Leadership in Organizational and Cultural Contexts



Mål og innhald

The purpose of this course is to study leadership in two contexts: organizational and cultural contexts. It emphasizes the critical stance based on social science and organization theory.

The major focus is on organizational culture and how it is linked to leadership and management challenges and controversies in the developed, developing, and transitional country's contexts. Understanding culture is crucial to analyze and understand leadership and patterns of governance in public organizations. Organizational culture is analyzed as both dependent and independent variable. As a dependent variable, organizational culture is influenced by leadership, social norms and values, and how political developments and system of governance have evolved and are organized. As an independent variable, it focuses on how organizational culture influences patterns of leadership, relations to authority, and inter-personal relations within organizations and how it affects organization's relationships to the external world. It analyzes to what extent organizational culture influences how bureaucracy functions, makes decisions, implements policies, and to what extent public organizations are receptive to and compatible to contemporary reform initiatives. Related and relevant topics are social and institutional trust, contemporary governance issues, and administrative culture.


A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has developed advanced knowledge of "the state of the art" in organizational culture and leadership and the interrelationships between the two.
  • has acquired relevant knowledge on how organizational culture and leadership are analyzed from different perspectives.
  • can use the knowledge in analyzing public administration and system of governance in developed, developing, and transitional country's contests.


The student

  • has developed critical thinking and can conduct independent analysis in assessing, diagnosing and addressing organizational culture in the context of leadership, patterns of governance, institutional trust, and administrative challenges.
  • can map cultural norms and leadership challenges in the context of organizations, and provide independent analyses and applications of existing theories, approaches and empirical work within the research field.
  • can use the knowledge to develop and conduct independent research, evaluate organizational cultural values and how these affect organizational actions and influence organizational members' mind-set.

General competence

The student

  • can discuss, analyze and apply course materials to answer relevant research questions and objectives
  • can apply the knowledge and skills to various aspects of organization, leadership, governance, and institutional trust.
  • can communicate and identify relevant problem issues and how to analyze them with regard to organizational culture, leadership, governance, and institutional trust to different stakeholders.
  • can contribute to the theoretical development of the academic field and the application of different methods in conducting research in the above mentioned areas.

Studiepoeng, omfang


Studienivå (studiesyklus)



Spring, irregular
Krav til forkunnskapar
A bachelor degree with major in public administration, political science, development studies, sociology or an equivalent (subject to approval by the administration of the Department of Government).
  • AORG328 (10 ECTS)
  • Krav til studierett

    The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government.

    The course gives priority to students accepted to the Master programmes at the Department of Government. Students accepted to other master's programmes in Social Sciences, Psychology and Law can sign up if there are places left. Maximum students per course is twenty (20) students. Exchange students at master level may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

    If the number of students registered for a course is five or less, the Department may consider offering the course in seminar format.

    Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

    Lectures and seminars.

    At five or less registered students, course activities and teaching will be in the form of seminars and comprise lesser extent of activities than as outlined in the timetable.

    Obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet

    Oral presentation: Compulsory power point presentation/reflection (15-20 minutes, preferably in English) of an article/book chapter in the course curriculum. The presentation will comprise two parts: a) summary of the article/book chapter, and b) critical comments on it.

    Comments on others' presentations.

    Full attendance to no less than 80 % of the class meetings is required to be able to sit for the exam.

    The compulsory presentation is obligatory and must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory presentations are valid in the current and following two semesters.


    Written essay on a topic of ones' own choice based on the course literature, approximately 4000 words (excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments).

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.
    The exam answer can be submitted in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish. It is also possible to submit in English.

    Graded A-F

    Assessment in teaching semester.

    A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

    If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

    • Medical certificate/valid absence
    • Interruption during the exam
    • Fail/failed

    If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after 1. August

    The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester.
    All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
    The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses. 
    Administrativt ansvarleg
    Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.