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Public Sector Leadership

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

This modules provides participants with knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of leadership in the public sector setting. It outlines the various approaches to leadership and leading. In doing so, it draws on relevant evidence to help participants understand how leadership can lead to desirable individual and organisational outcomes. The module also provides the opportunity for students to hone their abilities in reflective practice and self-analysis.

What does this course cover?

Week 1: Leading in a bureaucracy

Students will be introduced to the concept of leadership and consider how it is related to but different from other concepts, like management. Through the consideration of traditional theories of leadership, students will be able to reflect on their own leadership traits and behaviours and consider which of these are better suited to the public sector environment. Finally, students will learn about more contemporary theories of leadership, which are relational in nature.


Week 2: Leading others in public administration

This week focuses on ensuring that students fully understand the mechanisms that underpin leadership – such as influence and power. In the course of learning about these concepts, students will be able to evaluate which of these resources are available to them and how they could further develop them. We will also consider how to motivate employees in this context – drawing on the unique character of motivation of this workforce (public sector motivation/ethos).


Week 3: Leadership for the public administration of the future

In this week, the course looks to the rapidly changing environment in which public administrative leaders work. You will be given opportunities to reflect on the challenges most likely to face you going forward. Building on this, we consider how leadership needs to adapt to be fit for future purpose, including thinking about leadership as more than just the property of one “heroic” individual at the top of a hierarchy. Finally, we will explore the skills needed to enable this more distributed mode of leadership.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Distinguish between different approaches to leadership in the public sector, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of their emphases.
  • Critically assess different approaches to understanding leadership, highlighting the merits of adopting each school of thought.
  • Explain the ways in which leadership can affect performance outcomes in the public sector, with particular reference to professional workforces.
  • Identify how different approaches to leadership relate to different organisational activities and settings.

Who will I learn with?

Alexandra Budjanovcanin

Alexandra Budjanovcanin

Senior Lecturer in Work Psychology and Public Sector Management

Daniela Serban

Daniela Serban

Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 4 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Course status:


Full fee £950

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