Governance (GOVN) 500

Governance and Leadership (Revision 3)

Delivery Mode: Individualized-Study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Here are no formal prerequisites for this course, however, a previous course in political science, sociology or public administration is recommended.

Precluded Course: GOVN 500 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for Athabasca University's GOVN 400, POLI400 or HSRV400.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Integrated Studies

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**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.


Governance and Leadership is a graduate course in leadership and governance in the public, voluntary, and private sectors. This three-credit, graduate-level course provides an overview and theoretical understanding of the common elements and differences that shape leadership in the public, voluntary, and private sectors and the implications of these similarities and differences for the interaction among the three sectors on public policy issues. You will have an opportunity to learn about the basic ideas and debates concerning the nature of leadership in each sector and how institutions and processes of management and governance in each sector shape the development of its leaders and their role.

From this basic foundation, you will proceed to examine the interaction of ideas of leadership, and of leaders themselves, among the three sectors in the context of the governance paradigm-a view of the world that sees the public sector increasingly entangled with the private and voluntary sectors as pressures increase for governments to engage with other sectors and with citizens, shrink the scope and nature of their activities, and to undertake their responsibilities using a wider range of tools for policy development and implementation. Some of the key themes and topics that will be explored throughout the course include:

  1. different types of leadership;
  2. the challenges of leadership-long standing challenges and those that arise out of the emergence of the governance paradigm;
  3. the role of sector-specific paradigms of leadership in shaping leaders in a sector and in shaping expectations of their interaction with leaders from other sectors;
  4. the role of institutions in shaping leaders, their ideas of governance and their interaction in the context of the governance paradigm;
  5. how leaders from different sectors see their roles and relationship to citizens in the course of public policy debates;
  6. what similarities and differences emerge, as we examine selected cases of public policy making and implementation, in the roles and inter-actions among leaders in the three sectors and the relationship of leaders to interest groups and to citizens; and
  7. the implications of all of the above for public leadership and for institutions and practice of public governance.

The textbooks and course materials in the Reading File and Digital Reading Room are meant to offer a sophisticated introduction to some of the key concepts. Together with the commentary in the online Course Guide, the readings for Governance 500 introduce the interdisciplinary terrain of the study of governance and leadership.

Student-produced material will be shared among course registrants as appropriate and as agreed by those submitting the material.

Course Objectives

Governance 500: Governance and Leadership is an in-depth study of emerging leadership thinking in three sectors of civil society. It will demand individual reading, research, and critical analysis. Online conferences will involve students in the discussion of the ideas emerging in the readings and lecture material. Students will be invited to lead discussions. When you have completed this course you should be able to:

  1. critically analyze and articulate the concepts and practice of leadership.
  2. discuss the role of sectors and institutions in the shaping of ideas of leadership and the development of leaders.
  3. analyze and discuss the governance paradigm.
  4. evaluate how the increased entanglement of the public, voluntary, and private sectors, which results from emergence of the governance paradigm, has informed and shaped the interactions among leaders from the three sectors.
  5. evaluate the relations between new social movements, interest groups, and ordinary citizens to the concepts and realities of public leadership within the governance paradigm.
  6. assess the challenges of leadership in the context of the governance paradigm.
  7. evaluate whether the emergence of the governance paradigm has resulted in greater commonality of interests, roles, and responsibilities of leaders in the three sectors or whether it has sharpened differences.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Integrated Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them:

Course Activity Weighting
Online Discussion 20%
Assignment 1: Essay 20%
Assignment 2: Essay 20%
Major Research Assignment: Case Study 40%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The package you will receive should contain each of the items listed below.


  • Abele, Frances, Katherine Graham, Alex Ker, Antonia Maioni, and Susan Phillips. 1998. Talking with Canadians: Citizen engagement and the social union. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development.
  • Kellerman, Barbara. 1999. Reinventing leadership: Making the connection between politics and business. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Reading File

The Reading File contains selected articles from various sources that are required reading for this course.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, January 1, 2011.

Updated December 09 2016 by Student & Academic Services