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49069 Leadership and Responsibility

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Engineering: Professional Practice and Leadership
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject develops an understanding of the role of engineering and technical managers as responsible leaders in organisations. It focuses on the need to work through other people, not only subordinates and supervisors, but other managers and leaders. The subject provides a comprehensive review of leadership theory by following the timeline of historical development. It teaches that there exists many complex facets of leadership and emphasises the belief that one should not accept a position of trust without accepting the responsibility that goes with it. However, the art of leadership cannot be learned solely from books, virtual cafes or YouTube videos, it needs to be experienced and practised by doing and by interacting with real humans. A central teaching element of this subject is a set of activities that require engagement, motivation, critical thinking, verbal communication, group participation, perseverance and performance under time pressure.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a developed capacity to be a life long student of leadership.
2. Identify and demonstrate a capacity to consider both positive and negative aspects associated with a set of ideas or a problem or opportunity and reach a personal position that places due weight on different perspectives. Students should be able apply critical analysis/thinking effectively.
3. Execute and proactively pursue self-reflection as a means of guiding their personal, managerial and leadership development.
4. Communicate a well developed awareness of the historical development and the thrust of the dominant leadership theories and be able to discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following faculty Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs) and Engineers Australia (EA) Stage 1 competencies:

  • Apply systems thinking to understand complex system behaviour including interactions between components and with other systems (social, cultural, legislative, environmental, business etc.) (A.5)
  • Demonstrate research skills (B.6)
  • Apply abstraction, mathematics and/or discipline fundamentals to analysis, design and operation (C.1)
  • Manage own time and processes effectively by prioritising competing demands to achieve personal goals (Manage self) (D.1)
  • Reflect on personal and professional experiences to engage in independent development beyond formal education for lifelong learning (D.2)
  • Communicate effectively in ways appropriate to the discipline, audience and purpose (E.1)
  • Work as an effective member or leader of diverse teams within a multilevel, multidisciplinary and multicultural setting (E.2)
  • Be able to conduct critical self-review and performance evaluation against appropriate criteria as a primary means of tracking personal development needs and achievements (F.1)
  • Appreciate ethical implications of professional practice (F.2)
  • Understand cross-cultural issues (regions or workplaces) (F.3)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Engineers Australia Stage 1 competencies

Students enrolled in the Master of Professional Engineering should note that this subject contributes to the assurance of Engineers Australia Stage 1 competencies: 1.5, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6.

Teaching and learning strategies

Students are expected to access the UTSOnline site for the subject and engage with the extensive set of digital self-learning resources provided. The subject’s Lecture Support Notes (LSN) book, Reading Material (RM) book and Workbook (refer to Other resourcse) are resources used for both in-class and out of class learning activities. Virtual lectures are provided in video or audio files supported by power point presentation format.

Student learning in the subject is facilitated by a combination of:

1. Active learning tasks to reinforce and consolidate learning. Tasks are scheduled for each session week (see "Program" below). The Workbook contains a collection of specifically focused exercises and activities and is the source of many in-class activities and self-assessment/evaluation instruments.

2. Contact meetings that incorporate:

  • Blended lectures that aim at providing supplementary explanation and broader real-life context to the information and theoretical concepts contained in the LSN. Some synthesis is attempted to demonstrate connections between various ideas and aspects of knowledge. A feature of subject delivery is the modelling of critical thinking and encouragement of student thoughtful analysis.
  • Small group collaborative discussion exercises and problems aimed at clarifying the level of understanding of important concepts. Several subject exercises encourage self-monitoring and self-awareness.
  • Two or three classes will focus on collaborative student guided completion of open ended leadership/management problems.?
  • Student presentations and peer review and feedback.
  • Question and answer sessions offer an opportunity to progressively raise queries and to discuss and clarify concepts regarding subject content and assignment tasks.

3. A set of seven Debates that occur within a complex operational structure. Each student will be allocated to a seven-member debate group and over the last six to eight weeks of the session seven debates will be held using UTSOnline forums under the main Discussion Board and the Private Group discussion forums and communication facilities.

4. Encouraged consultation directly after contact meetings and by out of meeting email correspondence. Questions raised as part of this consultation will form the basis of every other day announcements that provide advice, guidance and feedback via UTSOnline. The announcements aim at assisting student learning and motivating continuous engagement.

5. Assignments that reinforce aspects of leadership theory but are also designed and structured to allow students to reflect on real-life application and to develop practical skills. The second assignment attempts to reinforce the value of studying the leadership of others.

6. Subject announcements will be made using UTSOnline. Students are expected to regularly check the announcements page for information. A specific design feature of the subject delivery is that from Week 6 subject participation activities are generally not pre-scheduled. This approach is used because it best models (within the significant constraints of an academic environment) the reality of leadership. Leaders have a set of objectives which generate a base work load and in addition they must cope with a range of unexpected task that are often required to be resolved or completed urgently. You need to be aware of the assignment due dates and be vigilant in identifying the announcement of subject participation activities and their deadlines.

7. Use of similarity detection software. Each assignment offers at least one opportunity to submit a draft and obtain similarity feedback. This allows the student to reflect on their success in putting information in their own words and where necessary to appropriately reference the words of others.

8. Leadership and Responsibility does not have a final examination. This aspect of the subject’s educational design results from the coordinator’s belief that whilst leadership theory is important and beneficial in providing insights, leadership development requires practice and direct experience. The subject offers opportunities to practice and observe others practicing (or in a few cases not practicing) leadership skills.

Note: Feedback is available prior to the session census date for Week 1 tasks; the early diagnostic test titled “Management Understanding Diagnostic Test”; Subject Activity #1 Individual Home Page Blog and Subject Activity #2 “Manager from Technocrat” Parts 1 and 2.

Study approach

The Subject Outline for the specific session of study being undertaken must be read in conjunction with the Supplementary Instructions. Both documents will be posted on UTSOnline and provide information and advice on many facets of the subject content, its administration and the student’s obligations. It is mandatory that students obtain, read and comply with the requirements of both the subject outline and supplementary instructions.

Whilst your study approach is a personal choice, do keep in mind that this subject is not one that can be mastered by some cursory reading and frantic activity just prior to the due dates for assignments. The participation requirements demand a schedule of continuous engagement with the subject. Of course, assignment due dates set time limits for achieving necessary competence in some aspects of material comprehension and subject objectives.

A willingness to take personal responsibility is a key element of successful learning. It is estimated that you should set aside a minimum total of approximately 9 hours of study time per week (inclusive of any face to face contact) throughout the session. This is a rough guide only as people learn at different rates and will approach the subject from different backgrounds and levels of experience and have different ambitions and expectations regarding outcomes. It is also reasonable to expect assignment deadlines will add a potential load peak.

Leaving study/activity and assessment items to the last minute is a common problem for most students. Such behaviour is the antithesis of leadership. To maximise your learning from this subject you should work consistently and progressively throughout the study session. The best way to achieve this is to allocate a study time at the beginning of the session, given the participative nature of the subject this should be planned as a few blocks of time each week rather than a single large weekly block. Make sure you adhere to the planned schedule making adjustment as your experience dictates. You should also have a contingency allowance for the requirements that you hadn't been able to foresee.

The assessment regime of the subject requires every student to have some involvement with the learning opportunities associated with the three resource books. However, the books also provide extension subject matter and are particularly valuable for those students who wish to do more than just study the basics. They offer an opportunity to gain a far more rounded and deeper understanding of organisational leadership theory and practices than will be achieved by simply focusing on assignments and mandatory subject activities.

Content (topics)

Leadership involves a complex range of activities and one possible framework for studying the topic is outlined below. This subject will focus on the elements of “the Research”, “the Popular Literature and Practitioner’s Views” and “Critical Thinking”. However, it is important to remember that the scope of any leadership position is likely to be very broad.



  • Leadership - the Research, the Popular Literature and Practitioner’s Views
  • Self Management
  • Ethics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Strategic Thinking


  • Motivation
  • Coaching / Mentoring
  • Conflict Management


  • Teams / Groups
  • Communication / Meetings


  • Recruitment / Placement
  • Appraising
  • Training / Development
  • Occupational Health and Safety




Assessment task 1: Critical Analysis Assignment


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1 and 2

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.6, C.1, D.1, E.1, F.2 and F.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 15%

1200 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Compliance with the assignment brief. Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of relevant subject topic(s). Clear shown capacity to develop and present argument and analysis of high quality and a capacity to draw conclusions. Demonstrated clarity and coherence of writing style. Appropriate referencing. On-time submission. 100 1, 2 A.5, B.6, C.1, D.1, E.1, F.2, F.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 2: Group Presentation


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.6, D.1, E.1, E.2, F.2 and F.3

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 20%

The group verbal presentation is tightly time contrained. The group essay is limited 900 words in length. Individual tasks undertaken during the presentation meeting will be limited in length and must be submitted at the end of the meeting.

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Compliance with assignment brief. Shown capacity to effectively work as a member of a group. Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of chosen leader. Shown capacity to concisely document and present findings professionally. Ability to communicate effectively to an audience of peers. Demonstrated competence in reviewing and critiquing the work and presentations of peers. On time, progressive delivery of set tasks. 100 1, 2, 4 A.5, B.6, D.1, E.1, E.2, F.2, F.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 3: Response Paper


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.6, D.2, E.1, F.1, F.2 and F.3

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

2000 words

Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Demonstrated competence formulating opinion(s) about the ideas and work of others. Shown capacity to drawn from your own experience and the quality of your insights into the distinctive features of your own learning. A willingness and capacity to engage in self-reflection and personal development. Shown capacity to present personal views professionally. On time delivery. 100 1, 2, 3 A.5, B.6, D.2, E.1, F.1, F.2, F.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Assessment task 4: Subject Participation


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

A.5, B.6, D.1, D.2, E.1, F.2 and F.3

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%
  1. Work ready, able to settle in quickly. Willingness and ability to tackle a variety of small and medium size tasks outside technical domain.
  2. Compliance with directions for a wide range of (seemingly) adhoc tasks
  3. Demonstrated competence formulating personal opinion(s) about the ideas and work of others.
  4. Clearly demonstrated understanding of power structures, business perspectives and social practices and culture.
  5. Clear ability to present written argument and/or discourse with considerable clarity and coherence.
  6. A willingness and capacity to engage in self-reflection and personal development.
  7. The appropriateness of your written submissions, that is style, grammar, spelling, and paragraphing.
  8. The extent and quality of your contributions to the relevant online discussions
  9. On-time delivery
Criteria linkages:
Criteria Weight (%) SLOs CILOs
Demonstrated competence in performing against the set of multiple dimensioned criteria 100 1, 2, 4 A.5, B.6, D.1, D.2, E.1, F.2, F.3
SLOs: subject learning objectives
CILOs: course intended learning outcomes

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject, a student must achieve an overall mark of 50% or more.

Required texts

Covey, Stephen R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Free Press, Simon & Schuster, New York. This popular book which fits in the "self-help" genre is used as the basis for one of the assignments. It is not a subject "text book".


The academic content of the subject predominantly consists of the leadership theories that underpin current understanding. These are well documented in many standard texts, however as much as possible the subject considers the theories through the academic lens of critical analysis. For those students wishing to study beyond the "in class content" a text that appears to go some way towards being sympathetic with this approach is Nahauandi, Afsaneh (2003). The Art and Science of Leadership, 3rd Ed. Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.

Other resources


The subject is very significantly supported by UTSOnline

Substantive subject advice will be provided progressively throughout the session via the subject’s UTSOnline site. Many of the subject activities will be undertaken using the portal. Access to the site will be available to enrolled students at the beginning of the session. Students enrolling after the start of the session will experience a delay before access is granted.

The site is intended to be your resource and web interface. Please note that UTS prides itself as a place of learning and tolerance. The University will take action to protect its reputation in this regard. Student behaviour within the UTSOnline virtual portal should be in keeping with appropriate behaviour anywhere on the campus. Please be aware that the University and the subject coordinator monitor the site and that the software supports extensive traceability of activity.

Supplementary Instructions

The Supplementary Instructions document is posted on UTSOnline, it must be read in conjunction with the semester specific Subject Outline.

The Reading Material (RM) and Lecture Support Notes (LSN) books.

The Reading Material book contains copies of journal papers or portions of key books. The papers are not necessarily written by acknowledged experts in the field. The Reading Material aims to provide a broad glimpse of the vast array of academic papers that have been published in the leadership area.

The Lecture Support Notes are provided as a resource additional to the RME. It intended to assist students in their understanding of the key leadership theories and is one focus of the blended lecture series associated with the subject. It has been organised to enable distance mode students to work through the material in a measured and comprehensive manner particulally if used in conjuction with the audio files made available on UTSOnline.

Electronic copies of the RM and LSN are freely available to all enrolled students on UTSOnline.


Students enrolled in the class will be issued a subject Workbook without cost. The Workbook must be returned at the end of each class, it will be initially provided at an early class and then at relevant subsequent classes. The Workbook will be the basis of numerous individual and collaborative activities undertaken throughout the class meetings. Aspects of the workbook should helpful in understanding both the subject material and your individual characteristics and attributes. The individually completed workbook will become the students personal property at the end of the session. Distance students are able to download the workbook from UTSOnline to assist their self-study and self-assessment.