Reflexivity as a mode of being and acting as managers and leaders

  
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BE460 Organisation and Leadership in a Globalised World 

(15 credits)

Individual essay (100% of the total marks)
You are expected to write an essay of no more than 2,000 words (max. 2200; minimum 1800 words).
All submissions must be presented in typescript (MS Word format), 12pt, 1.5 line spacing.

Submission of individual essay:
As indicated on Faser.

Essay Question
“Examine leadership behaviour and practice in an organisation of your choice. You should apply leadership theory based on traits, transactional and transformational approaches to support your arguments about the role of leadership in organisations.”

You can choose to discuss leadership in any type of organisation such as a for-profit company, a public-sector organisation, a voluntary organisation, or a social enterprise.

Indicative answers
A requirement for this essay is to describe and interpret what leaders in organisations do and how, based on evidence from your chosen case. Leaders can be active at different levels. For example, you can also look at managers and how they may lead in certain moments. It can be e.g. project teams leaders or entrepreneurs as well as line managers, senior and top managers and CEOs who exert leadership. You should focus on internal issues. For example, for leadership effects on performance, motivation, wellbeing, teamwork, and work in different departments. However, you are allowed to also explain leadership in relation to external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and business partners. The latter view is often necessary to understand leadership changes needed in organisations. The focal leadership issues you will analyse will depend on your chosen leadership case.

You will discuss or interpret leadership with at least one leadership theory learnt in the lecture on leadership (i.e. traits, transactional and transformational leadership approaches). It is likely that you may need to interpret different leadership behaviours with more than one theory or model (also added via your further reading).
You should describe the specific organisational context. The type and profile of the company should be brief but is necessary. The context should include briefly e.g. business strategies as a background, as they shape leadership. The essay will cover interventions or programmes that require effective leadership. For example, an intervention for organisational change and how leadership helped the process of change of groups, departments, and individuals. You can also look at programmes such as various types of training programmes to enhance leadership skills in departments and teams. You should add if such programmes are supported by specific HR policies.
Your elaborations may include selected concepts and points of analysis beyond leadership helping to illuminate aspects that are interrelated in the case. For example, leadership may be related to resistance to change, organisational culture or teamwork and collaboration. You should explain all used terms also conceptually, at least briefly, not just merely mention them in one sentence as an ‘add on’. This will support a deeper discussion of different leadership behaviours and practices, after you described events and behaviours.

Final recommendations given by a student can be based on relevant literature too. Whilst any recommendation may be easier to imagine based on analysed unsuccessful or less effective approaches, they can be offered also for positive leadership you have seen in the case study. That is, if the leadership you analysed had been successful overall or in particular moments, you can still make a suggestion as to what might be changed, emphasised or developed because organisations aim to maintain effective leadership also in future.

Note 1 – Writing an essay
An introduction to an essay should directly address the question or topics you have been asked to discuss. You should give a brief starting definition of leadership and specify the importance of leadership in organisations. You should also introduce the case you will describe later. Finally, you should present a brief structure of subsequent topics (sections) in your essay.
The main section of the essay should outline the argument(s) that describe your response to the essay question. In this body of text, you will first define leadership in more detail or provide more than one definition. Then, you will give an overview of main leadership theories, before saying which one(s) will apply particularly in your case. Next, you will analyse the case’s evidence of a leader and leadership practice in your chosen case. To do so, you will first describe how leadership was used, with which individuals and groups, and to what effect. On this background, you should interpret leadership through the aid of the leadership theory that is most applicable for your case overall and/or specific illustrations.

The conclusion of the essay should draw together all the previous points of your argument into one general statement, which is then directly related to the essay topic or the questions you have been answering. This is the section where you can also add implications of your analysis as well as a suggestion or a potential recommendation as to what the organisational leader(s) might do in future to support effective leadership.

How to achieve a higher mark
For a very good answer, your essay structure will be very clearly organised with a logical order. You will have a very comprehensive understanding of the topic, excellent critical reflections on different issues and an excellent in-depth discussion, with a coherent and relevant conclusion. For example, you will have clearly engaged with definitions, fundamental as well as some further reading such as of academic journals that allow you to criticise the different facets of leadership in the case under study. It is likely that you will explain more than two leadership instances as arising from the case. Your explanation of concepts and theories will be in-depth.
For a good answer, in every case your arguments will each be supported by clear empirical evidence. This means that you will describe in detail at least one or two leadership behaviours in detail. Your structure will be clearly and logically organised. There will be a good presentation of illustrations from the case. There should be critical commentary based on good supporting arguments or evidence. Your conclusions should be clear and include a suggestion or recommendation in principle that you would offer to the organisation for the future.

Note 2 – Reading
Students are required to show evidence of use of various established and reputable literature sources (i.e. academic journal articles, books and other sources of information). For the specific case description, however, you are allowed to use web-based information about a company, but you must reference it.
For available online reading on leadership, you can access TALIS via the BE460 Moodle for e.g.: Bryman, A. (2011) The SAGE handbook of leadership. Sage: London.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module, students will be able to critically understand:
Organising and collaboration as a situated, socially accomplished activity of different organisational actors, groups, and stakeholders
Views of organisation and how these have affected the notion and practice of managing people
The impact of internationalisation and globalisation as a multi-layered context for organisation and leadership, cultural influences, and identity construction in organisations
Knowledge processes, with specific reference to group and team learning
Leadership issues and processes
Reflexivity as a mode of being and acting as managers and leaders


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