When the American psychologists John Mayer and Peter Salovey originated and described the term “emotional intelligence” in an important research paper in 1990, it marked the introduction of a new dimension into the study of leadership. In telling us how and why a leader’s mind and brain worked the way they did, Mayer and Salovey showed us that understanding science – as well as history and empiricism – could explain a leader’s behaviour and help us develop more effective leaders.

Later, in 1995, psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman popularized the term in his best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence.  The success of the book , along with Mayer’s and Salovey’s paper, marked the beginning of a continuum, one that would chart discoveries, and grow and expand our knowledge of the brain and its impact on leadership. A key development in that growth was research conducted by executive coach David Rock and UCLA Medical School research psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, who wrote about their work in an article in Strategy + Business in 2006. The title of the article was “The Neuroscience of Leadership.”

Neuroscience, the study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain, tells us a lot of what we need to know about leadership. Above all, it doesn’t tell us only that leaders must become more self-aware or capable of motivating and engaging employees. Nor does it tell us only that certain hardwired habits need to be changed or that a leader’s cognitive skills are poor. Neuroscience tells us how a leader’s brain works in a certain context or situation and why it works in such a way. More importantly, neuroscience can tell us why some people resist certain types of leaders but accept others. Combined with a leader’s “soft skills” such as character and trustworthiness, applying what we know of the science of the brain holds perhaps the brightest promise yet of shaping the leaders that we deserve.

Three of the articles in this issue of Ivey Business Journal focus on our theme. The authors have all distinguished themselves in the study of leadership and the emerging field of neuroscience. Paul Lawrence, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School and the author of 24 books on leadership and organizational change, writes an article based on his 25th book, Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership. Richard Boyatzis, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western University, the author of 6 books and more than 100 papers on leadership and cognitive science, writes about the findings of two research studies he recently completed. And author and leadership consultant Charles Jacobs writes an article based on his most recent book, Management Rewired: Why Feedback Doesn’t Work and Other Surprising Lessons from the Latest Brain Science.

I also draw your attention to two articles on what is one of the most compelling issues for business leaders today, Corporate Social Responsibility. In one article Chinese management professors Na Ni and Qinghua Zhu, and Joseph Sarkis, an American, write how Chinese companies are taking their first steps to demonstrate a commitment to CSR. And in the second article Ivey professor Tima Bansal and researcher Pamela Laughland identify and describe the top ten reasons why businesses today are not more sustainable. I hope that you enjoy reading these and the other articles in this issue of Ivey Business Journal.

And…coming in the March-April Ivey Business Journal: Innovation