Leadership in Context

PSCI 2012: Intro/Comparative Politics
Course Description:
Most countries confront a variety of common political problems, including how to gain popular support, what kinds of political institutions are most appropriate, and how to distribute burdens and benefits to different segments of the population. Concentrates on learning how to compare different political systems and provides illustrative examples from several countries in both the industrialized and non-industrialized world.


Leadership in context is the study of historical and contemporary leaders across a wide swath of organizational contexts to better understand the individual characteristics and embedded contexts that enabled - and hindered - leadership success.

  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of historical and contemporary figures in a leadership role

  • Formulate alternative perspectives as to how historical events and circumstances would change had a given leader acted differently

  • Hypothesize how various contextual factors influence and are influenced by leadership actions

  • Evaluate organizational performance through the lens of multiple leadership perspectives

Course Post:
Comparative politics gave me an opportunity to learn about the different leadership styles in Russia, China, and Bolivia.  We looked at how their government systems have changed over the past years depending on who the leader is.  The changes were drastically different if the leader was popular in the country or if they weren’t. The leader influenced the change for each of the countries, whether it was good change or bad change.  All three of the places we studied had completely different paths of forming what their government is today.  All of the leaders we focused on, created history for their country.  This course showed how powerful one individual leader can be.  I think that it is important to know how powerful you can be when you are acting as a leader.  You can change things more than you want to without even knowing you are doing it.  During the semester, we were assigned a research paper comparing and contrasting one of the countries we studied with a country we didn’t study.  You were supposed to pick a topic that the two countries handle completely differently.  The topic I chose was climate change.  I decided to compare what the China was doing to help the climate change issue to what France was doing.  This research paper allowed me to look at another country that has had completely different leadership development.  It also allowed me to compare what the differences of the leadership in China has been to the leadership in France.  It was very interesting to realize how just a few leaders in China made certain decisions that helped them get to where they are today with having an awful climate control issue.