Leadership and Decision Making (HRMP006)

This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.


Module Co-ordinator

Dr Michael Walsh





Credit value


Contact hours

20 contact hours


50% Individual assignment
30% Group assignment
20% Group presentation

The module Leadership and Decision-Making is an elective module enabling students to explore the meaning, significance and social relevance of leadership as concept and practice. It also offers an overview of the factors shaping decision-making individually, in group contexts, and at an institutional level. It aims at equipping students with the ability to analyse more critically and rigorously their own decisions and behaviours, as well as enabling them to reflect upon the broader and complex environment in which business and organisational decisions are made.

Indicative outline:

  • Understanding the nature of leadership and decision problems (“messes” and “wicked” versus “tame” problems), evidence versus “gut” instinct, problem solving versus decision making, leading versus managing.
  • Definition of, and approaches to leadership, including factors and influences of leadership behaviour; ethical and socio-economic implications of leadership models, processes and values.
  • Critical analysis of models of decision-making; role of emotions, intuition, bounded rationality and thinking in decision-making; group influence on decision-making.
  • Exploring the relationships between leadership and governance structures; institutional context and its role in shaping decision-making processes, terms and rules.
  • Influence of environmental factors on decision-making process and participation (social, economic, political, physical).
  • Integrating Leadership and Decision Making with flexible and practical team approaches.

Module Objectives

The module aims to enable students to:

  • Understand and critically examine theoretical and practical dimensions of leadership.
  • Understand and critically examine theoretical and practical dimensions of decision-making, and the external factors shaping or constraining decision-making.
  • Appreciate and critically reflect upon the role of leaders and their ability to influence decisions in/of groups in the context of organisational life as well as at an institutional level.
  • Apply a team based Problem Structuring Method (either Soft Systems Methodology or Strategic Choice Approach) at an introductory level to business or organisational problems.

Learning Outcomes

Specific knowledge and understanding of current developments in the subject.

Over the course of the module, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the nature of leadership and decision problems (“messes” and “wicked” versus “tame” problems)
  • Develop an understanding of concepts and practice of leadership.
  • Understand and critically assess the influence of leaders on decision-making.
  • Develop an understanding of concepts of and approaches to decision-making in organisational and institutional contexts.
  • Analyse the relationships between organisational / governance structures, leadership approaches and decision-making in context.

Generic and cognitive skills

Students will particularly develop communication, critical reading, interpretative and analytical skills.

Preparatory Work

Introductory reading:

Grint, K (2010) A very short introduction to leadership, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Wilson, B and Van Haperen, K. (2015) Soft Systems Thinking, Methodology and the Management of Change, Palgrave, London


© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon