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Leadership in Organizations


Admission requirements

Only MPA students of the PML track can register for this course.


The specialisation course Leadership in Organizations teaches you how leadership can facilitate the organisational capacities that government agencies need to successfully address societal challenges in the 21st century. Contemporary societies are increasingly complex, diverse and turbulent. It repeatedly becomes clear that government is too bureaucratic and rigid to address societal problems in an effective and responsive manner. Leadership in organisations is not aimed at directly solving societal problems, but rather facilitates fundamental organisational processes on which effective organisational conduct depends. Such processes include the management of innovation and organisational change, the creation of safe and inclusive working climates in which employees learn from mistakes and in which the best ideas can flourish, the motivation of employees so that they place citizens’ interests over bureaucratic rules, and the design of teams in which highly skilled professionals exchange knowledge and solve complex problems together.

This course provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the main leadership theories and concepts, and applies these to the specific context of the public sector. The course provides you with a highly practical insight into the workings of leadership in organisations, and you are challenged to apply the core principles of leadership theory to problems that government agencies face in practice.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students are able to

  • understand and compare the key leadership theories in public management;

  • analyse how leadership relates to organisational performance through the facilitation of organisational behaviour;

  • apply central leadership theories and concepts through reference to national and international cases;

  • critically comment on how the particular context of the public sector influences the occurrence and effectiveness leadership;

  • provide strategic advice regarding public leadership behaviour based on theory and empirical evidence.


On the right side of the programme front page of the Prospectus you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

Weekly classes (21 hours), individual paper (40 hours), self study (79 hours).

Assessment method

Individual assignment (100%). Students will be permitted to retake the assignment if an insufficient grade has been obtained using the first attempt.

Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

To be announced.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams). Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 14 December 13.00h.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.


B.J.T.H. Bernards MSc MA