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Collaborative leadership in voluntary organisations

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This course, Collaborative leadership in voluntary organisations, will help you to reflect on and develop collaborative leadership practices that will make a difference. 

The course is aimed at people who work within voluntary organisations as paid staff or as volunteers or for people who work regularly with voluntary organisations, such as public sector staff or politicians.


The course will take approximately 24 hours to complete. It is divided into 8 weeks, each of which follows a standard pattern to make it easier for you to plan your time. There is a quiz at the end of each week to check what you have learned. 

The Introduction and guidance describes each of the weeks, provides information about the learning journal and discussion forums and introduces the course authors. It also includes information about permissions and copyright and it is important that you read this before starting the course.

The course is produced by The Open University's Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL). The CVSL was established thanks to the generous support of Mr Anthony Nutt BA.

Please take our survey about this course to give us feedback, inform future work, and have the (optional) opportunity to get more involved if you are interested.  You do not need to have finished studying this course in order to take the survey.


Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe the context and need for collaborative forms of leadership
  • describe the range of different leadership identities suggested by collaborative settings and the power relationships implied in these identities
  • plan and think about the challenges of leading collaborations
  • experiment with a range of practices of collaborative leadership that will help one enact better leadership in a range of settings
  • practice collaborative leadership in a more robust way within voluntary organisations and across organisational boundaries
  • offer a critique of collaborative leadership in relation to its potential and limitations for leadership of voluntary organisations
  • discuss and reflect on collaborative leadership in the voluntary sector in relation to power.

First Published: 09/09/2019

Updated: 12/03/2020

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