Curriculum: Global & Organizational Leadership, Strategic Change, Corporate Sustainability

The Ph.D./D.B.A. in Values-Driven Leadership is based on the premise that business is the most powerful institution on the planet.

Leadership decisions made in the workplace shape the lives of individuals, economies, and the world more than any other single institution. Increasingly, smart business leaders are leveraging social, ethical, and environmental performance to drive innovation and profitable growth.

The Ph.D./D.B.A. curriculum integrates psychological, sociological, organizational and economic perspectives on responsible leadership in today’s global context. Students draw from their experience, action-learning initiatives, the latest research, and spirited dialogue with faculty and distinguished visiting scholars and executives.

Courses within the program explore three areas of study:

In addition to these three areas of study, students learn the research methods they need to complete their dissertation research. All courses challenge our executive students to expand their capacity to lead boldly at four levels:

  1. Personally: grow as a values-driven leader
  2. Interpersonally: develop others and build great teams
  3. Organizationally: build flourishing companies
  4. Globally: make a transformative impact on business and society

The program is fully-accredited and offered by the Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL) in the College of Business at Benedictine University.

Find detailed descriptions of each course below. 

Global Leadership

Strategic Change

Corporate Sustainability

Emphasis in the first year is placed on leadership theory, leading self, leading teams, moral and ethical foundations of leadership, organizational theory and behavior, and leading change and developing organizations. Students are also introduced to their first research methods course for an understanding of the unique requirements of applied and scholar-practitioner approaches to research and writing.

Orientation for DVDL Admitted Students

Students admitted to the Ph.D./D.B.A. in Values-Driven Leadership program are required to attend this 0 credit course at the beginning of their program. This course provides an overview of the curriculum, an explanation of the doctoral process, and an introduction to Benedictine University services, policies and procedures. New cohort students will also attend the Lecture Series Seminar along with current cohort students, faculty, and alumni.

Leadership Theory, Research, and Practice (4 credits)

This course focuses on understanding the major streams of thought in leadership theory, research and practice. Emphasis is placed on comparing and contrasting historical trends such as trait, behavioral, contingency, and charismatic theories of leadership and also exploring contemporary approaches such as transformational leadership, servant leadership, authentic leadership, positive leadership, and shared leadership. Personal assessment instruments and practical application projects allow students to develop and apply their personal leadership theory.

Research Methods I: Scholar-Practitioner Strategies
(4 credits)

This is the first of three research methods courses including (1) scholar-practitioner strategies, (2) qualitative research methods, and (3) quantitative research methods. This course is designed to help students develop an initial familiarity with statistics and quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods approaches to research. Attention is also given to understanding the unique requirements of applied and scholar-practitioner approaches to research and writing. The remaining research courses are held in year two.

Leading Self: Your Career Leadership Legacy (4 credits)

This course has three primary objectives: (1) build strong working relationships among cohort members, (2) reinforce the initial introduction to leadership theory and research, and (3) allow each cohort member to strengthen their leadership vision and capacity by identifying and leveraging their unique strengths as a leader. Students complete a series of assessments and personal development activities to help clarify their leadership point-of-view, strengthen their leadership capacity, and engage in activities to create cohesion in the cohort group.

Leading Teams (4 credits)

Although most of us have been on various kinds of teams throughout our lives, we seldom take time to systematically observe and analyze how teams function and consider how they could be shaped and structured to function better. Yet observation and analysis are the first steps in understanding teams, shaping their dynamics, and ultimately improving their performance. In this course, students have the opportunity to analyze their own team processes and explore the dynamics of leading diverse, high-performing teams while learning from and applying the best of the team process and development literature.

Moral and Ethical Foundations of Leadership (4 credits)

This course explores social, moral, and ethical philosophy as it relates to leadership in the corporate arena. Specific attention is paid to comparing and contrasting theories on the purpose of business, human nature and relationships, ethical decision making, and the meaning of sustainability and relational accountability on an organizational, societal, and global level. Students relate these theoretical perspectives to their own purpose, values, and commitments as leaders, their approach to leading and enriching the lives of others, and the role they play in shaping the vision, mission, priorities, and strategies of their organizations.

Leadership Lecture Series Seminar I (4 credits)

Through the lecture series, we invite the world’s top scholars to Benedictine to present to the broader business community and interact personally with our Ph.D./D.B.A. students. Additionally, as part of this course, our students attend premier conferences within the field of study to present and engage with scholars and practitioners from around the world.

Organizational Theory and Behavior (4 credits)

This course focuses on identifying theory and research that frames the current study of organizations from the macro and micro perspectives. The first weekend examines competing schools of organizational theory that facilitate our attempts to understand organizations and key issues/topics. The second weekend focuses on micro issues of organizational behavior, including topics such as human needs and motivation, emotions, conflict, work stress, trust, and cross-cultural issues; as well as more recent positive deviance topics that capitalize on human strengths and capacities (peak performance; thriving and human flourishing; resilience; positive identity, meaning, emotions, and relationships; creativity; compassion).

Leading Change and Developing Organizations
(4 credits)

This course examines the theories and research regarding organizational culture, design, and change. Attention is devoted to understanding the structural and cultural leverage points that allow leaders to create sustainable value and build highly-ethical, highly-reliable, high-performing organizations. Attention is also paid to the processes and dynamics of leading successful large-scale organizational change from a senior executive position. Case studies, simulations, and application projects are used to translate theory into practice.

The second year focuses on the origins, evolution, and leading thinking around leadership development, socially responsible business, corporate sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and the strategic and market challenges of leading in today’s global context. It also includes seminars on quantitative and qualitative research methods to prepare students for the completion of their dissertations.

Leading Corporate Sustainability (4 credits)

This course focuses specifically on turning sustainable business practices into a competitive advantage. It is designed to cover a range of issues on the topic of sustainability that are central to leaders in today’s economy, including how to maximize business and environmental objectives while managing complex stakeholder relationships and how to gain competitive advantage through environmentally sustainable practices such as strategic alignment, product and process innovation, and sustainable supply chain management. It also explores research and best practices of executive sustainability and personal flourishing, including the areas of meaning, high-quality relationships, and physical and emotional health.

Leadership and Corporate Social Responsibility
(4 credits)

This course provides an overview of the origins, evolution, and leading thinking around the theory and practice of socially responsible business and social entrepreneurship. Students explore current trends, leading literature, theory, and case studies while participating in experiential exercises and interactive projects in order to gain practical insights into how society’s increasing expectations are driving innovation and impacting the firm’s social license to operate. The goal of this course is for students to better understand how business relates to society and the ways in which corporate social responsibility can be integrated into all facets of organizational life to drive the creation of shared value.

Leading and Developing Others (4 credits)

This course provides an in-depth exploration of the theory and practice of leadership development. It focuses on three primary areas: (1) human development theory, particularly from the perspective of the new and emerging field of positive psychology and strength-based leadership, (2) leadership capacity building, and (3) the dynamics of executive coaching. Students put theory into practice via application projects both in class and in their organizations and strengthen their capacity to build cultures of inclusive leadership.

Strategic Leadership (4 credits)

This course focuses on the role of senior leadership in developing and executing corporate strategy. It examines historical and contemporary approaches and the underlying theories that support them. It addresses governance, market, organizational, and process issues that affect successful strategy formation and implementation. Particular emphasis is placed on the unique challenges and opportunities of developing corporate strategy for sustainable value creation.

Leading in the Global Economy (4 credits)

This course explores the application of economic, legal, and political theory to the task of leadership in today’s global context. Included are discussions of historical and current economic and political trends and their relationship to corporate sustainability, corporate strategy and leadership decision-making. Specific emphasis is placed on the future of global business, approaches to successful economic development of organizations, risk assessment and management, issues relating to governmental regulations and leading in diverse cross-cultural settings. Case studies of successful and unsuccessful global leadership are analyzed. 

Leadership Lecture Series Seminar II (4 credits)

Building on year one, through the lecture series, we invite the world’s top scholars to Benedictine to present to the broader business community and interact personally with our Ph.D./D.B.A. students. Additionally, as part of this course, our students attend premier conferences within the field of study to present and engage with scholars and practitioners from around the world.

Research Methods II: Quantitative Methods (4 credits)

A companion to Scholar-Practitioner Strategies and Qualitative Research Methods, this course is designed to help students develop proficiency in quantitative analysis for interpreting social and organizational data. It includes experimental, quasi-experimental, and several multivariate designs as well as analysis of quantitative studies and an examination of the ethics involved in research. Appropriate statistical techniques are discussed, critiqued and applied.

Research Methods III: Qualitative Methods (4 credits)

A companion to Scholar-Practitioner Strategies and Quantitative Research Methods, this course is designed to develop proficiency in collecting, analyzing and reporting qualitative data, using a variety of qualitative tools. It includes phenomenology, ethnography, narrative, case studies, grounded theory and generative theory. Attention is given to their history, traditions, conceptual bases and applications. In addition, students conduct a mini-qualitative research project from start to finish equipping them with the tools they need to use qualitative methods in their dissertation research.

The third year is dedicated to the completion of the dissertation and earning the final 32 credit hours.

Over the course of the program, students are also required to participate in a global exchange/international trip and this must be completed before the end of the third year.

Both degree programs (Ph.D. and D.B.A.) require a total of 96 quarter hours over three years. Students typically complete eight quarter hours per quarter for four quarters per year.

Global Exchange/International Trip (8 credits)

Students are required to participate in a global exchange in which they travel internationally with faculty and fellow students to engage in dynamic learning activities with top scholars and executives from other countries and cultures. This global exchange can be done anytime during the program (year 1, 2, or 3), but credit is given in the third year.

Dissertation (24 credits)

Students in the Ph.D. track earn their degree by completing a scholarly dissertation based on original research, while students in the D.B.A. track earn their degree by completing an applied dissertation based on the implementation and analysis of an application project. While the program is a three-year initiative, the dissertation is designed to be integrated throughout all years of study. Students are encouraged to begin reviewing dissertation possibilities upon acceptance into the program and to continue to explore and develop dissertation topics throughout their coursework. Students are encouraged to select topics consistent with the major research themes within the program. In addition, throughout the program students are expected to contribute to the field and gain feedback on their work by presenting at conferences and publishing in journals.