MQM2LDO-Leading in the Digital Organisation

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Norbert Morawetz

Type of module:

Summary module description:

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. 

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.


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 the evolving digital landscape including key technologies underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as automation, machine-learning, Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud Environmental Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, blockchain etc. 
  • Understand and critically discuss the changing role of leadership in a pervasive digital environment 

  • Understand the impact of workstream platforms on shaping organizational information and communication flows, enabling new networks and adhocracies, distributed work patterns, decision-making and governance. 

  • Understand key concepts of data and predictive data science, and its application in informing and legitimizing leadership decisions. 

  • Analyse 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 how techniques used by entrepreneurs can be used in organisational settings to rapidly iterate business models and test new processes and products. 

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


Additional outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that programme members will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

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

  • Work autonomously, as well as collaboratively, managing their process of study, prioritising appropriately

  • Understand how they can enhance their own digital learning strategy through experimentation

Outline content:

Topics to be covered include:

  1. Automation, machine learning and digital everywhere 

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

       3. Data-driven decision making for digital leaders 

       4.Digital leadership and ethics: key issues and challenges 

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

Global context:

The module draws on research and practice examples from around the world.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This is a self-study module, comprising an online study guide with core and further readings, supported by webinars, practice application exercises, a discussion forum, and multi-media learning objects, including video.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 2
Work-based learning 35
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 5
    Wider reading (directed) 24
    Preparation of practical report 8
    Essay preparation 16
Total hours by term 0 0 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Number and length of assignments and in-class tests, and if available, the submission date for each assignment (expressed as a week of a specific Term):


One 2,500 words (-10% / +20%) Individual assignment with a weight of 100% of the final assessment mark; submission dates according to intake schedule.

Formative assessment methods:

The module includes a series of practice applications designed to help develop deeper understanding of module concepts and frameworks by applying them to contexts/problems identified by the programme member. An online discussion forum monitored by a Henley based tutor supports these activities.


Penalties for late submission:

These are in accordance with the mode of study arrangements laid out in the Programme Specifications.

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

An overall mark of 50% for the individual written assignment.

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment by 100% assignment (capped at 50%); deadline to be advised by the Examinations Manager following the relevant Programme Examiners’ Meeting.


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books


The cost of textbooks and study aids for apprentices are met by the University of Reading as per the Education and Skills Funding Agency Regulations.


The information contained in this module description does not form any part of a student’s contract.



Last updated: 25 May 2021


Things to do now