Identify the situations in which business leadership emerges

To be successful companies need to be effectively led and, in todays challenging and volatile global business environment, this requires character, intelligence, creativity and ‘people skills of a high order. Are these attributes that are inborn and beyond the scope of academic enquiry, or can they be teased out, analysed and developed through training? During the coming 8 weeks you will study recent thinking on this important management area and learn how to apply appropriate methodologies to assess leadership potential, identify skill gaps that need to be filled and measure improvements in leadership performance.

Module description and aims

The module is designed to introduce the student to modern theories and models of leadership and explain its importance in motivating improved performance and the achievement of greater business success. Leadership is defined and various methods for assessing potential leaders are considered. You will explore the sources of power within organisations and the tactics leaders use to influence followers. You will also study the personality traits and distinctive behaviours that leaders display. The module focuses on the effective leadership of teams and the role of charismatic and transformational leadership in bringing about successful organisational change.


The specific aims of this module are to ensure that students can:

• Appreciate the importance of the concept of leadership in the context of effective business management
• Gain a working knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories of business leadership
• Learn how to apply academic ideas of leadership to real business situations

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student will be able to:

• Understand the role of leadership in business organisations
• Interpret the main contemporary definitions of leadership
• Identify the situations in which business leadership emerges
• Analyse selected models and theories of leadership
• Apply theories of leadership to practical business situations
• Evaluate examples of leadership in modern companies

Learning strategies

You will be studying this module through a combination of self-study and online interactions. The self-study materials introduce the full range of topics that need to be covered, although some additional detail will arise through discussion and collaboration between students and instructors. One of the strengths of an online learning program such as this is the high level of student interaction, where students are encouraged to share their own experiences online for the benefit of the others.

Each week of the module has detailed learning objectives, indicating the topics and level of competence that you should achieve on completion of that part. Assignments include Discussion questions, hand-in assessment exercises, and a longer project.

The self-study part of the course includes:

• Written and recorded lecture notes covering five topics within each of the 8 weekly themes in the module
• Hyperlinks to Web-based materials about the topics within each weekly theme
• Links to slides and other media offering additional insights
• Recommended reading relating to the topics within the weekly theme