Introduction to Leadership Studies

Module description


This module aims to introduce you to the key issues and concerns of leadership and leadership studies.  You will examine significant literary, historical, and philosophical sources for insights on the nature and character of leadership, as well as more contemporary (and often more theoretical) reflections on both leadership practices and the varied disciplines that study them.  Each week, we will explore a different leadership theory, using it as a ‘lens’ which can bring some aspects of leadership into focus, and make other aspects blurred.  The module reading and discussion will focus on several questions, beginning with the most fundamental: “What is leadership?”

Additional Information:


Leadership and globalisation issues are embedded in the course content.  This module engages with different international leadership issues using international examples throughout, drawing from politics, current affairs or history, as well as from film, fiction and popular culture.


Sustainability issues are integrated into the module content.  The module convenor’s research on sustainability and the challenges faced by leaders looking to improve sustainable business practice also informs the content of this module.  The lecture, tutorial and reading list information is available on the ELE (Exeter Learning  Environment).

External Engagement

Lectures on leadership and culture and leadership development have previously been given by PhD students currently conducting research at the university.


Students develop a number of valuable transferable skills, including: team-working, group presentations, communication, the ability to link theory to practice in different organisational contexts, critical thinking, an awareness of the wider social context  and contemporary issues, self-awareness and the capacity for personal reflections, confidence, assertiveness and independent study skills.

Full module specification

Module title:Introduction to Leadership Studies
Module code:CLS1002
Module level:1
Academic year:2018/9
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Beverley Hawkins - Convenor
  • Dr Ruth Sealy - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

This module will:

  1. help you to cultivate a vocabulary conducive to understanding and analysing the many aspects and elements, and the ethical challenges of leadership.
  2. focus on developing your writing and presentation skills to make you capable of articulating this knowledge orally and in written work.
  3. develop your skills in comparing and contrasting the attributes, assumptions, strengths and weaknesses in a variety of perspectives on leadership,
  4. develop your ability to link theory to practice and analyse the actions of leaders in context.
  5. improve your inter-personal skills through exposure to teamwork and leadership activities.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate familiarity with the concept of leadership
  • 2. show awareness of the theoretical approaches to understanding leadership
  • 3. demonstrate a basic understanding of fundamental influences processes
  • 4. show a basic understanding of group dynamics

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. show an increased awareness of leadership in a variety of contexts, including the ethical implications
  • 6. display an awareness of leadership competencies as well as become aware of the approaches, styles, strengths, and weaknesses that s/he brings to the leadership process

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. have enhanced critical thinking abilities and oral & written communication abilities
  • 8. develop problem-solving and independent study skills

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 hours22Lectures
Contact hours3Tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group Discussion Exercises3 x 60 minute Tutorials1-7Verbal feedback provided by tutorial facilitator

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
Examination702 hours1-8Written feedback
In-class Tests303 x 5 question MCQ (1 x10 minute test per tutorial)1-4Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (70%)Examination (2 hours)1-8August – September assessment period
In-class tests (30%)15 point, 30 minute Multiple Choice Test1-4August – September assessment period

Syllabus plan

  • What is leadership?
  • What are leaders like? The trait approach
  • What do leaders DO? Style/Behavioural Approach
  • Does context matter? Situational/Contingency Approach
  • How to win friends and influence people – Charisma and  Leadership
  • There’s no ‘I’ in team! Inclusive Perspectives on Leadership
  • Revision week
  • Women in Leadership
  • Doing things right and doing the right thing! Leadership and  Ethics
  • Making Leaders – the Role of LeadershipDevelopment
  • Exam Workshop

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

The course textbook is:

  • Northouse, P.G. (2016) Leadership Theory and Practice. London: Sage

However, you will be required to read beyond the textbook and not all course content will be covered by the textbook.

Additional reading in the form of journal articles and chapters will be provided via an online ELE reading list. Recommended/Compulsory reading for each week will be explained on  ELE -

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date