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University of Exeter Business School

Leading with Purpose

Module titleLeading with Purpose
Module codeMBAM963
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Cecile Emery (Lecturer)

Ms Jackie Bagnall (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

9 days

9 days

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module covers two core topics: Leading Self and Organisations and Corporate Governance. 

By focusing on the skills required to operate at a strategic level, this module will help you become more effective in your future leadership role. Through an emphasis on experiential learning, this module aims to equip you with the leadership, executive and professional skills you will require in order to redirect your career and/or develop into more senior leadership roles. To do so, this module will examine the role that people, structures, culture, group dynamics, motivation, knowledge, leadership, power and control can all play in determining success for an organisation and how leaders can affect change towards sustainable outcomes.  Noting that sustainability begins at the top and must be supported with strong governance systems throughout the entire company — from the boardroom to the factory floor to global supply chains. By advancing sustainability leadership and action at the board level and into every aspect of decision-making, organisations will be in a better position to systematically make decisions that improve their environmental and social performance — thus, improving their overall competitiveness and resilience.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Leading Self and Organisations

Leading Self and Organisation is designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and analytical capabilities needed to practise leadership in contemporary global organisations. The module starts by introducing the fundamental principles of Organisational Behaviour by examining psychological theories that provide insight into human behaviour at work.

You will gain a better understanding of human processes, individuals in organisations, group dynamics, and organisational processes and practices. The module then explores the nature of leadership in terms of how individuals effectively build agreement to shared goals and facilitate organisational movement toward the achievement of these goals. In particular, we highlight theory and research that accounts for how leaders acquire and exercise social influence in a manner that contributes to their credibility and the motivation of their followers. We make note of individual differences in leader behaviour and examine in what instances situations determine the salience of these differences.

The emphasis of the module will be on application of theory, self-reflection, and self-discovery of one’s own leadership potential and strengths. Through experiential learning, you will embark on a journey of discovery using heightened self-awareness and personal reflection, at all times focused on your own professional development. 

The aim of the module is to enable you to:

  • Refine your understanding of human behaviour at work
  • Acquire and practise personal leadership skills
  • Develop self-reflection on personal competencies and experience
  • Integrate feedback on your leadership style and skills

Corporate Governance – leading risk and responsibility

The aim of the module is to familiarise the students with the notion of corporate governance, its theoretical underpinnings, and the role of various corporate governance mechanisms. The knowledge of the relevant academic research and the understanding of major cross-country differences regarding corporate governance regulation and practice across the world should then allow students to propose effective solutions to governance challenges arising in corporations and in the regulatory setting. The responsibilities of the board include setting the company’s strategic aims, providing the leadership to put them into effect, supervising the management of the business and reporting to shareholders on their stewardship.

Corporate governance is the system by which companies are directed and controlled. Boards of directors are responsible for the governance of their companies. The shareholders’ role in governance is to appoint the directors and the auditors and to satisfy themselves that an appropriate governance structure is in place. Corporate governance is therefore about what the board of a company does and how it sets the values of the company, and it is to be distinguished from the day to day operational management of the company by full-time executives.

Sustainability issues such as climate change, water scarcity, and inequitable workplaces call for bold action by the private sector. Corporate boards are a crucial stakeholder to drive the needed change at the pace and the scale we need to see: Boards sit at the top of a company’s organisational structure, have the responsibility to hire, fire and incentivize management, and act as stewards for corporate performance for investors and other stakeholders. Given the materiality of sustainability issues to corporate performance, boards have a responsibility to integrate systemic change on sustainability within business performance.  

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. evaluate a range of theories and perspectives on leadership, managing change and organisational behaviour, determining their relevance for leading change within organisations;
  • 2. analyse and evaluate the role of people, structures, culture, group behaviour, motivation, and control on organisational success;
  • 3. integrate reflections upon own leadership experience, peer feedback and experiential learning to inform own leadership development planning;
  • 4. analyse approaches to high performance working and demonstrate a capacity to lead and develop a team to achieve results;
  • 5. formulate Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives based on robust Governance structures that deliver value to stakeholders.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. critically reflect upon the process of leadership and have developed greater insight into your own leadership style/practice. Identify learning and leadership development needs and planned future actions;
  • 7. compare and contrast different schools of thought in relation to organisational behaviour and leadership theories;
  • 8. critique organisation brand and reputation management and identify risks and opportunities, using this analysis to develop improved governance structures;
  • 9. analyse stakeholder diversity and evaluate how each stakeholder group is impacted by and impacts upon the organisation;

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. take a global outlook: apply creative intelligence and ethical imagination to complex problems to ensure that environmental and social governance is taken into account;
  • 11. apply critical thinking: present and defend strategic analyses in multiple forms (written, verbal, digital) based on case material, desk based and empirical research;
  • 12. work with a collaborative mind-set: give and receive feedback at all levels in a confident and respectful manner. Work inclusively across multi-cultural groups to research, explore and prepare a persuasive argument against an assignment or client brief;
  • 13. develop an ethical perspective: improve personal effectiveness through consciously and diligently making decisions on behalf of all stakeholders, environmental, social and financial;
  • 14. demonstrate technological and digital literacy: identify and apply relevant technologies to source, process and communicate accurate information.

Syllabus plan

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to leadership theories; personality, identity, authenticity, charisma.
  • Dark side of leadership: enduring dilemmas; gender, ethics and toxicity.
  • Motivation: why do people join organisations?
  • Leading change.
  • Power and influence in organisations.
  • Importance of social networks and politics.
  • Organisational culture: how do cultural factors influence/inhibit the functioning of organisations?
  • Communications and knowledge: how important is knowledge to organisations?

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 Activity108Experiential learning, workshops, seminars, lectures & facilitated group discussions
Guided Independent Study192Reading, research, project work and writing.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Leadership assessment tools. A variety of personality measures, and evaluations of teammates and review of own performance during group projects.Multiple items, each no more than 30 minutes6,13, 14Written feedback from academic tutor and teammates
Corporate Governance – in-class presentations30 minutes10,11,12Verbal or written feedback

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
Leadership: individual OB reflection essay 302,500 words1-4,6,7Written feedback from academic tutor
Leadership: Individual leadership self-reflection302,500 words1-4,6,7Written feedback from academic tutor
Corporate Governance - strategic governance review 402,500 words4,5,8,9Written feedback from academic tutor

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Leadership: individual OB reflection essay (30%)Leadership: individual OB reflection essay (30%, 2,500 words)1-4,6,76 weeks after briefing
Leadership: Individual leadership self-reflection (30%)Leadership: Individual leadership self-reflection (30%, 2,500 words)1-4,6,76 weeks after briefing
Corporate Governance - strategic governance review (30%)Corporate Governance - strategic governance review (30%, 2,500 words)4,5,8,96 weeks after briefing

Re-assessment notes

An overall module mark of 50% is required from across all three components.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Assigned module reading – Leadership and Organisation Behaviour

Antonakis, J., & Day, D. (2018). The nature of leadership (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE.

Cooper, C., & Hesketh, I. (2019). Wellbeing at work. London: Kogan Page.

Grant, A. (2014). Give and take: A revolutionary approach to success. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Buckingham, M., & Goodall, A. (2019). Nine lies about work: A freethinking leader’s guide to the real world. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

Edmondson, A.C. (2010). Teaming: how organizations learn, innovate, and compete in the knowledge economy. San Francisco: Josey-Bass.

Assigned module reading – Corporate Governance

Larcker, D., & Tayan, B. (2015). Corporate governance matters (2nd ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education.

Thomsen, S. & Conyon, M. (2012). Corporate governance: Mechanisms and systems. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education:


Key words search

Leadership, change, business, collaboration, partnership, interaction, corporate governance, organisational behaviour

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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