POLIS 2118 - The Politics of Leadership

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

The primary objective of the University of Adelaide is to prepare students for leadership in public and private sectors. This course introduces students to major themes in leadership studies through a multidisciplinary approach, using extensive case studies of political leaders, such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, JF Kennedy, Gandhi, Mao, Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev and more recently Putin, Obama, Xi Jinping and Trump. It begins with an analysis of the concept of leadership and proceeds to examine the typology of leadership, including transformational, transactional, situational and charismatic. Finally, it considers the importance of followership and leadership traits, as well as the role of gender and ethics in effective leadership, methods to evaluate leadership and relevance of leadership in the 21st century. Throughout the course, students will be asked to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches to the study of leadership and develop their own perspectives through research projects on political leaders.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 2118
    Course The Politics of Leadership
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible POLI 2002, POLI 2118
    Assessment Research essay 35%, Minor essay 20%, Leadership exercise 20%, Multiple choice test 15%, Participation 10%
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Czeslaw Tubilewicz

    Office: Napier 410
    Email: czeslaw.tubilewicz@adelaide.edu.au
    Phone: 8313 5169
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Week 1 What is leadership?
    Week 2 Charismatic leadership
    Week 3 Trait approach
    Week 4 Transformational leadership
    Week 5 Gender and leadership
    Week 6 Transactional leadership
    Week 7 Followership
    Week 8 Ethics, values and leadership
    Week 9 Assessing leadership
    Week 10 Case studies
    Week 11 Leadership for the 21st century
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Discuss the concept of leadership 
    2 Compare and contrast various types of political leadership
    3 Consider the psychological conditions underlying successful leadership
    4 Take a position in the scholarly debates on effective and ineffective political leadership
    5 Discuss ethical issues associated with the exercise of political leadership
    6 Consider the importance of gender in effective leadership
    7 Debate the significance of leadership in the contemporary world
    8 Participate in group discussions about contested concepts with confidence and with tolerance for other points of view
    9 Navigate the large amounts of research material available in this subject through both traditional academic sources and through the use of information technology
    10 Demonstrate career readiness and leadership skills appropriate for beginning professional practice, including lifelong learning skills characterised by academic rigour, self-direction and intellectual independence
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    9, 10

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    5, 8

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    7, 8, 10
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    For an updated list of course readings, please refer to the course's website on Myuni
    Recommended Resources
    For a list of recommended readings, please refer to the Course Guide (posted on Myuni)
    Online Learning
    The course's MyUni site contains announcements, copies of important course materials such as lecture notes, lecture recordings, assigned and recommended readings, a discussion forum, and links to useful web sites. You should check this site regularly.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    All lectures will be in-class. They will be recorded. Lecture material will be discussed in each week’s tutorials.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 2-hour lectures per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour SGD/tutorial per week 12 hours per semester
    2 hours tutorial preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours reading per week 24 hours per semester
    2 hours research per week 24 hours per semester
    Preparing individual submission to a group report 5 hours per semester
    Writing a research project 43 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    activities summary
    Week 1 What is leadership?
    Week 2 Charismatic leadership
    Week 3 Trait approach
    Week 4 Transformational leadership
    Week 5 Gender and leadership 
    Week 6 Transactional leadership
    Week 7 Followership
    Week 8 Ethics, values and leadership
    Week 9 Assessing leadership
    Week 10 Case studies 
    Week 11 Leadership for the 21st century
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Research project Summative

    Week 13

    45% 1-7
    Group report Summative Week 10 5% 1-8
    Individual submission to group report Summative Week 10 10% 1-7
    Debates Formative and summative three debates; various weeks 10% 1-9
    SGD participation Formative Ongoing 10% 7-8
    Multiple-choice tests Summative Week 12 20% 1-6

    Modified arrangements have been made to assessments and the details provided here reflect recent updates.
    Assessment Task Weighting
    Discussion paper 15%
    Research essay 50%
    Mid-semester online test 15%
    Final online test 20%
    Assessment Detail
    SGD activities: students will engage in interaction in-class activities and the cooperative sharing of ideas and information  
    Group report: students will engage in group work in order to produce a report on leadership 
    Individual submission: each group member will submit electronically her/his contribution to the group report 
    Debates: each student will join a debate on an assigned topic once 
    Online tests: students will be required to complete two online tests
    Research project: students will need to write a research essay on a selected aspect of political leadership
    For details regarding submission method, deadlines, etc., refer to the Course Guide (posted on Myuni).
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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