BA Modern Language and Business & Management (French) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Leadership in Action Unit

Course unit fact file
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?

The Leadership in Action unit will equip you with the tools to critically evaluate models and approaches to leadership and to apply these to a range of 21st century complex and wicked problems such as sustainable development and climate change, poverty and inequality, and homelessness. 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 unit is delivered online, via asynchronous learning modules in Blackboard, and in person, via panel-style lectures and group seminars. The online modules use a range of bespoke audio/video inputs, case studies, and interactive elearning activities designed to enhance your learning and understanding, including online discussion boards. You will be part of an interdisciplinary group of around 20 students, supported throughout by an etutor.



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


Online modules will cover:

  • Theories and models of leadership
  • Leadership in response to complex problems
  • Leadership and change
  • Leadership, politics and the media
  • Leadership and responsibility

Panel-style lectures will complement and build on ideas discussed in the online modules, examining leadership and complex problems from different perspectives, and introducing a range of leadership issues and challenges for the 21st century; for example:

  • Poverty and inequality
  • Homelessness
  • Humanitarian disaster response
  • Environmental sustainability and climate change
  • Business ethics and responsibility
  • Urban regeneration, social inclusion and sustainable communities

There will be opportunities for further discussion of issues raised in in-person seminars and on online discussion boards.

Teaching and learning methods

The unit uses a variety of teaching methods including:

  • Asynchronous online learning modules, delivered via Blackboard. Online content is highly interactive and innovative, with a range of audio and video inputs, and case studies from world-class internal and external contributors.
  • 6 x panel-style, in-person lectures, including Q&A
  • 6 x Tutor-led, in-person group Seminars
  • Tutor-facilitated online discussion forums examining issues raised by online modules and panel lectures.
  • Access to a range of resources through Blackboard
  • Optional drop-in 'office hours' and support of individual group tutor

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.Ongoing assessments (e.g. short end of module tests, online discussions (20%)

2. 2 x written assignments. Choice of tasks, each with leadership focus.

2a. Written Assessment 1 (500 words) (30%)

2b. Written Assessment 2 (1500 words) (50%)



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

Students who successfully complete an LIA unit and 15, 25 or 40 hours of approved volunteering will be awarded the prestigious Manchester Leadership Programme Certificate (Bronze, Silver or Gold).

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