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Leadership: Theory and Practice

Course Code: BUSN 4460
Faculty: Commerce & Business Administration
Department: Business
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 Weeks X 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This seminar based course will provide students with an introduction to the theory and practice of leadership through an examination of significant literary, historical, management, psychological and philosophical sources for insights into the nature and character of leadership. The course lectures, readings and discussions will focus on a several questions, beginning with the most fundamental: “What is Leadership?” and “What is good Leadership?” The relationship and roles of leaders and followers, the moral responsibility of leaders, the consequences of ineffective or bad leadership will be examined and discussed. One of the major tasks of the course will be to give students insights into the practice of leadership, by considering leadership as a “service to society” through the public, private and nonprofit organizations in which they choose to make their contributions.

Course Content

  1. History and origins of leadership theory
  2. Trait and behavioural theories of leadership
  3. Contingency theories
  4. Transactional, transforming and transformational leadership theories
  5. Cultural, anthropological, military and political leadership
  6. Modern leadership theories: charismatic, democratic, adaptive and authentic leadership theories
  7. Ethical Leadership; servant leadership
  8. Practicing Leadership in a multicultural society
  9. Leadership theory and practice in the 21st century

Methods of Instruction

  • Lectures
  • Class discussions
  • Videos
  • Presentations and interactive exercises. 

This course is a fourth year seminar class, with a high degree of preparation required by both students and instructor.  Student presentations and interactive discussions will form an integral part of the learning experience.

Means of Assessment

Term Examination  20%
Individual Research Paper        25%
Oral Presentation   5%
Group Reports (1-3)  15%
Final Examination  25%
Participation  10%

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify, distinguish, and evaluate the various theories of leadership.
  2. Distinguish the roles and functions of leaders and followers.
  3. Develop an ethically informed assessment of leadership theory and practice.
  4. Apply critical thinking skills in the study and exercise of leadership.
  5. Make a convincing analysis and assessment of responsibility in leadership contexts.
  6. Understand and recognize, on a personal level, the practical skills that effective leadership requires.

course prerequisites

A minimum of 60 credits

(ENGL 1130 with a minimum grade of C+)

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.