[ 973DLHRLGOS19 ] SE Leaders, Groups, and their Organizational Environment

Workload Education level Study areas Responsible person Hours per week Coordinating university
6 ECTS M2 - Master's programme 2. year Business Administration Barbara Müller-Christensen 3 hpw Johannes Kepler University Linz
Detailed information
Pre-requisites KS Advances in Leadership, Human Resource Management, and Change ODER KS Human Resource, Change Management & Leadership UND IK Learning & Knowledge UND KS Advances in Leadership, Human Resource Management, and Change
Original study plan Master's programme Management 2023W
Objectives This course aims to:

  • Comprehensively understand, differentiate and evaluate concepts of leadership (theoretically as well as practically).
  • Critically reflect on the potential pitfalls of classical leadership theories and societal ideals.
  • Experience the complexities of leadership, analyse and reflect on these experiences against the background of theoretical concepts.
  • Learn about, experience and reflect on possibilities of leadership (self) development.
  • Collect and analyse real-life leadership challenges and derive implications on decision making.

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  • LO1: Accurately identify, evaluate and apply relevant leadership theory on complex group and organizational contexts. [cognitive/analytical]
  • LO2: Understand and experience how to develop and use social skills related to leadership and teamwork (in face to face and online contexts). [social/digital skills]
  • LO3: Develop decision-making skills related to complex leadership challenges. [professional/practical skills]
  • LO4: Demonstrate the ability to formulate, present and discuss a concise, insightful analysis of real-life challenges that presents leadership issues in a comprehensive, coherent and reflexive manner. Very often students work on real-life cases of international companies. [transferable skills]
  • LO5: Develop in their self-image as critically reflective and responsible leaders. [reflexive skills]
Subject The aim of the interactive seminar “Leaders, Groups and their Organizational Environment” is to reflect on experiences and theories in the field of leadership in order to develop highly relevant leadership competences, such as cognitive and analytical skills to understand the complexity of leadership, personal and social skills to deal with emotional challenges associated with such situations, and reflective skills to support their responsible decision making.

In specific the course addresses the following topics:

  • The meaning of leadership based on contemporary leadership theories
  • The role of leadership behavior and the tasks of leaders (managers) within groups and organizations as complex social systems
  • Leadership challenges based on motivation, communication, conflict, organizational design, etc.
  • Leadership development
Criteria for evaluation Assessment modules:

  1. Attendance is required at all times (active participation)
  2. Individual assignments:
I1: Individual reflection report based on experiences in the course against the background of provided readings (20%)
I2: Collecting cases: Interviews with leaders and their main leadership challenges (5%)
  1. Group assignments:
G1: Written case study work (analysis of a real-life case “leadership challenges”) (50%)
G2: Case presentation and discussion (including the design and performance of an interactive workshop) (25%)

Assessment criteria:
Individual reflection reports (25%):

  • Correct understanding of the theories and concepts as a precondition.
  • Ability to reflect on the core readings and the course content as well as your own (leadership) approach.
  • Ability to translate it to specific experiences (reflecting on what happened).
  • Ability to derive lessons learned / conclusions that can be applied in the future.
  • Appropriate writing, formatting style, etc.

Case study work (50%, can be divided among group members based on self-defined evaluation criteria):

  • Follow a clear structure (as outlined in the task assignment) and a clear line of argumentation
  • Comprehensively describe and analyse the situation
  • Use contemporary high-quality academic literature (esp. journal articles) for explaining the situation
  • Deriving practical implications for leaders
  • Obey criteria of academic writing / appropriate formatting style

Before students start working on the task, they prepare a short group presentation incl. self-defined rules of collaboration

Group presentations and discussion (25%, divided equally among group members):

  • Overall clarity what the case is about
  • Presentation theoretical concepts
  • Interactive design
  • Lessons learned

Each presentation follows a feedback and reflection phase in groups and the subsequently in plenum: For the listeners: What did we learn / what was interesting? What was difficult to follow / understand? For the presenting group: How was our presentation? What went well, what not so well? Why? What are overall take-aways (*) content wise, (*) methods/ presentation, (*) implications for (digital) leadership, (*) ideas for interactively involving the audience (in a digital setting) to be shared in a general forum

Reflection of learning outcomes in the assessment and teaching methods:

  • LO1: esp. through individual reflection report (I1) / written case study group work (G1) / participation in exercises, role plays, etc. and its subsequent discussion
  • LO2: esp. through collecting cases (I2) / case presentation and discussion (G2) / participation in exercises, role plays, etc. and its subsequent discussion
  • LO3: esp. through collecting cases (I2) / case study work (G1) / participation in exercises, role plays, etc. and its subsequent discussion
  • LO4: esp. through case study work (G1) / case presentation (G2) / participation in exercises, role plays, etc. and its subsequent discussion
  • LO5: esp. through individual reflection report (I1) / case presentation and discussion (G2) / participation in exercises, role plays, etc. and its subsequent discussion
Methods The interactive course introduces theoretical and practical basics through core lectures and group presentations.

Several exercises, role plays, and an online management simulation including group discussions facilitate experience-based learning studies and allow for combining insights from personal experiences with theoretical background of leadership and help reflecting their own behavior in various contexts.

In addition, working on (real-life) case studies allows for applying theoretical concepts to better understand practical challenges and to derive practical implications.

Language English
Study material The study and reading material aims to offer a balanced selection of classical, critical, scientific, and practitioner literature as well as related video material.

Selected Chapters of:
* Alvesson, M.; Blom, M., & Sveningsson, S. (2017): Reflexive Leadership. Organising in an Imperfect World. Sage.

  • Yukl, G. (2013): Leadership in Organizations. 8th Edition. Pearson.

Goleman, D. (2017): Leadership that gets results (Harvard Business Review Classics). Harvard Business Press.
Hammond, M., Clapp-Smith, R., & Palanski, M. (2017): Beyond (just) the workplace: A theory of leader development across multiple domains. Academy of Management Review, 42(3), 481-498.
Mintzberg, H. (1990): Manager's job: Folklore and fact. Harvard Business Review.
Nobel, C (2012): The power of conversional leadership. HBS Working Knowledge: Research & Ideas.
Schweiger, S., Müller, B., & Güttel, W. H. (2020): Barriers to leadership development: Why is it so difficult to abandon the hero? Leadership, 16(4), 411-433.
Tourish D (2014): Leadership, more or less? A processual, communication perspective on the role of agency in leadership theory. Leadership 10(1), 79–98
Uhl-Bien, M., & Arena, M. (2018): Leadership for organizational adaptability: A theoretical synthesis and integrative framework. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(1), 89-104.
Further readings based on the specifics of the business cases.

Video material:
On different levels of listening:
On the self-concept as a leader:
On reflexivity and reflexive practice:
On authenticity and what it “really” means

Changing subject? No
Further information For quality assurance and improvement purposes, please participate in all JKU course evaluations and surveys!
Earlier variants They also cover the requirements of the curriculum (from - to)
973SMCPLGOS16: SE Master Seminar Leaders, Groups and their Organizational Environment (2016W-2019S)
2PERS10P-M2: SE Master Seminar Leaders, Groups and their Organizational Environment (2010W-2016S)
On-site course
Maximum number of participants 25
Assignment procedure Assignment according to priority