Type of module:

Summary module description:

As digital technology moves from being disruptive to becoming pervasive, the breadth and depth of digital change transforms entire systems of production, management, and governance. 

This poses a dual challenge to leaders who must not only be able to understand how digital technologies continuously reshape their competitive environment and devise strategies to keep their organisation ahead; but also need to be able to continuously rethink organizational processes and their own role within them: What is the role of leadership in an emerging work environment where advances in automation and machine-learning mean that core functions such as organising information flows, delegating and prioritizing work and even high-level decision-making can now be assumed by systems? How does the ubiquity of connected data affect organizational power structures, leadership legitimacy, ethics and governance? How can leaders build a company culture that embraces continuous individual and organizational development? 


Drawing on leading-edge case studies, theory and industry guest speakers, this module critically explores the role and opportunities for leadership in the context of the emerging Digital Organization paradigm. 


The aim of this module is to explore the role of leadership and frontiers in leadership practice in a pervasive digital environment. The module builds awareness of key digital technologies and discusses their impact on managerial practices, processes and strategies. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the completion of this module, students will gain a sound knowledge of digital leadership and building and enabling digital organisations. Specifically, students will be able to: 

  •  Understand and critically discuss the changing role of leadership in a pervasive digital environment 

  • Deliver workplace transformations through planning and implementing technology based business change programmes 

  • Analyze organizational and managerial processes with regards to their potential for automation, and critically appraise the impact on the nature of work, leadership, company culture and society. 

  • Understand and discuss digital techniques used by entrepreneurs to rapidly iterate business models and test new processes and products. 

  • Understand an d discuss practices of leading change with respect to embedding digital mindset/culture throughout an organization and implications for talent development and employee engagement. 

  • Understand and critically appraise own behavior with regards to managing digital productivity, managerial work practice and continuing professional development 

  • Evaluate the significance of human factors to leadership in the effective implementation and management of technology enabled business processes; 

  • Establish high levels of performance in digital and technology solutions activities        

  • Evaluate how you can inspire and motivate others to deliver excellent technical solutions and outcomes  

  • Develop a nd support others in developing an appropriate balance of leadership and technical skills      

  • Negotiate and agree digital and technology specialism delivery budgets with those with decision-making responsibility; 

  • Develop negotiating and closing techniques in a range of interactions and engagements, both with senior internal and external stakeholders; 

  • Develop technology leadership and change management skills for managing technology driven change and continuous improvement; 



Additional outcomes:

  • Develop own leadership style and professional values that contributes to building high performing teams; 

  • Promote a high level of cooperation between own work group and other groups to establish a technology change led culture 

Outline content:

  1. The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Automation, machine learning and digital everywhere 

  1. Leading the digital organization: communication, configuration, control and governance 

  1. Leadership as practice in algorithm design: designing automated processes 

  1. Digital leadership and ethics: key issues and challenges 

  1. Leading digitally – the changing role and identity of the leader in the digital organization 

  1. Leadership lessons from digital startups: rapid business model innovation and experimentation 

  1. The principles of business transformation and how organisations integrate different management functions in the context of technological change; 

  1. The role of learning and talent management in successful business operations. 

  1. The role of leadership in contemporary technolog y based organisations; 

  1. The personal leadership qualities that are required to establish and maintain an organisations technical reputation. 

  1. The role of leaders as change agents and identify contributors to successful implementation 

  1. Build ing the digital organization: Facilitating digital competences and culture 

  1. Managing yourself: Optimizing own digital productivity 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module is interactive. Sessions are comprised of a combination of formal lectures, case studies, guest speakers and student-led learning sessions. 

A laptop is required for some of the sessions. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Demonstration 14
Work-based learning 80
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 6
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Preparation of practical report 60
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 10
    Reflection 20
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Project report and memos (3,000 words)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment by coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

 Specialist equipment or materials


Last updated: 8 April 2021


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