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2010/2011  KAN-CMF_F37  The Fine Art of Leadership

English Title
The Fine Art of Leadership

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course Period Spring
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 45
Study Board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Psychology
Course Coordinator
Stefan Meisiek - smeisiek@cbs.dkSecretary Karina Ravn Nielsen/ Lucie Alexanian - electives.lpf@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Organization
  • Management
  • Experience economy and service management
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
The course’s development of personal competences: Students will:
• become more aesthetically and artistically intelligent in their thinking and practice of leadership
• learn to create leadership initiatives that are lifeful, vibrant, creative, and profound
• learn creative “out of the box” thinking methods
• learn when and how to use particular inquiry approaches
• become better at developing desirable leadershipsolutions to real-world leadership problems
• become more proficient at interacting with real-world leaders

• To enable students to skillfully assess existing leadership processes to redesign them in imaginative and compelling ways
• To familiarize students with various perspectives on leadership, and their costs and benefits
• To help students to create, critique, convincingly demonstrate, and discuss solutions to difficult leadership situations
None. Background work in the arts and humanities is helpful but not required.
The examination is an individual essay on the basis of questions. Length: 10 pages. Internal censorship takes part in the gradin
Exam Period May/June
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
Course Content

In 2004, Daniel Pink famously wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) was becoming the new MBA. It turns out that he is not far wrong—arts approaches of all kinds have become a regular part of the business and leadership landscape, ranging from the Shakespearian leadership courses given by Richard Olivier to the music-centred leadership courses at the Banff Centre. Although there are many books that are titled “The Art of Leadership”, most take a recipe-driven, leadership-by-the-numbers approach; only a couple actually draw on contemporary art thinking. This course is meant to be a genuine introduction to artful leadership, and draws from art theory and numerous art disciplines. It assumes that a large part of leading requires the imaginative, compositional, and performative skills that permeate artistic practice. As such, it is a strong complement to more science-based leadership approaches. The course interweaves two goals: cultivating a leadership artmind (artistic way of thinking) and the minding of leadership-related art.

The course is distinguished by its use of a studio pedagogy which stresses arts-based leadership exercises, hands-on making, experimentation, and demonstration—all done during class time and partly outside of class. Students will work both individually and in small groups on taking a particular leadership problem, interest, or question and addressing it from a particular artistic lens. Several guest artists from different fields will hold “master classes” during the semester. Classes will concentrate on the following:

The Leader’s Music: Allegro, Bass, and Beyond

The Leader’s Vision: Visual Arts Perspectives

Plays on Leadership: Dramaturgic Perspectives

Cooking Up Leadership: Culinary Approaches to Leading

Reading and Writing Leadership: Literary Approaches to Leadership

Screening Leadership: Cinematic Approaches

The Dance of Leadership: Choreographic and Kinesthetic Perspectives


(Sample readings—final reading list will change)

Adler, N. J. (2006) ‘The arts & leadership: now that we can do anything, what will we do?’, Academy of Management Learning & Education, 5(4), 486–499.

Barry, D. (2008) The art of… . In Barry, D. & Hansen, H., The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization. London: Sage Publishing, pp. 31-41.

Barry, Daved. 2010. Art and Entrepreneurship, Apart and Together. In Zander, Ivo and Scherdin, Mikael (eds) Art Entrepreneurship. Elgar Press.

Barry, Daved and Meisiek, Stefan. 2010. Sensemaking, Mindfulness, and the Workarts. Organization Studies.

Barry, Daved and Meisiek, Stefan. 2010. The Art of Leadership and Its Fine Art Shadow. Leadership.

Boyle, Mary-Ellen, and Edward Ottensmeyer 2005 ‘Solving business problems through the creative power of the arts: catalyzing change at Unilever.’ Journal of Business Strategy 26/5: 14-21.

Brellochs, Mari, and Henrik Schrat, Henrik (eds) 2005b Product & vision: An experimental set-up between art and business. Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos.

Davies, Stephen 2007 Philosophical perspectives on art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Guillet de Monthoux, P. (2004) The art firm: Aesthetic management and metaphysical marketing from Wagner to Wilson. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Guthey, E. and Jackson, B. (2005) CEO Portraits and the Authenticity Paradox. Journal of Management Studies, 42: 1057-1082

Hatch, Mary Jo 1999 ‘Exploring the empty spaces of organizing: How improvisational jazz helps redescribe organizational structure’. Organization Studies 20/1: 75-100.

Hatch, Mary J., Monica Kostera, and Andrzej Kozminski 2007 The three faces of leadership: Manager, Artist, Priest. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ibbotson, Piers 2008 The illusion of leadership. Houndmills: Macmillan Publishers.

Jones, M. (2006) Artful leadership: Awakening the commons of the imagination. Bloomington, Indiana: Trafford Publishing

Ladkin, D. (2008) Leading beautifully: How mastery, congruence and purpose create the aesthetic of embodied leadership practice. Leadership Quarterly, 19: 31-41.

Langer, Ellen J. 2006 On becoming an artist: Reinventing yourself through mindful creativity. New York: Ballentine Books.

March, J. G. and Weil, T. (2005). On leadership: A short course. London: Wiley Blackwell.

Meisiek, S., and Barry, D. (2007) Through the Looking Glass of Organizational Theatre: Analogically Mediated Inquiry in Organizations. Organization Studies 28: 1805-1827.

Olivier, R. (2002) Inspirational leadership: Henry V and the muse of fire. London: Spiro Press.

Taylor, S. S., and Carboni, I. (2008) Technique and practices from the arts. In

Handbook of New and Emerging Approaches to Management and Organization. D. Barry, and H. Hansen (eds.) London: Sage: 220-228.

Zander, Ivo and Scherdin, Mikael (eds) 2010. Art Entrepreneurship. Elgar Press.