Module code: POLM037

Module Overview

This module is concerned with understanding the role of leadership in the contemporary political environment. Much attention tends to be absorbed in observing institutional dimensions to change, such as parties, parliaments and demography. However, this module establishes leadership as a vital factor in politics. This unit explores the various theoretical perspectives on the role of political leadership, including charisma and psychological approaches. It uses a range of examples to illustrate key dimensions of leadership and considers to what extend the requirement of political leadership have changed in response to the contemporary political environment. By examining leadership from a gender and dyadic perspective, the module also considers whether some nations have an issue in the accessibility of (and therefore representation by) leaders. It also examines key issues political leaders face; from exploring how they cope with conflict to how they keep their hands ‘clean’ of corruption. It also considers ways in which we can quantify how successful a leader is. There is a focus on key issues in contemporary political events and case studies will be situated throughout the module. Students will also gain data collection and analysis skills in order to create empirical data for their leadership profile.

Module provider


Module Leader

MIDDLETON Alia (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: L200

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:
• When is a leader a (successful) political leader?
• Charisma and leadership
• Philosophy of leadership
• Gendering leadership
• ‘Dirty hands’ and leadership
• Reporting leadership
• The power of the populist
• Leadership as electoral strategy
• Subverting leadership
• Emotions and leadership
• Virtual leadership or followership?

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

• The ability to apply theoretical concepts to political leadership
• The collection and analysis of an original evidence base
• Strong use of primary research skills.
• The ability to integrate original research with existing literature/knowledge.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Leadership profile: 3000 words (50%)
• Essay : 3000 words (50%)

For the leadership profile, students are required to select a political leader to analyse with the use of both theoretical and empirical analysis. Please see the module handbook for further information. Students are free to select the leader of their choice (but will be given an outline of things to look for) and may opt to do a comparative study. Assessments deadlines to be confirmed – students should refer to the Module Handbook prior to the start of semester.

Formative assessment and feedback
Students will receive feedback on the first assessment before submitting the essay. Time will be set aside in seminars to discuss aspects of the assessment. Where students are asked to complete small tasks in advance of - or during - classes, verbal feedback will be given to the group as a whole.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to a range of theoretical and empirical perspectives on the role of the political leadership
  • Offer an insight into leadership as a driver for change
  • Consider the impact of new media on power balances between leaders and followers
  • Explore the ethical dimensions associated with leadership
  • Understand key barriers altering accessibility to and perceptions of leadership

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand key theoretical trends in political leadership CK
002 Critically appraise examples of political leadership CK
003 Analyse key framings in political media CKPT
004 Critically evaluate the changing dynamics of political leadership CK

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

• Encourage critical engagement with political leadership from a range of perspectives.

• Facilitate the analysis of political leadership by encouraging the use of transferrable research skills

• Encourage independent research between classes

The learning and teaching methods include:

Workshop sessions (2 hours per week x 11 weeks) to include: lectures, prescribed reading, group discussions, data collection sessions, independent study, research and analysis of primary material. May include the preparation of short tasks prior to the weekly seminars (information to be given to students in the preceding seminar).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POLM037

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
International Relations (International Intervention) MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
International Relations MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Public Affairs MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.