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2013/2014  KAN-SOL_OS50  Leadership

English Title

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Spring, Fourth Quarter
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Silviya Svejenova Velikova - Department of Organization (IOA)
Course responsible: Silviya Svejenova Velikova (ssve.ioa@cbs.dk)
Course secretary: Mette Ellekrog (mbe.ioa@cbs.dk)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organization
Last updated on 13-08-2013
Learning objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to:
  • Identify a critical leadership situation and, based on it, articulate an important leadership issue, problem, or dilemma
  • Contrast and connect theoretical concepts and approaches to leadership, and apply them to the challenges of leading and following in the critical situation
  • Discuss and evaluate how specific leader or leaders frame the critical situation and engage in decision making and action
  • Perform an analysis of the critical situation and the leader’s or leaders’ approach to it
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
The paper applies selected aspects of the theoretical curriculum to analyse a critical leadership situation of the student’s choice, articulates the challenges faced by the leader(s) involved in it, and evaluates the leader’s or leaders’ repertoire of styles, decisions, and actions.
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Scientific paper
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The theme of the re-exam will be different from the theme of the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

This course takes as a point of departure James March’s definition of leadership as a “delicate balance of plumbing and poetry” and aims at igniting students’ curiosity towards and appreciation of the deeper realities of leading and following. It seeks to inspire and enable students to grasp and reflect on the complex nature and meaning of leadership, and to illuminate the dilemmas of leading. It provides learning experiences that enhance their capacity to recognize, frame, reflect upon and envision decisions and actions related to leading in situations of ambiguity.
The course offers a critical and comparative introduction to theoretical perspectives and frameworks on leadership, connecting the concept to related notions, such as management, authority, and charisma. It provides students with insights on the opportunities, challenges, problems, and limitations of leadership and with occasions for discussion of leadership related issues, such as envisioning, mustering political capital, exercising influence, leading without power, and the role of networks in providing checks and balances to leaders. It illustrates, contrasts, connects and challenges theoretical ideas through examples from different contexts.
During the course, the students engage with knowing, doing, and being aspects of leadership, reflecting upon the particularities of leading oneself, groups, and organizations. They also get exposure to a complex ecology of organisational leaders, e.g. institutional, political, intellectual, and everyday leaders, as well as to substitutes for leadership. Through that, they expand their imagination for action and repertoire of available roles, skills, and styles. The course also increases students’ awareness of the difficulties and potentially dysfunctional aspects of leadership, as well as of its joys, passion, and beauty.
Overlap with the course Managing Organizational Change
The course Leadership extends a number of theoretical issues and empirical phenomena related to Managing Organizational Change to the study of leadership. Students learn theoretical concepts and analytical tools that they can employ in understanding the behaviour of leaders in change situations.

Teaching methods
Through participatory methods and course materials, ranging from lectures and debates, to discussions of cases, excerpts from film, literature, biographies and speeches, the course brings to life leadership issues and dilemmas in different organizational contexts. It also has an experiential component with students engaging in exercises and role-plays that help them develop imagination for the repertoire of leadership roles, skills, and actions. Students are expected to come prepared to class and actively participate in and contribute to the class activities and discussions.
Expected literature

Alvarez, J.L. and Svejenova, S. 2005. Sharing Executive Power: Roles and Relationships at the Top. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Burns, J.M. 1978. Leadership. New York, N.Y.: Harper & Collins, Publishers.
Follett, M.P. 1949. The Essentials of Leadership. In Urwick, L. (ed.) Freedom and Co-ordination: Lectures in Business Organization by Mary Parker Follett, pp. 47-60. London, UK: Management Publications Trust.
Grint, K. 2010. Leadership: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Kellerman, B. 2012. The End of Leadership. New York, NY: HarperBusiness.
Kerr, S. and Jermier, J.M. 1978. Substitutes for Leadership: Their Meaning and Measurement. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 22: 375-403.
March, J. G. and Weil, T. 2005. On Leadership. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Selznick, P. 1984 [1954]. Leadership in Administration. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Smircich, L. and Morgan, G. 1982. Leadership: The Management of Meaning. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18(3): 257-273.
Zaleznik, A. 1977. Managers and leaders: Are they different? Harvard Business Review, 55: 67–78.

Last updated on 13-08-2013