Leadership in the 21st century is increasingly requiring individuals who have the versatility to navigate different local networks, cultures, institutions, organizations, and group norms. In this course, scholars will learn about frameworks in sociology and psychology that inform how leaders manage individuals, organizations, as well as their institutional and political environment to effect change in the face of such diversity. In this course, we will cover six main perspectives. The first is how leaders are ecosystems builders. They bring together different organizations around a novel initiative and in so doing shape their institutional environment to their advantage. The second is how leaders are network optimizers. They manage their relationships amongst individuals inside and outside the organization to obtain novel information and build trust, while doing so in a way that minimizes time. The third is how leaders are organization designers. They tailor organizational structures to match their informational and performance demands. The fourth is how leaders are group orchestrators; they form groups in ways that foster diversity while also maintaining healthy amounts of disagreement to foster informative decision-making. The fifth is how leaders are message setters; they craft a message that helps direct their organizations in the midst of rapid change while also inspiring action even amongst those they do not directly supervise.
Our approach is to first provide you with a theoretical framework that can help you understand each of these leadership perspectives. These frameworks will demonstrate where this perspective is most applicable, the tools needed to execute on this perspective, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of utilizing this perspective. We will engage with each of these lenses to leadership through a variety of pedagogical approaches that include lectures, cases from across the world and different organizational contexts, as well as in-class activities and simulations. The takeaways from each perspective can serve as a “handbook” that you can consult well after this course whenever you encounter a key leadership challenge.