The Steinhoff Saga Management review - University of Stellenbosch Business School

January – June 2018

Letter from the editor

Prof Mias De Klerk

Stellenbosch Business School Professor

It is with great pride that we welcome you to the first edition of USB Management Review on behalf of the University of Stellenbosch Business School. It is our explicit aim that the research of our faculty and students will be done not just for academic and tenure reasons, but also for practical application. We want our research to make an impact in the world of business. USB Management Review thus provides the opportunity to showcase our intellectual output and to disseminate our research that is published in scientific journals or presented at scientific conferences to a much wider audience of practitioners in an accessible and useful way.

The core focus of our first edition is leadership integrity. What happens within organisations is largely an outcome of the integrity – or lack thereof – of leadership. We have just seen in the case of Steinhoff how a deficiency in leadership integrity can force an organisation into decline. In the modern competitive business environment, managers face significant complexities, pressures and challenges. Today, managers are confronted by ambiguous moral dilemmas – for which there are no clear answers – and need to respond in a fraction of the time previously available to make judicious decisions. Without leadership integrity, companies soon become morally derailed. And ethical organisations become a vague aspiration or even a fantasy.

It is therefore fitting that leadership integrity is the main theme of this edition. The three feature articles explore aspects related to leadership integrity. Prof Piet Naudé, Director of USB, explores the moral treason that leaders can, and sometimes do, commit. Another article explicates different unconscious motives underlying the rationalisations that transgressors of ethics typically believe will acquit them from guilt, indemnify them, or redeem their corrupt acts. USB MBA student Jantes Prinsloo’s research shows that although integrity is an attractive character virtue in leaders, the combined effect of integrity balanced with vulnerability is more attractive than either of the virtues in isolation.

Leadership integrity is one of many constructs that form part of responsible leadership – which is core to USB’s research focus, and the overarching theme of our first issue. Responsible leadership describes a generic quality of all leadership that aims to respond to stakeholders’ concerns in a morally responsible manner. Responsible leadership endeavours to enhance processes and multiple bottom-line outcomes, including those on a personal, social, economic and environmental level, in a sustainable way.

In the rest of the edition, articles explore a whole range of related aspects, for instance income inequality, poverty and unemployment. In the financial sphere, research topics cover the debt and economic growth, and the role of bonds in unlocking economic growth. Health and well-being metrics, servant leadership and neuroleadership remain important topics, receiving attention in this issue. The social side of business is addressed through topics such as the implementation of technology at schools and NPO accountability. Also, the research process, especially the PhD experience and the thorny subject of predatory journals, provide food for thought.

I trust that you, the reader, will find the articles in this launch edition both insightful and useful. In our endeavour to improve our offering to you, we would appreciate any feedback that you may have. Please send your comments to ManagementReview@usb.ac.za.

Lastly, our heartfelt thanks go to all our authors for their contributions.

Prof Mias de Klerk
USB’s Head of Research and Editorial Director: USB Management Review

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