Course Syllabus

Welcome to BUS401: Management Leadership

Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.


Course Description

Learn effective management and leadership techniques, with topics including leadership theory, change management, decision making, and the distinction between leadership and management.


Course Introduction

All managers are leaders. All leaders are managers. Which of these statements is true? Neither. The words are often confused, even in academic settings, because we think that both leaders and managers are in charge of a specific task or group of people. However, there are many differences between the two. One such distinction is that a manager may not be in charge of people at all. For example, a manager may be in charge of data, including its acquisition, analysis, and dissemination. Or consider the fact that a leader may have no formal power; many of history's greatest leaders only had power "earned" from their peers instead of power granted by another individual or group. Think of our country's founding fathers, like Thomas Jefferson, who went against the British government to draft the Declaration of Independence – the situation created the "team", and from that, the recognized leaders emerged. All of these distinctions will be explored in this course.

Not only will this course distinguish between managers and leaders, but it will provide you with some of the resources to be both a competent manager and a good leader. Whether you want to run a doctor's office or a company with thousands of employees, management, and leadership skills are the keys that open those doors. Many believe that the highest positions are given to those that know the most about the business, but in reality, those positions are reserved for leaders whose leadership skills transcend business acumen. These skills are difficult to teach in any setting, so it is important to study them carefully and look for real-world situations in which to practice them.

The structure of this course focuses mostly on leadership because a good portion of management skills are reserved for technical knowledge in a position. This course will begin with an introduction that will help further the distinction between leadership and management, and then you will be introduced to major theories and models of leadership and leadership development from a variety of perspectives. Next, you will be introduced to the process of decision-making in a variety of leadership settings. You will then study the processes of leading independently, or without direct authority. The final unit will focus on managing groups and teams. You may not be a leader after concluding this course, but you certainly will have a better understanding of the qualities of leadership. Perhaps you will discover there is a leader right at your fingertips.

This course includes the following units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: Leadership Theory
  • Unit 3: Change Management and Decision-Making
  • Unit 4: Leading Without Formal Authority
  • Unit 5: Managing Groups and Teams


Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • distinguish the concept of leadership from the concept of management;
  • compare and contrast the major theories of leadership;
  • analyze the decision-making process and change management;
  • assess the skills necessary to exert power and influence in a non-authoritative leadership role; and
  • evaluate the qualities necessary to effectively manage or lead in a team/group environment.

Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.


Course Materials

The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.

All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.


Evaluation and Minimum Passing Score

Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

There are also end-of-unit assessments in this course. These are designed to help you study, and do not factor into your final course grade. You can take these as many times as you want until you understand the concepts and material covered. You can see all of these assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's navigation bar.


Tips for Success

BUS401: Management Leadership is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 96 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.

Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:

  • Take notes on the various terms, practices, and theories that you come across. This can help you put each concept into context, and will create a refresher that you can use as you study later on.
  • As you work through the materials, take some time to test yourself on what you remember and how well you understand the concepts. Reflecting on what you've learned is important for your long-term memory, and will make you more likely to retain information over time.


Suggested Prerequisites

In order to take this course, you should:


Technical Requirements

This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.

  • To access the full course including assessments and the final exam, you will need to be logged into your Saylor Academy account and enrolled in the course. If you do not already have an account, you may create one for free here. Although you can access some of the course without logging in to your account, you should log in to maximize your course experience. For example, you cannot take assessments or track your progress unless you are logged in.

For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.



This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.

Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2020, 4:13 PM