Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 15.269 Leadership Stories: Literature, Ethics, and Authority as it was taught by Dr. Leigh Hafrey in Fall 2015.

Through films, novels, plays, and short fiction, this course examines issues of freedom and control, group norms and individual expression, as they bear on our ambition to manage both work and personal life. Materials vary from year to year. Drawing on various professions and national cultures, it is run as a series of moderated discussions, with students centrally engaged in the teaching process.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Use story to address perennial questions such as, What do we do when people, events, or issues test our ideas of leadership, career, or proper behavior? and How do we respond to concerns over diversity, gender, and family in the workplace, or cope with the reality of war, death, and ordinary human frailty?
  • Through story, examine issues of freedom and control, group norms and individual expression as they bear on our ambition to manage both work and personal life.
  • Explore multiple professional perspectives in order to situate business in the larger social context.

Instructor Insights

Below, Dr. Leigh Hafrey describes various aspects of how he teaches 15.269 Leadership Stories: Literature, Ethics, and Authority.

"I was obsessed with books as a child. I read tons and tons. And I think that sort of became reality for me. I’ve never broken free."
— Leigh Hafrey

Curriculum Information



Requirements Satisfied

This course can be applied toward graduate elective credits


Every fall semester


Grade Breakdown

The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 40% Class participation
  • 25% Team response papers and team teaching exercise
  • 15% Individual midterm paper
  • 20% Individual final paper

Instructor Insights on Assessment

Written feedback was provided on all of the written assignments and the team teaching exercise. The instructor and teaching assistant aimed to provide feedback within 5-7 days of the team assignments and within two weeks of the individual assignments. At mid-term, they alerted students to lagging participation grades. On all assignments, they followed up with face-to-face discussions with students as needed.

Dr. Leigh Hafrey shares additional insights about giving students feedback.

Student Information


48 students

Breakdown by Year

Mostly graduate students

Breakdown by Major

Mostly students in the Sloan MBA program

Typical Student Background

Students often come to the course with in-depth work experience in various industries.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 9 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met 2 times per week for 1.5 hours per session; 25 sessions total.
  • Sessions were conducted as moderated discussions.
  • Nine sessions were co-taught by teams of students after extensive preparation with the instructor.

Out of Class

  • Preparation for co-teaching
  • Three team writing assignments
  • Two individual papers

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2015
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments
Activity Assignments
Instructor Insights