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IB97R - Leadership and The Art of Judgement

  • Module code: IB97R
  • Module name: Leadership and The Art of Judgement
  • Department: Warwick Business School
  • Credit: 10, 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

For Aristotle, the highest intellectual virtue for a practitioner is phronesis – practical wisdom. Contrary to other intellectual virtues, such as episteme and techne, phronesis deals with endechomena, things that can be otherwise, and involves a refined sense of judgment to act in a way that, on the one hand, a practitioner pursues certain good ends for people, while, on the other hand, he or she does so within ever variable, context-dependent circumstances. Whereas episteme (science) deals with general principles of an invariant kind, and techne (making) only deals with how to make something, phronesis aims at situational judgment, the kind of flexible thinking that tries to reconcile the generic and the specific, the ethical and the instrumental, stability and change, the timely and the timeless, the collective interest and the personal pursuit. In this course we will explore in some detail Aristotle’s concept of phronesis and seek to link it with contemporary theories of human judgment and leadership. We will do so through the study of some classic pieces of literature and philosophy. Such an approach may be unusual in business studies but we ignore it at our peril. The human condition is characterized by contradiction, conflicting loyalties and priorities, is plagued by meaninglessness and a sense of throwness. To lead other human beings one needs a high degree of maturity, an intuitive grasp of the human condition, and a developed sense of judgment, all of which are uniquely dealt with in art and philosophy. It is impossible, for example, to read SophocleŽs Antigone without feeling for the two protagonists, Creon and Antigone, their dilemmas and conflicting loyalties. Shakespeare’s Othello introduces one to the psychological weaknesses that plague leaders, such as, in this case, weak character, envy and jealousy, as well as to the broader forces that alienate people form the Other. One, similarly, gets an appreciation for the contempt for the Other by the powerful, combined with the disastrous consequences that follow by a rigid and uncharitable application of rules in The Merchant of Venice. The great pieces of contemporary literature, such as MillerŽs Death of a Salesman, MelvilleŽs Billy Bud, Sailor, or FraynŽs Copenhagen are wonderful guides to explore the complexity of the human condition and its implications for leadership. Great literature portrays people not as saints or devils but as complex entities, capable for better or worse, facing uncertainty and dilemmas in their lives, and needing to make up their minds. Contemporary movies such as The Insider portray such dilemmas in corporate life. In this course, we will draw on great plays, pieces of literature and philosophy to get some insights into the complexity of human beings, their motives, choices and actions. The point of it all is not to celebrate that complexity but to understand it in order to make better choices in the realm of human affairs. The phronimos is one who acknowledges complexity and tries to come to terms with it; one who takes theoria seriously precisely because one wishes to see a little bit more clearly than before and, therefore, wishes to act more wisely.

Principal learning outcomes

Subject Knowledge and Understanding: Appreciate the ambiguity, contradiction and complexity of leadership; Draw on great literature and philosophy to get a handle on the above; Develop ways for framing leadership dilemmas; Increase their self-knowledge as a prerequisite for effective leadership; Sharpen their perceptual skills though great works of literature and art; Refine their judgment and sharpen their practical wisdom. Cognitive Skills: Analyse works of literature and art and relate them to leadership; Develop critical insights; Sharpen ability to frame problems, choices, and weigh what is at stake Subject - specific/ professional skills; Refine ability to perceive, analyze, and synthesize challenges faced by leaders, in a variety of contexts; Appreciate moral dilemmas and conflicts; Improve judgment. Key Skills: Develop problem framing and problem solving skills developed through analysing works of literature and art; Develop capacity to understand organizational life through focussing on selected philosophical texts; Develop capacity to handle ambiguity and moral issues; Develop self-knowledge and judgement; Develop complex thinking.

Timetabled teaching activities

Total contact hours: 30 hours. Lectures per week: 20 hours. Module duration (weeks, if applicable):1 week (5 days x 6 hours per day).

Departmental link

https://my.wbs.ac.uk

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
10 CATS (Module code: IB97R-10)
A2 (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 80%
Assessed Course Work 20%
15 CATS (Module code: IB97R-15)
A (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 20%
Assessed Course Work 80%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

Core
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Police Leadership and Management (N1Y2) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Police Leadership and Management (N1Y2) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Police Leadership and Management (N1Y2) - Year 4
Optional Core
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Leadership and Management (N200) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Public Leadership and Management (N200) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Public Leadership and Management (N209) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Public Leadership and Management (N209) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Public Leadership and Management (N209) - Year 4
Optional
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 10
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 6
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 7
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 8
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (N1P2) - Year 9
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 6
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 7
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1P4) - Year 8
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 10
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 6
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 7
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 8
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Executive) (N1P9) - Year 9
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 10
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 11
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 6
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 7
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 8
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (IBM) (N1PM) - Year 9
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PR) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PR) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PR) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PR) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PW) - Year 2
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PW) - Year 3
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PW) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PW) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Business Administration (Distance Learning) (N1PW) - Year 6