Tough competition and high performance pressures are pervasive features of the business and professional environment. Whereas some people regard such conditions primarily as drivers for hard work and innovation, others regard them as drivers of moral transgressions and personal resentment; and both sides have a point. Therefore, to minimize the negative and maximize the positive consequences of the contemporary business environment, there are increasing calls for responsible leaders.
However, what distinguishes responsible from irresponsible leaders, and how do responsible leaders actually manage to overcome the adverse effects of a tough business environment? Instead of providing broad-brushed and prefabricated answers to such intricate questions, this course offers a platform for reflection about the practical challenges that employees and managers face in their professional life. Each session of the course centers around a hands-on case study, involves interactive class discussions, and is enriched with key insights from different academic disciplines, like management, psychology, and ethics. As such, the course will help and guide participants in finding their own answers to what leading responsibly means at their workplace.
After the course, it is likely that many participants will neither regard responsible leadership as the single and all-encompassing solution for all kinds of problems in business and society, nor as the expression of wishful thinking that cannot be found in professional settings. Instead, participants might argue that people who lead responsibly can be found in many organizations and levels of hierarchy, just as people leading irresponsibly can be found in most such settings too. The spirit of the course, thus, is that employees and managers who lead responsibly are not necessarily exceptionally successful and morally superior saints, but simply people who do a good job while keeping intact their moral compass—although they are not free of mistakes either. Thereby, those who lead responsibly make a positive contribution to those around them, even if such a contribution is just a modest one.
Upon completion of this course, students should:
- Know the key challenges and approaches for responsibly leading a team and single subordinates
- Be aware of the value-based implications of everyday behaviors and decisions for an organization’s culture as well as its key stakeholders
- Reflect about competing demands in organizations, and the resulting challenge for being responsible towards oneself, one’s colleagues, as well the organization and/or society as a whole