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15-06-2020 | Original Paper | Issue 1/2021

Journal of Business Ethics 1/2021

Responsible Leadership and Reputation Management During a Crisis: The Cases of Delta and United Airlines

Journal:
Journal of Business Ethics > Issue 1/2021
Author:
Tulika M. Varma
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Abstract

This study argues that actions taken during a crisis within the responsibility compass impacts reputation. The lens of responsible leadership was chosen from among the different foci of leadership scholarship because of its emphasis on relational and ethical dimensions. The focus of this study was the actions undertaken by the CEOs of United and Delta Airlines after the forceful removal of the passengers and its influence on the reputation capital as measured by the changes in the respective share prices of the airlines. The overarching question was whether there was clear statistical evidence that linked the actions undertaken as part of the crisis management efforts and the reputation of the airlines. Findings from this study suggest that actions taken as part of responsible leadership compass explained the variations in the share prices. In the case of United Airlines almost 70% of the variations in the share prices could be explained by responsible leadership, whereas in the case Delta airlines only 50.6% of the variations in the share value could be predicted based on the role of leadership in crisis management.

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