Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Leadership Programme

Elective modules

Electives provide in-depth coverage of specific leadership theories and related skills. They offer students the opportunity to further specialise and deepen in specific aspects of leadership. This deepening is a valuable addition to the Essentials and Labs.

In two out of six electives, you will acquire substantive and in-depth knowledge and skills relating to specific leadership themes. The elective modules consist of 3 EC (6 EC in total).

The modules consist of lectures and skills training. The lectures will cover a wide range of leadership theories and give students the opportunity to practice and apply the specific leadership skills relating to the themes of the elective module of choice.

The first round of elective modules (January-March) consists of:

  • Business Leadership
    In an increasingly fast paced, volatile and uncertain world, a variety of complex issues will require effective leadership.” 

    Are you considering a career in business? And would you like to work in a leadership position someday? Then the elective business leadership might be something for you. In it, we explore the fundamentals of leadership in business. What are the different leadership roles, traits, styles, and competencies you can have in this? Does it make a difference whether you work for a fast-growing young company ('start-up') or for a large multinational? What are the dilemmas you face, for example balancing profit goals on the one hand and social responsibility on the other?

    These are some of the questions that recur in this interactive elective. We discuss theory but also experienced guest speakers
    will be invited to exchange ideas with the students. They talk about leadership issues in the companies they are affiliated with, but also reflect on their own careers and personal leadership successes and mistakes they have made. After the elective you have a good idea of what leadership in business means and how you yourself may see your role in it.

    For the assignment, students will interview an entrepreneurial or business leader in their direct environment.  The main purpose of the interview is to discuss and explore leadership in order to understand how the leadership concepts, best practices and skills that are taught in the course are translated into daily practice. The assignment consists of a personal reflection on the course theory in relation to the interview responses as well and students’ own perceptions of how they would like to develop themselves into a successful future business leader. 

  • Public Leadership
    In this elective we will focus on the moral dilemmas that come with the special nature of public leadership. Running a constitution of a liberal democracy into practice is a complicated affair, not in the least because of the different, and often incompatible moral claims on public officials. This poses a challenge to the preservation of one’s integrity as an official, but also as a moral agent.

    The purpose of this elective is to make students aware of what it is like to perform this balancing act. A theoretical framework will be presented that is then applied in a simulation. The most important aim of the elective would be a reflective answer to the question: is public leadership something that I should pursue?

    The assessment will consist of a paper that seeks to help students formulating this answer. It requires reflecting on and interpreting their own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions during the simulation in terms of the concepts and theories presented during the lectures.
  • Digital Leadership
    During this elective we approach how digital technologies are influencing leadership. The course is structured around four topics/challenges.

    The first topic deals with the question of how to overcome institutional and organizational barriers to promote the use of technological innovations to drive positive change. The second topic focuses on the implementation of artificial intelligence, looking at how algorithms may become leaders and change agents on their own.

    The third topic deals with social media use to drive effective communication and engagement, both between organization employees and with the audiences. Finally, the fourth topic will revolve around remote working and the shift on the nature of the workplace and its relations.

The second round of elective modules (March-May) consists of:

  • Inclusive Leadership
    Changing societies and workforces create challenges for leaders in organisations to find ways to foster justice, equity, and the inclusion of underrepresented groups. Despite many efforts, this has not been realised across different levels in contemporary organizations.

    Different values may drive diversity and inclusion in organisations, resulting in a wide range of policies, procedures, and behaviours to foster inclusiveness. This course delves into the literature on diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership, and its antecedents and outcomes. The lectures will be interactive, using short in-class assignments to discuss the literature and reflect on practical dilemmas and solutions.

    The assignment consists of a personal reflection on how the student applies the learned concepts, theories and practical skills in a professional context. After the course, students can reflect on diversity and inclusion processes in teams and organisations, identify required inclusive leadership, and reflect on their own values and inclusive behaviours.

  • Adaptive Leadership
    This elective introduces students to the challenge of adaptive leadership and provides them with frameworks, skills, and capabilities to support them in steering organizations through periods of disruptive change. The course touches upon challenges of adaptive leadership at different levels, such as that of the individual, the team and the organization. You will study these challenges through different conceptual lenses, drawing on theory from the literatures of organisational psychology and the sociology of organisations.

    To bridge the theory and practice of adaptive leadership, the reading list and class discussions for this course build on a mix of articles form scientific journals and more practitioner-oriented publications. The lectures will follow an interactive format that relies to a large extent on practical case studies.

    The assessment of this course consists of a paper. In the paper, students are asked to reflect on a particularly successful or unsuccessful example of adaptive leadership in a case where an organisation faced a disruptive change.
  • Community Leadership

    Well-being of a community is determined by both structural characteristics of the community and features of its individual members (i.e., knowledge, skills, and motivation). To increase a community’s well-being, community leaders need to build and maintain trusting relationships with the other members of their community.

    In this elective, we focus on the social psychology of leadership and address different aspects that are at the heart of good community leadership. Students will review empirical articles and they acquire advanced knowledge of relevant social psychological topics, such as power and leadership, procedural justice, dissent, and collective action.

    Questions that are addressed concern, amongst others, the following. How are decisions of (formal and informal) leaders affected by the power they have over the outcomes of others? How can trust develop in the unequal power relationships that exists between leaders and other community members? How can leaders create fair processes in a way that other members of a community feel treated in a “procedurally just” way? How can leaders organise constructive dissent and motivate community members to take collective action to achieve a common goal?

    The elective will be concluded by an individual assignment in which students can apply their acquired knowledge on a current social issue.

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