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2012/2013  KAN-CBL_SU01  Language and Leadership

English Title
Language and Leadership

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Course period Summer
NOTE: The course schedule is at the moment ONLY available at www.cbs.dk/summer
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Faculty - Michael Capek, New York University, Leonard Stern School of Business
    Patricia Plackett - Department of Operations Management
Main Category of the Course
  • Communication
Last updated on 23-04-2012
Learning objectives
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Understand the importance of language as a strategic leadership tool, and how to better employ it to achieve the objectives of their teams, units, and the organization as a whole
  • Acquire skill in techniques of consciously using language as a tool for change
  • Assess how the structure and culture of an organization impacts communication strategies and tactics
  • Think creatively and analytically about the communication aspects of business issues
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of business contexts
Students must be fluent in spoken and written English.

Language and Leadership
Project/Home Assignment (written individually), 15 A4 pages:
Type of test Home Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner No second examiner
Exam period Summer Term
Aids Please, see the detailed regulations below
Duration Please, see the detailed regulations below
Mandatory Feedback Assignment
Students will be required to give two in-class oral presentations prior to submitting the final exercise, which will take the form of a directed term paper of 15 (A4) pages. 
Course content
Today’s business environment is characterized by major global challenges, uncertainties, and rapid change.  In this environment, the effective use of communication as a key management strategy is especially critical, since leaders at all levels of an organization rely on language as a primary tool to achieve the efficiency, responsiveness to changing conditions, and ongoing innovation that characterize the successful 21st century enterprise.  This course is predicated on the understanding that effective leaders and effective organizations consciously use language as an essential tool for advancing their businesses--and aims to equip students to address the leadership challenges they will face by increasing their understanding and facility with using language as an explicit tool for organizational change.
The course is designed to provide both theoretical and practical fundamentals that underlie best communication practices for business leadership.  Both the theoretical material and the skill enhancement addressed rest on experientially verifiable linguistic concepts, typically involving a communication event--which is to say, a situation where communication is necessary to move an action forward, to resolve conflict, to address a business problem, and so on.  Emphasis will be on strategies of persuasion--strategies that involve analyzing the purpose of the communication event, the audience and its needs, and the structure and content of the message itself.  Particular emphasis will be given to those strategies that help move an audience from one position to another, as essential component of leadership.  In this context, activities involving teamwork, negotiation, and listening, as well as parsing and modifying the emotional content of messages will be examined in detail. 
The course will also focus on the context of leadership communication. Concerns addressed will include fundamental--indeed, foundational--concepts: for example, one of the most fundamental activities in business is the process of problem solving.  The process may sound simple, but as every business person knows, gaining consensus about exactly what constitutes a problem--or ‘the’ problem--can be a challenging undertaking.
Teaching methods
Students should enroll in this course only if they have the intention to attend all classes. Much of the learning in this course takes place in the classroom as a result of student discussions, exercises, and interactions
Expected literature
A Compendium (Language and Leadership) of both popular and scholarly articles selected for their range, quality of insight, and appropriateness to the themes and concerns of the course; authors include Carol Madigan, Stephen Pinker, Michael Frayn, John McCrone, Derek Bickerton, Peter Senge, and Walker Percy. 
Other texts include John R. Searle’s Mind, Language and Society (New York, 1998), and David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II (Del Mar, CA, 1998).
The required reading will comply with the guidelines for a graduate-level course set out in the 2011 Course Proposal Template.
Last updated on 23-04-2012