Responsible behaviour and the World Economic Forum 2015

Next week, during 21-24 January, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 will be held in Davos, Switzerland. Global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society convene to strategically discuss key global issues.

As the agenda is set for the annual meeting and global leaders are probably already well prepared, perhaps some latest insights from science on responsible behaviour in multistakeholder situations can contribute to success. In particular the fact that leaders in different societies can hold fundamentally different beliefs about their responsibilities toward different stakeholders, but at the same time they are open to collective action. This is the conclusion of the article in the Journal of Business Ethics called “Foundations of Responsible Leadership: Asian Versus Western Executive Responsibility Orientations Toward Key Stakeholders“. This fundamental difference is not about playing the same game by different rules, but about leaders in different societies playing entirely different games. Fortunately these differences are not static, but can change in dynamic and emergent processes. With regard to sustainability it shows that approaches by leaders are more mutual and reciprocal, and looking for structural change, for instance by facilitating collective action.

The article “Strategic Sustainability“, published in Business Horizons, shows that critical impact can be achieved by the behaviour of all actors and their integrated behaviour. Although the article focuses on business value and sustainability, it shows that more integrative and holistic thinking can create value. Sometimes by looking at processes outside of the classic relationships.

Norbert Bol

Photo credit: World Economic Forum / Foter /CC BY-NC-SA


Buxel, H., Esenduran, G., & Griffin, S. (2015). Strategic sustainability: Creating business value with life cycle analysis. Business Horizons58(1), 109-122.

Witt, M. A., & Stahl, G. K. (2015). Foundations of Responsible Leadership: Asian Versus Western Executive Responsibility Orientations Toward Key Stakeholders. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-16.

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