2nd Call for Abstracts for the 4th International Conference on Responsible Leadership

From March 15 to 17, 2017 the CBS Public-Private Platform and our cluster on Leadership Collaboratory will be co-host on the 4th International Conference on Responsible Leadership in Johannesburg.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 12:00 to Friday, March 17, 2017 - 12:00

2nd Call for Abstracts
The 4th International Conference on Responsible Leadership

Conference Theme: Leadership Challenges That Matter

Venue: Gordon Institute of Business Science, Johannesburg, South Africa



The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, in partnership with the Leadership Collaboratory in the Public Private Platform at the Copenhagen Business School and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative will host the Fourth International Conference on Responsible Leadership on 15 to 17 March 2017 at the GIBS campus in Johannesburg.

We invite proposals for papers, panels, and workshops or alternative forms of engagement on a wide range of topics related to responsible leadership, especially those addressing the conference theme, Leadership Challenges That Matter. We call on scholars of leadership, business, organisation, environmental studies, and the humanities to grapple head-on with complex and pressing challenges confronting business and society in a problem-driven, solution-oriented, and collaborative manner.

Far too often, leadership research starts from a particular disciplinary approach or definition of leadership and then proceeds to test existing concepts or theories against research data in a manner that rarely transgresses the boundaries erected by previous scholarship. We encourage conference proposals that incorporate elements of action research, grounded theory, ethnographic enquiry and dialogue to address these complex challenges in ways that expand the the boundaries of traditional leadership theory and research. We call on contributors to address “challenges that matter” in order to stress that leadership carries with it the responsibility to engage with issues of moral, ethical, economic, environmental, and social significance that affect diverse groups of stakeholders and interests in global, regional, and local contexts.


By hosting a conference on this theme at GIBS, one of Africa’s premier business schools, we intend to emphasise that the business community shares these ethical and social responsibilities, and that business practitioners and scholars bring a wealth of practical skills and valuable insights to the task of addressing major leadership challenges. The conference organizers will also host a 3-day/4-night research collaboratory on Leadership and Partnership for Sustainable Development inside Kruger National Park for those conference participants who would like to extend their stay, experience more of South Africa, and interact with fellow scholars in a more informal setting. We are also hoping to organize visits to South African companies, cultural sites, and community organizations.


We invite abstracts that address Leadership Challenges That Matter. These abstracts should explore the relevance and meaning of responsible leadership in the context of these kinds of challenges, in ways that add to our understanding of responsible leadership. Typical examples of challenges that matter include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Global Challenges That Matter, such as the crisis for humanity and the planet
    The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are essentially a list of 17 major leadership challenges that matter. In the words of the UN, the SDGs seek to “stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet” on a range of issues related to people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. We encourage proposals for individual presentations and for workshops or other innovative conference formats that address the leadership dynamics of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These could address the SDGs process as a whole or take up individual challenges within the 17 Goals or the 169 related targets.
  • Regional Challenges That Matter, such as the refugee and migration crisis
    The current global refugee and migration crisis provides a glaring example of the kinds of major societal challenges to which leadership scholars and practitioners should be turning their attention. Violent conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere have forcibly displaced more than 50 million people worldwide, while a rising tide of global economic and climate-related migration has added to these numbers and complicated policy responses to the problem. We encourage conference participants to take up this call by means of proposals that address the leadership dynamics of the refugee and migration crisis, the leadership challenges faced by organizations engaging with these issues, and how to address them.
  • Local Challenges That Matter, such as the crisis in the South African higher education sector
    The refugee and migration crisis brings into sharp focus the complex politics of diversity and inclusion among multiple groups of stakeholders with conflicting interests, different cultural loyalties, and disparate levels of wealth and privilege. South Africa is no stranger to such complexities, especially as ongoing post-Apartheid struggles bear testament to this. One such complex challenge playing itself out is the current crisis in SA Higher Education. It speaks to a systemic problem that demands leadership that can find new solutions to these intractable problems, and generate new perspectives on leadership theory and practice in the process. We also encourage conference proposals that focus in these directions. Since we are calling for new approaches to responsible leadership, we also invite creative proposals for different types of conference formats that will foreground dialogue, interaction, and constructive engagement with leadership challenges.

We invite submission of individual or co-authored papers, panels, dialogue session or professional development workshops. We strongly encourage panels that include the participation of scholars from Africa. We will make ample room in the program for traditional research paper presentations, recognising fully that many academic institutions require them as prerequisites for conference funding. But in order to encourage as much intellectual debate and exchange as possible, we also invite proposals for alternative formats and innovative workshops that will promote creativity and the exchange of new ideas. In either case, abstracts of 1000 to 1500 words should be submitted via email to CRL2017@up.ac.za. All abstracts will be reviewed by the conference review panel.

Please note the following dates:

  • 31 August 2016 Deadline for exteneded abstracts of 1000 to 1500 words, to be submitted to CRL2017@up.ac.za
  • 31 October 2016 Notification of acceptance of abstracts

We advise all non-native English speakers to have their papers checked by a native speaker before submission. Papers should be no longer than 35 pages (Arial, font size 12 and doublespaced) including tables, graphs, references and endnotes. lease consult our website on www.up.ac.za/acrl for up-to-date information on deadlines and procedures. Any further queries
about the conference, including estimated conference costs, should be directed at Ms Carto Abrams-Swarts at CRL2017@up.ac.za or +27 12 420 4271.


The page was last edited by: Public-Private Platform // 10/08/2019