Leadership and Shakespeare

The course deals with three distinct aspects of leadership: the context of leadership practice, the design of organizational vision and the character of the leader and their respective reflection and embodiments in Shakespeare´s plays.


  • Valuable insights into different, yet related aspects of leadership
  • Practical insights on the implications of the logics of leadership
  • Inspiration for leaders in everyday organizational practices
  • Acquiring knowledge and a basic understanding into the world of Shakespeare and his dramas
  • Tools for understanding and critically reflecting aspects of leadership
  • Gaining social, cultural and historical awareness for future paths

Just what is it that allows a leader to claim the right to lead and what are the limits of this right? Is leadership secured by knowledge, vision orwith power? How do leaders connect with organizations and territories? What are techniques of persuasion used by leaders? How do norms influence leadership? How can leadership reconcile the conflict between virtue and ambition? How can leaders develop character (ethos)?

This course will address these questions and more through and with the works of Shakespeare and contemporary reflections on leadership from Management literature as well as through the perspective of your experience with leadership. Each of these questions, excerpts, scenes, settings and characters from across Shakespeare’s plays (primarily drawing on Hamlet, but also using scenes and characters from Macbeth, Henry V. or the Tempest) are brought into play, to embody and critically reflect on the nature of leadership. 



  • Shakespeare and leadership as constitutive theme in his dramas
  • Leadership as contextual practice: The importance of environments and the limits of leadership
  • Organizational vision and leadership: The role of rhetoric, utopia and heterotopia
  • The ethos of leadership: forming character

Teaching form

Teaching will be dialogue based and include your reflections, practices and experiences with leadership. We will be using literature on leadership and excerpts from Hamlet, Macbeth and the Tempest, as well as excerpts from films and theatrical performances. Some of the readings will be performative, and you as well as faculty will be staging some of the scenes in the studio space.

TYPE Elective
COORDINATED BY Robin Holt, Professor, Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School

6/10 9 am to 5 pm
7/10 9 am to 5 pm
8/10 9 am to 1 pm

LOCATION Copenhagen Businss School, Dalgas Have 15, 2000 Frederiksberg

Essay 5-7 pages

Hand in 1st of November 2021

PRICE 10.000 DKK + expenses for materials


Sidst opdateret: Master of Public Governance // 07/04/2021