NBA 6870: Leading Across Differences:
Understanding Identity, Dialogue, and Influence

1.5 Credits
Offered: Spring

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Sumner

1.5 credits. Letter grade only.
Offered: Spring 7-Week 2 Session
Visit the Class Roster for Course Times

As a leader in any organizational context, your ability to collaborate with a broad cross-section of colleagues is a key driver of individual influence and collective success. Through a highly interactive and engaging process known as intergroup dialogue, this course will provide students with an opportunity to: explore how their own social identities shape their professional choices and leadership style, build capability to have meaningful dialogue and effective collaboration across social, cultural and power differences, and explore the power of alliances and allies when seeking to create an inclusive team/organizational environment. The primary assignments for this course are readings and journaling with class participation being a significant portion of the grade.

Note: This course is only open to Johnson students.

…moment I will not soon forget…when a classmate shared wanting to discuss an episode of police brutality against a black man at work but co-workers tip-toed around the episode for fear of not being politically correct...I thought a lot about how I could have made our classmate feel more comfortable in this and similar situations in the future. The best answer I could come up with is two-fold: first, have empathy to realize that this could be something on my co-worker's mind and second...I need to reduce excessive carefulness and engage my co-worker. While my natural tendency would be to be extra careful not to say anything that would be offensive to the other person, I need to take the risk because the alternative, keeping silent, ignores difference altogether.

NBA 6870 Participant

...I came to understand that experience within a social identity group can range widely, and that a one-size fits all solution will not suffice. As a future human resources leader, responsible for developing policies, practices and culture for an organization spanning the globe, this realization has affected how I enter my new career. Blanket policies and practices are not enough in our globalized economy - it will be up to myself and my generation of leaders to create work environments in which different experiences, identities, and outcomes are valued, rather than jammed into a box we call "policy." Acknowledging how social identity interacts with experience has created a more solid foundation as I think about how I would like to lead across difference.

NBA 6870 Participant

Please contact for more information.