Leading Across Cultures: Principles and Practice

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
International Relations
International Business
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

None

Additional student cost: 

None

Description: 

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal”. —Vince Lombardi

Leadership is about inspiring, mobilizing and enabling people to achieve excellent levels of performance and to get things done in organizations. It starts from self-awareness and effective self-leadership that enable energizing, aligning and result-oriented behaviors. Leadership may be a challenge now as you progress through your academic curriculum striving for personal and professional growth through all the opportunities that university offers you and that you are willing and able to leverage on. Leadership may also become one of your greatest challenges as you progress through your career moving from roles that require your individual contributions to roles that require you to achieve results with and through people. 

Leadership skills will give you the opportunity to challenge yourself with setting up the preconditions for optimal performance to be achieved with and through the people you are working with, it will improve your ability to build and manage constructive relationships and to get to high value added results managing your own and other people’s performance. This course is designed to create an active learning environment in which you will integrate your personal experiences with the exploration of leadership concepts, theory and applied practice and strengthen your abilities to lead, as a colleague who can support leadership behavior in peers, and as one who can, in the future career, promote leadership behavior in supervisors and subordinates.

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate improved understanding of the challenges associated with leadership roles
  • Demonstrate Increased leadership skills and self-awareness
  • Acquire a larger repertoire of leadership attitudes and behaviors and strengthen their leadership competencies
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge of theoretical concepts and assumptions about leadership and leadership behavior
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the concepts included in the assigned (required) readings.
  • Be concise and detailed in answering open questions. Answers should be complete and parsimonious and as simple as possible (not simpler).
  • Engage in the self-improvement individual program where their effort (not success) will be assessed through questions in both the mid-term and the final exam. 
Method of presentation: 

“Leadership is an art that can be learned through practice, trial and error, feedback and experience…”

Given that the goals of the course are both transferring knowledge and developing actual leadership skills, this course is run as a seminar with active discussion of readings, case studies, role-plays, exercises, questionnaires, videos and a guest lecturer.  Our classroom will be an “active work space” where we create conditions for understanding concepts through experience. Students must be involved actively in the course. 

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class Participation - 20%
  • Mid-term Exam - 20%
  • Team Assignment - 20%
  • Final Exam - 40%

Class Participation
Attending students are expected to:

  • Be on-time and attend  all the sessions (when not able to attend write an e-mail the professor at [email protected])
  • Read the required readings prior to each session and be ready to discuss them with the class 
  • Actively participate in class discussions and small group activities (offering ideas that expand the scope of the class discussion and/or build on others’ contributions) 
  • Complete on-time the assessment tools and assignment
  • Foster a climate of constructive dialogue and learning building on respect for both other class members and the instructors

Mid-term Exam

  • Two open questions about your self-improvement exercise (a sort of fine-tuning)
  • Your evaluation is based on 3 items:
    • Commitment: how seriously you took the exercise (this will be evident from the analysis that you make) : 10 pts
    • Effort (NOT SUCCESS): how much have you tried to get things done (please report some concrete experience): 10 pts
    • Analysis: interpret your own results in the light of leadership theories (class, part 1): 10 pts
    • Total 30 pts

Team Assignment
The main task will be to identify a major leadership theory by reading a credible peer-reviewed journal article. Then, summarize the theory in maximum 4 to 5 slides, explaining what the major constructs/factors of the theory are, how the constructs have been tested, and how or why the constructs theoretically predict a dependent outcome and the conditions under which the theory is supposed to work (i.e., discuss the major propositions of the theory and their explicit or implicit boundary conditions). In this summary include a one-slide discussion on potential boundaries of the theory that have not been explicitly considered by the authors (note: to find potential boundary conditions you will need to read papers that have investigate this theory or related theories—use Library resources to track articles that have cited your target theory). Finally, discuss how the theory can be applied to explain a real-life organizational example.

The aim of the assignment is to give you an opportunity to:

  • Train yourself in searching for relevant material and in defining concepts in a clear and precise way
  • Understand how concepts can be helpful in explaining phenomena and in acting on them for higher effectiveness (individual, team and organizational)
  • Experience teamwork and learn from experience how to improve your teamwork skills
  • Experiment with the skill of getting attention and having an impact on the attitudes and behaviors of the people listening to you

The team assignment will be graded with reference to the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the concept/problem addressed with the presentation + originality of thought
  • Literature Review & Bibliography
    • Total 1 & 2 - 9 pts
  • Application of Theory to a Real-Life Organizational Example or an Organizational Problem
    • Total: 9 pts
  • Structure and Clarity of Presentation Total: 9 pts
    • Timing Total: 3 pts
  • Total maximum pts = 30 (corresponding to A)

Make sure you work on a topic that is interesting and challenging and has the potential to add value also to your colleagues in class.

By May 3, at 24.00 you should submit your team assignment in .ppt format.   Make sure that the 1st slide of the document includes:

  • Title
  • Last / first name of the team members in alphabetical order and ID number (matricola), name of the course and academic year
  • And that the last slide of the document contains references about all relevant bibliographical material.

The team assignment will be graded with reference to the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the concept/problem addressed with the presentation + originality of thought
  • Literature Review & Bibliography
    • Total 1 & 2 - 9 pts
  • Application of Theory to a Real-Life Organizational Example or an Organizational Problem
    • Total: 9 pts
  • Structure and Clarity of Presentation Total: 9 pts
  • Timing Total: 3 pts
  • TOTAL 30 pts

Final Exam

  • Final exam will consist of multiple choice questions and open questions (open questions will be based on theory and/or brief case studies and on self-improvement programme)
  • I will grade your clarity, synthesis, and completeness. Completeness will weight 60% of your mark, while the other two 20% each.
  • TOTAL 30 pts

This type of course requires students to take responsibility for their own learning and that of other people in the classroom and to practice leadership behaviors in class. It relies inevitably not only on your physical presence in the class but also on: coming prepared, sharing your perspectives and ideas in a clear and effective way, being inquisitive and respectful of other people’s ideas and points of view and last but not least, working constructively with others. If you are willing to work on yourselves, then you are on the right track for learning how to lead yourself, lead teams and organizations.  

content: 

Session

Content

Readings and Activities

What is Leadership?

 

 

1

Course introduction, review of the syllabus and overview of course content and evaluation modes.

What is leadership?

  • Course syllabus

2-3

Leadership Theories: Evolution of theoretical view of leadership: traits, behavioral, contingent, transformational

4-5

What makes a leader?

  • Suggested Reading: Kouzes & Posner, The leadership challenge, Jossey-Bass, 2007 Chapters 1 and 2 (pp 3-41).

  • Class Activity: The two coaches - Debriefing

6

What are your values?

  • Class Activity: Rokeach Values survey

  • Case study (read before class): Weyco’s ban on employee smoking From: Osland et alii: Organizational Behavior an experiential approach, Pearson International Edition (pp. 127-131)

Perspectives on Culture

 

 

7

What is culture?

Differences in national culture

  • Javidan, M., Dorfman, P.W., Sully de Luque, M., and House, R.J.  2006.  “In the Eye of the Beholder: Cross Cultural Lessons in Leadership from Project GLOBE”.  Academy of Management Perspectives (pp.67-90)

  • Class Activity : In my Backyard (instructions)

8-9

Organizational Culture

  • Schein, E.H.  1990.  “Organizational Culture”.  American Psychologist.  Vol. 45, No. 2, 109—119.No. 2, 109--119   

  • Case (read before class): Innovative HR Practices at Southwest: Can it be sustained? IBS  408- 076-1

10

Mid-term Exam

 

11

In my backyard group presentations

 

Influence

 

 

12-13

Influence in a group context

  • Movie Caterina va in Città

  • Discussion on the movie: Due (Mar 25 before class): describe the multiple influences that Caterina, her father and her mother are exposed to along the movie (1 short paragraph per character). Answer the following question in maximum 1 page: describe a situation in which your behavior changed following the influence of a group. How did you react to the influence? What can you learn from this experience?

14-15

Personal Influence

  • Class Activity : Personal influence Style Self Diagnosis (Osland, Kolb et al., p.491)

Social Networks and Communication

 

 

16

Influence: Social Networks

  • R. Cross, S. Borgatti, and A. Parker. 2002 “Making invisible work visible: using social network analysis to support strategic collaboration”. California Management Review, Vol 44, No. 2, pp.25-46

17

Interpersonal communication principles and high impact communication

  • Exercises on effective communication

18

Evidences on the importance of social network analysis

 

Working in Teams

 

 

19

Teams: content and process

  • Robbins, S., Judge T., Organizational Behavior, Pearson 2012,   15th ed. chapters 9 and 10 (pp.305-363)

20

Negotiation

  • Class Activity: Exercises on competitive and distributive negotiation slides

21

Negotiation simulation

  • Field Activity

22

Group work presentations and wrap up 

 

N.B: some of the sessions can be substituted by attendance at the Multidisciplinary Lecture Seminars on indication of the teacher.

Required readings: 
  • Ancona D., Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty, in: In Managing for the Future: Organizational Behavior and Processes. Second Edition. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing (Module 14: pp.8-17)
  • Cai, Fink, Communicate successfully by seeking balance, in Handbook of principles of organizational behavior, ed Locke Wiley 2009 pp. 425-443
  • Cialdini, R. B. (2001) “Harnessing the Science of Persuasion.” Harvard Business Review, Oct, pp.72-79 R0109D-PDF-ENG
  • Innovative HR Practices at Southwest: Can it be sustained? IBS 408- 076-1
  • Javidan, M., Dorfman, P.W., Sully de Luque, M., and House, R.J. 2006. “In the Eye of the Beholder: Cross Cultural Lessons in Leadership from Project GLOBE”. Academy of Management Perspectives (pp.67-90)
  • Kouzes & Posner, The leadership challenge, Jossey-Bass, 2007 Chapters 1 and 2 (pp 3-41).
  • R. Cross, S. Borgatti, and A. Parker. 2002 “Making invisible work visible: using social network analysis to support strategic collaboration”. California Management Review, Vol 44, No. 2, pp.25-46
  • Robbins, S., Judge T., Organizational Behavior, Pearson 2012, 15th ed. chapters 9 and 10 (pp.305-363)
  • Robbins, S. , Judge T., Organizational Behavior, Pearson 2012, 15th ed. Chapter 12 (pp.401-444)
  • Schein, E.H. 1990. “Organizational Culture”. American Psychologist. Vol. 45, No. 2, 109—119.No. 2,
  • Valley, K. L., and Lingo E. L. 2001. “Power and Influence: Achieving Your Objectives in Organizations.” Harvard Business School, 9-801-425
  • Weyco’s ban on employee smoking From: Osland et alii: Organizational Behavior an experiential approach, Pearson International Edition (pp. 127-131)