You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Developing leadership

This module offers you the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge leadership ideas in tandem with developing as a practitioner. You'll cover topics such as identity, person-based leadership, collective leadership, ethical leadership and aesthetic views of leadership. You’ll also learn how to be more discerning and a critically engaged consumer of leadership ideas, in the workplace and more generally in society. The module follows a developmental approach, meaning that you’ll reflect on leadership practice in your working environment and/or in the wider world, and will be well placed to experiment with new concepts and practices as a result. 

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects

Module

Module code
B208
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
OU SCQF FHEQ
2 9 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses

Request your copy now

What you will study

You'll learn about many of the major concepts of leadership, one of the oldest organisational concepts, with a history stretching back as far as the Ancient Greeks. Leadership is a practice and area of study that has persisted for so long for good reason: people find it incredibly appealing as an idea. At a very basic level this is because leadership perhaps inevitably deals with big questions about the overall direction of a group, organisation or society. In addition, people tend, for good or ill, to find the idea of leaders exciting, even bewitching. 

You'll cover a broad range of ideas in this module: learn about various key concepts related to what it means to be a leader, all the way through to far more recent accounts that hold that leadership resides more in the collective acts of people.

In more detail, you will cover the following aspects of leadership:

  • Leadership as person: these are approaches that assume that leadership resides in individual leaders. These views try to generalise what it means to be an effective leader through studying the personalities and behaviours of individual leaders.
  • Collective leadership: these approaches assume that leadership is a practice conducted between people working together collectively in a group to offer direction.
  • Identity and power: you will learn how leadership has become a desirable identity and how some people are (unfairly) deemed more suitable for leadership than others. You will also learn how identities in groups can be refashioned to create leadership with more possibility.
  • Leadership ethics: you will learn about perspectives that try to understand what it means to be an ethical leader and also perspectives that help you understand ethical practices of leadership.
  • Leadership aesthetics: you will learn how leadership can adopt an aesthetic quality that moves people. You will learn how to interpret aesthetic presentations of leaders but also how to improve your leadership practices through aesthetic practices.

Key module practices

You'll be asked to follow these learning practices as you proceed through the module:

  • Understanding basic concepts of leadership. This is the important but more straightforward task of understanding what is meant by various key concepts, such as collaborative leadership, identity, and so on.
  • Noticing examples of leadership (good, bad and indifferent) in the world around you, in the mass media and in your daily lives.
  • Collecting examples of leadership – in the form of texts (written records of what people say), in order to notice how people talk leadership; pictures, photographs, paintings or sketches, so that you can notice how people visualise leadership; audio and video, so that you can notice how people enunciate and visualise leadership.
  • Reflecting on these examples in relation to the concepts that you encounter in the module: their strengths and weaknesses. You'll reflect on the effect some concepts seem to have – or that they could have - in organisations and in society, whether or not they are helpful, harmful or somewhere in between. 
  • Self-reflection: targeting your practices, assumptions and views. You will be asked to think in some depth about what you hold to be significant and important in terms of leadership, which inevitably means reflecting upon your values and even your own background. In turn, you'll be asked to reflect upon how your sense of self and sense of what you find valuable in others translates across into your practice – in leadership terms and as a follower.
  • Experimenting with leadership concepts. Firstly, you'll be asked to experiment in terms of your thinking. This means trying to think outside your normal zones of comfort: for example, if you are someone who usually holds leadership to be something tied very much to charismatic individuals, you will benefit from trying to think about leadership as something tied to a collection of people or to a practice, instead. You'll be asking yourself: what does it mean to see a particular person, practice or group in a different way? Secondly, experimenting means really trying out new ideas in your own environments. This could mean experimenting with new ideas and practices in a paid working environment, in a voluntary environment or more informally in your everyday lives. By experimenting with leadership ideas in real life we come to see their potential because these are ideas that are based on real human interaction – or at least they should be.

You will learn

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • understand and describe key aspects of leadership
  • critically analyse and discuss various key approaches to leadership
  • find and discuss information in the media or in your own lives in relation to key concepts of leadership
  • critically reflect on your own beliefs and practices in relation to leadership
  • critically reflect on your own working environment in relation to leadership
  • communicate an approach to leadership rooted in an understanding of yourself and your working environment
  • experiment in your own lives with different approaches to leadership
  • reflect on and describe your learning in relation to key employability skills.

Vocational relevance

Many of the practices and skills you will adopt in this module – a sound understanding of leadership, critical thinking, communication in teams, self-reflection and finding and interpreting good information – will be attractive to employers.

Throughout the module you will be asked to reflect upon and keep track of the employability skills you develop and you will be supported to do this.

You will be able to make a note of the skills you develop and you will be supported in thinking about how these can be used in future job applications. 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials (either face to face or online) or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. How and where tutorials are held depends on the distribution of students taking each module.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

Developing leadership starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2025.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    No examination
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 2 module and if you have no previous experience of studying business management, it is strongly recommended that you first study An introduction to business management (B100) (or an equivalent).

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2025.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 16/10/2018.

    What's included

    Module website, including online study calendar, printed materials, interactive online activities, video and audio materials and links to assessment resources.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying B208 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.