Skip to main content
Unit of study_

WORK6130: Leadership in Organisations

This unit is designed to encourage students to consider the role and significance of leadership in various organisational contexts. The unit introduces the major streams of leadership theory and traces the development of our understanding about leadership. The unit explores how these theories allow us to understand leadership in practice and in what ways leadership is linked to different aspects of organisational effectiveness. It then examines the 'good, the bad, and the ugly' sides of leadership, e.g. positive forms (transformational, charismatic) and negative forms (narcissistic and Machiavellian). The unit explores leading for diversity and diversity in leadership (e.g. based on gender, culture and ethnicity) and the role of leaders in constituting ethical and socially responsible organisations. The critical role of leaders in effecting organisational change is explored and the leadership of top management teams and leadership succession is examined. The unit also examines leadership development programs and instruments and students have an opportunity to reflect on factors that might influence their own leadership style.


Academic unit Work and Organisational Studies
Unit code WORK6130
Unit name Leadership in Organisations
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Normal evening
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

ECOF5807 or ECOF6090
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Kevin Lowe,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Final exam
Written exam
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Presentation
Oral presentation
30% Week 04 30 minutes (topic) & 5 minutes (reading)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Assignment
Case study
30% Week 08 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?
  • Presentation: This assignment requires students to work in groups to present to their tutorial class twice during the semester (20 of the 30 marks). The student will also present one of the course readings (5 of the 30 marks) and will receive an audience participation mark for contributions in the tutorials (5 of the 30 marks).  Students will be assigned to their groups with corresponding lecture topics for presentation in week 2. Reading assignments for presentation will be assigned a reading in week 2. 
  • Assignment: This assignment requires the student to prepare a case study on leadership in action from their own practical organizational or business experience, or from some personal experience of team leadership e.g. teacher, sporting club, parent, etc. The student will use two different leadership theories to analyse and provide insights into the leadership challenge in the case. The students will be expected to challenge and critique the two theories and review how the chosen (preferred) leadership framework may affect an organization’s results or effectiveness – drawing from course knowledge, assigned readings, as well as their own research within the academic literature.
  • Final exam: The exam will provide the student with a small subset of theories/topics drawn from the unit outline. The frame for the exam question(s) is that the student should assume they are writing a briefing on their theory/topic for a sophisticated upper-level manager. Students are expected to critically engage with the theoretical (and to a lesser extent the practitioner literature) and may bring their own experience, as appropriate, into the discussion. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The late penalty for assignments is five percent of the marks for that assignment per day.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to leadership: Implicit leadership theory Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Introduction to leadership: Trait approach and behavioral theories Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Leader emergence; Followership Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 Leader member exchange; Measuring leadership Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 Transformational and charismatic leadership Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 06 Values based leadership: Authentic, ethical, servant Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Power, influence and motives Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 08 Organisational change and leadership Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 09 To Be Determined Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 10 Cross cultural leadership Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 11 Gender and leadership Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 12 Leadership assessment and development Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Final exam review, exam tips, answer questions Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

  • Lecture recordings: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the Business School does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded.
  • Attendance: Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes. Students are expected to attend and actively participate in all tutorials unless an illness or unavoidable circumstance, verified by a medical certificate or other verifiable evidence, prevents prudent attendance.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. investigate several major theories of leadership that relate to the leadership perspective and strategies evident in current organisations and among individual leaders
  • LO2. evaluate the implications of leadership theories for their relationship to individual, team and organisational performance in the workplace
  • LO3. apply a range of empirical examples to demonstrate the complexity of leadership in various economic, historical and geographical contexts
  • LO4. create and develop lines of argumentation which demonstrate the importance of applying both theoretical perspectives and empirical examples.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.