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ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP CAPSTONE PAPER: GUIDELINES
The objective of this assignment is for each student to demonstrate the level of mastery they have
achieved as a result of the MAOL program of study. Demonstrating mastery goes beyond providing
solutions or observations and must clearly illustrate your ability to explain theories in the context of your
philosophy and personal definition of leadership. The paper should say something complete about your
understanding of leadership and how it applies to your personal experience, your work and to the larger
To demonstrate their mastery, students will complete a comprehensive paper that is a minimum of 40
pages in length (12 point Times New Roman font, standard 1? margins, does not include title or reference
pages) with a reference list of at least twenty-five independent entries (this standard represents and
average of 3-5 sources for each of the six core courses covered in the Capstone Seminar. APA 6th
edition guidelines will apply.
The following outline should be used to organize your paper using appropriate APA headers and subheaders
in each chapter. Be sure to include a properly formatted title page and reference list with all
sources cited properly in the body of each chapter:
Chapter I. Thoughts on Leadership: This chapter provides an introduction to your paper. In it you
describe your thoughts on leadership in terms of your definition, management and leadership and what
you think leaders do. Include an opening statement to the paper before going into the chapter sections.
1. Definition. Using the literature as support, provide your definition of leadership. Include a
description of the components included in that definition. How does your definition compare and
contrast with various authors?
2. Management and Leadership. Drawing from the literature, compare and contrast management
3. What Leaders Do. This is a section where you pull your thoughts on leadership into a
framework or model of some type. For example, you might use Kouzes and Posner Leadership
Practices, Robert Greenleaf?s Servant Leadership, Blake?s and Mouton?s Managerial Grid,
Situational, Transformational or any of the many other leadership theories studied in the MAOL
program. You are encouraged to synthesize multiple theories to reflect your individual insights
about what leaders do. Make sure your personal model/framework reflects your definition.
4. Conclusion. Reinforce the key points of this chapter.
Chapter II. Leadership Theory: This chapter allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of a variety of
organizational leadership theories, theorists, concepts and models and relate them to your personal
understanding and definition of leadership.
1. Leadership Theory. From the following list, describe and analyze three theories thoroughly, i.e.,
what the theory proposes, in what context, elements of the theory, how it supports effective
leadership in today?s organizational settings, potential limitations. Discuss how each of the three
selected theories contributes to your philosophy of leadership. Select from:
a. Trait theory
b. Blake and Mouton?s Leadership Grid
c. Situational Leadership
d. Fiedler?s Contingency Theory
e. Path-Goal Theory
f. Leader Member Exchange (LMX) Theory
g. Transformational Leadership
h. Servant Leadership
i. Authentic Leadership
2. Conclusion. Reinforce the key points of this chapter. Link back to your leadership definition
from Chapter 1.
Chapter III. Self as Leader: This chapter contains elements of leadership that are directly related to your
1. Core Values. List and describe the main core values that guide your leadership practice. How
do these values support effective leadership?
2. Ethical Framework. Using literature (from 601 and other courses) as support, describe your
ethical decision making framework. For example, faced with an ethical leadership situation,
what would you do and why? How do your core values fit within this framework?
3. Organizational Change Framework. Using at least two theories from literature (i.e., from 615
and other courses) as support, describe an organizational change strategy/process that guides
your leadership philosophy and practice, and supports effective leadership.
4. Self Assessment. Using a minimum of three of the several assessments you had access to
while in the MAOL program, describe yourself as a leader within the context of these
assessments, i.e., Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), DiSC, Parker Team Player, etc.
5. Conclusion. Reinforce the key points of this chapter. Link back to your leadership definition in
Chapter IV. Leadership in Context: In this chapter, you provide examples of theories and concepts as
applied to a real life situation drawn from your personal/professional leadership experience.
1. Description of Situation. Brief description of the event ?what happened.?
2. Analysis of Situation
a. Systems Perspective (OLCU 602)
b. Organizational Behavior Perspective (OLCU 613)
c. Organizational Development Perspective (OLCU 615)
3. Conclusion. Describe how this application fits within and supports your leadership philosophy
(as described in Chapters 1-3).
Chapter V. Final Thoughts. This chapter provides a summary/distillation of what you have learned and
what is of most importance to you as a leader.
1. Essence or Major Cornerstones. Based on what you?ve written, describe the essence or major
cornerstones of your leadership philosophy.
2. Evolution of Thinking. How has your thinking changed since you have been on this learning
3. Conclusion. Make a final summary statement about the paper.
References. A list of references in APA 6th edition format.
Instructions for Comprehensive Paper
In general, the comprehensive paper should integrate and connect specific, explicit references to material
covered in your courses and your own outside reading, but especially material from the core
Organizational Leadership courses required of all students: OLCU 600, OLCU 601, OLCU 602, OLCU
613, OLCU 614 and OLCU 615.
Every effort should be made to use original sources. Most textbooks cite original sources but are not,
themselves, an original source of information. Edited books are compilations of original works by an
editing author. The purpose is to understand what the theorist is saying, best done through a review of
their work and not someone else?s interpretation. Combine books and journal articles, as well as a
sprinkling of other sources (i.e., appropriate websites).
As this is your capstone course, this paper will bring together the major concepts, theories, and ideas that
shape your thinking on organizational leadership as you exit the program. This paper provides you with
the opportunity to return to each of the courses you took and revisit the key learning from those courses.
Additionally, it allows you to ?visit? authors to whom you were introduced for more in-depth understanding
of their work. Finally, it allows you to distill the most meaningful concepts into a comprehensive
statement of who you are as a leader.
OLCU 681 presents some extreme challenges in self-leadership. The following milestones are meant to
guide you through the writing of the paper. Keep in mind that the cleaner the draft, the easier it is for the
reader to provide feedback on content and help you develop your demonstration of mastery. If the reader
gets caught up on sentence structure and syntax, spelling and grammatical errors, he/she will not be able
to get to the essence of your story ? please proof-read your drafts and final paper carefully prior to
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