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Leadership, transformation and organisational change

Module information>

Academic Direction
Queen Mary University of London
Also part of
Global MBA
Modes of Study

The module presents three distinct but strongly interrelated topics. Leadership is an important concept that has dominated organisational research for decades and it relates to many different organisational levels.

This module focuses on leaders and leadership at the apex of the organisation. Therefore, special attention is given to Top Management Teams, CEOs and Boards of Directors.

Leadership actions can transform organisations in terms of their overall strategy and consequently the way that they are structured, organised and performed. Organisations facing either external pressures or internal condition are changing, developed and very often transformed through their life cycle.

Through this module, students are supported towards a career in business management so that they may apply knowledge and understanding of business and management to complex, dynamic issues and situations that will come up in their working environments. Applicability of knowledge will be demonstrated through several case studies provided.

Topics covered

  • Leadership and Management in the 21st Century
  • Theories of Leadership
  • Strategic Leadership and Decision Making in Top Teams
  • Challenges and Complexities of Organisational Change
  • Implementing Changes
  • Organisational Learning
  • Transformation through Culture and Vision
  • Transformation through Systems and Structure
  • Innovation as Driver for Transformation
  • Organisational Evolution, Adaptation and Renewal

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully, you should be able to:

  • describe the key managerial traits and skills required to provide strategic leadership in the organisation.
  • explain the challenges that leaders face in the 21st century.
  • discuss the importance and relevance of leadership theories.
  • describe the paramount role of strategic leadership.
  • explain the role, responsibilities and challenges and decision making of Top Management Team, CEOs and Boards of Directors.
  • evaluate the key drivers, types and processes of organisational change and learning.
  • critically discuss transformation in organisations through vision, processes, structures and culture.
  • analyse leading and leadership through evolution and adaptation.
  • analyse and synthesise theories about leadership, change, leading transformation.
  • examine various perspectives of leadership and change theories and identification of assumptions and alternative viewpoints.
  • apply desk research skills into business and management issues, either individually or as part of a team for projects/dissertations/presentations.
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills of effective listening, negotiating, persuasion, considering alternative perspectives.
  • utilise problem solving skills, such as identifying, formulating and solving business problems at a strategic level.
  • demonstrate effective communication skills utilising a range of media which are widely used in business.
  • self-reflect, including self-awareness, openness and sensitivity to diversity in terms of people, cultures, business and management issues.
  • apply self-management skills in terms of time, planning, self-starting and independent learning.
  • present and defend complex arguments based on multidisciplinary analysis and multiple kinds of evidence.
  • demonstrate problem-solving and decision making skills.
  • apply collaboration skills in multicultural teams.


This module is assessed by:

Coursework (50% weighting):

  • There is one item of coursework for this module which contributes to the final assessment mark for this module.
  • Coursework: a written essay of a maximum of 2,000 or 2,500 words (deadline – weeks 9-12) The coursework is designed to check student progress, extend and reinforce concepts covered and also test individual performance.

Examination (750% weighting):

  • The final piece of assessment will be an unseen written examination of 2 hours’ duration.

Essential reading

The following is provided as part of the module materials after you register:

  • Cawsey, F.T., Deszca, G. & Ingols, C., Organizational Change, Sage, 2016, Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • Finkelstein, S., Hambrick, C.D. & Cannella Jr., A.A, Strategic Leadership, Oxford University Press, 2009, Chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9.
  • Pitt, M & Koufopoulos, D.N., Essentials of Strategic Management, Sage, 2012, Chapters 2, 3, 4, 6, 13.
  • Huber, G.P., The necessary nature of future firms: Attributes of survivors in a changing world, Sage, 2004, Chapters 5, 6.