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  • MSc
  • Leading Responsibly

Leading Responsibly

Course Description

Courses on topics such as ethics and responsibility often focus on theories and frameworks—encouraging you to engage with these challenging real-world realities from a distance. Often focused on examining concepts such as misconduct through a binary lens of good or bad; as bad apples or bad barrels, engagement and discussion remain as external to the individual. In this course, you will look at these topics from the inside—making responsible decisions at a point of intersection where leaders (individuals like you) must navigate and negotiate multiple often opposing pressures and expectations. Drawing on the work of contemporary scholars (Kempster and Carroll, 2015) this course explores these topics in a manner where active learning can take place. Not from a position of judgment looking in, but from juggling complexities from the real-world positions considering dimensions such as context (spatial, temporal and cultural); norms and values which privilege economic metrics and pressures to continuously grow, be more efficient and productive; and expectations to actively engage with diverse stakeholders to support doing good, not just less harm.

Grounded on key perspectives and new directions researched and explored by scholars and practitioners in the field of responsible leadership, this course engages you in active and experiential learning. Looking at individual and organizational failures, across sectors and across the globe, this course also draws on the Ivey Leadership Institute’s work related to the critical role of judgment and dimensions of character in decision-making. Culminating in an assignment focused on timely and relevant example of failure and wrongdoing, you will engage with experts in the field, draw on their experience and course material as well as consider current literature, research and scholarship to expand your own learning and contribute to class knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

In this experiential course, you will explore the pressures and challenges decision-makers face—that you will face in the “real world.” Consider how and why failure, misconduct and wrongdoing is so prevalent today—from the for-profit sector to public service, and from the political arena to NGOs. Develop an understanding of how to navigate conflicting and opposing expectations and pressures while privileging a responsible mindset.

  • Understand the basic tenets of Responsible Leadership: examine how harm is being caused by individual and organizational decision-making;
  • Develop an understanding of the impact and influence of neoliberalism on responsible leadership and global citizenship;
  • Deconstruct real-world scenarios: develop competence in addressing situations;
  • Build dimensions of leader character (Ivey Leadership Institute) to support growth and resiliency related to the pressures you will face; and,
  • Become more confident and comfortable in working toward practical solutions and approaches.


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