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Leadership in Practice - MAN00057H

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  • Department: The York Management School
  • Module co-ordinator: Mrs. Catherine Botting
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module looks to assess the political, economic, social and technological context of the organisation and the impact that leadership aspires to have on all these factors.

The module will critically evaluate different schools of thought regarding leadership and examine the strengths and limitations of leadership styles in the context of contemporary organisational issues.

It will examine the hopes for leadership and its impact upon organisational culture and performance. To do so, students will be invited to reflect in workshops on the competencies aspiring leaders might need, and the dangers of unskilled or dysfunctional leadership.

The module considers the ethical implications of leadership practice integrated throughout the module, including critical reflection on personal practice and organisational responsibilities, as well as the colonial and other unjust characteristics of perceptions of ‘leader’ stereotypes. Students on the module will be encouraged to engage with contemporary events and personal experiences, supported by real accounts from guest speakers (when available). This module will contribute to the development of graduates who are able to take a holistic view of the role of leaders in organisations and an awareness of the multi-faceted demands faced by leaders in contemporary organisations.

Module learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes:

  • Critically analyse the theories and concepts of leadership and its application in organisations.
  • Identify the capabilities required of a contemporary leader in organisational practice
  • Identify the administrative, conceptual and interpersonal skills required for effective leadership.
  • Demonstrate how the application of leadership skills and practice impacts upon an organisation and its performance.
  • Explore the ethical dimensions of leadership.

Academic and graduate skills

By the end of this module students will::

  • Develop analytical and evaluative skills.
  • Develop research skills and independent learning through interactive tasks set in workshops.
  • Develop the ability to apply theory to the organisational context through the use of case studies and research into contemporary organisations.
  • Develop strategic perspectives and critical thinking skills through the analysis of contemporary organisational practice.
  • Improve planning and communication skills through the tasks undertaken in workshops.
  • Build upon problem solving skills through analysis of business scenarios in workshops and a final assessment that requires independent problem solving and appropriate application of theory to address a business issue.

Module content

Indicative weekly topics

  1. Leadership is b******s: Theorising versus practising leadership

  2. Leadership theories and ‘styles’.

  3. Leadership practice in organisational contexts

  4. Toxic and dysfunctional leadership

  5. Leadership & organisational culture

  6. Leadership: A colonial export?

  7. Leadership in times of crisis and change

  8. Leading ethically

  9. Developing leadership capabilities


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules




Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

Adamson, M. and Kelan, E.K., 2019. ‘Female heroes’: celebrity executives as postfeminist role models. British Journal of Management, 30(4), pp.981-996.

Flint, M. and Vinberg Hearn, E. (2019). The leader’s guide to impact: how to use soft skills to get hard results. Harlow, England ; Amsterdam: Pearson.

Grint, Keith. (2010) Leadership: A Very Short Introduction. OUP Oxford.

Johnson, C. (2019). Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership. 7th Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc. (US).

Lemmergaard, J. and Muhr, S.L. eds., 2013. Critical perspectives on leadership: emotion, toxicity, and dysfunction. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Liu, H., 2021. Redeeming leadership: An anti-racist feminist intervention.

Northouse, P. G. (2021). Leadership : theory and practice / Peter G. Northouse. Ninth edition.; International student edition. Los Angeles ; London : SAGE.

Malhotra, A., Majchrzak, A. and Rosen, B., 2007. Leading virtual teams. Academy of Management perspectives, 21(1), pp.60-70.

Milosevic, I., Maric, S. and Loncar, D. (2020). Defeating the Toxic Boss: The Nature of Toxic Leadership and the Role of Followers. Journal of leadership & organizational studies, 27 (2), pp.117–137.

Sadun, R. et al. (2022) ‘The C-Suite Skills That Matter Most’, Harvard Business Review,100(4), pp. 42–50.

Yukl, G. (1999). An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories. The Leadership quarterly, 10 (2), pp.285–305.

Zhu, W., May, D. R. and Avolio, B. J. (2004). The Impact of Ethical Leadership Behaviour on Employee Outcomes: The Roles of Psychological Empowerment and Authenticity. Journal of leadership & organizational studies, 11 (1), pp.16–26.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.