Coursework

Leadership Coursework

Leading Teams (required)

  • The goal of managers and leaders is to get things done in organizations, and most of that work is accomplished by effectively managing other people. This course applies cutting-edge behavioral science findings to develop students’ managerial and leadership capabilities. The course is designed to provide students with concepts and competencies to help them throughout their managerial careers. The Leading Teams course will work in conjunction with the Leading Teams Practicum (NBA 5700), Critical and Strategic Thinking (NCC 5050), and Principled Leadership (NCC 5070) to develop your leadership skills on multiple levels. Overall the course has two goals: To make each student a more effective leader and to successfully launch students’ Johnson careers.

Leading Teams Practicum (required)

  • This course is designed to provide you with training and experience in leading and contributing to high-performing teams that: (1) set clear goals and objectives; (2) develop, implement, and enforce appropriate internal team norms; (3) effectively collaborate, taking maximum advantage of diverse strengths and backgrounds; (4) produce well-reasoned analyses of complex business problems; and, (5) provide team members with appropriate constructive feedback from which further growth and development can occur.

Critical and Strategic Thinking (required)

  • This course is based on the proposition that leading well requires thinking well. Succeeding in any business leadership role requires thinking critically, and making quality decisions, even in the face of challenges such as imperfect/incomplete information, changing and unforeseen circumstances, and human nature in all of its complexity and unpredictability. Major content themes of this course focus on constructing a persuasive argument and deconstructing arguments made by others; recognizing and avoiding reasoning flaws and the forces that make us most susceptible to such flaws; approaching business problems systematically and thoroughly; and producing a problem solution that is (a) well-reasoned; (b) likely to be well-received by ultimate decision makers; and (c) able to be implemented successfully. Students will be introduced to, and then practice using, frameworks that they can apply to any leadership challenge or opportunity – regardless of company or job function – in order to solve problems and communicate proposed solutions effectively.

Principled Leadership (required)

  • Principled Leadership is a required second-year course, building on and extending the coursework and experiential activities in three prior required courses (Leading Teams, the Leading Teams Practicum, and Critical and Strategic Thinking). Principled Leadership explores multiple types of specific challenges, particularly those involving individual and cultural values, facing new and seasoned leaders alike. The course will rely primarily on the case method to examine how student beliefs and decisions hold up to the scrutiny of critical thinking, analysis, and relevant research from across the social sciences. Students will be exposed to the best available research evidence so they leave the course with an appreciation for the science that can guide their approach to leading others. To facilitate development as a leader, Principled Leadership also requires students to personalize course concepts by engaging in a number of assessments, self-reflections, and exercises and to practice important leadership skills such as issue selling, motivating others, and responding to crises.

The Art of Innovation: A Design Thinking Immersion

  • This hands-on course will prepare you to be future innovators by teaching you the human-centered design methodology known as “Design Thinking” that was made famous by David Kelley, founder of IDEO, and the Stanford d.school. Students will work on a challenge provided by a real sponsor, and will be put into cross-disciplinary teams where they will be immersed in the entire design thinking cycle: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.

Becoming a Leader

  • This course explores the complex process of "becoming a leader" by systematically uncovering beliefs and myths about leadership and rigorously examining how they hold up to the scrutiny of critical thinking, analysis, and research. Each class will address a number of important questions about leadership. We will generally use case studies and videos to first illustrate a topic by focusing on a specific leader and decision or dilemma faced by that leader. We will then abstract from the specific to the general by discussing the principles and research findings pertaining to that aspect of leadership. Students should also develop a significantly enhanced understanding of their own leadership strengths and objectives because the course requires personalization of concepts via a number of self-reflections and exercises.

Business Ethics

  • Poor moral judgment can ruin a manager's career. It can even sink an entire company. Accordingly, in today's volatile and fiercely competitive business environment, a manager must possess not only technical and communication skills. He or she must also be able to identify and effectively resolve ethical issues that inevitably arise in the pursuit of business (and career) objectives. That is, a manager must be able to make business decisions that are defensible ethically as well as economically. This course is designed to enhance students' skills in moral reasoning as it applies to managerial decision-making. After examining normative concepts and principles that typically enter into moral reasoning, we will focus on using those concepts and principles in analyzing cases. In our discussions, we will seek to understand the moral issues confronting the decision-makers in the cases and explore how those issues might be addressed in ethically responsible ways.

Critical Thinking for Business Leaders 

  • Succeeding in any business leadership role requires you to think critically, and make quality decisions with and on behalf of organizational stakeholders, even in the face of challenges such as imperfect/incomplete information, changing and unforeseen circumstances, and, of course, human nature in all of its complexity and unpredictability. Major content themes focus on constructing a persuasive argument and deconstructing arguments made by others; recognizing and avoiding reasoning flaws and the forces that make us most susceptible to such flaws; approaching business problems systematically and thoroughly; and producing a problem solution that is well-reasoned, likely to be well-received by ultimate decision makers, and able to be implemented with success. 

Cross-Cultural Management

  • There are no simple recipes for success as a global manager. This course takes a multi-faceted approach to help students develop their global management skills. An effective global manager should have: 1) an accurate understanding of his or her own strengths and weaknesses as a manager; (2) a good sense of cultural differences, and where they are likely to emerge (he or she also uses presumed cultural differences as a starting point for understanding—and avoids stereotypes; (3) a set of interpersonal and group management tools, including skills in communication, conflict management, team-work, power and influence, and negotiation, as well as practice using those skills in a global context; and, (4) a savvy understanding of important issues in cross-cultural management. This course covers some of the most prominent: dealing with cross-border merger and alliance, balancing dual identities in cross-cultural settings, understanding obstacles of transferring practices from one culture to another, and managing one's own international career.

International Negotiations

  • This course focuses on negotiation in the global business setting. It will cover the negotiation concepts dealt with in NBA 6660 (Negotiations) and NBA 6820 (Negotiation Essentials). In addition, it will investigate issues that can be particularly troublesome in the global setting, including: currency, venue for dispute resolution, and ethics that are unique to the international arena; parties at the cross-cultural negotiation table; and how culture affects negotiators’ interests and priorities and strategies. The capstone exercise is a real-time email negotiation with students in Beijing, China.

Negotiations

  • Negotiation is the art and science of securing agreements between two or more interdependent parties. The purpose of this course is to understand the theory and processes of negotiation as it is practiced in a variety of settings. This course is designed to complement the technical and diagnostic skills you have learned in other courses at the Johnson School. A basic premise of the course is that while a manager needs analytical skills in order to develop optimal solutions, a broad array of negotiation skills is needed for these solutions to be accepted and implemented. The course is designed to help you approach negotiations with confidence. You have the opportunity to develop your negotiating skills experientially and to gain insight into what works, what does not, and why.

Nonprofit Governance and Leadership

  • This course aims to help Johnson students build an understanding of nonprofit governance and develop board leadership skills. It will benefit Johnson and its students by fulfilling unmet student demand for a nonprofit leadership course, enhancing existing management curriculum, and strengthening Johnson’s connection to the local Ithaca community. Nonprofit topics covered include board governance, Tompkins County nonprofits, mergers, acquisitions and alliances, global nonprofit leadership, financial management, fundraising and capital campaigns, technology, social media and brand, impact assessment, and board evaluation.

Power and Politics in Organizations

  • Nothing is more frustrating than having a great idea and not having the political capital to get it recognized and implemented. This course is aimed at providing you with the political intelligence to succeed in an organization. This course aims to 1) improve your ability to diagnose the underlying distribution of power in organizations, 2) allow you to practice strategies for building your own personal power, and 3) show you how to be fluent in multiple techniques for influencing others.

Strategic Change and Renewal

  • One of the most vexing challenges organizations face is that of successfully undertaking strategic changes. In this course, we start by discussing how managers determine where they want the organization to go. We then examine external and internal drivers of change and cases of successful and unsuccessful change efforts.

Fred Staudmyer ’77, MBA ’79

Coursework in leadership is as valuable as any discipline one can take at Johnson. In virtually every career track that recent MBAs embark upon, their ultimate level of achievement has to do with their ability to be successful leaders.

– Fred Staudmyer ’77, MBA ’79 Director, Career Management Center