Emerald Open Research (Jan 2019)

Responsible management on the organizational frontline: A stewardship perspective [version 1; peer review: 3 approved]

  • Ko de Ruyter,
  • Debbie Keeling

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1


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Responsible management has become a business imperative in an era of growing governmental and public scrutiny of managerial practices and accountability. Top-down attempts at developing transparent codes of practice or agenda statements have been ineffective, especially given the difficulties of aligning responsibility needs with traditional performance indicators. Thus, we argue, there is a pertinent need to foster a sustainable sense of moral responsibility at the organizational frontline. We posit that stewardship offers a foundation for developing sustainable solutions based on aligning the interests of stakeholders and balancing longer-term and shorter-term benefits. Three principal stakeholders are involved at the organisational frontline; frontline management (FLM), frontline employees (FLE) and customers. Accordingly, we identify three key areas requiring development: stewardship-based control systems, climate and customers on the organizational frontline. We illustrate these areas with pertinent research and, hence, collate a research agenda across these areas to facilitate the development and embedding of responsible management based on a stewardship foundation.