UCalgary campus

Transdisciplinary Leadership: Strategy & Innovation in Organizations


Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma (4 course program) towards the MEd Interdisciplinary


Fully Online


One year (4 consecutive terms)


Graduate Program Administrator:
Shelley Enderton

Academic Coordinator:
Dr. Brittany Harker Martin

Program Overview

This program is focused on acquiring an applied understanding of oneself as a leader/manager positioned within a framework informed by theories and research related to leadership, organizations, policy, and governance. Participants will: be exposed to a broad spectrum of organizational theory often used by consultants and policy makers; learn about and apply theories of leadership, and strategic management for policy and governance; develop a transdisciplinary, practical understanding of leading and managing staff, and organizational growth and innovation; and formulate and refine an overall personal leadership/management identity.

Topics include: Organizational Theory (OT); leadership, leadership theories; leadership/management, policy, and governance; strategic planning and management; organizational cultures; change, innovation, and transformation; change agency; metacognition, self-efficacy, and identity formation.

This program can be considered a standalone program within the interdisciplinary master’s laddered program, but it also aligns with the Transdisciplinary Leadership: Leading Healthy Organizations program.

Program Details

Courses in this program are offered fully online. Courses are held in both an asynchronous environment (D2L) and a synchronous (real-time) environment (Zoom) which allows instructors to virtually meet and talk with students and experience a live exchange of ideas, hear class presentations and do group work with access to a whiteboard. For additional information regarding online delivery, refer to the eLearn website.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  1. Critically examine a wide range of different organizational theories and explain how these impact behaviours, cultures, and organizations;
  2. Pragmatically explore their own organizational context in relation to the theories and research encompassed in the program to address alignment with best practices and develop action plans for enhancement;
  3. Examine the relationships between strategy, policy, and governance and consider the requisite skills and abilities for strategic and successful leadership/management;
  4. Explore the theories and pragmatics of how to lead/manage others during times of planned and unexpected transformation; and
  5. Apply organizational and leadership theories to inform and articulate personal values and beliefs, to inform their leader/manager identity.

This program will be of interest to aspiring and incumbent managers/leaders who work in dynamic organizations within education (K-12 and post-secondary), as well as other contexts and sectors, such as: business, engineering, health and medical industries, policing, the military, not-for-profit, and service industries.

A registration package will be sent to new students after they have been admitted. Registration for the summer term will be available in late winter. Fall and Winter registration opens in the spring. Your Graduate Program Administrator will send more information about registration to you.

Fee details are available through the University Calendar. An explanation of fees is available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies' website.

The University of Calgary offers multiple ways to meet the cost of your education. Please refer to the Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries page to learn more about options available to students. For additional information, please contact Student Financial Support.

Program Schedule & Course Descriptions

  • Program begins each Summer term (refer to the Academic Schedule for specific dates)
  • Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L
  • 3 units per course

Term 1 - Summer

Leading for Adaptability & Innovation

This course focuses participants’ knowledge of organizational and leadership theories through a transdisciplinary lens to gain an understanding of learning organizations, transformation, and leading innovation. A key aspect of successful leaders is the capacity to lead adaptation, growth, and change in order for an organization to be flexible, viable, nimble, and relevant. This course explores the principles, theories of change and innovation, and critiques the practical barriers and constraints, particularly fast-paced change in a complex, ever-evolving world. The course will equip participants with the “how” to implement fast change and innovation processes and practices. Linkages will be made to leadership theories and how these can inform governance that (re)engages followers in their change processes, forges synergies for adaptation and innovation, and harnesses processes that facilitate effective change. Topics include: Macro change theories; micro change theories – Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM); models/principles of fast-paced change; dealing with resistance and managing the disengaged; transformation and innovation; creating synergies for adaptation and innovation; change agency.

Registration info:
EDER 619.60 L11 (1673)

Term 2 - Fall

Theory Informed Leadership 

This course is designed to facilitate participants’ understandings of the theoretical foundations related to organizations and the potential influence of leadership within and beyond organizational boundaries. Participants explore Organizational Theory (OT) that informs contemporary models of organizations and leadership. It is designed as a broad survey of interdisciplinary literature on organizational theory to expose and explore the wide variety of theories used to understand, shape, respond to and lead organizations effectively in the 21st century. This foundation will enable participants to critically analyse their own organization with the view to influence the leadership approaches. Participants will read and explore foundational literature as well as contemporary applications within educational scholarship and real-world contexts. Theories examined may include: Behavioural Theory, Population Ecology, Game Theory, Innovation Theory, Institutional Theory, Agency Theory, Transaction Cost Economics, Resource Based View, Systems Theory, Social Network Theory, Stakeholder Theory, Cognitive Decision Theory, Chaos Theory and Complexity Theory. 

Registration info:
EDER 619.61 L05 (74175)

Term 3 - Winter

Strategic Leadership, Policy & Governance 

This course provides a theoretical foundation for pragmatic and strategic leadership/management in organizations. Participants will identify connections between leadership, strategy, policy, and governance while developing knowledge, skills, and abilities to lead strategically and successfully. Leadership theories and best practices, and principles and models of policy and governance will be explored. Participants will explore the connection between strategy, policy, and governance while developing knowledge, skills, and abilities to enable them to lead more strategically and successfully. Topics may include: Strategic planning, strategic management, (re)design and implementation of organizational culture, big data and analytics, shaping adaptive organizations, and leadership during uncertainty, and leading online. 

Registration info:
EDER 619.62 L07 (13802)

Term 4 - Spring

Leadership Identity – Exploring Self 

This course is designed to scaffold individual reflection and construction of one’s leadership identity, values, and approach within the context of organizational and leadership theories examined in the preceding courses. Participants will engage in a variety of pragmatic tasks designed to explore and express their leadership perspectives within an emergent framework informed by theory and practice. Upon completion, participants will be positioned to define themselves as leaders in relation to scholarly models/theories/principles. It will also enable participants to refine their leadership values and beliefs, and identify useful strategies and practices to promote successful and positive leadership practices. Topics will include: authentic leadership, metacognitive growth, identification of values and leadership identity, theories associated with leadership identity and self-efficacy.

Registration info:
EDER 619.99 L02 (31175)