Strategic Leadership



Andrey Zamulin, Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management Department, Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University


Dmitry Kucherov, Senior Lecturer, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management Department, Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University



45 contact hours


Contemporary Strategic Analysis, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Manager Professional Skills

Course Description:

Strategic Leadership is aimed to provide theoretical and practical aspects of strategic leadership highlighting the role of leadership at different levels of organizational behavior to ensure a firm’s sustainable growth, innovative breakthrough and competitive advantage in global environment. It is based on the idea that strategic leadership to be effective in changing environment should rely on human capital and include three basic elements:
- Strategic competent leaders at all levels of the organization
- Systems that effectively support leadership initiatives
- Strategic actions that reflect the realities of the organization and the external environment
The course shows how people, organizational systems, and managerial practices led to a firms’ strategic and leading position. This holistic view enables students to reach a deep understanding of phenomenon of strategic leadership and learn how different managerial practices and business processes may create leadership behavior.

Course Content:

The course consists of 3 sections:

1. «Introduction to Strategic Leadership» is aimed to help students to understand fundamentals of strategic leadership, namely 
  • Leadership as the starting point of strategy
  • Strategic leaders as individuals
  • Visionary, managerial and strategic leadership
  • How the skills of charismatic and transformational leadership enhance the potential of the strategic leader
  • Strategic leadership skills and personal characteristics that make leaders effective
  • The strategic leadership through top management teams
  • Factors that influence ability to make effective strategic decisions
  • What kind of strategic leadership styles well-known CEOs demonstrate?
2. «Strategic Leadership and Human Capital Development» aims to highlight how managing of intangible assets supports and develops leadership initiatives at individual, group and organizational levels to provide a company’s strategic position in global environment, namely
  • Theory of human capital and its implementation for strategic leadership
  • Human resource development strategies as a background for strategic leadership in domestic and multinational companies
  • Organizational and managerial decisions supporting leadership initiatives
  • Competence management for strategic leadership
  • Modern theories in organizational behavior and human resource development and its role in creating strategic and leadership position of an organizational in modern environment

3. «How to become a Strategic Leader: Challenges from the Labor Market and Employer Branding» aims to consider the problem of strategic leadership in terms of transformations in contemporary labor market. The special attention is paid on:

  • organizational identity and competitiveness on the labor market;
  • the internal labor market and flexible working practices;
  • changes in the nature of the relationship between employer and employee (employee like a ‘client’ and job like a ‘product’) 
  • employer brand as a source of competitiveness on the labor market
  • employer branding and human resource management practices in the conditions of ‘war for talents’

Course Organization:

The course will follow a lecture, in-class group discussions, case analysis, guest lectures and group presentations.
Students are expected to attend all classes and be fully prepared and actively participate in class discussions.

Course Reading:

Core reading:

  • Adair, J. Effective strategic leadership: The complete guide to strategic management (New revised edition). London: Pan Books, 2010.

Supplementary reading:

  • Strategic Leadership: Theory and research on executives, top management teams, and boards / Finkelstein et al. - New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • Martin G., Hetrick S. Corporate reputations, branding and people management. A strategic approach to HR. Oxford, UK : Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006.
  • Minchington, B. Employer Brand Leadership – a Global Perspective. - Torrensville: Collective Learning Australia, 2010.
  • Ibbara H. The Authenticity Paradox. Why feeling like a fake can be a sign of growth// HBR, January-February.- 2015.- P. 53-59. 
  • Gavetti G. The new psychology of strategic leadership// HBR, July-August.- 2011. - Р.118-125. 
  • Paradoxical Leadership to Enable Strategic Agility/ Lews M.W., Andriopoulos C., Smith W.K. //California Management Review.- Spring 2014.- Vol.56, №3, P. 59-77.
  • Strategic leadership for the 21st century/ Hitt, M. A., Haynes, K. T., & Serpa, R.// Business Horizons.- 2010.- 53(5).P. 437-444.

Exam format:

Final exam will consist of multiple choice, opened ended and short essay questions to test the understanding of material presented in class.
In-Class, 60 min.

Grading Policy (% or points):

Course Progress – 50 %
Exam – 50 %

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