Responsible leadership and societal purpose : Reframing the purpose of business as pursuing good dividends

Kempster, Steve (2021) Responsible leadership and societal purpose : Reframing the purpose of business as pursuing good dividends. In: Responsible Leadership :. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780367321000

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In this chapter the author argues that a moral form of capitalism can realize good purposes and enable humanity to flourish. However, a shift in thinking about capitalist leadership is proposed through an argument for good dividends—a case for coupling together the notions of moral capitalism and responsible leadership through purpose. The author starts by outlining the relationship between purpose and responsible leadership. Then he discusses features of capitalism that were prominent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and draws conclusions which form the basis of an argument for the importance of pursuing six capitals: financial, human, social, reputational, operational, and planet-community. Maximizing the systemic use of all capitals generates good dividends. He continues by outlining the interdisciplinary perspective of moral capitalism with an understanding of business value that embraces intangible assets (such as human capital, social capital, and brand reputation). He argues that stakeholders’ interests and value can be aligned and realized through purpose, which enhances the value to the owners/shareholders over time. He concludes the chapter with a series of leadership case studies highlighting the relationship between purpose, business value, and social impact, and makes a call for collaborative action by stakeholders.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Responsible Leadership on 31/12/2021, available online:
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25 May 2022 09:30
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06 May 2024 23:25