Syllabus for LDR-345



Theories of Leadership builds on the ideas introduced in Foundations of Leadership (LDR-305), strengthening the conceptual framework of the practice of leadership. Theories of Leadership provides an in-depth exploration of the primary theories of leadership and of the way those theories can be put to use in real leadership practice. Each student will have the opportunity to examine and discuss theory, to consider how theory can inform real or simulated practice, and to reflect on how theory plays a role in his/her personal and evolving concept of leadership. Thus, while the course treats abstract theoretical perspectives for framing leadership, it also links those perspectives with concrete situations and contexts and allows each student to link theory to actual business settings.

Advisory: This course is best taken after LDR-305, Foundations of Leadership.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss with facility the primary theories of leadership.
  2. Explain patterns and themes across different theories of leadership.
  3. Synthesize different theories of leadership into a meaningful personal theory of leadership.
  4. Draw connections between theory and practice and between leadership theory and leadership practice in particular.
  5. Apply leadership theories to personal work, community activity, and other contexts.
  6. Compare men and women in leadership roles, and evaluate the relevance of gender to leadership theories.
  7. Analyze leadership as it is practiced by different cultures around the world, and evaluate the relevance of culture to leadership theories.
  8. Assess the importance of ethics to the leadership theories and to personal leadership practice.
  9. Propose a personal leadership development plan that takes into account individual traits, skills, styles, situations, and other factors.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. Leadership: Theory and Practice, 6th ed., by Peter G. Northouse (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2013).

ISBN-13: 978-1-4522-0340-9


Theories of Leadership is a three-credit online course, consisting of four (4) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Early Theories: Focus on The Leader

  1. Module 2: Second-Generation Theories: Focus on The Situation and on Leader-Followers Interaction

  1. Module 3: More Recent Perspectives: Focus on Leadership as a Relationship

  1. Module 4: Broadening the Scope: Focus on Gender, Culture and Ethics

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written activities, and complete a final paper. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded "Introductions" forum, Theories of Leadership requires you to participate in graded class discussions, two in each module.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings, and concepts as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

Deadlines for posting responses to the discussion questions are given in the course Calendar.

If you are interested in knowing how your discussions will be graded, consult the Online Discussion rubric in the Evaluation Rubrics area of the course. It shows the standards for grading, telling you what would constitute an "A" discussion, a "B" discussion, and so on.

Written Assignments

Theories of Leadership has two types of written assignments. Each of these is described more fully in the Activity Modules area of the course.

  1. Reflection Papers These activities allow you to reflect on the theories you have studied, especially their strengths and weaknesses and what they add to cumulative knowledge about leadership. These papers are one to two pages in length. (Note: The paper in module 4 is two pages in length; you are not likely to be able to cover the material in only one page.)
  2. Application Papers. These assignments ask you to apply the principles of each module to your own present and future leadership. These papers are two to three pages in length.

If you are interested in knowing how your assignments will be graded, consult the Reflection Paper and Application Paper rubrics in the Evaluation Rubrics area of the course. They show the standards for grading, telling you what would constitute an "A" paper, a "B" paper, and so on, in each category.

For the assignment topics and questions, see the individual modules. Due dates for each assignment are listed in the course Calendar.

Your answers to the assignment questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the readings and concepts. They should also adequately answer the questions posed. If you need help in writing, take a look at The Writing Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Also, formulate responses in your own words. Do not merely copy answers from your reading materials. When quoting or paraphrasing from the text or other sources, be sure to cite the source of information properly according to APA guidelines. If you have further questions, your mentor will guide you in accordance with the correct style of documentation.

Final Paper

This course does not have a midterm or a final examination. Instead you will be required to write and submit a final paper to your mentor. This project allows you to examine your personal vision of leadership in light of the theories you have studied.

A full description of the paper and the requirements for completing it are found in Module 4.

Your final paper should be well developed and convey your understanding of the readings and concepts. Your paper should be organized, coherent, and unified; it should also be free of spelling and grammatical errors. If you need help in writing such a paper, take a look at The Writing Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A rubric that will be used to grade your paper is found in the Evaluation Rubrics area of the course.

If you have questions about the requirements of the paper, be sure to discuss them with your mentor well in advance of the final submission. Consult the course Calendar for this paper's due date. It must be submitted by the last day of the semester.

Consult the course Calendar for this paper's due date. It must be submitted by the last day of the semester.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Quizzes (4)—12 percent
  2. Online discussions (4)—12 percent
  3. Reflection papers (4)—16 percent
  4. Application papers (4)—24 percent
  5. Final paper—36 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism.  (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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