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Leadership in a changing world

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This module provides you with the unique opportunity to learn about leadership in the current world, characterised by precarious times and new opportunities to develop positive leadership. You'll discover what type of leadership is needed in a world of disruptive technological change and turbulent contexts, how to be influential in this era of social networking, and what is your leadership call to develop your career and to improve the world. You'll gain an appreciation of how leadership is increasingly mediated through social networks, and you'll have the possibility to practice leadership within social media by working on a leadership challenge.

What you will study

This module is divided into the following three blocks. Each block will develop a particular key skill: critical thinking; problem-solving; and storytelling.

Block 1: Leadership in turbulent times
You'll focus on the turbulent contexts for contemporary leadership, analysing real-life examples related to the future of work (e.g. short-term contracts, zero-hours contracts, and the rise of the “precariat”) and discuss issues around the future of democratic global governance (e.g. Brexit, populism). You'll reflect on globalisation and multiculturalism, exploring also non-Western views of leadership. 

Block 2: Developing leadership opportunities 
In this block, you'll focus on the opportunities to develop positive leadership in a changing world, and on your leadership identity by examining the challenges of leading across boundaries and of bringing people together. You'll learn how collaboration, or in some cases, conflict and constructive dissent, can support positive leadership.

Block 3: Dealing with a collective leadership challenge 
You'll focus on what you need to do to feed a practice of leadership. You'll look at practices of resistance, radical and place-based leadership for social change. You'll reflect on how responses to leadership challenges might be co-created and have the opportunity to work in a group focusing on the societal challenge you choose to work on.

You will learn

By the end of the module, you'll be able to:

  • develop your critical thinking, problem-solving and storytelling skills
  • explain leadership related concepts to different audiences (academic, professional, the general public) and using a wide range of media
  • reflect on your own leadership potential and capabilities.           

Entry requirements

This module is an OU level 3 module, so some concepts will require previous experience of studying at an undergraduate level.

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

Preparatory work

You might start looking at case examples of successful leadership against complex societal challenges. 

What's included

You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio, video and multimedia content
  • assessment guide
  • online tutorials and forums
  • library resources, including ejournal articles and referencing guides.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You'll 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. Online group tutorials are offered that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend.

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


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

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying B329 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Leadership in a changing world starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment