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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 such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

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 the things you need to do in order 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 a societal challenge.

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 benefit from setting up/being familiar with using a Twitter and/or LinkedIn account if you choose to participate in an optional and not marked part of the module that makes use of social media. 

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

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 an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

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

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

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.

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 above.

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

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 2021. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school