Course Syllabus



Semester & Location:

Spring 2020 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Leadership Studies, Organizational Behavior, Psychology

Faculty Members:

Louise Bergøe

Program Assistant:

Jennifer Finkelstein (

Program Director:

Lars Rossen 

Time & Place:

Monday & Thursday 14.50-16.10

Classroom V23-301


Description of Course

In this course we will focus on psychological analyses of leadership and we will throughout the course discuss psychological theories, leadership perspectives and practices with the overarching goal of answering the question “what makes a leader?” and  “what characterizes effective leadership?”.

Leadership will be defined as a social process, which is contextually embedded and interactive in nature. We will explore how different psychological models and thinking of leadership can support the understanding of how successful leaders can maintain high organizational viability and effectiveness while at the same time supporting and fostering a healthy working environment for their employees; strong relations, high degree of trust, constructive communication and engaging team climate. How someone emerges and is perceived as a leader is largely dependent on personality and a strong emphasis on research about personality traits and leadership will be prevalent throughout the course.

A main goal for the course is that each student ends the course with a deep understanding of the psychological academia and practices of leadership and a defined personal sweet spot for future leadership aspirations. A blend of in class lectures, guest lectures, field studies, group discussions and student papers will together unfold the psychology and human factor of leadership.

Learning Objectives

In this course you will learn to reflect critically on theory, application and research within the field of leadership psychology. During the field studies you get the opportunity to see leadership in practice in two very different European organizational contexts and through your course learnings you will be able to analyze, compare and contrast different leadership practices across cultures.

By the end of the course you will:

  • have a better understanding and recognize the psychological components of leadership as opposed to management
  • be familiar with different leadership styles and models
  • be familiar with personality assessment and leadership development
  • have developed an understanding of own leadership style and abilities
  • have a better understanding of the social and cultural forces involved in leadership and followership (incl. team climate)
  • appreciate the complexity of the leadership role from a psychological and managerial point of view
  • have learned how leadership is crucial for coping with change and uncertainty
  • have learned how responsibility for organizational well-being is connected to leadership
  • understand the impact of communication and strategic conversations in organizations
  • have learned how leadership is related to being able to navigate cross-cultural differences and building strong diverse workforces



Louise Bergøe, Cand.Psych.Aut.

Louise Bergøe has a professional background in both clinical Neuropsychology, Organizational Psychology and a Master in Innovation and leadership. She has held several management and leadership positions and been responsible for driving and leading the design, development, launch and implementation of products, services and processes for talent acquisition and development in organizations. She has done many both national and international trainings, workshops and speeches related to the general suite of HR processes: recruitment, team development, leadership development, communication, individual and team coaching, etc. Her experiences includes professional executive psychological coaching. She has extensive experience and knowledge of the field of organizational psychological assessment, tools and theory and has led the development of several psychological assessment tools, e.g. an innovative Big Five personality test which has been accredited to meet the highest international standards. As a leader she is passionate about people, innovation and project excellence. She practices reflective and collaborative leadership and holds as a leader a strong focus on joining diverse skills sets, creating a shared mindset and common sense making in order to create creative cross-functional teams with high motivation and well-being. She has just set up her own consultancy firm.

Ma in Psychology (1993, University of Copenhagen) and MA in Leadership and innovation (2015, Aarhus University & Copenhagen Business School). Attended a wide range of trainings in e.g. project management, managing knowledge workers, emotional intelligence in organizations, conflict management, etc. With DIS since 2019.

Pronouns: She/her and hers.



  • Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D. & Platow, M. J. (2011): The New Psychology of Leadership: Identity, Influence and Power. New York, NY: Psychology Press
  • Messick, D.M, Kramer, M.R. (2011): The psychology of Leadership: new Perspectives and Research: New York, NY: Routledge

Required Articles and Other Media on Canvas: 

  • Bono, E. J. & Judge, A. T. (2004). Personality and Transformational and Transactional Leadership: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 89, No. 5, 901–910.
  • Coleman, D (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review, March-April 2000, pp. 76-91.
  • Confederation of Danish Industry, Industriens Fond, CBS: Danish Leadership Style in a Global Context.
  • Drucker, P.F. (2004): What Makes an Effective Executive. Harvard Business Review, June 2004.
  • Drucker, P.F. (1999): Managing Oneself. Harvard Business Review, January 2005.
  • Educational Testing Service (2012). Relationships between Big Five and Academic and Workforce Outcomes.
  • Goffee, R. & Jones, G. (2000): Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? In Harvard Business Review september–october 2000.
  • Groysberg, B., Slind. M (2012). Leadership Is a Conversation. Harvard Business Review, June 2012.
  • In-Sue Oh et al. (2015): Taking It to Another Level: Do Personality-Based Human Capital Resources Matter to Firm Performance? Journal of Applied Psychology 2015, Vol. 100, No. 3, 935–47.
  • Judge A.T et al. (2002). Personality and Leadership: A Qualitative and Quantitative Review. Journal of Applied Psychology, vol 87, No 4, 765-780.
  • Kaiser, R.B. & Curphy, G. (2014): Leadership Development: The Failure Of An Industry And The Opportunity For Consulting Psychologists. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research 2014 American Psychological Association 2013, Vol. 65, No. 4, 294–302
  • Klenke, K. (1996): Women and Leadership, A Contextual Perspective. New York, NY: Springer Publishing. Chp 6.
  • John P. Kotter, J.P (2001). What Leaders Really Do: Harvard business review, December 2001.
  • Ladkin, D. (2010). Rethinking Leadership: A New Look at Old Leadership Questions: Edward Elgar Publishing, Chp. 2, pp. 15-33, chp. 4, pp. 55-74.
  • McCrae, R.R. & Costa, P. T. (1987). Validation of the Five-Factor Model of Personality Across Instruments and Observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1987, Vol. 52, No. 1,81-90.
  • McCrae, R.R. & Oliver, J.P (1992). An Introduction to the Five-Factor Model and Its Applications. Journal of Personality, vol 60, issue 2 1992.
  • Maner J.K. & Mead N.L. (2010). The Essential Tension Between Leadership and Power: When Leaders Sacrifice Group Goals for the Sake of Self-Interest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2010, Vol. 99, No. 3, 482–497.
  • Mansour, J. & Zaheer, A (2019).  How Leaders Around the World Build Trust Across Cultures. Harvard business review, MAY 27, 2019.
  • Marcus B. & Goodall A (2019): The feedback Fallacy. Harvard business review, March-April 2019.
  • Northouse G.P. (2013): Leadership Theory and Practice: SAGE Publications.  Chp.2, pp. 19-32, Chp.14. pp. 349-375, Chp.16. pp. 423-449.
  • Phaneuf, J.É., Boudrias, J.S., Rousseau, V. & Brunelle, È. (2016). Personality and transformational leadership: the moderating effect of organizational context. Personality and Individual Differences 102 (2016) 30 – 35.
  • Schein, E. H. (2013). Humble Inquiry; The Gentle Art Of Asking Instead Of Telling. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. San Francisco.
  • Shaw, P. (2002). Changing Conversations in Organizations. A Complexity Approach to Change. Routledge, Chap. 1 & 3: pp. 1-22 & 34-71.
  • Shaw, P. (2005). Conversational Inquiry as an Approach to Organization Development. In: Journal of Innovative Management, Fall, pp. 19-22.
  • Siegling, A.B., Nielsen, C., Petrides, K.V. (2014). Trait emotional intelligence in a European multinational company. Personality and Individual Differences 65 (2014) 65-68.
  • Smith, D.G., Rosenstein, J.E., and Nikolov, M.C. (2018). The Different Words We Use to Describe Male and Female Leaders. HBR May 25, 2018.
  • Vogt, E. E.; Brown, J. and Isaacs, D. (2003). The art of Powerful Questions: Catalyzing Insight, Innovation, and Action, California: Whole Systems Associates, p. 1 – 14.
  • Zaccaro, S.J. (2007). Trait-based perspectives of Leadership. Vol. 62, No. 1, 6–16.
  • Relationships between Big Five and Academic and Workforce Outcomes. 2012 by Educational Testing Service.


Field Studies

We have appointments with two enterprises :

Wednesday 22 of January 13.00-17.00

Frederiksberg Castle in Hillerød. Topic: Arts and the ekspression of leadership.

Wednesday 25th of March 8.30-12.30

Mystery Makers, Grønningen 15, Copenhagen. Topic: Collaborative leadership - Cancelled

Guest Lecturers


Approach to Teaching

I strive for an open, playful and interactive learning environment: that means that I ask questions, expect discussion and encourage you to think for yourself. Interactive learning presupposes active participation from the students.  You can expect a mix of lecturing, self-study, group work, peer learning and case work. In every lesson, there will be group reflections and exercises.

The schedule will list reading materials for each class meeting. Please be prepared by having read and thought about the material before coming to class. By reading the material beforehand, you will better understand the points I make, you will be better prepared for discussion, and you will be able to ask thoughtful and productive questions. 

Classes will consider a few specific topics in depth and will typically not repeat the assigned readings but will serve as a foundation for the lectures and it will be expected that they are included in class discussions. Thus, most of the materials in the text you will learn on your own outside of class.

To connect learnings from the readings and classroom lectures and exercises each student will work on an individual leadership reflection journal, which will also be an important part of their final evaluation and exam. There will be a thorough introduction to the reflection journal at onset of the course. Furthermore each student will receive feedback on their reflection journal during the course as part of their evaluation (both midterm and final)

Expectations of the Students

As a student you are expected to be punctual for and participate actively during class and field studies. There are readings for each class. These readings are necessary for the quality of the dialogue in the groups and the plenary session. In groups students will discuss questions and bring forth critical reflections related to the readings. Students are expected to show respect for and attempt to understand the viewpoints and experiences of others, whether this be other students or guest lecturers and people encountered on field studies.

There are two main assignments which should be delivered in electronic format. Computers are allowed in class, but it is important that they are only used for the class activity.

Attendance: mandatory, except for serious illness or participation in religious holidays.


Evaluation will be based on active participation in the class and showing personal investment in activities as well as during presentations. Critical academic reflection is highly valued both in class, where there will be a number of open questions, group work assignments and short presentations, as well as in your written work.

In order to be allegeable for grades above a B+ you are expected to exceed what is required, ie. analyzing cases from multiple angles, critically utilizing and discussing research, pointing out problems and contradictions in theory and practice at a high academic level, that goes beyond mere reproduction and reiteration. Thus, creativity and independent thinking in combination with academic expertise is rewarded.

It is expected, when required by the written assignment, that all statements and claims are supported by academic references.




1. Participation (performance in class, contribution to group work and team spirit)


2: Reflection journal


3: Creation of leadership collage


4: Research paper, academic review of article about personality and leadership 


5: Field studies (reflection notes before, assessment notes after)


6: Collective learning




Class Participation (15%):

You must attend every class. Excused absence includes serious illness and participation in religious holidays. All other absences are unexcused. If you must miss a class, please contact me as soon as possible.

Active participation in class will include reading ahead of each class and contributing to class discussions as well as participating actively at field studies and preparing for guest lectures. 

 Assignments (65% in total)    

  • Reflection journal (25%)
  • One theoretical analysis about personality psychology (20%)
  • Creation of podcast on leadership (group assignment) (20%)

The assignments must be on an academic level, i.e. the argumentation must refer to theory and show critical reflection. The teacher will give written and oral instructions in due time before the assignments and introduce to the applied grading rubrics.

Field studies and collective learning (10% + 10%)

The students will prepare questions beforehand and make short written reflections after both field studies and guest lectures and connect their learning to theory and topics covered in class.




You are expected to attend all classes, guest lectures, workshops and field studies. If you must miss a class for religious holidays, medical reasons, or other valid reasons, you must let us know as far in advance as possible of the absence and obtain information about the work you must do to keep up in class. If you miss a class for any other reason (sudden illness, family emergency, etc.), you should get in touch with us as soon as possible and arrange to make up the work missed.

It is crucial for your learning that you stay on task and hand in assignments on or before the due date. All work– including in-class projects – have to be completed in order to pass the class. Late papers or projects will be marked down with 1/3 of a grade for each day it is late.

Policy for students who arrive late to class: Students who are repeatedly late for class will receive a lower participation grade.

Use of laptops or phones in class: Students, who use their laptop for reasons not related to class, will have their class participation grade reduced significantly. Use of telephone is not allowed outside of breaks. For some lessons, laptop use may be banned completely.  

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism and Violating the Rules of an Assignment

DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and credit all work or thought taken from others.   Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of “F” and can result in dismissal. The students’ home universities will be notified. DIS reserves the right to request that written student assignments be turned in electronic form for submission to plagiarism detection software.  See the Academic Handbook for more information, or ask your instructor if you have questions.

Disability and Resource Statement  

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Academic Support ( to coordinate this.  In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes.

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

Course Summary:

Date Details