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Business leadership for peace

Bernice Ledbetter (Faculty of Organizational Theory & Management, Pepperdine University Graziadio, Los Angeles, California, USA)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 8 August 2016




The purpose of this paper is to describe what business leaders can do to promote peace. The paper begins by reviewing the salient literature on business and peace and adding to this discussion, leadership concepts that enrich an understanding of the role of business in promoting peace. Using a case example of a business leader committed to advancing peace, the paper introduces the concept of a theory of change to describe the process of transformation business leaders can take to promote peace.


This conceptual paper draws on literature from business and peace and adds literature from the field of leadership studies to enrich the discussion of business and peace.


This paper suggests business leaders promoting peace can take action using a theory of change that includes the application of participative and ethical leadership, strategy that embeds peace goals and the use of entrepreneurships in buffer conditions to mitigate identity-based conflict between opposing groups. By understanding a leader’s theory of change, insight is gained on transformational change in promoting peace.


This paper adds to the theoretical and practical discussion on business and peace by including leadership concepts and the concept of a theory of change as a way to describe business leadership for peace.



The author would like to acknowledge members of the ILA panel on “The Concept of Peace Leadership”. The author’s work together with the ILA panel helped shape these ideas on peace leadership.


Ledbetter, B. (2016), "Business leadership for peace", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 239-251.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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