Management 799: Leadership in Challenging Times


How do the most effective leaders guide their people and organizations through challenging times?

Purpose:  To leverage academic research and leaders’ real-life experiences to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills for shepherding organizations through challenging times.

Research and experience confirm that as uncertainty and setbacks mount, leadership matters more than ever.  As the coronavirus, economic challenges, racial inequity, natural disasters, and technology disruptions cause extended periods of volatility or even calamities for firms and organizations of all kinds, resilience, redirection, and recovery depend more on leadership, informed by both practical experience and academic insight.  Drawing on Wharton’s faculty and leaders from business, philanthropy, and beyond, the course emphasizes vital leadership capabilities including strategic direction, timely action, and persuasive communication, providing a roadmap for navigating through crises and challenges – and for emerging more determined, more effective, and more resilient.

A half-credit, pass/fail course for Wharton MBA and Executive MBA students, and for participants in Wharton’s Advanced Management Program.

Faculty & Guests:  The course includes distinguished faculty experts, including Wharton Dean Erika James, and leading practitioners, including:

Nisaba Godrej, CEO of Godrej, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.

Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson

Tricia Griffith, CEO of Progressive Insurance

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

Offering:  Fourth quarter, 2021, Wednesdays, 3 to 5:50 pm: March 17, March 24, March 31, April 7, April 14, April 21, and April 28.  Synchronous (live) delivery via Zoom, with Wharton faculty, executive speakers, leadership research, and problem-solving exercises.  Though the course is pass/fail, it will count toward the Organizational Effectiveness and General Management majors.

Faculty Organizers:


Jeffrey Klein, Lecturer, The Wharton School; Executive Director, McNulty Leadership Program
William P. Lauder, Lecturer, The Wharton School; Executive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies
Michael Useem, Professor, The Wharton School;  Faculty Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management

Penn Support: The course is organized and supported by the McNulty Leadership Program with assistance from Classroom Technology, Department of Management, Wharton Executive Education, and Wharton Leadership Advisory Board.