(1) Send students on an “artifact tour.” Student teams should review Schein’s chapter and make a check list of the kinds of artifacts and expressive indicators that convey an organization’s culture. When ready, send them off through the building where the class is taking place to see what they can learn about the organization’s culture by studying its critical cultural artifacts and cultural indicators. When finished, the group should return to the classroom to discuss (a) what the observed artifacts convey about the organization’s culture, and (b) how the group’s findings and conclusions compare with the espoused cultural values conveyed through the institution’s websites, public marketing materials (like course catalogues, recruiting pamphlets), and so on. The instructor will need to provide access to these public materials.
A series of learning modules on organizational culture and leadership is provided below. They are adapted from the instructor’s guide6 for Management Skills: A Jossey-Bass Reader (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005). The study questions and activities suggested within each module work with Edgar Schein’s chapter 28 (Creating and Managing Culture: The Essence of Leadership) in Business Leadership – and offer instructors additional ways to engage students in thinking about the broader issues of leadership and culture. The modules also serve as a model for developing courses or training programs that supplement Business Leadership with a larger work by one of the volume’s authors. Edgar Schein’s Organizational Culture and Leadership is used here.
BL Chapter 1. John P. Kotter. What Leaders Really Do
BL Chapter 3. James Kouzes and Barry Posner. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
BL Chapter 4. Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal. Reframing Leadership
questions for discussion:
1. What is organizational culture? How is it formed? How can we know it?
2. What is the relationship between organizational culture and leadership?
3. What makes a great manager? A great leader? What are the core requirements?
4. In what ways are leaders and managers shaped by their organization’s culture? How in turn do they shape and manage the culture?
5. Schein states that culture is “morally neutral.” What does he mean? Do you agree?
6. How do your work experiences compare with the organizational examples used by Schein? Where do the organizations that you have worked with differ? In what ways are they similar?
7. What is the role of personal and evaluative assumptions in diagnosing culture?
1. Use Schein’s levels of culture to diagnose the culture of an organization, group, or subunit of which you are a member. What would you predict about what great leadership means within that culture?
2. Interview someone you consider a great leader. What makes them great? How do their account for their success? How do they understand their organization’s culture?
3. Pick a category or type of organization (e.g., a 4th grade classroom in a school, a library, a store, a bank, a restaurant, a scout troop, etc.) Visit four or five different representatives of your organizations, and identify cultural differences in their functioning.
4. Practice observing and diagnosing norms and behaviors. Pick a random situation where people can be observed in action (e.g., a train station, a hotel lobby, an office). Watch the action until you can see norm – those unwritten rules of behavior that everyone seems to naturally follow. What norms can you find?
leadership skills: observational skills, diagnostic skills, communications skills
module two: Shaping Culture and Work life
Readings: Schein, chapters 5, 6
BL Chapter 2. Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. Primal Leadership: The Hidden Power of Emotional Intelligence
BL Chapter 9. Jim Collins. Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve
BL Chapter 23. James MacGregor Burns. The Power and Creativity of a Transforming Vision
BL Chapter 24. Burt Nanus. Finding the Right Vision.
questions for discussion:
1. How do managers and leaders shape the work environment?
2. What leads to healthy work environments? How do we know?
3. What enables a leader to manage change? What are the essential understandings? The essential skills?
4. Is managing change the same as organizational culture change? Where is the overlap? Where are the processes different?
5. How are organizational mission and goals linked to culture? Or are they?
6. Define and illustrate a metric. Define and illustrate an assumption. What’s the difference between them?
7. What is the function of an organization’s culture?
8. Leaders shape and manage the internal environment of an organization through a variety of processes, from hiring to firing. How does this daily work impact cultural integration? The opportunities for cultural change?
1. Create a model for analyzing an organization’s external adaptation requirements (see exhibit 5.1, p. 88) and its internal integration processes (exhibit 6.1, p. 112). Find a group and apply the model. What did you learn about the model? About the organization.
2. Repeat #1 above with a different organization. What do you see by comparing two different organizations?
3. Create a new task group. Have group members determine the norms, values, and culture of the group. How easy is this to do? Do the decisions made by the group match the behaviors and group functioning?
diagnostic skills, observational skills, self-reflection, communications
module three: Motivation, Leadership, and Culture
Readings: Schein, chapters 7-11
BL Chapter 13. Joan V. Gallos. Making Sense of Organizations: Leadership, Frames, and Everyday Theories of the Situation
BL Chapter 34. Kim Cameron. Good or Not Bad: Standards and Ethics in Managing Change
BL Chapter 36. David Batstone. Preserving Integrity, Profitability, and Soul
questions for discussion:
1. Schein tells us that groups need to learn to become groups. Who teaches them? What’s the learning process look like? What is the leader’s role? Where does “framing” come into play?
2. What do leaders do to motivate others? What do they do to stifle motivation?
3. How do cultural assumptions impact organizational processes, like communications? Motivation? Relationship development? Leadership?
4. What is good feedback? What norms are needed to support it? What norms block it? If every organization espouses behaviors that support productivity, how come good feedback is so hard to do? So hard to get?
5. Schein describes highly abstract aspects of culture, like assumptions about space, time, truth, and reality. What do each of these categories mean? Illustrate them with examples from your own work life.
6. How can cultural analysis “do harm?” What needs to happen in studying organizational culture to safe-guard institutional integrity?
7. Schein identifies different methods of inquiry. What are they? What are the costs and benefits for using each typology? In other words, what would you see? What would you miss with each?
1. Initiate a conversation about definitions of truth with a co-worker or fellow group member. How well does it go? Why? What did you learn about the assumption individuals hold about the topic? What did you learn about yourself?
2. Create a simple and unannounced experiment that “violates” (safely and legally) expectations that others have for time or space (e.g., stand closer or farther away than is expected during a conversation, talk more slowly than usual, be early or late for an appointment, etc.). What happens when you behavior in ways that are inconsistent with an organizational norm? Observe how others respond to the norm violation. Talk with others and to elicit their understandings and explanations for your “violating” behaviors.
3. Review policy information about an organization. What assumptions about human nature are reflected in the policies? How do you know?
4. Think about organizations that you have worked in. How do Theory X and Theory Y assumptions help to explain the differences? Give examples.
5. Create a model for “no harm” cultural analysis. What does it contain? What elements make it “no harm?”
6. Practice in pairs critical skills, like giving good feedback, interviewing others, reflective listening, etc.
7. Go to a public place and practice watching others to identify emotions. Keep a journal or diary.
8. Use the various typologies provided by Schein in chapter 11 to study an organization.
leadership skills: communications, observation skills, analytic skills, listening, feedback, data gathering/research design
module four: Leading Complex Organizational Processes
Readings: Schein, chapters 12-14
BL Chapter 5. James O’Toole. When Leadership is an Organizational Trait
BL Chapter 10. Steven B. Sample. Thinking Gray and Free
BL Chapter 11. Philip Mirvis and Karen Ayas. Enhancing the Psycho-Spiritual Development of Leaders: Lessons from Leadership Journeys in Asia
questions for discussion:
1. How are leadership, culture, and stages of organizational development linked? Where, how and when does a leader’s psycho-social maturity enter into the equation?
2. What organizational processes enable leaders to impact their culture’s culture? Why do leaders often miss these kinds of opportunities?
3. What is the role of myths and stories in organizational productivity? In great leadership?
4. Schein discusses the central role that leaders play in embedding their beliefs, values, and assumptions into an organization. What about followers? What is their role? What mechanisms of influence are available?
5. What conditions are necessary for culture formation to occur?
6. How is culture “taught” to newcomers? Provide examples from your own organizational experiences of this teaching process.
7. What does organizational mid-life look like? Do organizations have mid-life crises?
1. Create a stage model of organizational development. Choose three companies at different stages in that development. Interview leaders at each to understand their role in culture building and change.
2. Collect founder stories for an organization from formal materials and interviews with individuals who have a long history with the organization.
3. Schein identifies a series of “embedding mechanisms” (p. 246, exhibit 13.1). Use them to gather data and analyze a chosen organization. What does the information tell you about the organization’s culture and the key assumptions that drive it?
4. Interview various members of a department or small organization to understand how they handle complex organizational processes, like conflict, crisis management, setting agendas and running meetings, feedback on poor performance, and so on. What does this information tell you about the strength of the culture? About important cultural assumptions?
leadership skills: communications, observation skills, analytic skills, listening, interviewing, data gathering/research design
module five: Building and Sustaining Leadership and Culture
Readings: Schein, chapters 15-19
BL Chapter 23. James MacGregor Burns. The Power and Creativity of a Transforming Vision
BL Chapter 30. Douglas A. Ready. Leading at the Enterprise Level
BL Chapter 31. Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan with Charles Burck. Execution: The Gap Nobody Knows
BL Chapter 38. Andre Delbecq. Nourishing the Soul of the Leader
BL Chapter 39. Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas. Resilience and the Crucible of Leadership
questions for discussion:
1. What mechanisms are available for organizational culture change? Are they all equally effective? At all times? Explain and illustrate your answers.
2. What are the linkages between organizational culture change and individual leadership development?
3. What is the difference between planned organizational change and planned organizational culture change? When is one preferable over the other? Why?
4. Schein describes a psychosocial model of organizational culture change. How does it compare with the models of planned change offered by authors (chapters 12, 13) in the Reader?
5. Compare and contrast James MacGregor Burn’s concept of transformational leadership with the transforming feature of organizational culture change. What’s different? What’s the same?
6. What sustains great leaders during complex change processes? What’s the impact of that on the culture?
7. What is a learning culture? Do all cultures learn? Why? Why not?
8. What is a learning leader? Do all leaders learn? Why? Why not?
9. Why does Schein call his 10 step cultural assessment process an intervention?
1. Select one of the many books out that describe a major organization in some depth (e.g. Nabisco – “Barbarians at the Gate,” Microsoft – “Breaking Windows,” etc.). Apply Schein’s 10 step model for assessing the organization’s culture. What can you learn about the organization’s culture? What can you learn about the completeness and workable of the model?
2. Schein offers five characteristics of the learning-leader (pp. 414-417). Assess your experiences and comfort with each dimension. Create a development plan for strengthening your leadership capacities. Share you plan with others. Request and listen to feedback that confirms and disconfirms your self-assessment. Refine your developmental plan.
leadership skills: self-assessment, observation skills, analytic skills, data gathering/research design, listening, interviewing skills
Films and Videos: Options
Two film clips are suggested in the sample syllabus. However, a host of classic and popular films will stimulate good discussion on leadership and leadership effectiveness. Films like Braveheart, Citizen Kane, Cry Freedom, Dead Poets Society, Gandhi, Glory, Henry V, Hoffa, Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar, Lawrence of Arabia, Lean on Me, Mash, Hoosiers, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Malcolm X, My Left Foot, Patton, Roger and Me, Stripes, St. Joan, Schindler=s List, Stand and Deliver, The Right Stuff, Patton, The Karate Kid, Twelve O=Clock High, Wall Street, and Young Mr. Lincoln each offer their own implicit definitions of Agood@ leadership. Though men tend to dominate films about leadership, provocative examples with female protagonists include Aliens (the leadership interest here is not the gory extra-terrestrials, but Sigourney Weaver as a strong combat leader); Funny Girl (the biography of creative, iconoclastic Fanny Bryce starring Barbra Streisand); Julia (playwright Lillian Hellman=s recollections of how her exuberant friend Julia drew her into resistance work during World War II, starring Jane Fonda as Hellman and Vanessa Redgrave as Julia); Marie (Sissy Spacek in the lead role blows the whistle on corruption in Tennessee=s parole system). Other options include 9 to 5, Norma Rae, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Miracle Worker (powerful, Oscar-winning story of two very strong women: Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan), The Lion in Winter (with Katherine Hepburn playing Eleanor of Aquitaine opposite Peter O=Toole=s Henry II), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith won an Oscar in the title role as an inspirational teacher), Silkwood (Meryl Streep as a young woman who became a whistle-blower in a nuclear plant), What=s Love Got to do With It? (Tina Turner=s evolution from small-town naïf to battered wife to superstar).
The War and Remembrance
miniseries on videocassette provides powerful fictional portrayals of the leadership of Churchill, Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini during World War II. Bill Moyers examines similarities between Roosevelt=s and Adolf Hitler=s leadership in A Walk Through the Twentieth Century with Bill Moyers: The Democrat and the Dictator.
A new series of documentaries, available from Critics= Choice Video, explores the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and Stonewall Jackson during the Civil War.
Since any of these films and documentaries stimulates discussion about the meaning of leadership, choice of film depends on the audience and the instructor=s goals. The film Glory
, for example, shows changes in Shaw=s leadership over time and is best for exploring different strategies and shifting leadership approaches. Twelve O=Clock High
might be useful for raising questions about the connections between military imagery, gender, and many commonsense definitions of good leadership. Stripes
and The Bridge on the River Kwai
examine the evolution of up-through-the-ranks leadership in the face of challenge. 9 to 5
, Aliens, St. Joan
, and My Left Foot
look at women leaders in action.
A chosen film can be shown in its entirety; however, with films, sometimes less is more.7
Instructors can pull one or two relevant scenes from any of the above pieces, or juxtapose two or more contrasting film clips to stimulate discussion about the complexities in defining and studying leadership, its moral dimensions, and the cultural and gender assumptions that underlie popular beliefs about leading. Instructors can, for example, illustrate two different images of leadership by comparing Professor Keating in Dead Poets Society
with the general in Twelve O=Clock High
, Gordon Gecko in Wall Street
with Stephen Biko in Cry Freedom
, or the Western conception of command and control leadership in Patton
with the Eastern perspective of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid
. They can compare large- and small-scale leadership efforts
, for example, by comparing scenes from Gandhi
with clips of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid
or Stephen Biko in Cry Freedom
with Christy=s mother in My Left Foot
. They can raise questions about good versus evil leadership [perfect for Barbara Kellerman’s chapter 33 on bad leadership in Business Leadership
] with the film portraits of Roosevelt and Hitler in A Walk Through the Twentieth Century with Bill Moyers: The Democrat and the Dictator.
They can contrast highly traditional masculine and feminine leadership with the first five minutes of the film Patton
and Christy=s mother in My Left Foot
. Appendix B provides sources for locating other popular, historical, and training films; and sites like YouTube
and others can facilitate student access and instructor choice.
Cases: Options, Choices, and Teaching Support Materials
is perfect for case courses; and a wealth of case materials is available for instructors. Case choice and focus depend on the instructor’s teaching purposes. Format-wise, there are traditional paper cases, video cases, multimedia cases, and cases set up for in-class simulations or role plays. Cases can focus on organizational situations and challenges that require leadership action – opportunities to practice leading and to explore the consequences of choices. Others are written to understand an individual leader: they may contain interviews and biographical information that enables students to “get into the head” of the leader as he or she makes or enacts choices. Biographies of popular business leaders are book-length descriptions of organizational challenges and can serve as an extended case, as it were, to which the class returns regularly throughout the semester to reexamine in light of new learning. Fiction offers additional possibilities.
individual leadership cases
Various case clearing houses offer on-line capacities to search for cases by topic, focus, sector (e.g., business, non-profit, government, education, etc.), and markets (e.g., technology, healthcare, manufacturing, service industries, etc. ). Many of the cases have teaching notes. [Full information about various case clearing houses is available in Appendix A.]
The Case Clearing House at the Harvard Business School Press is a good place to start. It also offers educators convenience and support services beyond those available to other site users. These support services are free for faculty who register with the site using their university email and address; and they include one-on-one consultations with field representatives about materials, case content, how to design a course, exam case suggestions, and much more. There are also good online supports for faculty, like free access to electronic previews of cases, simulations, and Harvard Business Review
reprints before purchase; teaching notes; a personal library on the HBS site in which to store cases and articles of interest; options for an online course site; and capacities to search for cases by area, topic and focus. The site also offers course development services; identifies cases that are most popular with instructors; and suggests sets of cases for courses or modules on leadership and organizations, managing human capital, leading change, human behavior in organizations, and power and influence. Case sets for these subject areas are available at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/academic_discipline/organizational_behavior_leadership.jsp?N=510814
Cases for exploring leadership ethics and accountability are at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/files/academic/Leadership_Corp_Accountability.pdf
A number of Harvard Business School syllabi are also available for download, as are relevant podcasts, interviews with CEOs and thought leaders, blogs by well known authors and practitioners – including a number whose work appears in Business Leadership.
The HBS site is well worth bookmarking.
For instructors who prefer case books, there are many options. A number of leadership books are heavy on case examples that can be deepened by articles from the popular press. For example, Barbara Kellerman’s Bad Leadership
(Harvard Business School Press, 2004) provides detailed mini-cases of leaders gone awry for each category in her bad leader typology – a way to back into good leadership by exploring exemplars of incompetence or evil. More traditional case books offer collections of short cases that allow instructors to focus on particular sectors or industries. These might include
W. Glenn Rowe. Cases in Leadership (Ivey Casebook Series). Sage, 2007.
L. Carter, D. Giber, M. Goldsmith, W. Bennis. Linkage Inc.'s Best Practices in Leadership Development Handbook: Case Studies, Instruments, Training.
L. Carter, D. Ulrich, and M. Goldsmith. Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organization Change: How the Best Companies Ensure Meaningful Change and Sustainable Leadership
. Pfeiffer, 2004.
. Glass and T. Cummings. Cases in Organization Development
. Irwin, 1990
R. Golembiewski and G. Varney. Cases in Organization Development
. Wadsworth Publishing, 2000
ETS Staff. Case Studies in School Leadership: Keys to a Successful Principalship. Prentice Halal, 2006.
Richard Gorton, Judy Alston, and Petra Snowden. School Leadership and Administration: Important Concepts, Case Studies, and Simulations.
McGraw-Hill Humanities, 2006.
Merseth, Katherine K. Cases in Educational Administration
. Addison-Wesley, 1997.
T. Rhodes, P. Alt, C. Brown, M. Brown, R. Gassner, S. Gelmon, G. Rassel, C. Jurkiewicz, L.Swayne, D. Thompson. The Public Manager Case Book: Making Decisions in a Complex World. Sage, 2002.
M. Wood. Nonprofit Boards and Leadership: Cases on Governance, Change, and Board Staff Dynamics
. Jossey-Bass, 1995.
S. Capper, P. Ginter, and L. Swayne. Public Health Leadership and Management: Cases and Context. Sage, 2001.
A. Padilla. Portraits in Leadership: Six Extraordinary University Presidents. Praeger, 2005.
V. Pelote and L. Route. Masterpieces in Health Care Leadership: Cases and Analysis for Best Practices.
Jones and Bartlett, 2007.
William Fisher. Executive decisions: Hospitality case studies in leadership, ethics, employee relations and external relations. Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 2002.
book-length leadership cases
Popular business books about leaders or companies can also serve as cases. Students find them fun and easy to read. The amount of detail is greater than in many traditional case studies, and they offer helpful quotations and insights into the thinking of key case figures. There are additional pedagogical benefits to book-size cases, as well. Encouraging students to probe for new and deeper levels of understanding when students are sure that they’ve “got the story” from a first read is a valuable lesson for leadership and for organizational life. Book length descriptions also look at an organization or situation over time, reminding students that leadership is complex work that takes persistence and may require adjustments in approach or strategy.
Any good book store and online book sellers like Amazon.com are good sources for biographies and autobiographies of visible – and sometimes controversial – business leaders. Jack Welsh, for example, has written multiple books about his leadership, like Winning (New York: Collins, 2005) or Jack: Straight from the Gut (New York: Warner Business Books, 2001), and many have been written about him. Robert Slater, for example, has four all published by McGraw-Hill: Jack Welsh and the G. E. Way: Management Insights and Leadership Secrets of the Legendary CEO (1998), The G. E. Way Fieldbook: Jack Welsh’s Battle Plan for Corporate Revolution (1999), 29 Leadership Secrets from Jack Welsh (2002), and Jack Welsh on Leadership (2004). Jeffrey A. Krames has authored another four, again for McGraw-Hill: The Jack Welch Lexicon of Leadership: Over 250 Terms, Concepts, Strategies & Initiatives of the Legendary Leader (2001), The Welch Way : 24 Lessons From The Worlds Greatest CEO (2003), Jack Welch and the 4 E's of Leadership (2005), and What the Best CEOs Know : 7 Exceptional Leaders and Their Lessons for Transforming any Business (2003). A 60 Minutes interview with Welsh and his wife is available through major outlets like Amazon.com. Harvard Business School Press also has a series of cases and multi-media materials on Welsh at G.E. Those include:
GE’s Two Decade Transformation: Jack Welsh’s Leadership (# 399150) 24 pgs. 1999
Supplement: GE’s Two Decade Transformation: Interview with Jack Welsh (video #300508; DVD # 300510) November 1999
Supplement: GE Compilation: Jack Welsh 1981-1999 (#300511)
Supplement: GE Compilation: Jack Welsh 1981-1999 Video (DVD #300512)
Carly Fiorina is another business leader whose autobiography can be read in tandem with others’ observations about her leadership at Hewlett Packard. Fiorina’s book, Tough Choices: A Memoir
(New York: Penguin, 2006), fits well, for example, with Peter Burrows’s book Backfire: Carly Fiorina's High-Stakes Battle for the Soul of Hewlett-Packard
(New York: Wiley, 2003) or George Ander’s book Perfect Enough: Carly Fiorina and the Reinvention of Hewlett-Packard
(New York: Penguin, 2003). A 60 Minutes
interview with Fiorina after her firing from HP is easily available. Search for “Carly Fiorina” on the Harvard Business School Press site to identify the ten cases on HP, including one that explores leadership transition issues for Fiorina’s successor: Mark Hurd at HP: Driving Strategic Execution
(#SM160, 2007, 16 pgs). Those interested in looking at women and leadership issues at HP might also be interested in the 60 Minutes
interview with ex-chairwoman of the HP board, Patty Dunn, who was accused of spying on fellow board members. The Harvard Business School case Hewlett-Packard Company: The War Within
(#9-107-030, 2007, 35 pgs) explores the spying allegations.
There are also a number of well-received books on the leadership of U.S. presidents, historical figures like Lewis and Clark, religious and civic luminaries such as Martin Luther King, and military leaders (current and past). These options might fit instructor and student needs well. Books of particular note are any of the works by award-winning writer David McCullough, such as
. Simon & Schuster, 2003. [good contrasting leadership portraits of George Washington and King George III]
. Simon & Schuster, 2002.
Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt
. Simon & Schuster, 2001.
. Simon & Schuster, 1993. [reframes public views of Harry Truman’s presidency; winner of the Pulitzer Prize.]
Simon & Schuster, 1992. [17 portraits of diverse thought leaders across industries and issues: science, engineering, business, literature, political and social change, the arts]
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge
. Simon & Schuster, 1983.
Path Between The Seas : The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914.
Simon & Schuster, 1978.
Another option is to examine the leadership of lesser-known public figures. Tracy Kidder’s award winning, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (
New York: Random House, 2004), for example, explores Dr. Paul Farmer’s work to establish health care systems in Haiti and other developing nations; and it is filled with learning about leadership across organizations, cultures, and political circumstances. The Farmer case offers rich opportunities to explore personal theories of leadership, links between leadership and change management skills, and the power of one individual to change the world. It balances a focus on the individual leader with recognition of the need for support networks and infrastructure to sustain system and organizational initiatives. The case has a public health/non-profit focus, but the power of the story, the beauty of Kidder’s writing, and the book’s lessons are relevant across sectors. Farmer has received a fair share of notice in recent years – he is the creator of the successful non-profit Partners in Health
; a Harvard Medical School faculty member; winner of a MacArthur genius grant; an honorary degree recipient from Princeton, Boston College, and elsewhere; and the subject of a PBS documentary – so students can research him and his leadership beyond the Kidder book and see him in action. His quiet genius, compassion, and mild mannered approach are often a surprise to those who have read about his commitment, passion, persistence, and accomplishments.
For instructors searching for a global leadership cases in the profit sector
, C. K. Prahalad’s The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
(Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing, 2006) might work. The book challenges business leaders to rethink the meaning of corporate social responsibility and proposes a provocative model of business leader as agents of social change. The book is filled with mini-cases and comes with a downloadable set of video interviews with the individuals profiled in the book. The book is powerful, and it shatters pre-conceived notions about the relationship among business, government, and the non-profit sectors.
Other options include book-level leadership cases involving leadership in particular industries, companies, or markets. These might include works like:
James Benjamin Brown. The Most Effective Organization in the U.S.: Leadership Secrets of the Salvation Army
. Crown, 2001.
D. Magee. How Toyota Became #1: Leadership Lessons from the World's Greatest Car Company
. Portfolio, 2007.
F. T. Hoban, W. Lawbaugh, and E.J. Hoffman. Where Do You Go After You’ve Been to the Moon: A Case Study of NASA’s Pioneering Effort at Change
. New York: Krieger, 1997.
D. Blank. Breaking Windows: How Bill Gates Fumbled the Future of Microsoft.
New York: Free Press, 2001.
H. Schultz. Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time.
New York: Hyperion, 1999.
B. McLean and P. Elkind. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron.
New York: Portfolio, 2003.
: Teaching materials on the Enron case were prepared by author and editor, Alan Shrader for the first edition of Business Leadership
. These continue to be made available to readers in Appendix D of this document.
fiction as a business case8
Various works of literature can be used as interesting leadership cases to explore leadership development, its complexities and opportunities, or specific aspects of the process. The major challenges of business leadership – understanding others in context, motivating and influencing, managing enduring differences, recognizing the roots of competing interests and conflicts, generating productive alternatives to complex problems, and the list goes on – are echoes of critical life issues, asserts James G. March, the distinguished organizational theorist who taught a popular, literature-based leadership course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business for fifteen year and until his retirement. (That course is chronicled in On Leadership
by James G.
March and Thierry Weil. New York: Wiley, 2005.) And literature provides students the unique opportunity to view and study those critical life challenges deeply and from the inside out.
“Literature is an extension of life not only horizontally, bringing the reader into contact with events or locations or persons or problems he or she has not otherwise met,” philosopher of aesthetics Martha Nussbaum reminds us
, “But also, so to speak, vertically, giving the reader experience that is deeper, sharper, and more precise than much of what takes place in life.” 9
Good fiction also enables students to see events from multiple perspectives – their own, fellow students, the writer’s, and the various characters in the story – increasing their understandings of complex topics like human diversity, ambiguity, and power and everyday politics; the impact of time, culture, and experience on events; and the personal frames of reference used to make sense of all that.
The health sciences, for example, have a long history of using literature – the reading and writing of it – for teaching and training: the medical humanities are a well-established curricular tradition in medical education. Robert Coles, in The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989), asserts that fiction and storytelling powerfully deepen the inner life of those who work on life’s interpersonal boundaries. Coles and colleagues Randy Testa created an anthology of literary works for health care leaders, A Life in Medicine: A Literary Anthology
(New York: New Press, 2002), to help them explore the ethical and leadership dilemmas that flow from scientific advances and changes in medicine. Many of the pieces and issues are also perfect for business leadership audiences. Leadership looks more like the gritty and human process that it is – and less glamorous and heroic – when seen through the difficult choices of compelling characters in action.
For example, “The Secret Sharer”10
by Joseph Conrad offers a powerful portrait of leadership development. Readers are privy to the inner struggles of a young sea captain seeking to understand what he must do to rise to the leadership challenge. Students easily find parallels between the captain’s leadership struggles and their own – and the captain’s framing of his fears and challenges gives students language and a comfortable entry point to talk about their own. Like many of the students, the captain has degrees and technical know-how – training from a top seafaring academy and solid experience as first mate on comparable vessels – but is untested in translating all that into action. At the helm for the first time, he is surprised by what he finds – and finds out about himself. Leading is a lot harder than expected: followers must be earned, the pace of the work is fast and steady, decisions are often made in the face of ambiguity, and mistakes can be costly to the leader and the entire enterprise. Leadership is lonely work – and Conrad’s straight-forward prose enables students to “feel” this and to see its impact on the captain’s spirit and decisions. By the end of the story and class activities connected to it, students understand cognitively and emotionally that leadership engages mind, heart, body, and soul – and that even the most prepared are never fully certain they will succeed until tested.
Conrad’s story is short in length but rich for exploring a host of issues reflected in Business Leadership
: the meaning of leadership character and resolve [see Business Leadership
chapters by Bennis and Thomas (39), Kouzes and Posner (3), George (8), Collins (9), Batstone (36), Kellerman(33)]; leader as facilitator of adaptive change [Heifetz and Linsky (35)]; leadership passages [Dotlich, Noel and Walker (37), Bennis and Thomas (39)]; decision making under stress [Bolman and Deal (4), Delbecq (38), Quinn (12)]; healthy followership [Kellerman (33), Cameron (34), Delbecq (38), Bolman and Deal (4)]; power and influence [Kotter (29)]; integrity [Batstone (36), Quinn (12), George (8)]; inner spiritual growth (Delbecq (38), Quinn 12)]; and more. And it is, of course, only one literature choice for exploring any of the above issues – or many others.
Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
makes finding and using literature in the study of leadership easy. Its online data base has over 20,000 free books of all kinds and short stories available for free download; its affiliate partners provide access to 100,000 others. Some are available in multiple languages, and the diversity of the Project’s available selections is impressive.
There are also a number of good resources available to build both instructor confidence in using literature and a list of relevant readings. William Howe in “Leadership Vistas: From the Constraints of the Behavioral Sciences to Emancipation through the Humanities” [Journal of Leadership Studies
, 3(2), 32-69, 1996] examines the liberating nature of literature for leadership education with examples from specific plays
, poems, and fiction. Clemens and Mayer in The Classic Touch: Lessons in Leadership from Homer to Hemingway
(Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1999) and Robert Coles in The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination
Houghton Mifflin, 1989) discuss the larger issues in using literature and suggest specific works. A number of experienced faculty have published versions of their literature-based courses. These are triple wins: a course design, reading suggestions, and teaching strategies. James March, as noted, outlines his Stanford course in On Leadership
(March and Weil. New York: Wiley, 2005) and discusses use of Shakespeare’s Othello
, Shaw’s Saint Joan
, Tolstoy’s War and Peace
, and Cervantes’s Don Quixote.
Joseph Badaracco in Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership through Literature
(Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2006) and Sandra Sucher in Teaching the Moral Leaders: A Guide for Instructors
(London: Routledge, 2007) explore their versions of their Harvard Business School leadership course. Sucher has also created a student text, The Moral Leader: Challenges, Tools, and Insights
(London: Routledge, 2007) that contains background information, prework, and assignments – a good learning resource for instructors too.
The Hartwick Humanities in Management Institute http://www.hartwickinstitute.org/
has a wide assortment of excerpts from larger literary works that can be used to teach a host of leadership issues. Hartwick case teaching notes assist instructors in identifying the leadership themes in pieces. They also provide teaching strategies, discussion questions, social and historical background, relevant management and leadership theories, and a short bibliography.
And instructors can be creative in choosing works of fiction that they enjoy to explore the process of or preparation for leading. Classics like Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea or J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye examine personal change and growth – and are a vehicle for exploring leadership issues like power, confidence, and self-efficacy. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is perfect for exploring the concept of the leadership dream – and a video starring Dustin Hoffman is a nice teaching complement.
multi-media case-based simulations
Case situations that lend themselves to organizational simulations or role plays offer unique opportunities for students to diagnose their leadership-in-action and to examine the effectiveness of their choices and strategies. Harvard Business School Press http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/index.jsp?_requestid=12506 has a number. Search their website for “simulations” to see the full array. Two of particular note are:
(1) Everest Leadership and Team Simulation
(# 2650). The web-based simulation of a Mount Everest expedition is designed to explore team leadership and the importance of collaboration, although it is equally powerful for examining individual leadership choices and their individual and organizational consequences. Players are assigned to one of five roles on a team attempting to summit Everest. The simulation lasts six rounds that take about 1.5 hours. During each round, team members analyze information on weather, health conditions, supplies, goals, or hiking speed, and determine what to communicate to their teammates and to do. They then collectively discuss whether to attempt to reach the next camp en route to the summit. The team decides critical issues like how to distribute supplies and oxygen bottles that affect hiking speed, health, and ultimately individual and team success. Failure to accurately communicate and analyze information as a team has negative consequences for all. A Facilitator's Guide and teaching notes are available.
(2) Columbia’s Final Mission
(product # 9-305-032). In this simulation, students explore the situation that led to Space Shuttle Columbia’s tragic disintegration on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere in 2003 from the perspective of six key managers and engineers associated with NASA's Shuttle Program. Students are pre-assigned the role of one of these six real-life individuals. An online application replicates the desktop environment of each individual, and through a password system, students review the actual e-mails they would have seen and sent. They also listen to audio re-enactments of crucial meetings, and review space agency documents. Students use all this data as a way to prepare to play their assigned role in a classroom re-enactment of a critical Mission Management Team meeting. The power of the activity rests in the fact that students recognize leadership is needed to avoid the loss of astronaut lives. Since much pre-work happens online and before class, the simulation can be run in class meetings of different time lengths. An instructor’s multimedia packet contains an introductory video and general background information on the case both set into an attractive PowerPoint. A Facilitator's Guide contains an overview of simulation screens and teaching notes. The fact that this case really happened also allows instructors and students to gather data from other sources, as well.
Finally, Lee Bolman has two simulations that offer opportunities for students to explore their leadership strategies and effectiveness in roles at the top, middle, or bottom of the organizational hierarchy in fictional manufacturing firms. The simulations complement Business Leadership
chapter 14 by Michael J. Sales, Leadership and the Power of Position: Understanding Structural Dynamics in Organizational Life. Outlines and role descriptions for the simulations can be found at www.leebolman.com
Appendix A: Sources for Cases
Case Clearing Houses and Sources
is a source of individual cases from a variety of journals, as well as leadership and organizational change case books. Search for “leadership cases” once you log onto the Amazon site and have selected the search for “books” option.
American Council on Education
is an excellent source for cases in higher education leadership and institutional management. http://www.acenet.edu/
is a free, online searchable database. Developed by The Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program (BSP), the site locates cases, references, commentary, and supplemental teaching materials published by and for business educators, especially materials that deal with pressing social and environmental issues. The cases come from sources including Harvard Business School Publishing, The Darden Case Collection, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario (Canada), and the European Case Clearinghouse; they cover a wide array of disciplines including Marketing, Finance, Accounting and Management. Cases are easy to search by keyword and themes such as Human Rights, Stakeholder Relationships, and Crisis Management. http://www.caseplace.org
Case Studies in Marketing, Business
is an internet site that provides links to eight sources for marketing, careers, and product research cases. http://www.knowthis.com/academic/casestudies.htm
Darden Graduate School of Business Case Collection
, University of Virginia; http://www.dardenbusinesspublishing.com
The Electronic Hallway
at the University of Washington, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle is an online repository of teaching cases and other curriculum materials for faculty who teach public administration, public policy, and related subjects. Cases are available in numerous policy areas, as well as on economic development, education, environment and land use, human services, international affairs, nonprofit, state and local government issues, utility and transit issues, and urban and regional issues. Many Hallway cases include teaching notes, and several have videos of cases being taught by experienced case instructors. www.hallway.org
The European Case Clearing House
is described as the world’s most comprehensive catalogue of worldwide case studies for management education. There are office in the U.K. at Cranfield University, Wharley End, Bedford MK43 OJR, England; http://www.ecch.com
and in the U.S. at Babson College, Babson Park, Wellesley MA 02457; www.ecch.com
Hartwick Humanities in Management Institute
source for cases that excerpt larger works of great literature, historical documents, speeches, and more. http://www.hartwickinstitute.org
HBS Case Services, Harvard Business School
. The case catalog is available online, and registering at the site as an educator enables you to download review copies of cases, as well as some articles and teaching notes. A well-organized site and knowledgeable staff to assist in course preparation. http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/case_studies.jsp
The general HBS Press site has monthly interactive cases, blogs, mini-videos of leaders, regular online interactive cases, and other materials of note. That can be found at http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/hbsp/index.jsp;jsessionid=D2C3RN2DYWDCAAKRGWCB5VQBKE0YOISW?_requestid=177850
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Programs in Professional Education Current Case Catalogue. http://gseweb.harvard.edu/~ppe/
K-12 through higher education cases across settings, issues, and sectors in the U.S. and abroad. You’ll have to navigate around the site to locate the appropriate area – it seems to change.
Richard Ivey School of Business
, University of Western Ontario. http://www1.ivey.ca/cases/
A searchable online catalog is available with a large collection of business cases set outside the United States, including many in Canada, Asia, or Europe. This collection now includes Thunderbird
cases from The Garvin School of International Management, well known for their focus on global leadership situations. Registration is required to search the site.
John F. Kennedy School of Government Case Services
, Harvard University. A searchable catalog is available online, and registered users can download many cases in PDF format for review or purchase http://www.ksgcase.harvard.edu
The Times 100 Cases
provides free access to a large number of short, downloadable business cases organized by business and course topics. The site also offers teaching assistance and a glossary. http://www.thetimes100.co.uk/welcome.html
Appendix B: Sources for Films and Videos
Film and Video Clearing Houses
The Film Connection is a national film library, based in Seattle and online at http://www.thefilmconnection.org/ It is a source for films and videos that provides film listings by genre, topic or country of origin, along with detailed explanations of what the film is about. Library staff can assist with discussion questions for use in teaching. The Film Connection has an extensive catalogue and allows you to borrow the movies at no cost (for now). The library says that there is no copyright problem showing one of their films in class. There is a simple online registration, and the Film Connection will mail requested DVDs to you in a SASE envelope so you can return them as soon as you are finished.
Sources for Popular Films and Public Television Videos
Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ You can search with the DVD pulldown or if looking for a leader or leadership topic, use the general search engine on the site.
Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
Critics’ Choice Video http://www.ccvideo.com/
WGBH Public Television Media Access Group, WGBH Educational Foundation, 125 Western Avenue, Boston, MA 02134; http://main.wgbh.org/wgbh/shop
PBS Video, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024; http://www.pbs.org
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; Web: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu
The Kennedy Library and Museum, Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125; toll-free telephone, (866) JFK-1960 http://www.jfklibrary.org
Training and Development Films
A key source for locating training and development films is the Educational Film and Video Locator of the Consortium of College and University Media Centers, 4th ed., vols. 1 and 2 (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1990). A copy of this easy-to-use reference book is available in most college libraries and university media centers.