Posted: June 6th, 2022

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7YYFP037 / 7YYFN037 Leadership and Society 2021/22 – Final Exam
Below are three real-life complex leadership challenges.
Select and respond to one challenge only
. Read the summary description carefully and respond to each of the questions fully in your answer. Upload one 6-minute video of yourself explaining your answer to your chosen question and the response that you envisage. Also upload an accompanying written statement (not more than 750 words) explaining your thought-process and rationale for the response you provided in the video.
1) COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic
As of
May 2022,
the COVID-19 (also known colloquially as ‘coronavirus’) pandemic has created havoc across the globe, with 6 million official deaths and counting. Some estimates put the death count at 10+million. The pandemic has impacted every country in the world and disrupted people’s daily lives in a way unknown for most (especially in peace time), although those impacts have varied significantly across countries, in terms of death rates, economic impact and vaccination rates, amongst others.
Some countries still struggle to contain ongoing infections, and the long-term health and economic impacts of the virus on different countries and regions of the world will likely be markedly different. However, generally the world now seems to be coming out of the severe crisis phase of the pandemic: vaccination rates are steadily increasing across the world; the rate of severe illness and deaths are lessening; economies are opening up rapidly; and its now conceivable for the World Health Organisation will officially declare an end to the pandemic phase of the virus some time in 2022.
Responses to this phase of the crisis has occurred at the state, society and the international systemic level. The World Health Organisation has attempted to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to help all countries recover from the pandemic. Nation-state and citizen responses to the ‘opening-up’ of societies and the economy have varied greatly. The political ideological orientation of a country, the nature of the economy pre-pandemic, the institutional capacity of the state, the technology available to them, and the relationship between state and society, are all important factors in how countries now look to rebuild their societies and economies.
· Select any country and leader of your choice that, in your opinion, is responding effectively or ineffectively to the ‘opening up’ end-phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of rebuilding their society and economy. You may choose to focus on a particular policy or sector within an economy, if appropriate.
· PLEASE NOTE: you should not focus on a country or leadership response to the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in early-2020; but instead focus on their social and economic responses to recovering from the pandemic from around early 2021 onwards.
· Undertake a critical leadership analysis of their response to the recovery and rebuild phase of the crisis. Consider:
· What key factors have helped determine the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of their response?
· What has the role and influence of institutional capacity been in the response, vis-à-vis the role and influence of an individual leader or leaders?
· What is the nature of the relationship between the country’s leaders and the rest of society? How did that relationship change during the pandemic, if at all, and what are the implications of that change for this recovery phase?
· What style of leadership has proven to be most or least effective in delivering results?
· Within your case study, what do you see as the single most important leadership lesson from this response to the end-phase of COVID-19?
2) Global Challenge
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was facing a series of global development challenges whose consequences would potentially cause unprecedented long-term damage to economies and societies across the world. In the post-pandemic world, these challenges are certain to remain some of the most pressing this generation has encountered. Examples of such challenges include: climate change; global inequality; migration and refugee crises, amongst others.
Organising effective development responses to these challenges will require an unprecedented coalition of local, national, regional and global actors: leaders have already emerged from each of these levels: The UN has pledged to end poverty; prominent figures such as Greta Thunberg have spoken against climate change; numerous NGOs support refugees. Local leaders have protested against and offered solutions to any and all of these issues. These are examples amongst many.
But no credible far-reaching transformative leadership solutions have appeared to tackle these complex development challenges. Each of these is ongoing and will potentially be exacerbated by the long-term impacts of COVID-19, and other complex global leadership challenges are certain to appear in the near future.
· Select any global development challenge. Challenges you may wish to consider could be related to: public health or pandemics; the shift away from fossil fuel economies; global and national inequality; integrating global economics; or international or internal migration. This list if not exhaustive – you can choose any relevant global development challenge.
· Consider how this issue has affected your own country and context, and which leader has emerged to offer solutions to the problem. Undertake a critical leadership analysis considering the following:
·To what extent was there mutuality between leaders and the rest of the group or society, and why?
·Whose ideas shaped the responses to the situation? What evidence supported these ideas and how were they received by the group or population?
·What leadership qualities proved to be effective or ineffective within that setting and why?
· Within your case study, what do you see as the single most important leadership lesson from this response to the global challenge?
3) Great Hero Leader
Throughout history, leaders have emerged who are widely perceived as being highly effective in tackling the social and development challenges of their time. Different countries and contexts have leaders that are held up as revered cultural icons of their age for affecting meaningful, transformative change. Sometimes these leaders are revered and known more prominently within their specific national context; sometimes they are known and revered across the world. Well-known historical examples include Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Deng Xiaoping, Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, and many others. We do not yet know modern examples, but we can see potential candidates for these revered cultural icons as being contemporary leaders such as Barak Obama, Greta Thunberg, Jack Ma or Malala Yousafzai.
These leaders are often admired because they are perceived to have responded to the development challenges of their time. Even if their personalities, ideas and leadership styles may not have been as effective in different cultural contexts or in different historical eras, they are seen to have led transformation of a particular issue during their lifetime that was rooted in the interests and desires of a particular society within that period.
Often these leaders have a ‘dark side’ which are less-well known characteristics or behaviours that perhaps meant they were less effective in particular areas, had questionable moral principles on certain issues, or took credit for specific achievements to a greater extent than is warranted. But they nonetheless remain widely perceived as ‘Great’.
· Select someone you consider as being perceived as a Great Hero Leader within a specific national context, either from history or in the contemporary era.
· Justify your selection of that leader and why you consider them to be perceived as ‘Great’ (whether you agree with that perception or not). Undertake a critical leadership analysis considering the following:
· What was the most important factor for the emergence of this leader? Is this a trait-based factor or a situational factor?
· What results did this leader achieve, were they considered transformational or transactional in their approach?
· What factors helped determine their effectiveness? What were the roles of their followers in achieving societal goals?
· Are there differences between how they are considered within their national context versus how they are perceived by the international community, and if so, why?
· To what extent did the leader have a ‘dark side’? What were the implications of this on what they achieved and how they are perceived?
· Within your case study, what do you see as the single most important leadership lesson from this leader’s achievements and how they are perceived?

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