HiL > Studies > Master programmes > Master of Innovation > Leadership in contemporary organizations

Leadership in contemporary organizations

Course content

Leadership entails practicing various forms of influence in relation to the employees so that the department / work group, and thereby the organization, achieves its goals. This applies equally full in relation to private and public as well as voluntary organizations. Leadership also involves both managing (including planning, organizing, and administering) and leading (including motivation, involvement, and empowerment). Managing and leading are two aspects that complement each other, and which are both important and necessary elements of constructive leadership. Moreover, personal qualities and characteristics of leaders may influence how leadership being practiced, while different situations may require different ways to lead on. Leadership is thus a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that is impossible to encompass within a single universal theory. Therefore, it exists many different leadership theories in the literature.


Given the leadership areas many theories and perspectives, the course will give you knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of leadership as phenomenon. In particular, the course will help you to identify and analyze key aspects of leadership in contemporary knowledge-based organizations. In many of today's knowledge-driven organizations the premise for leadership is differently than for organizations that previously operated in more stable and predictable environments. Leadership of knowledge workers implies increased attention on, among others, meaning making, empowerment and self-leadership, which will be important themes in the course. The function and contribution of leadership in change and innovation processes will also be subject to particularly attention.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course you will:


  • Possess knowledge of basic leadership theories.
  • Possess in-depth knowledge of various approaches of leadership in contemporary knowledge organizations.
  • Possess understanding of leadership in innovation processes.


  • Be able to use knowledge of leadership as analytical tools in empirical studies of organizations.
  • Be able to evaluate existing theories of leadership, and thereby designing and structuring relevant academic issues.
  • Could transfer theories, phenomena and methods related to leadership in contemporary organizations to use in professional practice.


  • Be able to apply the acquired skills as basis for further development of own expertise and specialization in the subject.
  • Be able to communicate with different audiences about issues, analyzes and assessments within the subject.

Teaching methods

Lectures, readings, student presentations, case-based seminars, plenary dialogues, group dialogues and essay/paper submissions.

Coursework requirements

Mandatory tests and / or project work that must be graded as “passed” to be admitted to the final exam. The detailed requirements about form, number and size of tests / project works are communicated during the start-up of the course.

Final examination

Two day home examination, case-based.


The course is a supplementary course in relation to introductory courses in leadership and organization. It is therefore provided that students have completed at least 7.5 ECTS within this field. 

Curriculum autumn 2015 (some minor changes may be done for autumn 2016)


Arnulf, J. K. (2012). Hva er ledelse. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.


Amundsen, S. (2014). Empowerment at work. I S. Amundsen (PhD-avhandling), Empowering leadership – leading employees to lead themselves (s. 5–11). NTNU, Trondheim.

Amundsen, S. (2014). Central approaches and theories of leadership. I S. Amundsen (PhD-avhandling), Empowering leadership – leading employees to lead themselves (s. 11–21). NTNU, Trondheim.

Amundsen, S. (2014). Empowering leadership. I S. Amundsen (PhD-avhandling), Empowering leadership – leading employees to lead themselves (s. 21–34). NTNU, Trondheim.

Bang, H., & Midelfart, T. N. (2012). Ledergruppe eller lederteam? I bok av samme forfattere, Effektive ledergrupper. (s. 37–45). Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Ellinger, A., Beattie, R., & Hamlin, R. (2014). The Manager as Coach. I E. Cox, T. Bachkirova, & D. Clutterbuck (ed.), The Complete Handbook of Coaching. (s. 256–270). London: Sage.

Engen, M., & Magnusson, P. (2015). Exploring the role of front-line employees as innovators. Service Industries Journal, 35(6), 303-324.

Hillestad, T. (2009). Ledelsesutfordringer og dilemmaer i team. I R. Assmann (red.), Teamorganisering. Veien til mer fleksible organisasjoner. (s. 163–192). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Hjertø, K. B. (2013). Team. I bok av samme forfatter, Team. (s. 28–39). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Kuvaas, B., & Dysvik, A. (2012). Indre og prososial motivasjon. I bok av samme forfattere, Lønnsomhet gjennom menneskelige ressurser (2. utg.) (s. 49–80). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Martinsen, Ø. L. (2009). Hva kan forskning fortelle oss om ledereffektivitet? I Ø. L. Martinsen (red.), Perspektiver på ledelse (3. utg.) (s. 88–120). Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Martinsen, Ø. L. (2009). Selvledelse. I Ø. L. Martinsen (red.), Perspektiver på ledelse (3. utg.) (s. 325–354). Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Skogstad, A. (2015). Effektive og ivaretakende ledelse: viktige perspektiver og modeller. I S. Einarsen, & A. Skogstad (red.), Ledelse på godt og vondt (2. utg.) (s. 15–45). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

Solberg, O. A., Karlsen, B., & Skjevdal, J. (2013). Ledelse i kontekst. I R. Rønning, W. Brochs-Haukedal, L. Glasø, & S. B. Matthiesen (red.), Livet som leder. Lederundersøkelse 3.0. (s. 77–108). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.

On electronic form

Amundsen, S., & Martinsen, Ø. L. (2014). Empowering leadership: Construct clarification, conceptualization, and validation of a new scale. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(3), 487–511.

Denti, L., & Hemlin, S. (2012). Leadership and innovation in organizations: A systematic review of factors that mediate or moderate the relationship. International Journal of Innovation Management, 16(3), 1–20.

DiLiello, T. C., & Houghton, J. D. (2006). Maximizing organizational leadership capacity for the future: Toward a model of self-leadership, innovation and creativity. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), 319–337.

Grennes, T. (2012). På jakt etter en norsk ledelsesmodell. Magma, 4, 51–59.

Hetland, H. (2013). Lederen som inspirator og støtte i forhold til våre basale psykologiske behov. Magma, 3, 18–25.

Houghton, J. D., & Yoho, S. K. (2005). Toward a contingency model of leadership and psychological empowerment: When should self-leadership be encouraged? Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 11(4), 65–83.

Rosing, K., Frese, M., & Bausch, A. (2011). Explaining the heterogeneity of the leadership-innovation relationship: Ambidextrous leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(5), 956–974.

Sandvik, A. M. (2011). Ledelse av kunnskapsarbeid. Magma, 3, 56–63.

Stone, D. N., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Beyond talk: Creating autonomous motivation through self-determination theory. Journal of General Management, 34(3), 75–91.

Zhang, X., & Bartol, K. M. (2010). Linking empowering leadership and employee creativity: The influence of psychological empowerment, intrinsic motivation, and creative process engagement. Academy of Management Journal, 53(1), 107–128.

Sist oppdatert: Emrys Gerritse 08.04.2016

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