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UMG8023 Intractable Problems

8W Teaching Period 3, 2021 Online
Short Description: Intractable Problems
Units : 0.25
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Business
Student contribution band : Band 4
ASCED code : 080307 - Organisation Management
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 11 April 2021


Enrolment is not permitted if MGT8038 has been previously completed


The nature of the 21st century workplace is challenging. Leaders need to be able to manage complexity and uncertainty navigating many different moving parts, all within a changing market place and unprecedented change. In many workplaces, ongoing quality, productivity or product issues have their foundation in some sort of ongoing problem that has not been addressed, whether that be structural, related to people, workflows, technology or a changing market. This minicourse focuses on intractable problems, which are characterised as professional or workplace problems that are persistent, significant, and not easily managed or solved.


This minicourse aims to support students to develop confidence and capacity in tackling these sort of problems in a way that adds value to their professional context by strengthening others in the organisation.

Please be advised that this minicourse is made up of four parts please see MGT8038 for the full course specification.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. apply specialist leadership knowledge to generate a plan to effectively enable teams and individual performance in the workplace (MGT8038 LO5);
  2. critically reflect and integrate leader theories that help to build adaptive leader-member relationships (MGT8038 LO2).


Description Weighting(%)
1. Outlining intractable problems 33.00
2. Leadership responses to intractable problems 33.00
3. Developing future leaders as problems solvers 34.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Agile at Barclaycard 2016, What is Servant Leadership?,
Bateman, T. S 2010, 'Leading with competence: Problem-solving by leaders and followers', Leader to Leader, vol. 2010, no. 57, pp. 38-44.
Chrislip, D., & Larson Carl, E 1994, Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.
Churchman, C. W 1967, 'Guest editorial: Free for all', Management Science, pp. B141-B142.
(14 December.)
Coleman, P 2012, The Five Percent Problem (An Introduction),
Coleman, P 2012, The Five Percent Problem: An Introduction,
Conklin, J 2005, Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems, Wiley, Chichester.
Conklin, J 2006, Dialogue mapping: building shared understanding of wicked problems, Wiley Publishing, Chichester, England.
Conklin, J 2010, Wicked Problems and social complexity,
D’zurilla, Thomas J ; Maydeu-Olivares, Alberto ; Gallardo-Pujol, David 2011, 'Predicting social problem solving using personality traits', Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 142-147.
Fatzer, G 2014, Humble Inquiry - The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling,
Flinchbaugh, J 2016, 'White Space for Important Work', Industry Week/IW, vol. 265, no. 2, p. 10.
Focused Project 2019, Reflective Practice,
Graesser, A., Fiore, S. Greiff, S., Andrews-Todd, J., Foltz, P., Hesse, F 2018, 'Advancing the Science of Collaborative Problem Solving', Psychological Science in the Public Interest, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 59-92.
Greenleaf, R 2002, Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness, 25th anniversary edn, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ.
Greenleaf, R 2008, The servant as leader, The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, Westfield, IN.
Hackman, J 2011, Collaborative intelligence: using teams to solve hard problems, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco.
Heifetz, R., & Laurie, D 1997, 'The Work of Leadership', Harvard Business Review, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 124-134.
Hillier, J 2000, 'Effective Leaders Solve Problems', Research-Technology Management, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 34-35.
(DOI: 10.1080/08956308.2000.11671354 (Links to an external site.).)
Hornett, A., & Lee, P 2017, 'Developing strategic leaders: Three studies of wicked problem-solving', Global Business & Organizational Excellence, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 28-38.
Hudson, K 2018, Can organisations have wicked problems?,
Kirton, M 2003, Adaption-Innovation in the Context of Diversity and Change, Routledge, U.K. London.
Luckman, J., & Flory, O 2019, Transforming Leader Paradigms : How to Replace Blanket Solutions with Problem Solving for Complexity, ProQuest Ebook Central: Productivity Press.
Maslow, A 1966, The Psychology of Science, Harper & Row, New York.
Mitroff, I. & Silvers, A 2010, Dirty rotten strategies : how we trick ourselves and others into solving the wrong problems precisely, Stanford Business Book, Stanford, CA.
Motivation Daily 2019, 5 Rules of Leadership: Simon Sinek,
Pacanowsky, M 1995, 'Team Tools For Wicked Problems', Organizational Dynamics, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 36-51.
Rittel, H., & Webber, M 1973, 'Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning', Policy Sciences, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 155-169.
(doi (Links to an external site.):1007/bf01405730 (Links to an external site.). (Links to an external site.).)
Ronald Heifetz: The nature of adaptive leadership 2019, Video, Faith and Leadership.
Schein, E 2013, Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling, Berrett – Koehler Publications, San Francisco.
(Kindle Edition.)
Stum, J 2009, 'Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation Theory: Managing Cognitive Styles in Times of Diversity and Change', Emerging Leadership Journeys, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 66-78.
(School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University.)
Taylor, S 2015, You’re A Genius : Using Reflective Practice to Master the Craft of Leadership, Business Expert Press, New York.
Townsin, J 2013, Appreciative Inquiry,
VerusGlobal 2019, Collaborative Leadership,
Willis, P 2015, 'From humble inquiry to humble intelligence: Confronting wicked problems and augmenting public relations', Public Relations Review, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 306-313.
(Retrieved November 2019 from
Wong, Z 2018, The eight essential people skills for project management: solving the most common people problems for team leaders, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc, Oakland, C.A.
Cooperrider, D. L. & Srivastva, S. (1987). "Appreciative inquiry in organizational life". In Woodman, R. W. & Pasmore, W.A. (Eds.). Research in Organizational Change And Development. Vol. 1. Stamford, CT: JAI Press. pp. 129–169.

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assessment 1 50 100 18 Jun 2021 (see note 1)

  1. The assessment for this minicourse is due 4 weeks after teaching concludes. Students have access to the learning platform for a total of 11 weeks.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Not applicable.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    Not applicable.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Not applicable.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    Not applicable.

  6. Examination information:
    Not applicable.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Date printed 11 April 2021