Strategic Leadership and Management

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Enhance leadership and business skills for immediate impact. Practice everyday leadership, manage people, learn and apply concepts and techniques to effectively manage organizations through organizational design, and formulate and implement strategy. 

In this specialization, you will learn the fundamentals to effectively lead people and teams, manage organizations as well as tools to analyze business situations and develop strategies. The Specialization covers the strategic, human resource, and organizational foundations for creating and capturing value for sustainable competitive advantage – including how to manage people and organizations, analyze the competition, and develop strategies both within a business and across a portfolio of businesses

Learning outcomes

  • Effectively work with and manage people individually and in teams
  • Understand how organizations are designed and managed
  • Analyze business situations and formulate and implement strategies to gain and sustain competitive advantage


In this course you will learn about the “head and heart” of everyday leadership, individual decision making, group decision making, and managing motivation. The objectives are to understand why and how leadership skills are so critical to organizational success, and learn the foundations of effective leadership skills.

The second part of the course will cover the following topics: negotiation, feedback and coaching, conflict management, and leading change. The objectives will be to learn how to use leadership skills to work more effectively with others, how to use leadership skills to organize others to work more effectively together, and to apply the foundations of effective leadership skills to everyday situations faced by leaders.

In this course you will understand how firms are organized, what factors must be taken into account in making critical design decisions, and what role managers play in making these choices. In order to answer these questions, we will first develop a conceptual process model that links business models, external and internal contingencies, and organizational design. Second, we will focus on the fundamental principles of organization design and what alternative design choices are available for managers. Finally, we will apply these concepts and ideas to organizational situations to develop the critical insights and decision making skills to build effective organizations.

You will also build a practical framework to understand the critical linkages between organization design and the creation of economic value through execution. We will focus on four critical linkages:

  1. How organizational growth and life cycle require design changes to improve execution
  2. How managerial decision making can be improved through better organization design
  3. How the design of human resource practices shape the culture of the organization
  4. How innovation and change can be facilitated through organization design.

These linkages are critical in assessing how managers make sure that the organizations they design can execute the strategies they have envisioned under changing environmental conditions.


Understanding how organizations create, capture, and maintain value is fundamental for sustainable competitive advantage. This course enables a manager to better understand value creation and capture, and provides tools to analyze both competition and cooperation from a variety of perspectives, including the industry level (e.g., five forces analysis), the firm level (e.g., business models and strategic positioning), and the corporate level (e.g., vertical integration, diversification, and strategic alliances). Cases are used to illustrate in clear terms the key fundamental theories of strategic management, including the application of important frameworks and tools. Strategy formulation and strategy implementation are integrated across industry, firm, and corporate levels.

The capstone for the self-directed specialization will provide a learning experience that integrates what you learned in Everyday Leadership, Designing and Managing Organizations, and Strategic Management and apply that learning to an actual business situation faced by a company. The capstone deliverable consists of a strategic leadership and management plan covering the design and management, effective people management, analysis of a business situation, and the formulation and implementation of a strategy.

The strategic leadership and management plans will be peer reviewed in a crowd-sourcing format as part of a poster session, with participation by one or more focal companies. The deliverable will be designed to create value from the perspective of potential employers while achieving pedagogical and experiential goals for learners. Learner assessment for the capstone will include quizzes as well as peer reviews of capstone projects.


He is a professor of business administration and the Merle H. and Virginia Downs Boren Professor. He teaches courses and conducts research dealing with macro organizational behavior, particularly with organizational design, inter-organizational relations, and organizational forms. He has served on a number of editorial boards including Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Academy of Management Review, and Organization Studies and his work has appeared in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Social Forces, Organization Studies, and Strategic Management Journal. He is also the acting director of the Office of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which focuses on the role of social and economic infrastructure that leads to business innovations and the development of high growth firms. He received his MBA and PhD in organizational behavior from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
He is a professor of business administration and the Caterpillar Chair of Business. His research interest is organizational economics, which includes dynamic capabilities and resource-based theory, transaction costs theory, real-options theory, agency theory, property rights theory, stakeholder theory, and the behavioral theory of the firm. He has published over 60 articles in journal outlets, including Academy of Management Review, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Science, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Strategic Management Journal, and Strategic Organization. His publications have been cited over 2,000 times in Web of Science, and over 8,500 times according to Google Scholar from scholars from 75 countries. Economic Foundations of Strategy, his book for first-year doctoral students, has been adopted by more than 35 doctoral programs worldwide. He has won awards for outstanding teaching in the Executive MBA and Professional MBA programs multiple times, as elected by his students. Mahoney earned a BA, MA, and PhD in economics and a doctorate in Business Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
He is a professor of business administration and the Harry J. Gray Professor of Executive Leadership. He holds a PhD and MA in social psychology from Stanford University and additional degrees from Dartmouth College and Oxford University. He has held visiting professorships at Stanford and Northwestern Universities, as well as at universities in Australia, Bulgaria, Israel, Thailand, and China. His research interests include conflict management, organizational behavior, managerial decision-making, process of collaboration and employee motivation, and job design, particularly in high-technology manufacturing settings. His published works have appeared in journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Learning & Education, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
He is an associate professor of business administration and the Stephen V. and Christy C. King Faculty Fellow. His research interests are in how companies strategize about and derive competitive advantage from their knowledge assets, particularly talent and intellectual property. Somaya has published extensively in such journals as the Journal of Management, Personnel Psychology, Advances in Strategic Management, Advances in International Management, and Sloan Management Review. He has won several prizes for best paper at the Strategic Management Science Conference and has been elected to the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their students at Illinois every year since 2011. He holds a PhD in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley, an MBA from the Indian Institute of management at Calcutta, and a bachelors in technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Bombay.