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BSc Management (Innovation, Strategy and Entrepreneurship)

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Leadership in Action Unit

Unit code UCIL20022
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by University College for Interdisciplinary Learning
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The Leadership in Action (LIA) units aim to help you understand what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. The units explore complex current problems and ask: How does change happen? Who makes it happen? What does that tell us about leadership and how we do it?

This unit will equip you with the tools to critically evaluate models and approaches to leadership and to apply these to a range of complex 21st century problems such as poverty, inequality and climate change. The unit will also help you to develop a toolkit of transferable skills that will boost your employability.

You will hear from leaders who are influencing change in the world around us, including some of the university's leading academics and leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The LIA 10 credit lecture based units are available in both semester 1 and 2. Alternatively, you can opt to take the 20 credit version of the unit, which runs over both semesters and includes an independent research project on a topic of your own choosing.

Students who successfully complete an LIA unit and 20, 40 or 60 hours of approved volunteering will be awarded the prestigious Manchester Leadership Programme Certificate (Bronze, Silver or Gold).



Year 1 students (with the exception of Study Abroad and Exchange students) are not eligible to take this unit.

UCIL units are designed to be accessible to undergraduate students from all disciplines.

UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.

If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.

You can also contact the UCIL office if you have any questions.



The course unit aims to:

  • Encourage an understanding of the importance of leadership of self and others
  • Broaden intellectual and cultural interests
  • Challenge and equip you to confront personal values and make ethical judgements
  • Prepare you for citizenship and leadership in diverse, global environments
  • Enhance employability


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • Evaluate different models and theories of leadership, within a 21st century global context
  • Analyse the ways in which leaders influence change and how leadership skills may be applied in both learning and occupational contexts
  • Employ reflective learning skills in order to relate models of leadership to personal practice
  • Analyse complex, ‘wicked’, problems and leadership in response to them



10 Credits

Lecture 1 introduces and examines key leadership theories which will be applied throughout the course.

The first tutorial introduces the concept of tame and wicked problems, and leadership in response to them.

Other lectures, in weeks 2-11, examine leadership and complex problems, from different perspectives, covering a range of leadership issues and challenges for the 21st century, such as:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Access to Higher Education
  • Culture and diversity
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Business Ethics and Responsibility
  • Urban regeneration, social inclusion and sustainable communities

Weekly, facilitated, discussion boards ask you to think about problems, and challenges for leaders, and to analyse them, applying your understanding of leadership theory, in particular leadership in response to wicked problems.

Note that, apart from the core leadership lecture, each Semester's lecture programme is different. A sample lecture programme can be viewed here.


Teaching and learning methods

The unit uses a variety of teaching methods including:

  • 9 x interactive lectures, including lecturer-led Q&A and individual and group activities
  • Tutor-led, face-to-face group tutorials (in week 3 and week 8 lecture slots)
  • Tutor-facilitated online discussion forums examining issues raised by weekly lecture
  • Access to a range of elearning tools through Blackboard, including shared wiki to support group project


Knowledge and understanding

understand and critically evaluate a range of different models and theories of leadership

• relate models and theories of leadership to personal practice and context

• identify ways in which leaders influence change in a range of contexts

• appreciate different styles of leadership within a cultural context

Intellectual skills

develop critical evaluation skills through the analysis of models and theories of leadership

• develop reflective learning skills through the application of models and theories to personal context

• critically evaluate different leadership approaches to social, economic and environmental sustainability

Practical skills

understand, reflect on and evaluate their own leadership style using a variety of tools

• appreciate how to apply leadership skills in an academic and occupational context

• appreciate the importance of teamwork and cultural diversity

• contribute effectively to electronically-mediated discussions and debates

Transferable skills and personal qualities

understand themselves and their leadership styles

• understand the styles, preferences and tendencies of others and how these impact upon management and employability

• demonstrating skills that contribute to effective leadership, including influencing, critical thinking and communication skills


Assessment methods

1. Group project (30%, includes element of peer scoring)

2. Ongoing assessments, including short online tests and discussions (30%)

3. 1500 word written assessment task (choice of task; 40%)



Feedback methods


Recommended reading

Northouse, Peter G. (2012) Leadership: Theory and Practice 6 Edition, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, 2012

Grint, Keith, (2010) ‘The Cuckoo Clock Syndrome: Addicted to Command, Allergic to Leadership’, European Management Journal 28, 306-313.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 13
Independent study hours
Independent study 87

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sian Yeowell Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Semester 1 Lectures Tuesday 4.00 - 5.30pm

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