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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Bradley S Portin
Seattle Campus

Power and Politics in Organizational Leadership and Decision Making

Focuses on conceptual frameworks that can be used to analyze power-influence processes in complex organizations and research methods that are well-suited to the study of these processes. Opportunities to design studies of power relations and political processes are provided.

Class description

Leadership theory, as broadly conceived, forms the core of this course and serves as an introduction to leadership theory for students in a wide number of disciplines. This course examines leadership within organizations and the way it is manifest for the purposes of determining organizational direction and growth. "Leadership" in this context, includes the manner in which power is distributed, influence extended, decisions made, and actions taken to accomplish organizational means and ends. We examine traditional models of leadership as well as what have been called "transformational" dimensions of leadership for empowerment. Emphasis is placed on what has been termed the micropolitics of leadership, or the manner in which interests and aims are promoted and negotiated within organizations. This includes, "the strategies by which individuals and groups in organizational contexts seek to use their resources of authority and influence to further their interests" (Hoyle).

Changes in organizational structures, shared decision making, and decision-making initiatives that emphasize the role of the multiple actors are reviewed. Implications for the exercise of leadership in educational organizations are considered including the moral and ethical tensions embedded in micropolitical processes. Coursework provides opportunities for further study of leadership, micropolitical theory and decision making processes in organizations of interest to course participants. Educational organizations (schools, colleges, and universities) are the primary focus, although the course is relevant to those interested in similar organizations. The course is open to all Education and graduate students from other fields.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

lecture, small group discussion, visual media

Recommended preparation

Students from education or any other department who have an interest in organizational leadership.

Class assignments and grading

Participation in leading discussion of readings Field-based discussion with an organizational leader Culminatinng assignment (options provided based on students' programs and interest)

Participation and assignments

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Bradley S Portin
Date: 03/01/2002