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University of Exeter Business School

Leadership and Global Challenges

Module titleLeadership and Global Challenges
Module codeBEMM071
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Ruth Sealy (Convenor)

Dr Ruth Sealy (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description



 The aim of this module is to provide students with an opportunity to actively and critically engage in debates about the role of leadership in three major global challenges facing the world today.In doing so, the module looks to challenge student’s implicit conceptions of leadership and to develop a more sophisticated understanding of real-world leadership and its challenges. Each topic will be explored in depth through engagement with academic literature theory and research, as well as practical case-study perspectives and real-world examples. Particular attention will be given to how each topic plays out at the interaction of leaders, organisations and society. 



In this module, students will gain an international perspective on leadership by considering practices in different parts of the world, including sharing their own diverse experiences. 


Most of the resources are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment). 



This module helps students develop their critical thinking, their skills in research and arguing a case, articulating their position, and broadens their understanding of leadership. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module equips students with the ability to apply critical thinking and understand diverse perspectives when exploring issues of relevance to some of the world’s greatest challenges, and the implications of such issues for responsible leadership. This ability to ask critical questions is an essential higher order thinking skill that will underpin all future management practice. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. critically engage with debates on a range of cutting-edge issues affecting global leadership practice;
  • 2. draw on the academic literature to support their thinking on these issues;
  • 3. compare and contrast the rhetoric and reality of leadership practice in real-world situations;
  • 4. critically reflect on the implications of these issues for how leadership is 'done' in their own culture and in others.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. critically explore the reality of leadership and how theory offers a lens by which to make sense of that reality, with reference to the ethical implications of leadership
  • 6. reflect on their own cultural heritage as a way of understanding leadership and management;
  • 7. develop a broadened understanding as to how leadership is implicated in the world around them.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. develop communication and debating skills in written work;
  • 9. apply a range of theoretical perspectives to areas of topical debate;
  • 10. be able to communicate the relevance of responsible leadership in today’s global challenges

Syllabus plan

The module will cover leadership issues within three global challenges, to allow sufficient in-depth engagement with each issue. Topics could include the following issues (with the focus being on the intersection between these issues and leadership thought and practice):  

  • Diversity & Inclusion 

  • Responsible Leadership purpose and profit 

  • Ethics & Governance 

  • Darkside and decision-making 

  • Circular Economy and Corporate Social Responsibility 

Up to 3 topics will be covered. The choice of topics may vary from year to year to reflect shifting research interests and debates in the field. 


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
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity20Lectures The classes will be two hours: The first hour will mostly be knowledge dissemination (ie lecture format). After a short break, the second half will be focused on consolidating learning with discursive elements, group work, short quizzes, discussion of pre-reading. This may also focus on some skills such as critical analysis and writing and referencing skills.
Guided Independent Study120Reading, research, reflection; Preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Formative essay introduction N/A1-10Written and group discussion

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
Written Assignment 1002,000 words1-10Individual written comments and grade

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written Assignment (100%)Re-Write assignment, 2,000 words (100%)1-10July/August

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Ancona, D, Malone, T, Orlikowski, W and Senge P (2007) In Praise of the Incomplete Leader, Harvard Business 

    Basic reading:


    • Ancona, D, Malone, T, Orlikowski, W and Senge P (2007) In Praise of the Incomplete Leader, Harvard Business Review, Feb: 92-101.  
    • Antonakis, J. and Day, D.V. (Eds.) (2018) The nature of leadership (3 rd edition), Sage, California
    • Badaracco , J. L. (2 001) 'We don't need another hero', Harvard Business Review, September, pp.   120-126.  
    • Pless, N.M & Maak, T. (2022) Responsible Leadership (2nd edition)   Routledge, UK.
    • Northouse, P. G. (2019) Leadership: Theory and Practice (8th edition), Sage, London. (Sixth and seventh editions are also.   useful)  


    Useful Journals:  


    • Leadership Quarterly
    • Academy of Management Perspectives
    • Research in Organization Behaviour
    • Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
    • Harvard Business Review  


    Web-based and electronic resources:


    • ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages
    • Course readings and notes to be posted on ELE  



Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Course readings and notes to be posted on ELE 

Key words search


Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date