AH3B01-Leading in the 21st Century: Leadership Challenges and Practices

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Caroline Rook

Email: c.rook@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module explores the role of leadership in leading successful and sustainable organisations in the 21st century. The module explores leadership as a multi-facetted approach that reflects the ambiguous, complex and high paced challenges that the organisation, its leaders and employees may face. Thus, it looks at how leadership may become everyone’s job and how engaging leadership may become a capacity of the entire organisation.


By considering contemporary leadership practices and insights, this module will enable students to critically engage with the challenges of effective leadership.


Assessable learning outcomes:

1. Critically evaluate major perspectives and practices in the field of leadership.

2. Understand the contextual influences on effective leadership.

3. Analyse and critically evaluate leadership situations through engagement with real-life case  


4. Identify strategies and resources for enhancing effective intrapersonal and interpersonal 

           leadership skills. 

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

Session Lecture Seminar Key Reading (available also via electronic reading list)
1. Introduction to the module and leadership in the 21st century Interactive leadership exercise McKinsey & Company (2012): Leading in the 21st century
2. Exploring perspectives/theories on leadership: Leadership as process, person, and context Assignment 1 Workshop – The Leadership Challenge

Core text book chapters 2 – 5: Schedlitzki, D. & Edwards, G. (2014). Studying Leadership. London: Sage.


Relational approaches to leadership and followership

Guest speaker from an organisation with a Leadership Challenge

Core text book chapters 6 & 9
4. Mock Assessment Centre on Team Work Capability Exploring the dynamics of high-performing teams

Pre-work: Webinar on Leadership for high-performance teams and changing work practices

5. Leading for individual work engagement and organizational energy Case Study work

Bruch & Vogel (2011)

Bakker & Demerouti (2008) 
6. Leadership and culture: A focus on diversity and inclusion in organisations Design a diversity and inclusion programme Core text book chapters 10 & 12
7. Leadership learning and development Leadership skills development exercise Core text book chapters 11
8. Leading change for organisational and societal sustainability Preparation of presentations (for Assignment 1) Core text book chapter 8 & 13
9. Assessment Workshop: Assignment 1 Presentations   -
10.  Module Review Assignment 2 Briefing -


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Through engagement with theoretical leadership literature in addition to real-life case studies, students will be encouraged to develop their own perspective and practice of engaging and responsible leadership. They will undertake a variety of learning activities including lectures, in-class exercises, self-assessment and supplementary reading. Students will be encouraged to relate their own experiences to their studies and to share these with fellow students.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Method Percentage

Assignment 1: Individual Presentation, Time limit: 15 minutes

Submission date: Week 9


Task: Individual Presentation on a real-life leadership challenge - Based on the contemporary leadership challenge outlined by the guest speaker in the first half of the module, propose recommendations on how this challenge can be addressed. You should draw on module content and develop concrete action steps for the organisation. 

Assignment 2: Written essay including reflective diary, word limit: 2,000

Submission date: Week 11


Task: Examine your personal development as a leader throughout the module. - Based on your experiences from group work throughout the module and other leadership experiences, which you might have alongside the module, examine your personal development as a leader. To do so, you are asked to record reflections on your leadership experiences and development (e.g., presentation skills) in a reflective diary. The essay should include a comparison of and integration between theory and your experience in the module. The essay should include a discussion of theoretical approaches and refer to your reflections recorded in the diary.


Formative assessment methods:

Through in-class discussions, case study work and group discussions, students receive peer feedback and feedback from the tutor on their understanding of the subject. This will directly support work that needs to be undertaken for the summative assessments.

Penalties for late submission:

University standard penalties for late submission are automatically generated.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

The pass-mark is 40% for both assessment elements and the overall module.

Reassessment arrangements:

Individual presentation on assignment 1 and resubmission of assignment 2.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):


Last updated: 4 July 2018


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