Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Political Leadership
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours. (8 x 1 hour)
Lecture 16 Hours. (16 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Performance  10%
Semester Assessment 1,500 word project  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word essay  30%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word assignment in lieu of seminar performance  10%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

- understand the meaning, position and techniques of leadership in a political environment;
- demonstrate a grasp of the different variants, styles and purposes of leadership;
- engage critically in current debates over the meaning and value of leadership, and over the implications of leadership politics in contemporary systems;
- apply theoretical perspectives to analytical questions and issues;
- possess an enriched understanding and practical awareness of how leadership can be generated, used, maintained and lost

Brief description

This module provides an analytical framework for the study of the role, conditions and contingencies of leadership.We are all affected by the actions of leaders and by our own expectations of the leadership role within society. The conduct of politics is dominated by rival claims to leadership, by disputed evaluations of leaders and by the competitive struggle to assign accountability to different leaders.


After examining the different properties and types of leadership, the course analyses and evaluates the problematic nature of democratic leadership and the constraints and contingencies of decision-making at the highest level. The module goes on to examine several related themes including the pathology of leadership crisis, the psychological factors in leadership behaviour, the trends towards presidential politics in Britain, and the differences and similarities between domestic leadership and international leadership. The important issue is to open up the area of political leadership to close examination. In doing so, the course is designed to ask questions of leaders (e.g. who they are; where they come from; what opportunities and constraints under which they work). By the same token, the course asks us to confront ourselves as the other half of the equation (e.g. why do we afford such position and influence to leaders; how do the prerogatives of leadership fit into notions of democratic citizenship; are leaders simply a consequence of our own impulse to 'followership'). In seeking answers to these questions, we will become more aware of the nature, dynamics and implications of leadership politics within the contemporary world.

Introduction to the course and to the world of leadership
1 The problem of leadership in democratic politics: Posing questions
2 Measuring the distance from 'monsters': From Hitler to Saddam
3 Ingredients and types of leadership
4 The issue of command
5 Problems of democratic leadership:
(i) Locating, using and protecting the supports
6 Problems of democratic leadership:
(ii) Working within constraints
7 Chief executive decision-making:
President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War (1)
8 Chief executive decision-making:
President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War (2)
9 Inside the individual: Psychology and health as political explanation
10 Experiencing leadership:
11 Trends in contemporary democratic leadership:
The rise of the British presidency
12 The politics of leadership crisis: Tony Blair and Iraq
13 A selected leader:
14 Leaders abroad:
Foreign policy and executive prerogative
15 International leadership: Nelson Mandela
16 Arguments about leadership


1 Introduction to leadership
2 Comparing leaders and leadership
3 Doing it
4 Being it
5 Experiencing it
6 Leadership politics: UK
7 International leadership
8 Questions of leadership


The main aim is to analyse the nature and role of leadership in contemporary politics. The course seeks to examine the development of leadership as a central issue in political debate and party calculations; to study the opportunities for, and constraints upon, leadership; to assess significance of leadership as a criterion of political evaluation and as a motive force in public action; and to appraise theories and debates surrounding the concept and practice of leadership in political contexts

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills which will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as basic numeracy skills and self management skills. In lectures students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as team work and problem solving. Essay writing will encourage students to practice their independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS Credits

Reading List

Recommended Text
Burns, James MacGregor. Transforming leadership :the new pursuit of happiness /James MacGregor Burns. Primo search Foley, Michael The British presidency :Tony Blair and the politics of public leadership / Michael Foley. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6