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2017/2018  KAN-CCMVI2060U  Strategic Leadership: A Psychological Perspective

English Title
Strategic Leadership: A Psychological Perspective

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Maitane Elorriaga Rubio, PhD fellow, Copenhagen Business School, mel.smg@cbs.dk
    Sven Bislev - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
In case of any academic questions related to the course, please contact the course instructor or the academic director, Sven Bislev at sb.msc@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Project and change management
  • Strategy
  • Business psychology
Last updated on 25/04/2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Have a basic understanding and ability to identify and reflect on the contemporary theories of Psychology/neuroscience and management specifically with regards to decision making, motivation and strategy and be able to apply these to business cases related to solving managerial issues
  • Discuss the assumptions that underlie the study of managerial behaviors, including the role of the brain in determining emotional responses and relative roles of emotions and cognitive processes including reasoning in decision making
  • Reflect on the implications on the modern view of the brain in management and leadership studies and discuss how optimal management strategies can be integrated
  • Show the ability to structure the knowledge and to be able to criticize and reflect the ideas from the different theories upon the business cases
Course prerequisites
Completed bachelor degree. A general knowledge on management and leadership-related topics.
Strategic Leadership: A Psychological Perspective:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Written sit-in exam on CBS' computers
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer, Ordinary exam: 31 July - 3 August 2018

Retake exam: September - October 2018

3rd attempt (2nd retake) exam: November - December 2018

Exam schedule is available on https:/​/​www.cbs.dk/​uddannelse/​international-summer-university-programme-isup/​courses-and-exams.
Aids Open book: all written and electronic aids, including internet access
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
4 hour written sit-in exam, new exam question
Exam form for 3rd attempt (2nd retake): home project assignment, max. 15 pages.
Course content and structure

This course is dedicated to the multidisciplinary aspects of strategic management and leadership. Contemporary approaches will studied in light of recent advances in neuroscience and the broad legacy of the psychology discipline. Increasingly fast-changing and dynamic business environments need from new managerial responses and strategic orientations. Specifically, the course draws on new multi-disciplinary approaches to the study of behavioral strategy as an emerging field, where the role of affective elements is key in fostering adaptive strategic leadership. For this aim, the combination of strategic management and neuroscience– also called neuroleadership – will be used comprehensively throughout the course. 

Specifically, a psychological perspective (the role of emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects) will be adopted to study core managerial decision-making in firms. The course provides an opportunity for students to (a) deepen their understanding of how the brain makes social and non social choices, (b) learn about the role of individual emotional and cognitive capacities and challenges, and how to employ this knowledge in the service of management and organizational challenges, and (c) learn to employ neuroleadership strategies to organizational practice, as a way to promote strategic adaptation and increased performance. Much of the course will be dedicated to explain how the mind works and how this relates to  managerial and leadership strategic decision making. 
Issues such as attention, emotional responses, memory, preference formation and decision making are covered in depth. Emphasis will also be given to applied managerial challenges (cases) and how current research is changing the way leaders should be adapting their behavior to current particularly challenging business demands. 


Preliminary assignment: Students are invited to fill out a short check-list about their ability as neuro-leaders and to bring their score to the first class.

Class 1: Introduction
Class 2: Understanding strategic choice
Class 3: Understanding behavior: Why do we do the things we do?
Class 4: Rewards and behavior
Class 5: Exploration and Exploitation in strategic management
Class 6: Midway case challenge, to be solved and presented in class by teams.

Feedback activity: Connected with the activity in the previous class (class 6), teams will be given general feedback by the instructor in class.

Class 7: The emotional side of Strategy 
Class 8: Performance Management
Class 9: Towards a Behavioral Strategy
Class 10: The good and the bad of positive illusions
Class 11: Wrap-up and recommendations for the exam

Teaching methods
A combination of teaching presentations (by the instructor) and groupwork by the students based on business cases and other practice-oriented exercises in class, where students will apply the theory and will practice for the exam (case-based).
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will be provided with numerous exam examples (cases). There will be a midway case where they will discuss a case and try to solve it in small groups. Afterwards, each group will give a short presentation in class. Finally, the instructor will provide the students with general feedback to the class, as well as specific feedback to each of the teams.
Student workload
Preliminary assignment 20 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 20 hours
Further Information

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


Course timetable is available on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams.


We reserve the right to cancel the course if we do not get enough applications. This will be communicated on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams end February 2018 at the latest.


Expected literature

Mandatory readings:


Class 1:

- Ghadiri, A., Habermacher, A. and Peters, T. (2013). NeuroLeadership: A Journey Through the Brain for Business Leaders, Springer. Chapter 1.
- Shamir (1993) The Motivational Effects of Charismatic Leadership: A Self Concept Based Theory. 
- March (1994) A Primer on Decision making: How decisions Happen. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Class 2:

- Neilson et. al., (2008). The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution
- Kahneman Thinking Fast & Slow – Chapters 1, 2, 4, 8.
- Rangel (2008), A Framework for studying the neurobiology of value-based decision making. Nature. 

Class 3:

- Ghadiri, A., Habermacher, A. and Peters, T. (2013). NeuroLeadership: A Journey Through the Brain for Business Leaders, Springer. Chapter 3.
- Chartrand & Bargh (2002)
- Dijksterhuis & Aarts (2010), Goals, Attention, and (Un)Consciousness

Class 4:
- Ghadiri, A., Habermacher, A. and Peters, T. (2013). NeuroLeadership: A Journey Through the Brain for Business Leaders, Springer. Chapter 4.
- Winkielman, P., Berridge, K. (2003). Irrational Wanting and Subrational Liking: How Rudimentary Motivatonal and Affective Processes Shape Preferences and Choices (2003)
- Kringelbach, M. & Berridge, K. (2012). The Joyful Mind. 

Class 5:

- March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization science, 2(1), 71-87.
- Laureiro-Martínez, D., Brusoni, S., & Zollo, M. (2010). The neuroscientific foundations of the exploration− exploitation dilemma. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 3(2), 95.
- Hodgkinson, G. P., & Healey, M. P. (2011). Psychological foundations of dynamic capabilities: reflexion and reflection in strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 32(13), 1500-1516.

Class 7:

- Healey, M. P., & Hodgkinson, G. P. (2017). Making Strategy Hot. California Management Review, 59(3), 109-134.
- Lerner, J. S., & Keltner, D. (2000). Beyond valence: Toward a model of emotion-specific influences on judgement and choice. Cognition & Emotion, 14(4), 473-493.
- Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2008). Fast strategy: How strategic agility will help you stay ahead of the game. Pearson Education. Chapter 9.
- Smith, C. A., & Ellsworth, P. C. (1985). Patterns of cognitive appraisal in emotion. Journal of personality and social psychology, 48(4), 813.

Class 8: 

- Ghadiri, A., Habermacher, A. and Peters, T. (2013). NeuroLeadership: A Journey
Through the Brain for Business Leaders, Springer. Chapter 5.
- Locke, E. A. (1996). Motivation through conscious goal setting. Applied and preventive psychology, 5(2), 117-124.
- Stajkovic, A. D., Locke, E. A., & Blair, E. S. (2006). A first examination of the relationships between primed subconscious goals, assigned conscious goals, and task performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(5), 1172.

Class 9: 

-Powell, T. C., Lovallo, D., & Fox, C. R. (2011). Behavioral strategy. Strategic Management Journal, 32(13), 1369-1386.
- Doz, Y. L., & Kosonen, M. (2010). Embedding strategic agility: A leadership agenda for accelerating business model renewal. Long range planning, 43(2), 370-382.
- Greve, H. R. (2013). Microfoundations of management: Behavioral strategies and levels of rationality in organizational action. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 27(2), 103-119.

Class 10:

- Petit, V., & Bollaert, H. (2012). Flying too close to the sun? Hubris among CEOs and how to prevent it. Journal of business ethics, 108(3), 265-283.
- Knight, A. P. (2013). Mood at the midpoint: Affect and change in exploratory search over time in teams that face a deadline. Organization Science, 26(1), 99-118.
- Tang, Y., Li, J., & Yang, H. (2015). What I see, what I do: How executive hubris affects firm innovation. Journal of Management, 41(6), 1698-1723.


Additional relevant readings:


-Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: a social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological bulletin, 103(2), 193. 
-Ghadiri, A., Habermacher, A. and Peters, T. (2013). NeuroLeadership: A Journey Through the Brain for Business Leaders, Springer. Chapter 2.
- Barsade, S. G., & Gibson, D. E. (2007). Why does affect matter in organizations?. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(1), 36-59.
- Podoynitsyna, K., Van der Bij, H., & Song, M. (2012). The role of mixed emotions in the risk perception of novice and serial entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36(1), 115-140. 



Last updated on 25/04/2018