AHM004-Leading in the 21st Century: Leadership Challenges and Practices

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 30 [15 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 at a senior level in successful and sustainable organisations in the 21st century. The module explores leadership as a multi-facetted, multi-level approach that reflects the ambiguous, complex and high paced challenges that the organisation, its leaders and employees may face. The complexity of leading in multi-agency, international environments reflects the senior nature of the student.  The depth of understanding which provides a reflective and considered approach to leadership, taking into account significant issues or missions, as well as potentially large teams is reflected in the learning and its application. 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. A systematic understanding of key literature and theories in the subject area, as well as knowledge of the contemporary environment and its impacts

2. Critically evaluate major perspectives and practices in the field of leadership and provide original application of this knowledge in the given context.

3. Understand the contextual influences on effective leadership.

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

5. Identify strategies and resources for enhancing effective intrapersonal and interpersonal           leadership skills. 

6. Competence in research skills and advanced scholarship

Additional outcomes:


Outline content:

Key Topics Lecture Learning activity 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

Dinh, J. E., Lord, R. G., Gardner, W. L., Meuser, J. D., et al. 2014. Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives. The Leadership Quarterly, 25, 36-62.
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. Dysfunctional leadership Identification of indicators

Clive Roland Boddy , (2015)," Organisational psychopaths: a ten year update ", Management

Decision, Vol. 53 Iss 10 pp. 2407 - 2432
7. Leadership and culture: A focus on diversity and inclusion in organisations Design a diversity and inclusion programme Core text book chapters 10 & 12
8. Leadership learning and development Leadership skills development exercise Core text book chapters 11
9. Leading change for organisational and societal sustainability Preparation of presentations (for Assignment 1) Core text book chapter 8 & 13
10. Module Review Assignment 2 Briefing                          -


Global context:

The context of this module will extend to the Global nature of army employment and deployment and will take into account international situations and cultures where leadership will be required. 

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 12
Seminars 10
Tutorials 18
Guided independent study 260
Total hours by term 300.00
Total hours for module 300.00

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, critically evaluate their approach, using appropriate reference to theory and 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: 5,000

Submission date: Week 11

Task: Examine your personal development as a leader throughout the module. - Based on your experiences from your leadership experiences, both your own experience of leading others, and as a follower, examine your personal development as both  leader and follower in a multi-level, multi-faceted environment. 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 chat rooms and module forums, students will receive formative assessment and development feedback. 

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

The pass-mark is 50% 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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