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The Role of Ethical Leadership in Promoting CSR: A Case Study of Lebanese Universities

Rawas, Abir (2019) The Role of Ethical Leadership in Promoting CSR: A Case Study of Lebanese Universities. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

This study tries to create new knowledge and add new insights to the topic of corporate social responsibility in the higher education sector. The context of this study is Lebanon that lags behind other countries in the region in promoting CSR. There are no government incentives to fight corruption, promote transparency or encourage responsible business by the private sector. As for the educational sector in Lebanon, there is a significant need for CSR interventions. The Lebanese universities need to support CSR initiatives and goals of sustainability rather than just the objectives of enrollment and profitability only if they are to be seen as ethical organisations. Academic institutions need to understand the real value in reporting CSR initiatives to the public and being transparent with their stakeholders. The leader in these academic institutions is the most crucial change agent, as the academic leader has the resources and power to enable the necessary change. Therefore, leaders in universities must play a more significant role in promoting CSR. To do that, the leader has to possess a robust ethical conviction that will guide all the organizational activities and decision making. This study addresses ethical leadership given the influence of the leader’s ethics on the ethos of the working environment.

Thus, the main research aim is to examine the relationship between specific leadership characteristics and ethical leadership and to explore the ability of ethical leadership in promoting CSR in the Lebanese universities. The researcher will start with reviewing previous studies on the antecedents of ethical leadership, CSR and the relationship between ethical leadership and CSR. A conceptual framework (based on the leadership multiple-influence model and previous theories) will be developed in this study. The model will conceptualize the different levels that may affect the leadership process, including the task level, the organisational level, the environmental level and the leader’s individual attributes. The conceptual model will allow studying the relationship between ethical leadership and corporate social responsibility in the field of higher education.

Based on the pragmatic philosophical stance, the mixed research method will be used in this study. The mixed method will allow the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods to answer the research question. Notably, the sequential mixed method will be applied, starting with the quantitative method, and then followed by the qualitative method. Each set of data is collected, analysed and presented in a separate form to support the framework created by the researcher involving the antecedents of ethical leadership, ethical leadership and the willingness of ethical leadership in promoting CSR. Based on the outcomes of the quantitative study, the antecedents for EL include significant traits (trustworthy, integrity and fair) behaviour (displaying a role model figure, respect and moral identity), sources of power (information/ expert power, power-sharing and rational persuasion power) and situations for EL to manage and control (situations with complex management, challenging problems and continuous changes). Based on the qualitative analysis, results have identified the critical role of ethical leadership in maintaining a climate of social responsibility and engaging fairly with different stakeholders.

Finally, this research has contributed to knowledge in presenting a conceptual model that explained some of the factors influencing leadership effectiveness. These factors include micro-variables (related to the internal environment) and macro-variables (related to the external environment). To measure the ability of EL in promoting CSR, the seminal work of Hunt & Osborn has been advanced by weaving it to the principles for Responsible Management Education and the antecedents for ethical leadership. This tentative model was investigated to clarify if it is applicable in the Lebanese higher education context. Based on the findings, the model was refined to include concepts that are highly related to Lebanon. Besides, this study has presented a spectrum with three colours: deep green, light green and red. The spectrum shows the degree of CSR integration into curricula and research for universities located in Lebanon where deep green universities have major involvement in CSR, light green universities have some involvement in CSR, and red universities have minimal involvement in CSR. Following that, the researcher has presented some critical action steps for educational institutions (whether deep green, light green or red) in Lebanon and the region. This spectrum can be used by any university, school or academic institution outside this study. Also, it can be applied to sectors beyond education and the private sector.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: Staffordshire Business School > Business and Marketing
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 13:53
Last Modified: 21 May 2021 13:53

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