Course Materials for: ‘Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model’
Michael C. Jensen
Harvard Business School; Social Science Electronic Publishing (SSEP), Inc.; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
Landmark Worldwide LLC; Vanto Group
Kari L. Granger
Center For Character and Leadership Development
March 3, 2014
Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 09-038
Simon School Working Paper No. 08-03
Barbados Group Working Paper No. 08-02
Slide-Deck Textbook and course materials (1056 pages) for the Leadership Course in Cancun, Mexico, 23-25 October and 28-30 October, 2013.
This leadership course is designed to leave students being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression – rather than attempting to learn the characteristics, styles, and skills of noteworthy leaders, and then trying to remember and apply them where appropriate.
The course is not designed to merely leave the students with knowledge (that is not designed to leave students “knowing” about leaders and leadership and able to cogently discuss the issues surrounding leader and leadership). Rather, the course is designed to give students actual access to being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership. Our promise to the students is that if they honor their word to fulfill the requests we make of them they will leave the course being leaders and exercising leadership effectively.
History and More on the Course
The course material is based on our (and our co-instructors’) work over the last ten years in developing a course of the same title at the University of Rochester Simon School of Business, USA from 2004-2008, (which course was taught in the curriculum at the US Air Force Academy from 2008-2011 and a version of which continues to be taught in the curriculum), Erasmus Academie Rotterdam, NL in June 2009 (a version of which was taught at the Erasmus University Law School from 2009-2010), Texas A&M University Mays School of Business, USA in June 2010, in India under the auspices of the IC Centre for Governance and MW Corp in November 2010, at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, USA in June 2012, in Whistler B.C. Canada for the benefit of the Erhard-Jensen Ontological / Phenomenological Initiative in October 2012, at entrepreneurship@UBC, University of British Columbia, Canada, in Cancun, Mexico for the benefit of the Erhard-Jensen Ontological / Phenomenological Initiative in October 2013, and in Singapore, hosted by Nanyang Technological University in July 2014.. The course is still under development and will be for several more years.
The research project that led to the creation of this course (and the papers and slides on leadership that are the Textbook for the course in the attached pdf file) originated from our interest in laying the foundations for a science of leadership. We agree with Warren Bennis (2002, p. 2) and Joseph Rost (1993, p. 8) who conclude respectively: “It is almost a cliche of the leadership literature that a single definition of leadership is lacking.” and “The scholars do not know what it is they are studying, and the practitioners do not know what it is they are practicing.”
Taking on the question of “what leadership is” required us to get into what it is to be a leader and what it is to exercise leadership effectively as a lived experience, rather than as a description, explanation or a theory. Getting to the core of being a leader and the actions of effective leadership led naturally to tackling the task of actually creating leaders, and the natural laboratory for exploring that question was the classroom. Mark Zupan, Dean of the U. of Rochester Simon School of Business and his colleagues provided us the five-year laboratory to do this and the course was created.
We resolve the puzzle over what leadership is by uniquely distinguishing leader and leadership as the intersection of four precise aspects which are respectively:
Leader and Leadership as
1. Linguistic Abstractions (leader and leadership as “realms of possibility”),
2. Phenomena (leader and leadership as experienced, that is, as exercised, or what one observes or is impacted by),
3. Concepts (the temporal domains in which leader and leadership function),
4. Terms (leader and leadership as definitions).
The access provided to (and therefore what is revealed about) leader and leadership when dealt with as a realm of possibility is different than the access provided to (and therefore what is revealed about) leader or leadership when they are dealt with as a phenomenon, or as a concept, or as a term.
We argue that when the four perspectives are taken together, as a whole they provide access to mastering what leader and leadership actually are. This enables us to get our arms around the being of a leader and the effective exercise of leadership. Having mastered this overall context, we can then get our hands on the levers and dials of being a leader, and the effective exercise of leadership.
What follows – in a single pdf document of 1056 pages of PowerPoint slides, Word documents, and exhibits – is a collection of virtually all the materials used in the course, including the student course evaluations for this course and previous courses.
Our desire is to make the course available to any faculty in higher education to teach it, to communicate it and to extend it. This fourth pass release of the material is not fully complete nor is it polished to our standards. We will continue to update and extend the material and will revise these files. We are releasing the material so that we can benefit from the comments, criticisms and suggestions of others in higher education who share our desire to accelerate the development of a true science of leadership. We want to see this material (or material derived from it) taught in every major business school and university.
While the course is still a work in progress, we, the authors and instructors, are making all the materials available through SSRN (Social Science Research Network) to those faculty members who wish to teach versions of the course in any university or college setting.
For a Directory of the 5 Pre-Course Readings for the Course ‘Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model’ see:
For the full introductory paper to the course (the 5th of five pre-course readings): “Introductory
Reading for Being A Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model” see:
For the introductory seminar to the course see:
For the introductory chapter to the course published in: Scott Snook, Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, Editors “The Handbook For Teaching Leadership” Sage Publications, 2011 see:
Keywords: Leadership, Ontology, Ontological Model of Human Nature, Ontological Constraints, Perceptual Constraints, Functional Constraints
JEL Classification: M1working papers series
Date posted: September 4, 2008
© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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