Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Strategic Leadership and Management Principles - Bridging Technology and Human Insight in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Sommersemester 2024)

Lecturer: Ulrich Selzer (Gastdozenten oder Dozenten der Uni-Potsdam)

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 2
  • Credits: 3
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 01.04.2024 - 15.04.2024
  • Examination time §9 (4) BAMA-O: 3.9.2024
  • Teaching Form: Block seminar with a preceding introductory event
  • Enrolment Type: Compulsory Elective Module
  • Course Language: English
  • Maximum number of participants: 24

Programs, Module Groups & Modules

IT-Systems Engineering MA
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA
Software Systems Engineering MA
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-ML Management and Leadership


This event aims to prepare HPI students for their future roles as leaders, whether as founders in startups, employed managers in companies, or in self-leadership for personal organization and development. While HPI's curriculum enables students to achieve excellence in information technology, this course prepares them for the additional aspects of a future prominent position on a personal, emotional, and interpersonal level.

Conceptually, the seminar provides a solid theoretical foundation of classic, original management and leadership models, along with the latest/current scientific findings. Based on this, practical methods and approaches will be developed and practiced, establishing their personal relevance for individual leadership situations.

The seminar focuses on training and developing students as future leaders within their social, organizational, and professional environments, where they will ultimately bear responsibility for decisions. It covers typical leadership scenarios at various levels and transitions between roles, familiarizing students with specific challenges and conditions. Typical leadership scenarios as a team leader, as a middle manager of a department, or as a senior executive of a division or department are developed and practiced. The two transitions - from team leadership through middle management to prominent leadership - are also considered, and students are introduced to the respective special challenges.

It addresses how to manage as a leader, including product and process management, organization creation and restructuring with special consideration of the people involved, and practical application in various situations. Operational excellence, especially in the context of the fourth industrial revolution and its specific management and leadership challenges, is a key focus.

The seminar opens students' perspectives to the various roles’ leadership entails within organizations: "Running" - "Managing" - "Leading" as a team leader, manager, executive. It deals with the responsibility of leaders to allow employees to grow by learning new skills and further development of personality and ego.

Another focus is on leadership styles (e.g., "control & command" vs. collaborative), levels of leadership as depicted in models like the onion model - task level, outcome level, personal level, emotional, subconscious level. Basics such as listening, communication, focus on implementation, winning people over, networking, conflict management, decision-making will round out the curriculum.

Students are expected to contribute their own thoughts, observations, questions, hypotheses to the seminar, challenging the teaching and learning material constructively.


Participation in the block seminar is only possible after attending the introductory event during the semester and the corresponding preparation.


The literature used in the course emphasizes collaborative work on the original and still relevant thinkers (e.g., Peter Drucker on leadership) and the current state of knowledge in science and research based on recent studies (e.g., pros and cons of management and leadership in agile work environments).

Exemplary literature for reading and preparation (not a prerequisite for participation):

  • Bennis, W. G., & Townsend, R. (1989). On becoming a leader (Vol. 36). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  • Buckingham, M., & Coffman, C. (2014). First, break all the rules: What the world's greatest managers do differently. Simon and Schuster.
  • Christensen, C. M. (2011). The innovator's dilemma: Warum etablierte Unternehmen den Wettbewerb um bahnbrechende Innovationen verlieren. Vahlen.
  • Collins, J. (2009). Good to Great (Why some companies make the leap and others don't).
  • Drucker, P. (2018). The effective executive. Routledge.
  • Foster, R. (1986). Innovation: The attacker’s advantage.
  • Hughes, R. L. (1993). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1333 Burridge Parkway, Burridge, IL 60521.
  • Northouse, P. G. (2021). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.
  • Raman, A., & Flynn, M. (2024, Februar 14). When your Technical Skills are Eclipsed, Your Humanity will matter more than ever. The New York Times.
  • Sattler, J. (2011). Führen: die erfolgreichsten Instrumente und Techniken. Haufe-Lexware.
  • Spagnol, L., & Spagnol, E. (1991). Machiavelli für Manager: Sentenzen. München/Zürich.
  • Stippler, M., Moore, S., Rosenthal, S., & Dörffer, T. (2011). Führung-Überblick über Ansätze, Entwicklungen, Trends: Bertelsmann Stiftung Leadership Series. Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung.
  • Waterman, R. H., & Peters, T. J. (1982). In search of excellence: Lessons from America's best-run companies. New York: Harper & Row.


An introductory event in person during the semester.

A block seminar lasting 3-4 days, possibly in 2 parts. The block seminar will be characterized by dialogue, not by frontal lecturing. Compact lectures should open topics, followed by discussions, joint analyses, and impulse presentations for deep-dive, spot drilling into crucial topics, fundamentals, case studies. Group work will solve content-related tasks and offer a format for practicing leadership situations at the meta-level. The program could be rounded off with external speakers who report on their everyday life as managers and leaders and stimulate discussion. This is to comprise a total of 30 learning units.

Individual preparation and follow-up of the block seminar will require a total of 60 learning units, approximately divided as follows: After the introductory event with a first overview, participants will read into the basics of leadership (the above list of literature is only for initial, optional orientation, and will be amended by current studies that will be available by then), about 15-20 learning units. For the block seminar, a short impulse presentation (5 minutes) needs to be prepared, which will be used at a certain point of the seminar to give the whole group deeper insight into the topic as a basis for further exchange, joint learning (10-20 learning units). During the block seminar, core leadership topics will be discussed, which are suitable for written elaboration as part of performance assessment afterwards. These can be obvious topics, for example, "What leadership styles exist and when to apply them", or topics that emerge from the seminar, such as "Agile leadership under time and performance pressure - possible or not?". About 20-25 learning units should be allocated for these final papers.


The grade will be based on a short impulse presentation (50%) and a compact written elaboration of one of the core topics of the seminar (50%).

In addition, emphasis is placed on original, creative approaches to question and possibly shake the current state of science, but then to further develop it - key competencies of future leaders.


05.07.2024 Kickoff 13.30 – 15.00 h
Hours: 9.30 to 18.00 h each

Room: K-1.03

Contact: uli.selzer(at)web.de