Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 437–456 | Cite as

Understanding Responsible Leadership: Role Identity and Motivational Drivers

The Case of Dame Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop
  • Nicola M. Pless


This article contributes to the emerging discussion on responsible leadership by providing an analysis of the inner theatre of a responsible leader. I use a narrative approach for analyzing the biography of Anita Roddick as a widely acknowledged prototype of a responsible leader. With clinical and normative lenses I explore the relationship between responsible leadership behavior and the underlying motivational systems. I begin the article with an introduction outlining the current state of responsible leadership research and explaining the kind of magnifying glasses used to examine the case. I continue with a brief summary of Anita Roddick’s development from childhood to adulthood, which provides the biographical background for exploring her motivational systems as a leader. Against this backdrop, I analyze the relationship between motivational drivers and a responsible leadership identity as revealed by Roddick in different behavioral leadership roles. I conclude the article by providing a number of lessons learned for responsible leadership and the development of future global leaders.


responsible leadership corporate social responsibility citizenship clinical psychology narrative analysis moral development female principles 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INSEAD, PwC-INSEAD Initiative on high-performing organizationsUniversity of St. GallenFontainebleau CedexFrance

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