PICT8000 – Leadership and Strategic Decision Making

2023 – Session 2, In person-scheduled-weekday, North Ryde

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convener
James Ramsay
Contact via
642 B, Level 6 Building Arts Precinct, 25 Wally's Walk
By appointment
Andrew Kapos
Contact via
5th floor, B building Arts Precinct, 25 Wally's Walk
By appointment
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
50cp at 2000 level or above and admission to BSecStudMCTerrorism or BSecStudMCrim or BSecStudMCyberSecAnalysis or BSecStudMIntell or BSecStudMSecStrategicStud
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit is only available for students that are enrolled in the vertical degree program. The aim of the unit to prepare students for future senior decision-making positions in government or the private sector. To achieve this, students will first gain a deep theoretical and conceptional understanding of leadership and decision-making. In particular, the unit will explore the limits of rationality, human cognition and other decision-making hazards. Second, the unit will invite senior leaders and decision-makers to speak to the unit (e.g. from government, academia, the media or the think-tank community). Students will be provided with ample time to ask questions and learn directly from the guest's experiences and lessons learnt. Finally, students will undertake a major independent research project where they will combine the theoretical and practical elements of leadership and decision making.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Critically analyse the limits to rational decision making.
  • ULO2: Apply a theoretical and conceptual understanding of leadership and decision making to real-world examples.
  • ULO3: Develop professional skills in communication, analysis and critical thinking.
  • ULO4: Formulate, undertake and complete an individual research project to an advanced standard.

General Assessment Information


  1. The Assessments Section should be consulted for instructions and up to date information throughout the semester on the details of each assignment. 
  2. Adjustments to assessments may be made based on previous student/faculty feedback, or to accommodate a new convener, or to enhance class comprehension and performance or satisfaction, or to account for schedule changes due to natural disasters, global pandemics, or other circumstances etc.   
  3. Therefore, the source of truth for assessment details is now this iLearn page and not the unit guide.   While the number of assessments and the types are the same as approved, the fine details of the assessment can be found on the iLearn page.
  4. All written assignments are submitted through Turnitin V2 and are due by 11:59 pm on the Friday of the week they are due.  
  5. All assignments will be marked promptly, but expect at least 3 weeks to mark after submission. 

As always, please see either course convener with any questions, we are here to enhance your learning. Sincerely, Professors Ramsay and Kapos

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Op-ed essay 30% No week 7
Leadership profile 20% No week 10
Leadership Focus Project 50% No week 13

Op-ed essay

Assessment Type 1: Non-academic writing
Indicative Time on Task 2: 20 hours
Due: week 7
Weighting: 30%


Students to write a 700-word standard oped assessing a particular decision by a different leader than the one for their research project.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Critically analyse the limits to rational decision making.
  • Apply a theoretical and conceptual understanding of leadership and decision making to real-world examples.
  • Develop professional skills in communication, analysis and critical thinking.

Leadership profile

Assessment Type 1: Case study/analysis
Indicative Time on Task 2: 15 hours
Due: week 10
Weighting: 20%


Students will be asked to prepare a 500-word "leadership profile" for one of the guest lecturers, with background information, assessment of the guest's accomplishments/skills, and three incisive questions to be raised with the guest.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Apply a theoretical and conceptual understanding of leadership and decision making to real-world examples.
  • Develop professional skills in communication, analysis and critical thinking.

Leadership Focus Project

Assessment Type 1: Project
Indicative Time on Task 2: 50 hours
Due: week 13
Weighting: 50%


Drawing from a list of biographies/autobiographies of leaders, students will be formed in groups to focus on one of the books and asked to develop a jointly prepared research presentation for the rest of the class. Students will also prepare and submit an individual critical research essay of 3000 words on their selected leader.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Critically analyse the limits to rational decision making.
  • Apply a theoretical and conceptual understanding of leadership and decision making to real-world examples.
  • Develop professional skills in communication, analysis and critical thinking.
  • Formulate, undertake and complete an individual research project to an advanced standard.

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

Delivery and Resources 


  • You should spend an average of 12 hours per week on this unit. This includes listening to lectures prior to seminar or tutorial, reading weekly required materials as detailed in iLearn, participating in Ilearn discussion forums and preparing assessments.  

  • Internal students are expected to attend all seminar or tutorial sessions, and external students are expected to make significant contributions to on-line activities.  

  • In most cases students are required to attempt and submit all major assessment tasks in order to pass the unit.  


  • The citations for all the required readings for this unit are available to enrolled students through the unit iLearn site, and at Macquarie University's library site.  Electronic copies of required readings may be accessed through the library or will be made available by other means.  


  • Computer and internet access are essential for this unit. Basic computer skills and skills in word processing are also a requirement.  

  • This unit has an online presence. Login is via:  This unit will be available approximately one week before the start of the session.  And the iLearn site is the site with the most current information/directions/guideance for all assessments. 

  • Students are required to have regular access to a computer and the internet. Mobile devices alone are not sufficient.  

  • Information about IT used at Macquarie University is available at  


  • All text-based assessment tasks are to be submitted, marked and returned electronically.  This will only happen through the unit iLearn site.   Use of AI is not permitted in this unit.

  • Assessment tasks must be submitted as a MS word document by the due date.  Assessments may be modified by the unit convenor(s) to suit class/unit needs.

  • Most assessment tasks will be subject to a 'TurnitIn' review as an automatic part of the submission process.  

  • The granting of extensions is subject to the university’s Special Consideration Policy. Extensions will not be granted by unit conveners or tutors, but must be lodged through Special Consideration: 



 Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, a 5% penalty (of the total possible mark) will be applied each day a written assessment is not submitted, up until the 7th day (including weekends). After the 7th day, a mark of‚ 0 (zero) will be awarded even if the assessment is submitted. Submission time for all written assessments is set at 11.55pm. A 1-hour grace period is provided to students who experience a technical issue.  

This late penalty will apply to non-timed sensitive assessment (incl essays, reports, posters, portfolios, journals, recordings etc). Late submission of time sensitive tasks (such as tests/exams, performance assessments/presentations, scheduled practical assessments/labs etc) will only be addressed by the unit convenor in a Special consideration application. Special Consideration outcome may result in a new question or topic 


  • Stated word limits include footnotes and footnoted references, but not bibliography, or title page.  

  • Word limits can generally deviate by 10% either over or under the stated figure.  

  • If the number of words deviates from the limit by more than 10%, then penalties will apply. These penalties are 5% of the awarded mark for every 100 words deviation from the word limit. If a paper is 300 words over, for instance, it will lose 3 x 5% = 15% of the total mark awarded for the assignment. This percentage is taken off the total mark, i.e. if a paper was graded at a credit (65%) and was 300 words over, it would be reduced by 15 marks to a pass (50%).  

  • The application of this penalty is at the discretion of the course convener.  


  • Macquarie University operates a Final Grade Appeal procedure as part of the Assessment policy in cases where students feel their work was graded inappropriately: 

  • In accordance with the Grade Appeal procedure, individual works are not subject to regrading.  


  • Department staff will endeavour to answer student enquiries in a timely manner, i.e., 2 business days. However, emails or iLearn messages will not be answered over the weekend or public holiday period.  

  • Students are encouraged to read the Unit Guide and look at instructions posted on the iLearn site before sending email requests to staff. 


Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central ( Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit or if you are a Global MBA student contact

Academic Integrity

At Macquarie, we believe academic integrity – honesty, respect, trust, responsibility, fairness and courage – is at the core of learning, teaching and research. We recognise that meeting the expectations required to complete your assessments can be challenging. So, we offer you a range of resources and services to help you reach your potential, including free online writing and maths support, academic skills development and wellbeing consultations.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre provides resources to develop your English language proficiency, academic writing, and communication skills.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and Support

Macquarie University offers a range of Student Support Services including:

Student Enquiries

Got a question? Ask us via AskMQ, or contact Service Connect.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Unit information based on version 2023.01R of the Handbook