Leadership: Challenges and Practice

Module titleLeadership: Challenges and Practice
Module codeBEM2037
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Christine Parkin Hughes (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description


CLS2002 Leadership Challenges and Practices addresses the more practical, active and vocational aspects of leadership. You will be encouraged to draw on your own experience of leadership in practice, and to engage in activities which enable you to develop your own leadership capacity. In this way, the course aims to enhance your employability, and to allow you to develop an action-oriented understanding of leadership as a response to personal and organizational challenges, which can be taken into your future work and organisation. The course therefore combines practical approaches to leading with a head-on approach to some of the tricky questions about leadership.


Additional Information: Internationalisation

This module uses diverse case study examples and students are encouraged to explore them in different cultural and international contexts through their group work and written assignments.



The module is informed by research on sustainability and other topics, and will support reflection on, and development of, practical skills that will help you solve leadership challenges associated with, but not limited to, environmental sustainability.

All of the reading lists, lectures, and workshop materials are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment)


External Engagement

This module makes use of guest speakers who share their experiences on topics such as ‘Designing an organizational vision’, ‘Leading Change’ ‘Managing risks’ and ‘Using Your Voice to Network and Influence People’.



The module will familiarise students with cutting-edge, and current challenges you might face in leadership roles. It develops your ability to reflect on practice, a vital skill in any leadership context.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to address the more practical, active and vocational aspects of leadership, and starts from the assumption that almost every organised activity is initiated by leadership of some sort, and that most benefit from good leadership. Over the duration of this module, students will be encouraged to explore the following question:

What can each of us do to get better at leading, and to support others in leadership positions for the good of the shared enterprise?

Alongside engaging with contemporary theoretical perspectives on leadership, students will be encouraged to learn from their own and others’ experience(s) of leadership in practice, and to engage in activities which enable them to develop their own leadership capacity.

In this way, the module aims to enhance students’ employability, and to allow them to develop critical perspectives on leadership, which can be taken into their future work and organisations.

The module therefore combines practical approaches to leading with a head-on, theoretically informed approach to some of the tricky questions about leadership.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. engage in a sustained, systematic and critical way with 'real life', 'real time' leadership issues of interest to them
  • 2. critically appreciate the ways in which they themselves respond to, contribute to, challenge and/or reinforce particular ways of doing and thinking about leadership in practice
  • 3. experiment with alternative ways of thinking about and/or acting out leadership within their own particular contexts, ethical perspectives, and/or areas of interest

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. demonstrate a skillful, reflexive and a generally well-informed appreciation of what is involved in taking up leadership roles and in following the lead of others, including relevant ethical implications
  • 5. critically interpret the practice and rhetoric of leadership

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. question the assumptions embedded in their own leadership practice and that of others
  • 7. demonstrate an awareness of wider social context (including political, historical and economic)
  • 8. evidence self-awareness and the capacity for personal reflection
  • 9. articulate confident and assertive arguments about their own practice
  • 10. Articulate ideas using written communication skills
  • 11. Think and write as an independent learner

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

• Introduction to the module: Seeing leadership as a response to  challenge

• Leading yourself

• Developing Purpose, Vision and Strategy

• Using Power and Influence Responsibly

• Taking Risks, Making Change

• Asking Challenging Questions – Is Leadership in Crisis?


• Self Study Week – assignment preparation


• Facilitation and Coaching

• Networking and Leading in Networks

• Assignment Workshops

• Assignment Workshops

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours30Lectures


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative assessment provided weekly through feedback on workshop group activitiesShort formative activities are carried out every week during lectures and workshops (up to 3 hours)1-10Verbal feedback during class

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
1 reflexive assignment based on workshop activities401000 words + appendices1–6, 9 & 10Individual written feedback and generalised feedback presented in lectures
Essay based upon learning and reflection through the duration of the module602500 words1-8 & 11Individual written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
1000 word report1000 word report (40%)1-6, 9 and 101st September
Reflective essayResubmission of previous assignment (60%)1-8 and 111st September

Re-assessment notes

Re-assessments are new submissions in response to the original assignment briefs.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Set Text:

Mike, P. John Burgoyne and Tom, B. (2010). A Manager’s Guide to Leadership. London: McGraw-Hill Professional.

The above text is used as a self-development resource, rather than an up-to-date theoretical textbook.  You will be expected to combine developmental reflection with reading on current leadership research.  A further extensive reading list is provided on ELE.  Indicative resources include:

Balkundi, P. and Kilduff, M. (2006) ‘The Ties that Lead: A Social Network Theory Approach to Leadership’ The Leadership Quarterly 17: 419 – 439.

Brown, A.D., Colville, I., and Pye, A. (2015) ‘Making sense of sensemaking in organizational studies’ Organization Studies 36(2): 265-277

Maguire, S., & Hardy, C. (2013). Organizing processes and the construction of risk: A discursive approach. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 231-255.

Neves, P., & Schyns, B. (2018). Destructive uncertainty: The toxic triangle, implicit theories and leadership identity during organizational change. In Organizational Change (pp. 131-141). Routledge.

Partlow, P. J., Medeiros, K. E., & Mumford, M. D. (2015). Leader cognition in vision formation: Simplicity and negativity. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(3), 448-469.

Thoroughgood, C. N., Padilla, A., Hunter, S. T., & Tate, B. W. (2012). The susceptible circle: A taxonomy of followers associated with destructive leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(5), 897-917.

Uhl-Bien, M., & Arena, M. (2018). Leadership for organizational adaptability: A theoretical synthesis and integrative framework. The Leadership Quarterly29(1), 89-104.

Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R. E., Lowe, K. B., & Carsten, M. K. (2014). Followership theory: A review and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 83-104.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE will form an integrative part of the module. Lecture notes will be put onto ELE before they are delivered, together with weekly reading lists, additional reading material, and workshop exercises. Details of assessments and study skills guides will also be made available via ELE

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

The course will make use of media clips from films (DVD) and via YouTube.

Key words search

Leadership, Challenges, Practices, Self-Leadership, Vision, Power, Change, Networks, Risk, Purpose, Networking, Facilitation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date