Classic Leadership and Organization Dilemmas, 15 credits

Classic Leadership and Organization Dilemmas, 15 hp


Main field of study

Business Administration

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Single subject and programme course


Marie Bengtsson

Course coordinator

Marie Bengtsson

Director of studies or equivalent

Svjetlana Pantic Dragisic
ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
F7MIO Business Administration - Strategy and Management in International Organisations, Master's Program, 2nd adm round, only for SWE/EU students 1 (Autumn 2020) 202034-202043 English Linköping, Valla C
F7MIO Business Administration - Strategy and Management in International Organisations, Master's Programme - First and main admission round 1 (Autumn 2020) 202034-202043 English Linköping, Valla C
F7MIT Master Programme in IT and Management (Master) 3 (Autumn 2020) 202034-202043 English Linköping, Valla E

Main field of study

Business Administration

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Master's Programme in Business Administration - Strategy and Management in International Organisation
  • Master Programme in IT and Management

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor's degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen within Business Administration or Economics
    A bachelor's degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen with/and at least 60 ECTS (two semesters of full-time study) of Business Administration-related courses (for example Accounting, Marketing, Organization Theory, Strategy, Finance, HRM)
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (English 6/B)
    (Exemption from Swedish)


Admitted to the master’s programme in Business Administration - Strategy and Management in International Organizations or a Bachelor degree of at least 180 ECTS credits in Business, Economics, Social science or in a discipline relevant for the course. Documented knowledge of English equivalent to Engelska B/Engelska 6. Exemption from Swedish B.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course, the student should be able to

  • identify, explain and apply key concepts of leadership and organization and relate them to the exploration/exploitation challenge.
  • identify, explain and reflect upon fundamental leadership dilemmas through classic works of literature as well as business cases, and relate them to contemporary issues in innovation, organizational learning and decision-making
  • analyse complex situations from a leadership and organization perspective, identify patterns and problems, develop plausible explanations, suggest possible solutions, and reflect upon the outcomes of actions taken.
  • critically analyse and integrate knowledge gained through reading, discussions, and cases, and express it orally and in writing in an academic manner.

Course content

The basic assumptions of this course are that (1) leadership and organization share a symbiotic relationship, (2) that major leadership issues also are issues of life, and (3) that great classic works of literature hence provide a good basis for exploring and reflecting upon some of the great challenges and dilemmas of leadership and organization. In the first phase of the course we will focus an organizational challenge that has kept researchers (and managers) occupied for years:
How can we manage an organization's simultaneous needs for exploration of new opportunities (relying on imagination, vision, foolishness, courage, breaking rules and routines) and exploitation (developing more efficient ways of working through rationality, standards, routine, rules, and similar patterns of thinking) and more specifically how do we allocate scarce resources between the two?
In the second phase of the course we will go more in-depth and explore fundamental questions of leadership such as what is the relation between genius and madness? How do we recognize great leaders among the crazies? How do we nurture genius if we cannot recognize it? How do we sustain commitment in the face of adverse or ambiguous outcomes? How do we come to believe that a leader has succeeded or failed? That one leader is better than another? What should we value in leadership and individuals who are leaders? Here reading classic works such as Shakespeare’s Othello, Shaw’s Saint Joan, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and Cervantes’ Don Quixote will provide food for thought. These questions will then be connected to the exploration and exploitation challenge as well as contemporary issues in innovation, organizational learning and decision-making.

Teaching and working methods

The course is designed to encourage active participation and the students are involved in various forms of interactive learning situations. The basic learning pillars are

  • Interactive lectures, complemented by individual reading to introduce the students to the research areas, lay a theoretical foundation, and provide a basis for discussion.
  • Cases and classic seminars where the students will discuss and apply what they have learned during lectures and reading to practice their ability to analyse complex situations, and present reasonable and relevant solutions to problems in these areas.
  • Paper-writing based on lectures, readings, cases and team discussions. Homework and independent study are a necessary complement to the course.


The course will be examined through a number of exercises that are spread out over the duration of the course. Detailed information about the examination can be found in the course’s study guide.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it. If the coordinator has instead recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus.

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.


Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling
Code Name Scope Grading scale
EXAM Examination 15 credits EC


March, James G., (2005) On leadership: a short course Stanford university , 2005

ISBN: 1405132477, 1405132469


In addition there will be a number of research articles, cases and films that you will find on LISAM.

This tab contains public material from the course room in Lisam. The information published here is not legally binding, such material can be found under the other tabs on this page.

There are no files available for this course.