module specification

MN2016 - Psychology of Leadership (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Psychology of Leadership
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School London Metropolitan Business School
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Project 30%   Group Project
Coursework 70%   Individual Essay - 3000 words *FC*
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

Businesses can thrive or perish largely based on the quality of organisational leadership. Leadership is a relational term in that it is about dealing with people, usually within groups, and about changing people’s behaviours and attitudes to conform to the leader’s vision for the group. As afforded by organisational constraints and opportunities leadership is both a psychological and a social process mediated by culture. It is underpinned by key psychological concepts, such as perception, emotion, motivation, memory and learning. Relational aspects include power and mutual influence, reciprocal exchanges, identity, categorisation processes and group dynamics.

The way in which a leader acts is often taken as a reflection of a dispositionally determined style, however a focus on style neglects the situation and research has shown that the ‘role’of leadership affects cognition and behaviour in ways that are both consistent and inconsistent with effective leadership.

This module examines the psychological and social processes that underpin leadership behaviour including the psychological exchange between leaders and followers. It explores the psychodynamics of leadership and the effectiveness and consequences of leadership including power, politics and conflict.

Prior learning requirements

Prerequisites: Global Challenges for Business Management and Leadership MN1026C/N or equivalent and Fundamentals of Leadership MN2015C/N or equivalent

Module aims

The principle attributes addressed in this module are A1, A2 and A3.
The module aims to introduce the discipline of psychology as applied to leadership. It aims to provide the student with knowledge and understanding of the key theory underpinning leadership behaviour. It seeks to blend theory and practice by introducing key theories and evaluating their application to the leadership function.

Specifically it aims to help students to:

1. develop an understanding of the basic psychological concepts underpinning readership behaviour;
2. recognise the impact of psychological, social and cultural forces on the practice of leadership;
3. develop an understanding of their own leadership abilities;
4. appreciate the complexity of the power dynamic in the leadership role;
5. understand the process of influence whereby a leader has an impact on others by inducing them to behave in a certain way.
6. critically evaluate the motivational function of leadership.


 Themes covered in this module include:
 Individual processes: Perception, Cognition, Motivation and Memory;
 Group processes: Conformity, Compliance, Obedience;
 Social processes: Team, group dynamics and leadership as group control;
 Effectiveness of leadership;  
 Predicting leadership characteristics
 Consequences of leadership: power, politics and conflict.

Learning and teaching

This module will be delivered through weekly sessions comprising a mixture of theoretical input and problem based workshops. During the workshops diagnostic tools will be used to determine each student’s leadership type, identify their leadership strengths and weaknesses and develop their leadership abilities.

Personal Development Portfolio: This module also aims to develop students awareness of and engagement with their Personal Development Portfolios. Students will be encouraged to reflect on and develop their skills and consider how this will contribute to their PDP and action plan.

Weblearn will be used for the distribution of the Module booklet. It will also be used as an interactive mechanism between students and tutors, for example to direct students to particular readings or to provide news. It will also be used for the provision of generic feedback following formative assessment. Weblearn will not be used as a repository for class material.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

1. describe the major key psychological theories underpinning leadership behaviour, power & influence (A2);
2. explain the cognitive process that categorises individuals as leaders (A2);
3. describe the role of psychometric tests in predicting leadership behaviours(A3);
4. articulate their own leadership abilities and evaluate leadership effectiveness (A1);

Assessment strategy

There are two elements of assessment. The focus of the first one is the student’s identification and development of their own and others leadership abilities, style and preferences. They will do this through processes of participation and observation of concrete, discrete tasks that require a clearly specified output. Having experienced and witnessed leadership behaviours, they will be required to identify the key psychological processes underlying leadership behaviour and their applicability to the development of effective leadership.
The specific area of enquiry is determined by the students, the focus for the enquiry is the practice of leadership with particular reference to the key psychological processes. Having identified an enquiry the students undertake the investigation, present their preliminary findings, and then further develop their enquiry as the basis of their individual paper,


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Furnham, A. (2005) The psychology of behaviour at work: The individual in the Organisation. London, Psychology Press.
Goodwin, S.A., Gubin, A. Fiske, S.T., & Yzerbyt, V.Y. (2000) Power can bias impression processes: Stereotyping subordinates by default and by design. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 3, 227-256.
Hackman, J.R. (2002) Leading Teams: Setting the stage for great performances. Boston Harvard Business School Press.
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McKenna, E. (2006) Business Psychology and Organisational Behaviour: A student’s handbook, (4th ed). London: Psychology Press
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