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2013/2014  KAN-CM_E203  Relational Leadership

English Title
Relational Leadership

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Fourth Quarter
Changes in course schedule may occur
Tuesday 08.00-11.30, week 14,15, 17-21
Tuesday 08.00-12.25, week 22
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Søren Friis Møller - MPP
Administration: Karina Ravn Nielsen, electives.lpf@cbs.dk, 3815 3782.
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
Last updated on 25-10-2013
Learning objectives
To be awarded the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives:
  • The student should be able to account for the main concepts of relational leadership theory
  • The student should be able to discuss different positions within the field of relational leadership theory
  • The student should be able to apply relational leadership theory to empirical cases, and discuss the consequences.
  • The student should be able to create new leadership solutions to empirical problems, and present argumentation in favor of these.
  • The student should be able to reflect on the consequences of applying concepts from relational leadership theory to empirical cases.
Relational Leadership:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 3 students in the group
Group project and group oral exam.
Also possible to do it individual (max. 5 pages).
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Assignment type Report
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
Andrea: 'Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.'
Galileo: 'No Andrea, unhappy is the land that needs a hero.' (Brecht, 1938:115)

'Leadership need not have existed, or need not be at all as it is. Leadership, or leaderhip as it is at present, is not determined by the nature of things; it is not inevitable.' (Fairhurst, 2007:5)

The COP15 summit in Copenhagen epitomized a major leadership paradox in our times: the world increasingly looks to leadership for solutions to the great challenges facing mankind, and at the same time, the world is increasingly distrusting leadership's capacity to meet those challenges. New forms of leadership are needed, and new ways of understanding what counts as leadership are equally so. 

The course sees leadership as processes of ongoing construction in relations (Hosking, 2006), and thus it problematizes leadership as a leader-centered practice or set of inborn traits. It draws on the theoretical framework of relational leadership theory (RLT), a postmodern discourse of leadership which gives primacy to relations and places them at the core of interest. RLT doesn't offer new fixed understandings of leaderships, but rather a set of meditations on how we might think of leadership, and how relational processes may be made sense of in leadership terms. 

The students are encouraged to study leadership in social movements, parties, social media, communities, social-economic companies and organizations etc. in order to propose ways to understand leadership and assess its performativity. 

Tentative readings: 
Brookes, S. & Grint, K., 2010, The New Public Leadership Challenge, Palgrave Macmillan
Calás, M.B., 1993, Deconstructing Chrismatic Leadership: Re-reading Weber from the Darker Side, Leadership Quarterly, vol.4(3/4)
McNamee, S. & Gergen, K.J. and Ass.,1999, Relational Responsibility, Sage
Dachler, H.P. & Hosking, D.M., The primacy of relations in socially constructed organizational realities, in Hosking et al (eds.), Management and Organizations: Relational Perspectives, Ashgate/Avebury, pp. 1-23
Gergen, K.J., 2009, An Invitation to Social Construction, 2nd edn., Sage
Grint, K., 2005, Problems, Problems, Problems. The Social Construction of Leadership, Human Relations, vol. 58(11) 1467-1494
Grint, K., 2005, Leadership: Limits and Possibilities, Palgrave MacMillan
Hosking, D.M., 2010, Moving Relationally: Meditations on a relational approach to leadership, in Sage Handbook of Leadership, Bryman, A. et al. (eds.), Sage
Hosking, D.M., 2006, Not Leaders, Not Followers: A Post-Modern Discourse of Leadership Processes, in Shamir et al. (eds.), CT Information Age Publishing
Morley, I.E. & Hosking, D.M., 2003, Leadership, Learning and Negotiation in a Social Psychology of Organizing, in Bennett, N. et al. (eds.), Sage
Murrell, K.L., 1997, Emergegnt theories of leadership for the next century: towards relational concepts, Organizational Development Journal, vol. 15(3) 35-42
Uhl-Bien, M., 2006, Relational Leadership Theory: Exploring the social processes of leadership and organizing, Leadership Institute Faculty Publications, vol. Paper 19, DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Teaching methods
The course includes dialogue based lectures, group based work, discussions of empirical cases.
Last updated on 25-10-2013