Not available in 2021/22
HP4D7E      Half Unit
Fundamentals of Management and Leadership in Health Care

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Brittany Jones


This course is compulsory on the Executive MSc in Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course is intended to be an introduction to the theory and practice of management for specialists moving into leadership roles in the health care field. It is intended to support the content and outcome orientation of core analytical and health policy courses, by providing relevant knowledge and skills for formulating and leading organizational development and change. We will argue that a holistic understanding of organisational phenomena, and an ability to critique and synthesise the lessons of theory are the basis of effective and reflective practice.

This course complements and supports the analytical and policy evaluation tools developed in other core courses, which focus on identifying and evaluating desired outcomes. In this course we will develop the managerial and leadership tools to complement these ‘what’ questions and explore the ‘who’ and ‘how’ questions of leading and implementing organisational change and development.

As it is a half unit that must cover a great deal of ground, the course is designed to provide a sound basis for effective action by focusing on fundamental theories while teaching foundational skills.

We will consider the nature of organisations in theory and practice, and how the development of each influenced the other. What are the properties and functions of modern organisations? What theories have been advanced to explain their existence and form? We will see that the relationship between theory and practice are complicated and reflexive, and why understanding this is an important first step in developing an effective managerial practice.

We will explore the knowledge set that has come to define managerial practice. How did the practice of management and leadership, and theories of organisation develop? What social science disciplines have contributed to it? We will see that the explanations and prescriptions of various schools of thought can be divergent or even contradictory. We will see how the ability to critique and synthesise the insights of diverse perspectives and tools is key to both formulating and implementing effective organisational change.

We will also explore the social construction of the ‘role’ of the manager. How do managers make sense of their world, and what theories have shaped what managers do (and what they think they should do)? We will discover how answers to these questions depend in part on our assumptions about the nature of organisations as social spheres and managers as actors and decision-makers and demonstrate the importance of ‘who’ and ‘how’ considerations in thinking about the ‘what’ questions of policy.

Finally, we will bring the course to a conclusion by considering the question of leadership and how we usefully employ the concept to draw together the lessons of theory in practice. What are leadership theories, and what are the lessons of what we have learned thus far for leadership practice? Students will be asked to consider their own synthesis in light of the content of the course and the requirements of the people and situations they know from their own experience.


10 hours of lectures, 10 hours of seminars and 7 hours and 30 minutes of workshops in the ST.

The lectures will develop an understanding of the core phenomena: organisation, management and leadership. We begin by considering organisational theories and present the simultaneous development of the managerial knowledge set and modern organisational forms and practices. We then consider the relationship between models of organisational behaviour and strategy and conceptions of the manager as an actor and decision-maker. Finally, we consider the question of leadership in multiple conceptions and theories to develop students’ understanding of the forces at play in the relationship between leaders and led.

Classes will develop a critique of management theories via the analysis of organisational situations. We will encourage the consideration and synthesis of eclectic theories across social science disciplines and levels of analysis to develop students’ holistic thinking about leadership in organisations.

The writing workshops will develop critical reading, thinking and writing skills that will enable further learning and reflective practice, as well as effective communication.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the ST.

Skills for carrying out the essay will be developed in the exercises presented as part of the writing workshops. These exercises will also provide opportunities to explore and refine a topic that is suitable for the assignment with the course teacher.

After the course session, the formative submission will be a formal proposal and preliminary outline of the final paper, which will form the basis for feedback and further consultation with the course teacher.

Indicative reading

Argyris, C. and D.A. Schön (1974). Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Bolman, L. G., and T. E. Deal (2013). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership (Sixth Edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 

Mintzberg, H., B. Ahlstrand and J. Lampel (2009). Strategy Safari. London: Prentice Hall.

Schein, E. (2010). Organisational culture and leadership (4th ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Schön, D.A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wallace, M., and A. Wray (2012). Critical reading and writing for postgraduates (Second Edition). London: Sage.

Wren, D. A., and A. G. Bedeian (2020). The evolution of management thought. London: John Wiley & Sons.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

The summative assessment for this course will be one essay of 3,000 words (100%). This will be in the form of an essay, where the student will be expected to analyse an organisational challenge or situation drawn from the students’ own experience or observation. It will require the application of theory to explore how leadership helps to create and transform organisational situations.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness