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Organizational soft-skills: From presentation techniques to group management

  • Teacher(s):   J.Marewski  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 3 credits
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2019-2020, 2.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Management

    Bachelor (BSc) in Economic Sciences



Had you ever to convince others, in just few minutes, of a difficult decision? Have you ever had to give a presentation to a skeptical or even hostile audience? Regardless of whether it comes to defending one’s ideas, presenting in front of a group, managing teams, or other social activities – many soft skills are key to working in organizations.

This course focuses on acquiring and practicing important organizational soft skills. By combining practical exercises (e.g., public speaking, decision making role plays) with relevant psychological literature, this course, moreover, allows participants to deepen their knowledge about corresponding scientific theory and empirical findings.


This course has an applied focus, using a combination of real-world business cases, role plays, and other (e.g., rhetorical) exercises to convey practice-relevant knowledge and skills. In so doing, we will cover different aspects of communication (e.g., in difficult social situations), decision making (e.g., in groups), and management. Those core areas will flexibly be complemented by others (e.g., team work), as a function of participants’ needs. Throughout the course, special emphasis will be placed on public speaking and verbal expression, including on techniques about how to capture an audience’s attention or how to design adequate (e.g., presentation) materials.

By embedding main exercises and cases within relevant research from psychology, students will furthermore deepen their understanding of corresponding theories and empirical findings. Notably, we will draw from interdisciplinary research from the cognitive and decision sciences. Tentative topics range from human intuition and classic decision analysis to simple communication and negotiation strategies. Core topics will flexibly be complemented by others as a function of the course participants’ needs.

Finally, students we will be able to complement the areas of knowledge and skill covered with one of their own choice. The chosen topic area will be elaborated within a student group project, which students have to deliver in terms of a training session designed and conducted by themselves (see grading below).

Teaching method:

The idea of using cases, role plays, and other practical exercises is that participants acquire knowledge by-doing. In most sessions, participants take over the role of a decision maker (e.g., a manager) who faces a real-world problem (e.g., convincing others in a group discussion, communicating clearly in a presentation). Prior to a session, participants prepare the practical exercise which is then covered in class.


References to journal articles will be given in class.

The preparation of cases, role plays, and other exercises is required. References to these exercises will be given during the course.

Advanced literature:
Pointers to additional literature will be provided by the end of the sessions. This literature usually goes beyond the topics discussed in class and does not represent a required reading.


Students must be willing to participate in practical exercises (e.g., public speaking).


First attempt

Without exam (cf. terms)  

The evaluation is based on :

  • Verbal participation in class (1/3 of the grade)
  • Student team project (1/3 of the grade)
  • Written essay (1/3 of the grade)

Except for the grades for the student team project, all grades are assigned as a function of individual performance. The team project is group work, to be verbally presented in class. The grade of the team applies to all the team members.


Without exam (cf. terms)  

In case of a retake, 2/3 of the grade (individual verbal participation, student team project) will be retained. A new individual written essay will have to be submitted.

In the event that 2/3 of the grade already achieved were to be insufficient and writing a new essay would not be sufficient to obtain the credits, then also the individual participation grade can be re-assessed by means of an individual oral examination.

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