idealism and pragmatism” (p. 243). They also emphasize the impor- tance of motivation or “the moral transformation from a passive attitude with respect to sustain- ability issues into an active and engaged attitude” (p. 249). This perspective is strongly aligned with the views of Ferdig (2007), Sekerka and Stimel (2012), Linnenluecke and Griffiths (2010), and Sinatra et al. (2012) discussed previously in relation to the importance of motivation, moral emotion, and ethical imperative in sustainability leadership.

Learning and Education for Sustainability Leaders

Sustainability leadership then requires the development of not only cognitive and functional competencies but also values-oriented competencies that help leaders engage on sustainability issues. Accordingly, there have been calls for new kinds of education for sustainability, as evi- denced by the United Nations’ Decade of Education for Sustainability (2005-2015), and the tertiary education sector has been the hub of research in this area (see e.g., Barth et al., 2007; Sipos, Battisti, & Grimm, 2008; Sterling, 2011; Svanström et al., 2008). The education for sus- tainability literature reports of various pedagogical approaches designed to develop the knowl- edge, skills, and values required by sustainability leaders, including active and problem-based learning (MacVaugh & Norton, 2012); authentic problems, learning cycles, shared inquiry,

Haney et al. 159

transdisciplinarity, exploration, and engagement (Hull, Kimmel, Robertson, & Mortimer, 2016); and encouraging critical and reflective thinking about sustainability paradigms (Stubbs & Cocklin, 2008). While these and other similar contributions emphasize the importance of per- sonal values for sustainability, this approach has also been challenged by those who believe that universities are not the place for the “moral agenda” (Butcher, 2007). This debate aside, the consensus in this body of work is that education for sustainability requires less of a transfer of information from educator to student and more of a process of student-centred personal devel- opment or transformation based on experiential learning (Savage et al., 2015). The ELPs that are the subject of our research embody similar pedagogical philosophies but are targeted at business professionals rather than students. In this section, we briefly review two key bodies of work in the education for sustainability field: “experiential learning” and “transformative learn- ing.” While neither of these terms has clear and commonly accepted definitions, we see key aspects of each reflected in the ELPs that are the focus of our research.

“Experiential learning” is often equated with learning that is learner-centred and based on real-life experience or practical “learning by doing” (e.g., Barth & Michelsen, 2013; Dieleman & Huisingh, 2006; Gitsham, 2012). Illeris (2007) provides a useful review of the concept of expe- riential learning, exploring how it can be distinguished from nonexperiential learning. He notes that while many discussions on the topic refer back to the work of Kolb (1984) and his experien- tial learning cycle of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation, in fact Kolb himself concluded that all learning is experiential.

Illeris (2007) posits that three dimensions comprise all forms of learning on a spectrum from nonexperiential to experiential: “the content dimension of knowledge, understandings, skills, abilities, attitudes and the like, the incentive dimension of emotion, feelings, motivation and voli- tion, and the social dimension of interaction, communication and cooperation—all of which are embedded in a societally situated context” (pp. 87-88), arguing that experiential learning occurs when the three dimensions are in balance. This conceptualization echoes the literature discussed in the previous section by emphasizing that incentive is as important as the development of skills and knowledge in learning. Illeris’s content and incentive also have some resonance with Dieleman and Huisingh (2006)’s comprehension and apprehension, where the former is cogni- tive (right brain) and the latter involves “the tangible and felt qualities of the immediate situa- tion” (p. 838) (left brain).

“Transformation” through “transformative learning” is similarly a common theme in the sus- tainability education literature, where it is argued that it is essential to shift learners from their current ways of thinking into a new way of seeing the world (Sipos et al., 2008; Sterling, 2011; Wals & Corcoran, 2006). As discussed in the previous section, particular values, attitudes, moti- vations, frames, and ethical positions are often argued to be essential to sustainability leadership. Learning is thus understood not just as the development of competencies “within existing (men- tal) frameworks, norms, policies and rules” (Tosey, Visser, & Saunders, 2012, p. 292) but as a process that challenges and ultimately changes these mental frameworks (or frames to use the language of the previous section), norms, and policies, in a process that has been called “concep- tual change” (Pintrich, Marx, & Boyle, 1993). For example, Argyris and Schön (1996) refer to single- and double-learning,1 which is analogous to Glasbergen’s distinction between technical and conceptual learning (Glasbergen, 1996). Others go beyond this dichotomy to distinguish a broader range of learning types. For example, Sterling (2011) presents a hierarchy of “levels of knowing” ranging from actions at the simplest level, through ideas/theories, norms/assumptions, beliefs/values, paradigm/worldview, to metaphysics/cosmology at the most complex, with the implication that learning can occur in relation to each of these levels. Illeris (2007) argues that transformation is more likely when learning is experiential.

The notion of transformative learning is usually attributed to Jack Mezirow (e.g., Mezirow, 1990, 1997) who developed the concept over a period of 30 years or more (see Kitchenham, 2008

160 Organization & Environment 33(2)

for a comprehensive review of Mezirow’s work). While it is not always clear that the term trans- formative learning is used consistently in the sustainability leadership literature or in line with Mezirow’s conceptualization, the essential argument is that learning for sustainability needs to be considerably more profound than the simple acquisition of knowledge and skills, involving changes to attitudes, values, beliefs, and frames (Wals, 2011), and that such transformation can be facilitated by experiential learning.

The learning literature suggests that transformation is often catalyzed by some form of uncom- fortable experience: for example, Laws and Rein (2003) refer to “uncertainty and doubt,” Sinclair and Diduck (2001) to a “disorienting dilemma,” and van der Knaap (1995) to “cognitive disso- nance.” All of these allude to a process whereby learners somehow find themselves outside their comfort zone, in a position where their existing mental frameworks and beliefs cannot help in making sense of the situation, forcing a change at some level of understanding or value system. This process is the basis of learning models such as Otto Scharmer’s Theory U (Scharmer & Senge, 2009), whose relevance to sustainability has been explored (van Lawick van Pabst & Visser, 2012), and is also sometimes conceptualized as “sensemaking” (Maitlis & Christianson, 2014).

This process of learning or conceptual change is not a purely cognitive process: The seminal work of Pintrich et al. (1993) found an important role for motivation interacting with cognition in this form of learning in the classroom, which has come to be called the “warming trend” within educational psychology. Other authors have explored the emotional dimension within transfor- mative learning (Baden & Parkes, 2013; Coleman, 2013). For example, Gitsham (2012, p. 300) argues, “While cognitive learning approaches are valuable in raising awareness, emotional arousal through felt experience is crucial in moving from awareness to commitment to change,” while Sipos et al. (2008) speak of the need to engage the heart as well as the head and hands.


In summary, if we take as a starting point that sustainability leadership calls for the development of specific competencies that include not only knowledge and skills (cognitive and functional competencies) but also attitudes, motives, values, and ethics, then ELPs for business leaders may be an appropriate way to catalyze such learning and facilitate the development of sustainability leadership. Following Illeris (2007), ELPs should have the content, incentive, and social dimen- sions in balance to best achieve this goal. In the following section, we introduce four programmes that aim to support the development of sustainability leaders and that which demonstrate these characteristics but do not clearly articulate the learning outcomes in the form of sustainability leadership competencies. We begin by exploring the learning outcomes of the programmes from the perspectives of participants and organizers. We then explore how different aspects of the programmes encourage the development of different learning outcomes.


Context and Data Collection

We use two main sources of data for our analysis. First, we conducted interviews with managers who participated in ELPs for sustainability leadership as well as with some organizers of these ELPs. We chose two organizations that specialize in providing such programmes for companies, Leaders’ Quest (LQ) and the U.K. charity Business in the Community (BITC), as well as two bespoke programmes designed specifically by training providers for multinational companies. The programmes run by LQ and BITC are the longest running ELPs in the United Kingdom focused on senior business leaders across multiple organizations. Including participants from

Haney et al. 161

both NGO-led and bespoke programmes allowed us to interview leaders across a range of differ- ent industries. It also allowed us to look for replication of our results in programmes with differ- ent types of organizers or, conversely, to challenge some of our findings by comparing results across the programmes. We focused on senior managers to reduce the effect that hierarchy might have on our results.

LQ is a social enterprise committed to helping companies integrate social purpose into com- pany performance. They do this primarily through the delivery of ELPs and have to date worked with more than 6,000 business leaders. The quests take place over an average of 2 to 3 days but can be for as long as a week and take place all over the world. In terms of the aims of the pro- gramme, the LQ website ( states, “We develop wise, compassion- ate and adept leaders—people who are capable of leading in fast-changing, disrupted environments with competing priorities and interconnected challenges.”

BITC have two connected programmes with experiential components. BITC’s Seeing is Believing (SIB) aims, according to their website, to close the gap between the boardroom and the community by giving senior business leaders a unique experiential learning opportunity: “The visits are designed to encourage participants to think strategically about the implications for their own business and the practical actions that can be taken in response, leading to meaningful and sustained impact for both business and communities” ( princes-seeing-believing/about-programme#Works). More than 8,000 business leaders have par- ticipated in SIB. The programme consists of a half-day field trip to locations predominantly in the United Kingdom—for example, prisons, homeless shelters, and inner-city areas. The visits are led by a CEO already committed to the issue, supported by the SIB team. BITC’s Business Connectors programme was referenced several times during interviews with participants from SIB, leading us to extend interviews to participants of Business Connectors as well. The pro- gramme is aimed at mid-level managers who work on secondment full time within local com- munities for 12 to 18 months.

In addition, we conducted a further seven interviews with participants and organizers of two multinationals who have developed bespoke training programmes with strong experiential ele- ments. The Consumer Goods multinational uses extensive experiential training as a means of implementing its sustainability initiatives. The Mining multinational has a programme aimed at senior managers that aims to improve their competencies in engaging with host communities, that is, the communities that live close to mining areas where the multinational is active.

For the LQ programme, we interviewed the programme director and manager as well as four programme participants from different industries. For the BITC programmes, we interviewed the director of SIB and seven programme participants (both SIB and Business Connectors) from dif- ferent industries. In total, from all four programmes, we conducted 20 interviews. Table 1 pro- vides an overview of the interviewees for each programme. All of the interviewees had been on a programme in the previous 12 months, so the experience was relatively recent. The participants were chosen through snowball sampling, starting with the programme organizers and then pro- gramme participants. Some of those interviewed also attended the programmes that one of the authors participated in, which allowed for a combination of interview data and observations.

The interviews were semi-structured and lasted between 45 and 90 minutes. They were con- ducted between October 2013 and July 2014. The questions focused on asking the participants to describe their participation in the experiential learning programme, to reflect on what they learned, and to talk about how they felt during the programme. For programme organizers, the questions focused on the programme goals and their assessment of the impacts on leaders’ sus- tainability leadership competencies.

All of …


German Journal of Human Resource Management

2016, Vol. 30(3-4) 225 –245 © The Author(s) 2016

Reprints and permissions:

DOI: 10.1177/2397002216649855

Ethical leadership’s potential and boundaries in organizational change: A moderated mediation model of employee silence

Kai C Bormann TU Dortmund University, Germany

Jens Rowold TU Dortmund University, Germany

Abstract In this present study, we develop a model in which four forms of employee silence (acquiescent, quiescent, prosocial and opportunistic silence) mediate the relationship between ethical leadership and affective commitment to change. We argue that ethical leadership lowers all four forms which in turn influence employees’ commitment to change initiatives. We also examine the role of politics perceptions and personal change impact as moderators. The sample consisted of 263 employees from different organizations and occupations in Germany all facing organizational changes. Our results indicate that ethical leadership lowers only acquiescent silence, which in turn predicts affective commitment change. However, the effect diminished with high levels of politics perceptions and high levels of personal change impact. We discuss implications for theory, future research and organizational practice.

Keywords Affective change commitment, employee silence, ethical leadership, politics


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