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Strategy and Systems Leadership

Module description

This module aims to explore the key elements a strategic leader needs to operate in the contemporary healthcare environment. It will help you understand your personal strengths and assist you in developing areas of your strategic leadership practice that will make you more effective. You will be asked to critically apply your theoretical learning into your workspace and understand how to be both patient/client focused and operate effectively as part of a system. Taking account of both the technical and social aspect of organisations you will then explore working across systems, boundary forming and boundary spanning and the complexities of leading people and organisations to be both environmentally-aware and socially sustainable.  Giving you the tools and skills to analyse your strategic context within which your leadership practice impacts on and drive change.

Full module specification

Module title:Strategy and Systems Leadership
Module code:HPDM145
Module level:M
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Susanne Smith - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 3:


Module aims

In this module you will be equipped with some advanced knowledge, understanding and skills to practice in a health and care leadership role. You will develop yourself personally, and professionally to improve your effectiveness as a strategic leader and understand your role in the development of other leaders and managers around. As you progress you will you refine your key executive and professional skills while reflecting on what it means to lead responsibly across your organisation. You will also learn how to integrate feedback while doing real work and develop critical reflection skills to enhance your personal transformation.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Critically evaluate systems thinking and its impact on health and care organisational strategy and development
  • 2. Analyse changing patient expectations and healthcare trends to align strategy with external, political environmental, social and technological implications
  • 3. Formulate Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives based on robust Governance structures that deliver value to stakeholders
  • 4. Critique organisational brand and reputation management and identify risks and opportunities

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Recognise and evaluate innovation and understand the impact of disruptive technologies and mechanisms that challenge traditional healthcare methods and practices
  • 6. Analyse approaches to high performance working and the qualities needed to lead and develop a team to achieve results.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Critically evaluate leadership styles and their impact on organisational strategic decision and direction and determine why leadership styles need to be adapted
  • 8. Work collaboratively enabling empowerment and delegation and act with humility and authenticity
  • 9. Reflect on your personal strengths and weaknesses and integrate insights into your personal leadership development

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 14Faculty-led masterclasses and seminars. Practical exercises, simulated case-studies and engagement with real-world scenarios to foster experiential learning with opportunities for peer and facilitator feedback.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching6On-line group discussions and action learning
Guided independent study130Web-based learning using ELE resources, resource gathering, and in-depth reading during the period of module delivery. Preparation and writing of academic digests and workplace reflection

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective logsVarious and ongoing1-9Oral
Case-based discussionsVarious and ongoing1-9Oral
Small group discussionsVarious and ongoing1-9Oral

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
Academic digest on Systems Leadership501500 words1-9Written
Reflective review of strategy in the context of the student’s workplace501500 words1-9Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Academic Digest on Systems Leadership (50%) Academic Digest on Systems Leadership (1500 words)1-9Within 6 weeks
Reflective review of strategy in the context of the student’s workplace (50%) 1500 wordsReflective review of strategy in the context of the student’s workplace. (1500 words)1-9Within 6 weeks

Re-assessment notes

Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content of the module may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

  • Foundations of strategy and leadership
  • Strategic thinking, acting and reflection and strategy formulation
  • What is systems thinking and why does it matter in healthcare?
  • The importance of recognising the complexity of healthcare
  • Thinking about organisational culture and organisational design
  • Shaping organisational vision, culture and values: the importance of valuing  diversity
  • Exploring collaboration and high performance in organisations
  • Thinking about strategic leadership development

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Camillus J., (2008) Strategy as a wicked problem.


Centre for Creative Leadership (2009). Developing a Leadership Strategy-a critical ingredient for organisational success.


Dodd D, Favaro K, (2006) Managing the right tension. HBR


Edmonstone, J., (2019) Systems Leadership in Health & Social Care


Heracleous, Loizos, (2020) Janus Strategy


Macdonald I, et al., (2018) Systems Leadership: creating positive organisations.


Mintzberg H, et al., (2009) Strategy Safari: your complete guide through the wilds of strategic management.


Montgomery, C. (2008) Putting leadership back into strategy. HBR


Powell E, (2007) Writing to reflect: Mindful leadership in the face of change


Zaleznik etal. (2004) Managers and Leaders: Are they different? HBR Vol 82, 1, 74-81

Strategic healthcare leadership

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