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Course Descriptions

Here you can explore the course descriptions for the M.A. in Organizational Leadership degree. Courses are designed to encourage collaboration and build applicable skills like team building, conflict resolution, and change management for you to take back to your organization.

36 semester credits are required to complete the M.A. in Organizational Leadership.

  • 24 credits in ORGL Core courses
  • 12 credits in ORGL Elective courses

M.A. Organizational Leadership - Course Descriptions

ORGL 500 Organizational Leadership (3 credits)

An introduction to organizational leadership begins with an examination of these questions: how do leaders explain the causes of dysfunctional thinking and/or behavior in themselves, other leaders, or in organizations; how do they understand the differences among a variety of styles of leadership and models of organizations; how do they apply the theories of leadership and the principles of organizational behavior to actual situations; how do they formulate a broad, integrative perspective from which to view leadership and organizational behavior? Drawing from the social science, this integrated course focuses on research and models of leadership relevant to defining and achieving collective goals in a variety of organizational settings.

ORGL 501 Methods of Organizational Research (3 credits)

Gall, Gall, & Borg note that research is a systematic and persistent approach to answering questions (2006). This course meets that charge head-on as we attempt to explore the philosophies of research and how to answer questions that we are passionate about. Through engagement with primary research and exposure to current methodologies and the inquiry process, this course requires the development of a full research proposal (e.g. literature review, rationale for the proposed questions, formal research questions and/or hypotheses, and proposed method description).

ORGL 502 Leadership and Imagination (3 credits)

3-day On-campus Residency

Why is creative imagination an important leadership capacity? How do leaders employ their imaginative processes within the organization? What can leaders do to stimulate and nurture their imagination? Through the theme of “seeing and seeing again” and perspectives from the liberal arts (i.e. art, drama, history, literature, music, and psychology), students are challenged to apply and expand their creative and imaginative capacity. This experiential class provides opportunities to meet and engage with class members as well as faculty and staff in a face to face setting allowing students to establish relationships to support their success throughout the program and beyond graduation.

ORGL 503 Organizational Ethics (3 credits)

Worldviews inform personal, social, political, and professional lives. They influence our perception and practice of leadership, how we respond to adversity, how we relate to others and what we understand to be our purpose. Through a modified case study approach, students are challenged to explore human life from two radically opposing worldviews, examining ethical dilemmas of leadership within the context of moral choices and implications of decision-making. Defining personal worldviews in online postings will help students identify and clarify personal motivations, behaviors, and reactions to ethical problems in the organizational setting.

ORGL 504 Organizational Communication (3 credits)

All organizations — from Microsoft, to churches, to social clubs, and universities — rely on communication, and being able to communicate strategically is crucial to meaningful participation. This course will explore contemporary concepts about the meanings and functions of communication in organizations. Organizational communication encompasses not only communication within businesses, but also within large private or nonprofit associations, larger community groups, and governments both large and small. We will cover such selected topics in organizational communication research, such as culture, socialization, systems theory, communication and technology, and globalization.

ORGL 505 Organizational Theory (3 credits)

In this introduction to the study of organizations, students are exposed to a synthesis and integration of major traditions in organizational theory. Emphasis is placed on theoretical concepts, practical applications. Students are also exposed to the chaotic and constantly changing world of organizations. Students will learn to view organizations from multiples frames and perspectives, applying the frames to interpret organizational behavior. Knowledge of organizational theory will be applied to a collaborative group project designing a “real-life” intervention.

ORGL 506 Leadership and Diversity (3 credits)

Who we are, whether we are comfortable with this idea or not, is shaped in part by the social roles we occupy and how society sees us in those roles. As we will see from the very beginning of this class, our social roles, the class we are born into, and our gender all have implications for our lives. We will explore intercultural communication as a tool to bridge differences and learn about identities, practices, and cultures.

ORGL 680 Leadership Seminar (3 credits)

The Leadership Seminar is a sixteen week course considered the capstone of your experience in the ORGL program at Gonzaga University. The overarching objective of this course, while integrating Ignatian pedagogy, is to reflect on your learning and apply gained competencies through a tangible and deliverable project.

The deliverable project will represent evidence of competencies and knowledge gained throughout the program. You will be asked to revisit your leadership philosophy paper written in the first course of the program. This retrospective evaluation should inform your formation, confirmation, and growth throughout the program. You will also be asked to return to each course and briefly explain the tangible and applied competencies gained from each course. These objectives provide a preview of what is to come, how to prepare, and how to intentionally engage in each course in preparation of your final articulation.

This content will be delivered in a digital or hard copy portfolio representing your

  • leadership philosophy
  • tangible and applied course competencies
  • leadership project

Start preparing for your project on day one of your first class and shape your learning in each course towards the culmination of a final capstone project. This digital or hard copy portfolio will represent your expression of learning, growth, and academic excellence.

ORGL 510 Renaissance Leadership for the 21st Century in Florence, Italy (3 credits)

This course will help emerging leaders develop new perspectives and strategies and bring healthy creativity and energy to their organizations. Drawing upon the creative processes of artists, painters, architects, musicians, and writers, students will apply the same dynamics of creative thinking to the practical work of leaders. An interdisciplinary approach explores the power of Renaissance thinking as it applies to renewal, rediscovery, invention, and creativity.

ORGL 513 Renaissance Rhetoric and Contemporary Leadership (3 credits)

Communication and leadership are closely intertwined, whether in our current period of post-modernity or during the European Renaissance. Fifteenth century Italy, Florence in particular saw a flowering of the arts and scholarship unmatched in history. This can be seen in the rhetoric of art and architecture, religious preaching, political writing and oratory, and in the humanistic philosophy that emerges from it. This course examines this period through readings, discussions, and on-site visits to historical settings in Florence and Siena, in order to formulate the critical questions necessary to bring these ideas to our contemporary world. Using the Italian Renaissance as the canvas students will study multiple examples of rhetoric, both written and visual.

ORGL 516 Organizational Development (3 credits)

This course focuses on how OD consultants – internal or external – can support both leaders and all members of an organization in achieving their goals, mission, and vision. Students will explore ways to conduct systematic diagnoses of organizations, consider how to create and implement effective OD interventions, and investigate multiples methods, tools, and technologies used to effectively implement major change in organizations. Through consideration of the predictable human dynamics involved when orchestrating the implementation of major disruptive change, students will develop an awareness of the nature, application, and practice of the profession of Organizational Development.

ORGL 517 Organizational Change and Transformation (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

Managing change is a critical skill to support organizations in achieving their goals, mission, and vision. Building on theories from the field of change management, the experiential learning in Spokane will introduce multiple interventions, reinforcing that different situations require different approaches. The course is appropriate for people in various levels and types of organizations, providing the tools to support effective change leadership.

ORGL 518 Transforming Leadership (3 credits)

How do contemporary leaders go beyond the social exchange theory to convert followers into leaders and leaders into moral agents? This course offers a comparison of transactional and transforming leadership by examining past leaders and events. An examination of the dynamics of transformation and how leadership can facilitate it within individuals and organizations will help students develop new insights into the theory and practice of transforming leadership.

ORGL 520 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of conflict on different levels, from micros through mezzo, macros to violent international conflict. Using real-life situations and case studies, students will practice skills and strategies for dialogue, decision-making, and ultimately conflict transformation and system change. This application is generic and therefore appropriate for all professions whether formally or informally involved in resolving conflict.

ORGL 522 Leadership, Community, Empowerment, Collaboration, and Dialogue at St. Andrews Abbey in Valyermo, California (3 credits)

Includes a 5-day residency at St. Andrews Abbey in Valyermo, CA

What is the meaning and purpose of life and activity? How is need for such meaning and purpose encountered in community? How does the leader develop community to facilitate individual growth and collective flourishing? Through study, experience, and scholarship students explore and practice the leadership processes of empowerment, collaboration, and dialogue in the context of creating structures and processes for sustaining and transforming community. At the Benedictine Abbey students become participant observers in a five day immersion designed to explore, practice, and come to an expanded understanding of the role and purpose of the leader’s involvement and commitment to building and sustaining meaningful and purposeful community.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 524 Leadership in Human Resources (3 credits)

In this course students will explore the changing role of the human resource leader in organizations. The growing emergence of the human resource leader as an organizational change agent will be examined as well as the skills necessary for success. Topics include policy and practice within organizations; selecting, training, motivating, evaluating, and compensating employees; labor relations; and applicable legislation.

ORGL 530 Servant Leadership (3 credits)

An examination of the foundation, principles and practice of servant leadership.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 532 Leadership, Justice, and Forgiveness (3 credits)

Emotional discipline based in love calls a person toward meaningful responses to human suffering. Such responses are grounded in discernment regarding human conflict, oppression, power, and harm, and the opportunities—personal, familial, societal, and global—that rise from the crucible of potential that is our humanity. The course engages students toward self-responsibility in the context of reconciliation, and the depth of heart, mind, and spirit that leads to healing and growth in community with others. Students will work to apply the interior leadership necessary for discernment and action within oppressive systems.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 535: Listen Discern Decide (3 credits)

In this class, students will learn more in-depth concepts of Servant-leadership by learning approaches and practices of listening and discernment as a way of enhancing decision-making capacity. The course begins with a focus on interior and exterior listening. Listening and awareness techniques are then integrated with the principles and practices of discernment. The course progresses from a focus on the individual, to group, to listening and discerning and decision making in organizations and communities.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 537: Foresight & Strategy (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

In this course students will integrate more of the servant-leader characteristics, and further develop the disposition of a servant-leader. The course explores the art, science and methods leaders use to acknowledge, stimulate, and further develop their capacity of foresight. Students engage macro-system perspectives applying strategy and stewardship as they consider introducing vision into the reality of complex organizational and community systems.

Students may elect to take this course as part of the servant-leader concentration.

ORGL 550 Team Building and Leadership (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

This three-day intensive program is designed to increase students\’ knowledge and understanding of leadership and team development through a combination of information sessions and active participation in cooperative, challenge activities. Challenge activities are designed to enhance students’ critical thinking skills, creativity, problem-solving ability, and ability to work effectively as a team. These activities present opportunities to taking leadership roles, recognize leadership styles, identify what works and what doesn’t work in given situations, and apply lessons to real life situations. Topics include the communication process, leadership models and styles, stages of team development, ethics, diversity, and visionary or principle-centered and creative leadership.

ORGL 551 Advanced Team Building and Leadership Intensive (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency; Prerequisite: ORGL 550

This 3-day intensive program is designed to be taken along with ORGL 550, building on key concepts learned. The advanced session shifts the focus from group participation to group facilitation through team building and leadership development activities.

ORGL 660 Reading in Social Systems (1-3 credits)

This individualized study course is based on readings in a specific topic designed in consultation with the instructor. Students will discuss the selected readings on a tutorial basis with the instructor and prepares an annotated bibliography or bibliographical essay. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 661 Reading in Human Behavior (1-3 credits)

This individualized study course focuses on the investigating of scholarly research findings in an aspect of the behavioral sciences defined by the student and instructor. Students will prepare a written report of findings on the research problem selected. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 670 Projects in Organizational Leadership (1-3 credits)

This independent study course consists of a formal research project investigating a problem in applied organizational or social research conducted under the tutelage of the instructor Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 671 Projects in Group Behavior (1-3 credits)

This independent study course consists of a formal project of original research in a topic of group behavior that proceeds from a research design approved and monitored by the instructor. Although individualized, this course is treated as a seminar in which students share their work with each other and the faculty member assigned to the course.

ORGL 681 Leadership & Storytelling (3 credits)

3-day on-campus residency

Stories permeate virtually every dimension of our existence as noted in the familiar quote: “Civilizations have existed without the wheel, but no society has ever existed without story.” With groundwork in narrative, the class focuses on the kind of leadership that is demanded by the current world situation: Leaders who lead from their real selves or, Authentic Leaders. After exploring an understanding of authentic leadership, the course will shift focus to a key tool for leaders: the leadership story.

ORGL 689 Leadership & Hardiness (3 credits)

3-day residency at Mt. Adams, WA

This course will introduce students to existential psychology and psychological hardiness in the context of organizational leadership. Students will gain an understanding of existentialism through a personal exploration of meaning and how meaning informs psychological attitudes and existential courage during personal and organizational adversity. Partnering with an organization, students will engage various sources of feedback related to culture, climate, structure, and workforce and provide the organization a tangible plan for developing and/or sustaining a resilient organization. Students will learn to deconstruct and operationalize psychological hardiness through scholarly literature, classroom exercises, simulations, and a climb at Mt. Adams, WA.

ORGL 690 Special Topics Course (3 credits)

This seminar explores new theories and issues. The specific theme of this course varies each time it is offered because the field of organizational leadership is constantly evolving.

Past topics include:

Leadership and Accompaniment (14-day residency in Cali, Columbia)

This course, in partnership with Javeriana University in Cali, was designed to meet the Jesuit, Catholic, and humanistic mission of Gonzaga University. Engaging directly with local community leaders, students will gain first-hand experience of asset-based community development models. Students will learn how to conduct a needs assessment and how to apply leadership and social responsibility frameworks on the individual, mezzo and macro levels. Strategies for thinking and practicing ethical leadership, an increased self-awareness, and cultural sensitivity are explored through critical reflection and action. This course includes excursions to local historic sites, museums, small cultural events, and a trip to a finca cafetera (coffee farm).

Organizational Behavior (3-day on-campus residency)

Organizations are dynamic systems that interact with their environment and this interaction affects human behavior. A deeper understanding of self and others’ behaviors will help to improve interpersonal and organizational skills. This course will expose students to the major concepts and theories of organizational behavior including: motivation, satisfaction, dysfunctional behaviors, teams and group dynamics, organizational justice/injustice, trust, perceptions and attitudes, and conflict and negotiation.

Organizational Theory, Application, and Adaptation

This course focuses on the “real world” – your world. Organizational theory comes to life as we gain a greater sense of relevance and meaning, creating real impact by completing an organizational diagnosis for a non-profit organization in your community. Other concepts addressed in the class include change management, assessing readiness for change, and research to better understand academic service-learning.

How do I know if these courses are offered online or on campus?

This program is quite flexible in that you can take classes online, or on campus, or both! For the most up to date information on a specific course and whether it will be offered only online or also on campus for the upcoming semester, please see Zagweb or talk to your Faculty Advisor.

Program information is subject to change.