Minor Leading people, teams, and organisations for excellence

Broadening minor
Minor code
Belongs to study programme


The minor consist of three interrelated themes that address the core question of this course (How to encourage people to thrive and deliver excellence in organisations?) from three different angles. The first theme focuses on how leaders can motivate, direct, and influence the behaviour of their followers. The second theme mainly applies this question to the area of (sometimes self-managed) teams. And the third puts the current management of diverse workforces centre stage to explore how we can build organisations in which employees thrive and perform. Each module combines a foundation of relevant scientific theories and research findings with a strong practical focus. This practical focus entails linking the theory to relevant cases as well as practicing and experiencing some of the concepts we discuss yourself so that you can develop your own skills, and your future organisation. 

Theme 1: Leading others

Leaders play a key role in drawing out employees’ potential. At the same time leaders can be the source of demotivation and conflict. An understanding of how leadership can help people thrive and where it can go wrong is essential for effective organisational functioning. This theme covers theory, research and practice of leadership effectiveness and basic principles of organizational behavior in general in order to generate a better understanding of the leadership process.

Theme 2: Building successful teams

Organisations increasingly turn to teams to carry out their most vital tasks. Unfortunately, team-based work does not always accomplish more than the sum of members’ individual contributions. In this theme, we explore core issues affecting teams (e.g., composition, processes, conflict) and the challenges they present. Our goal is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of how teams function and to enable you to handle team-related challenges more effectively as a team member and leader so you can realize your teams’ full potential.

Theme 3:  Managing diversity in the workplace

Managing today’s increasingly diverse workforce presents organizations with a complex challenge. On the one hand, diversity may be a source of creativity, innovation and high-quality decision making. On the other hand, diversity may cause conflict, misunderstandings, and related performance deficits. This theme discusses key theories of diversity and offers insights into best practices in diversity management in order to help you realize the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of diversity.

Learning Objectives

The central purpose of this course is to give students insights into critical issues regarding leadership, team-based work, and diversity management in organisations. Specifically, after taking this course, students should be able to

  • Understand relevant topics, theories, and research on leading people and teams, and managing diversity in organisations.
  • Be able to apply these theories and research findings to analyse and address practical challenges related to leadership, teams, and diversity.
  • More confidently and successfully handle personal challenges related to leadership, team-based work, and diversity management.

Special aspects

There are no special aspects to this course in view of prerequisite knowledge, scheduling, or selection/application procedure.

Overview content per week

Session 1 – Introduction to the minor course
Students will get an overview of key topics in this minor course and will increase their understanding of the significance of these topics by means of an integrated case discussion.

Session 2 – Leadership: Introduction to leadership and social influence
Students will gain insight into the importance and implications of leadership and its psychological foundations in key principles of social influence.

Session 3 – Leadership: Charismatic and transformational leadership
In this session we will discuss state-of-the-art theory regarding charismatic and transformational leadership styles; including verbal and nonverbal techniques in leadership and general interventions and developmental plans to increase one’s charismatic leadership.

Session 4 – Leadership: Leadership, leader categories, and leader gender
Students will understand the key principles of leadership categorization theory and its implications for gender and leadership effectiveness

Session 5 – Leadership: Leading across (cultural) boundaries (case)
After a brief discussion on culture-specific and culture-general leadership styles, students will engage in a class discussion on the basis of a cross-cultural leadership case. They will gain insight into the challenges and pitfals of intercultural leadership with the objective of developing cultural dexterity as a leader.

Session 6 – Leadership: Unethical leadership, voice, and psychology of power
Students will gain insights into the psychological implications of power, the potential implications for (un)ethical leadership behavior and measures they can take for themselves, their colleagues, subordinates, and organization.

Session 7 – Leadership: Having difficult conversations as a leader
As a leader you are often required to have difficult conversations with others (e.g., subordinates, clients, key external stakeholders). By means of the role play employed in this session, you will gain insights into the skills you need for having such conversations and how you can further develop these skills.

Session 8 – Teams: Foundations of successful teamwork
Students will learn the foundations of successful teamwork. By addressing the main reasons why teams don’t work, students will learn the key pillars of effective teamwork including team leaders’ roles and developing the teams’ collective intelligence.  

Session 9 – Teams: Team composition, diversity, and culture
An important aspect of team formation, socialization and development is team composition. In this session, students will be introduced to different team composition characteristics (e.g. team size, demographics, dispositions and abilities) which can have powerful influences on team processes and outcomes.  

Session 10 – Teams: Team information processing and decision making
This session will focus on team information processing and decision making. Students will learn how to properly disseminate knowledge within the team to augment the desired team outcomes (e.g. creativity, performance, effective decisions).

Session 11 – Teams: Common dysfunctions in teams
Students will be introduced to the common dysfunctions in teams. Particularly, we will focus on how we can actively manage intragroup conflict to achieve fruitful collaborations.

Session 12 – Teams: Power status and hierarchy in teams
This session will highlight power, status, and hierarchy in teams. Given that team power structures are critical for team outcomes; students will learn how to wield power effectively for their advantage.

Session 13 – Diversity: Introduction to Team Diversity
This session offers an introduction on how and when team diversity brings about positive and negative effects; main stream of research discussion from the collective and relational/interpersonal perspectives. 

Session 14 – Diversity: Diversity Climate and Cognition
This session addresses questions such as: what kind of diversity climate would attract and maintain diversity?; How does diversity climate influence team performance?; and what are the implications of diversity beliefs for team process and outcomes?

Session 15 – Diversity: Cultural Differences
In this session, students will gain insight into how cultural differences and diversity influence individual, work groups, and international business; offering advice on properly coping with the cultural diversity issue.

Session 16 – Diversity: Network Barriers & Glass Ceiling; team debate
This session uncovers biases against underrepresented groups in management and workplaces and offers insights into network constraints for underrepresented groups and possible solutions.

Session 17 – Diversity: HR Policies & Training
Students will learn about the status quo and major challenges in diversity management and training and gain insight into promising HR practices to eliminate the biases and discrimination.

Session 18 – Integration: Integrated case competition & presentation
Teams will be asked to prepare one another’s case—integrating insights across the topics of leadership, teams, and diversity.

Teaching methods

This course consists of interactive sessions (combining lectures with practical exercises and case discussions), assignments, and presentations.

Teaching materials

The reading for this course consist of a combination of textbook and handbook chapters, review articles, and illustrative research articles from top-tier management and psychology journals.


Method of examination
In line with the three learning goals, there are three core ways in which you will be evaluated in this course.

  • Knowledge Acquisition: To test your understanding and knowledge of the important concepts we will discuss in class, there will be an individual written test for each theme.
  • Ability to apply theory and research findings to practice: Your ability to use this knowledge to analyse and solve practical problems will be tested through a case assignment and presentation. This will be largely done in groups.
  • Personal skills development: Throughout this course, you will be asked to develop, implement, and reflect upon a personal development plan to work on one of the core skills we explore in this course. Since this is about your personal development, this is an individual work product.

Composition final grade
The final grade will be a weighted average of the aforementioned evaluation components. 

  1. Written test 1: Leading People                                   20% (individual)
  2. Written test 2: Teams & Diversity                             40% (individual)
  3. Case + case competition                                               30% (team)
  4. Individual reflection report/diary                              10% (individual)

To be eligible to obtain a final grade, the weighted average of both written test grades needs to be at least 4.5. Students are generally allowed to re-sit for minors where the examination - or part of the examination - comprises a written test. The minor re-sit period for all written tests at EUR is in July.

If you have failed your minor or if you have to re-sit the examination, you must submit your minor preference(s) once again in May of the subsequent year. You will then be included in the lottery for a place in the minor of your choice. You will not be given priority in the placement procedure. This means you may be placed for another minor. If you pass your re-sit and therefore pass your minor, you must deregister for the new minor. Please contact RSM BSc Programme management if you require further information.

Students will be provided with feedback throughout this course; during course activities, after presentations, and at various points during their group and individual projects. Furthermore, students will be informed of the results after each written test and have the opportunity to review their answers and ask questions.

Contact information

Tina Davidson
+31 10 4088009
room: T10-49 (Mandeville Building)

Broadening minor
Minor code
Belongs to study programme
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Study points (ECTS)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam


Please read the application procedure for more information.