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2014/2015  KAN-CFILV1345U  The Fine Art of Leadership

English Title
The Fine Art of Leadership

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 25
Max. participants 40
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Daved Barry - MPP
Administrative contact: Karina Ravn Nielsen - electives.mpp@cbs.dk or direct phone: 38153782
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Experience economy and service management
  • Organization
  • Methodology
Last updated on 22-08-2014
Learning objectives
Students will be able to
  • apply the logics and rationales of art to a leadership setting, using the arts-based perspectives and techniques covered in the course
  • find, develop, communicate, and promote an arts-based solution to a leadership challenge, using the course perspectives and techniques
  • distinguish between scientific and artistic approaches to leadership and know the relative merits of each
  • distinguish between craft-art and fine art approaches to leadership, and be able to effectively join both of these within a given art-of-leadership project.
  • evaluate the merit of possible leadership solutions using the arts perspectives covered in the course.
Course prerequisites
None. Background work in the arts and humanities is helpful but not required.
The Fine Art of Leadership:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
The examination is an individual essay on the basis of questions. Length max: 15 pages. Internal censorship takes part in the grading.
Course content and structure

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 Canada’s 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. In contrast, this course directly examines leadership using art theory and draws from numerous art disciplines (e.g., the visual & conceptual arts, music, dramaturgy, literary art & poetics, gastronomy, architecture). It assumes that art itself is a type of leadership, and that a large part of leading requires the imaginative, compositional, and performative skills that permeate artistic practice. As such, it complements more science-based leadership approaches and adds richness and distinctiveness to the discipline of leadership, both in theory and practice.

Students will:
• become better able to apply an “art mind” to leadership issues, and become more aesthetically and artistically competent in their thinking and practice of leadership.
• become skilled at developing inspiration networks.
• become better at developing imaginative, frame-changing solutions to leadership dilemmas.
• improve their co-creative abilities, especially around the collective development and curation of arts-based projects.
• become more proficient at interacting with real-world leaders


Teaching methods
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 various leadership problems, interests, or questions, addressing them from various artistic perspectives and using assorted media.
Further Information
Changes in course schedule may occur
Thursday 13.30-17.00, week 36-42
Thursday 13.3-17.55, week 43
Expected literature

(Sample readings—the final reading list is subject to minor changes)
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.

Last updated on 22-08-2014