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2020/2021  KAN-CSOCV1036U  Embodied Leadership

English Title
Embodied Leadership

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Social Sciences
Course coordinator
  • Claus Springborg - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
  • Lena Olaison - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Business psychology
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 25-02-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Understand and describe key concepts, theories and perspectives presented in the course and compare and discuss these critically
  • Apply these concepts, theories and perspectives to empirical examples of leadership moments and show how these can assist in making reflected decisions about the enactment of leadership
  • Assess and explain which somatic cues are important for leaders to be aware of
  • Critically reflect upon the practical and theoretical limitations and implications of the applied concepts, theories and perspectives
Embodied Leadership:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
In the case of re-exam, a new essay must be produced.
Description of the exam procedure

Students will be asked to reflect on common leadership challenges in relation to course theory and frameworks.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The course aims to provide students with knowledge about leadership challenges in contemporary work-life and how these challenges can be addressed by understanding leadership as a collective, contextual and embodied process. That leadership is collective means that the phenomenon of leadership is not bound to a single individual and that designated leaders, therefore, must be as much at home in the leader as in the follower role. That leadership is contextual means that any concrete act of leadership is evaluated against the context in which it occurs. That leadership is embodied means that somatic experiences play a crucial role in guiding how leadership is enacted.

During the course, the students will be presented with a range of leadership theories, which will be re-examined in the light of philosophical ideas, mainly drawn from continental philosophy, and in the light of new results in cognitive science which shows that human cognition is profoundly embodied in nature.

The course will combine concepts from philosophy, cognitive science and leadership theory, and the course will bring these to life through exercises where students are invited to put the concepts, theories and perspectives into practice.

Description of the teaching methods
The pedagogical approach will be highly interactive, combining short lectures with discussions, hands-on, experiential learning, brief guided meditations and studio pedagogy exercises through which students’ can develop their capacity to engage with leadership and their ability to reflect on their own practice in ways that involve both the theoretical frameworks from the course literature and embodied, somatic aspects of the students’ own lived experience.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students receive feedback from the instructor and peers during the course of highly interactive teamwork and discussions, in small groups and in plenary. Feedback will also be offered on the basis of group exercises, where we reflect together on learning experiences.
Student workload
Course activities (including preparation) 136 hours
Exam (including exam preparation) 70 hours
Expected literature

Adler, Nancy J. 2010. “Going beyond the Dehydrated Language of Management: Leadership Insight.” Journal of Business Strategy 31 (4): 90–99.

Argyris, Chris. 1976. Increasing Leadership Effectiveness.Contemporary Sociology. Vol. 7. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Bathurst, Ralph, and Trudie Cain. 2013. “Embodied Leadership: The Aesthetics of Gesture.” Leadership 9: 358–77. doi:10.1177/​1742715013485851.

Brendel, William, and Carmela Bennett. 2016. “Learning to Embody Leadership Through Mindfulness and Somatics Practice.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 18 (3): 409–25. doi:10.1177/​1523422316646068.

Early, Gene - A short history of leadership theories, retreived from https:/​/​leadersquest.org/​content/​documents/​A_short_history_of_leadership_theories.pdf (8/5 2018)

Greenleaf, R. K. 1970. The Leader as Servant. Indianapolis: Robert Greenleaf Canter for Servant Leadership.

Greenwood, Ronald G. (1996) Leadership Theory: A Historical Look at it's Evolution, The Journal of Leadership Studies 3(1)

Hamill, Peter. 2011. “Embodied Leadership: Towards a New Way of Developing Leaders.” Strategic HR Review 10 (5): 5–10.

Isaacs, William 1999 Dialogue and the art of thinking together, New York: Currency.

Karssiens, E., C. van der Linden, C. P. M. Wilderom, and E. Furtmueller. 2013. “Embodied Mind Knowledge in Leadership Practice: Creating Space in Patterned Thoughts and Behaviors.” Journal of Management Inquiry 23 (3): 231–41. doi:10.1177/​1056492613513501.

Ladkin, Donna. 2008. “Leading Beautifully: How Mastery, Congruence and Purpose Create the Aesthetic of Embodied Leadership Practice.” Leadership Quarterly 19 (1): 31–41.

Ladmin, Donna 2010 Rethinking Leadership: A New Look at Old Leadership Questions, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar

Lord, Robert G., and Sara J. Shondrick. 2011. “Leadership and Knowledge: Symbolic, Connectionist, and Embodied Perspectives.” The Leadership Quarterly 22: 207–22.

Ludevig, Daniel, and Daniel Ludevig. 2015. “Using Embodied Knowledge to Unlock Innovation , Creativity , and Intelligence in Businesses.” Organizational Aesthetics 5 (1): 150–66.

Matzdorf, Fides. 2015. “Demanding Followers , Empowered Leaders : Dance As An ‘ Embodied Metaphor ’ For Demanding Followers , Empowered Leaders : Leader-Follower-Ship.” Organizational Aesthetics 5 (1): 114–30.

Musteen, Martina, Xin Liang, and Vincent L. Barker. 2011. “Personality, Perceptions and Retrenchment Decisions of Managers in Response to Decline: Evidence from a Decision-Making Study.” The Leadership Quarterly 22 (5). Elsevier Inc.: 926–41.

Naidoo, Loren J., Nicole E. Kohari, Robert G. Lord, and David A. DuBois. 2010. “‘Seeing’ Is Retrieving: Recovering Emotional Content in Leadership Ratings through Visualization.” The Leadership Quarterly 21 (5). Elsevier Inc.: 886–900.

O’Malley, Alison L., Samantha A. Ritchie, Robert G. Lord, Jane Brodie Gregory, and Candice M. Young. 2008. “Incorporating Embodied Cognition into Sensemaking Theory: A Theoretical Examination of Embodied Processes in a Leadership Context.” Current Topics in Management 14: 151–82.

Romanowska, Julia, Gerry Larsson, and Töres Theorell. 2013. “Effects on Leaders of an Art-Based Leadership Intervention.” Journal of Management Development 32 (9): 1004–22.

Rooke, David, and William R Torbert. 2005. “7 Transformations of Leadership.” Harvard Business Review 83 (4): 66–76, 133.

Shondrick, Sara J., Jessica E. Dinh, and Robert G. Lord. 2010. “Developments in Implicit Leadership Theory and Cognitive Science: Applications to Improving Measurement and Understanding Alternatives to Hierarchical Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly 21 (6). Elsevier Inc.: 959–78.

Sinclair, a. 2005. “Body Possibilities in Leadership.” Leadership 1 (4): 387–406.

Springborg, Claus. 2018. Sensory Templates and Manager Cognition: Art, Cognitive Science and Spiritual Practices in Management Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Springborg, Claus, and Ian Sutherland. 2014. “Flying Blind?” In The Physicality of Leadership: Gesture, Entanglement, Taboo, Possibilities, edited by Steven S. Taylor and Donna Ladkin. Bingley, UK: Emerald Books.

Sutherland, Ian. 2013. “Arts-Based Methods in Leadership Development: Affording Aesthetic Workspaces, Reflexivity and Memories with Momentum.” Management Learning 44 (1): 25–43.

Taylor, Steven S., and Donna Ladkin. 2014. “Leading as Craft-Work: The Role of Studio Practices in Developing Artful Leaders.” Scandinavian Journal of Management 30 (1). Elsevier Ltd: 95–103.

Last updated on 25-02-2020