Organizational Leadership

In an increasingly diverse, global complex workplace, leaders are often confronted with the challenge of managing chaos and complexity, leading with a principled stance, leading those who differ with respect to culture, gender, ethnicity, organizational identity and even location, and creating inclusive and sustainable organizations. The organizational leadership concentration combines leading edge theory with application to deliver a rigorous curriculum and a timely skill-set that will enable SOM students to take a more strategic role in leading either for profit or non-profit organizations.

The concentration leverages Simmons SOM's Principled Leadership focus. Organizational Leadership concentrators will gain a deeper understanding of principled leadership as it relates to a variety of stakeholders, ethics and sustainability. All of these frameworks are applied to leadership with a global perspective.

Academic Objectives
The goal of this concentration is to prepare students for leadership positions in their organizations that require a strategic leadership perspective beyond specific functional area expertise. In line with PRIME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) principles, the concentration will develop students' capabilities to generate sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy. Following PRLED (Principles for Responsible Leadership Education and Development), our goal is to prepare our students to deliver effective and ethical leadership.

Concentration in Organizational Leadership Concentration (3 courses required)

  • Perspectives and Practices: Principled Leadership (GSM 551)
  • Gender, Diversity and Leadership (GSM 553)
  • Culturally Intelligent Leadership (GSM 511)

Sample Courses:

Culturally Intelligent Leadership (GSM 511 - required)
In today's global economy, the ability to interact effectively across cultures is a fundamental job requirement and critical leadership competence. This course is designed to develop knowledge and skills in the areas of optimizing human performance, cultural intelligence, diversity and inclusion, and leading and managing intercultural organizations. This course will explore the implications of culture on managerial and leadership approaches, business practices, communication and interpersonal relations, organizational and individual performances as well as on human resource management dimensions, in both international and domestic settings. Global cultures, subcultures, and domestic cultures will be considered. The ethical and sustainable implications of managing cultures and diversity will be examined. By learning about the dilemmas and opportunities that are presented in international and multi-cultural work environments, students will be better able to function in an increasingly global business world. Students will be positioned to lead in a way that is more culturally competent, effectively addressing critical human resource issues, challenges, and opportunities that will arise and leveraging cultural differences as a competitive talent management advantage.

The overall goal of this course is to convey a way of thinking that increases students' abilities to understand the influence of national and cultural boundaries on individuals, organizations, and on organizational practices. Special emphasis will be placed on the management of people, with a particular focus on women, and groups in international organizations. Students will also learn how to apply cultural intelligence (CQ) at all levels of an organization and will take a Global Mindset Inventory to asses personal levels of cross cultural literacy and preparation for overseas assignments.

Perspectives and Practices: Principled Leadership (GSM 551 - required)
The philosophy of this course is predicated on the assumption that the best leaders are authentic, have an agentic sense of integrity, and demonstrate respect for people and environments. Good leaders are mindful of the world around them; regardless of the sector in which they operate (profit, nonprofit or governmental), doing well for greater good is the goal of principled leaders. Positive leadership, the essence of appreciative inquiry, is based in integrity, authenticity, clear values, understanding and awareness of self, and the capacity to reflect on the wisdom and impacts of one's ideas and actions, and the realistic and grounded awareness of what is happening around oneself. This course will explore contemporary leadership concepts and models that will help you identify your own leadership values, analyze best practices in principled leadership. You will integrate your learning through active reflection and organizational engagement.

Gender, Diversity, and Leadership (GSM 553 - required)
The purpose of this course is to explore definitions of gender, diversity and leadership, how they are socially and culturally constructed, and what it means to lead effectively. The focus on gender, social and cultural identity and leadership provides students with a number of frameworks to understand gender and inclusion dynamics in organizations and how these dynamics affect who gets to be a leader and what they need to do to succeed in these roles. Students will engage in the connection of leadership theory, leadership skills and self-reflection through lecture, readings, observation, experiential exercises, self-assessments, cases and speakers.

The course intends to give students the skills and perspectives they need to navigate successfully as leaders in a dynamic and multicultural global business environment. These leadership competencies include: developing a leadership voice and vision; building a network of support; finding and working with mentors; using power and influence; leading change; understanding cross-cultural similarities and differences around gender and leadership; and developing managerial and leadership perspectives to create inclusive work environments. Students will have an opportunity to analyze themselves as leaders and explore their style, voice, strengths, and opportunities for growth, creativity, vision and goals.

Optional Substitutions for a Required Course:
With permission of the concentration advisor, a travel course or an internship with appropriate focus may be taken in lieu of either Gender and Leadership (GSM 553) or Culturally Intelligent Leadership (GSM 511). If such a substitution is approved, the student will be assigned a list of readings and will be expected to write a final paper in addition to the requirements of the selected course.

These courses are:

Travel Course (GSM 545M or 547M)
With advisor approval, a suitable Study Abroad course can be taken to broaden a student's understanding of key issues in global business as well as cross-cultural management.

Internship (GSM 502)
An internship may be used as the elective by advisor approval. The internship must be highly oriented toward international business and/or finance, and the student has the appropriate course work/skills/background to fully engage in the work of the internship.