In a world characterized by change, interdependence, and diversity, the quality of leadership will shape the destiny of organizations. In the twenty-first century, leaders will confront unprecedented, complex dilemmas. Responding to these challenges will require extraordinary judgment, integrity, and creativity.

To meet this need, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Leadership has crafted a two-fold mission:

  • to develop leaders whose contributions will enrich the meaning and quality of the lives they touch; and
  • to generate and share knowledge of leadership for the betterment of society.

This mission directs the Institute to explore the most profound issues at the core of leadership — issues that emanate from deep existential and psychological roots. At its best, leadership is a moral endeavor — infusing an organization with values that bring definition to common purpose, dignity to human interaction, and increased opportunity for creative self-expression.

The Institute seeks to achieve its mission through two strategies. First, through its research, programs, and teaching, the Institute promotes a more comprehensive understanding of leadership. Second, through the development of several initiatives, the Institute transmits this knowledge to a broad spectrum of leaders, policy makers, and scholars.

Through its mission, the Institute serves three constituencies:

  • leaders in business, not-for-profit and government organizations
  • advanced graduate students; and
  • management, public policy, and social science scholars at Claremont Graduate University and other institutions worldwide.

The Institute is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of leadership. Understanding the historical, philosophical, and social roots of today’s organizations enhances leaders’ capacities to unite constituents in a common purpose. A multidisciplinary approach also enables leaders to anticipate societal trends, and apprehend the community expectations of their institutions.

The evolution of human thought — be it philosophical reflections on human nature, the psychological underpinnings of motivation, or the significance derived from purposeful work —speaks powerfully to the dilemmas managers face. Lacking such a perspective, leaders are unlikely to enable organizational members to realize their full potential. In addition, they are more apt to make poor strategic decisions and find themselves “blind-sided” by external forces.


The Institute has established four major programs:

  1. Research
  2. Course Development
  3. Leaders- and Scholars-in-Residence Programs
  4. Program on Female Leadership in Organizations

Course Development

The Institute has undertaken the development of cutting-edge certificate courses. This specially designed curriculum is available to students in the Drucker School’s core programs, as well as to other institutions of higher education. Courses are developed to help illuminate the dimensions of leadership most relevant to emerging social trends, including the increased diversity of the work force, globalization, and technological advances.

Certificate Program

An eight-unit certificate program is offered to students in the Drucker School’s Executive Management program. The certificate emphasizes the courage, creativity and initiative leaders must demonstrate to resolve complex problems. It also focuses on the actions a leader can take to build a responsive, innovative, and cohesive organization.


Research initiatives range from field-based investigations to theoretical formulations. Every attempt is made to ensure that research conducted under the auspices of the Institute takes a multidisciplinary approach and incorporates a broad spectrum of research methods. Currently, research conducted at the Drucker School includes inquiries into numerous aspects of leadership:

  • the interface of values and leadership;
  • the ethical dimensions of leadership;
  • the development of new leadership models;
  • the leader’s role in defining and articulating organizational purpose; and
  • effective communication for leaders.

The Institute makes special efforts to translate these research findings into empirical action.

The Leaders- and Scholars-in-Residence Program

The Leaders- and Scholars-in-Residence program invites prominent leaders and researchers to campus for extended visits of varying lengths. During their residency, visitors conduct symposia and seminars, hold “brainstorming” meetings with faculty and students, and, when possible, participate in the Institute’s programs and research.

Program on Female Leadership in Organizations

Within the Program on Female Leadership in Organizations, the Institute engages in activities that characterize the Institute’s overall strategy: research, scholars- and leaders- in-residence, curriculum development, and public events. Within this Program, scholars conduct research on various aspects of women’s leadership in organizational contexts, from the for profit sector to the third and public sectors. In collaboration with various research groups, including the Women’s Studies program of the Claremont Colleges, the Institute undertakes research that illuminates the experience and challenges that women confront in contemporary organizations.

The Program’s first research project, sponsored by the Business Leadership Council of Wellesley College and the Center for Research on Women, involved a literature review and white paper on women in corporate leadership. The research, conducted by Professor Lipman-Blumen and a team of graduate students, resulted in a publication entitled “Women in Corporate Leadership: A Decade’s Research.” A second research project housed in the Female Leadership program focuses on the impact of spousal retirement on female leaders’ career trajectories.

Scholars, leader practitioners, and public policy experts are invited to participate in the Female Leadership program through the Institute’s Scholars- and Leaders-in-Residence program. The first leader practitioner was in residence in the 1998-99 academic year.

The Female Leadership in Organizations program also engages in curriculum development. The courses developed within the Program become part of the Drucker School’s regular curricular offerings.

From time to time, the Program sponsors relevant public events, including conferences, seminars, and public lectures. Its inaugural event was a forum on “Women and Leadership for the 21st Century,” in Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 1998. Ahembhi Morumbi University and in-country business development organizations co-sponsored the forum.

The Female Leadership in Organizations program is guided by an Advisory Council. The Council consists of scholars, corporate leaders, public policy experts, and community leaders.


On occasion, the Institute sponsors conference and symposia on timely leadership topics. These events bring together leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with academics for discussions focused on advances, as well as emerging dilemmas, in the field of leadership.

The Institute’s inaugural conference, “Enabling and Ennobling: The Challenges and Dilemmas of Leadership,” examined the changing global context of organizational leadership. The second, invitational conference focused on “Media and Corporate Leadership: The Challenge and Courage to Lead” and was administered by the Institute and co-sponsored by the Marshall School’s Leadership Institute at the University of Southern California and its Annenberg School for Communication.

Co-Directors and Advisory Board

Two senior Drucker School faculty members, who serve as co-directors, along with their distinguished Advisory Board and Advisory Councils, guide the Institute. Richard Ellsworth, Professor of Management, and Jean Lipman-Blumen, Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Organizational Behavior, are the founding co-directors of the Institute. Both Professors Ellsworth and Lipman-Blumen are recognized scholars in the field of leadership.

The Institute’s Advisory Board includes:

  • Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration and founding chairman of the Leadership Institute, the Marshall School at the University of Southern California;
  • Kermit Campbell, chairman and CEO, Cellarmasters of America;
  • Robert Fisher, managing director of SFF Financial America;
  • Frances Hesselbein, Chairman of the Board, Leader to Leader Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non Profit Management);
  • William Podlich, managing director, Pacific Investment Management Co., Newport Beach, California.