The “hero-leader”: a case of leadership in Brazil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore what mechanisms a leader uses when promoting change towards a corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework in the particular context of the Brazilian culture. Design/methodology/approach: This is a qualitative case study undertaken at a private forest management company located in the South of Brazil, which draws on in-depth interviews with employees (n=12) and analysis of secondary data. Content analysis supported by Atlas TI software. Findings: First, this study illustrates the importance of transformational leadership as an internal organisational antecedent for successful organisational change towards CSR practices and policies. This is particularly because this transformation was grounded in moral values, which were used by the leader to build trust, inspire and motivate followers. Second, this case study provides a glimpse into the implementation of CSR practices in a Brazilian organisational setting, suggesting that characteristics that are typical of the national culture reinforce the importance of the leader as a role model, inside and outside the firm, in various realms of the employees’ lives. Research limitations/implications: The study makes a contribution in extending the understanding about the relationship between leadership and CSR in the context of Brazilian culture. However, as a qualitative case study, findings from this research should not be generalised. Results must be understood in light of the specific conditions in which the case is embedded. Practical implications: The paper identifies key messages for international companies interested in promoting change in their Brazilian businesses or operations. It also stimulates reflection on the issue of dependency on the leader and eventual challenges regarding continuity and succession. Originality/value: The paper offers an in-depth analysis of leadership challenges and mechanisms in an organisation embedded in the Brazilian culture. © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-506
Number of pages12
JournalLeadership & Organization Development Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018


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