University of Edinburgh Business School


The Centre for Strategic Leadership (CSL) at the University of Edinburgh Business School provides insight into the challenges of articulating long-term strategies within organisations, and how these can be effectively addressed.

The Centre focuses on fostering an interdisciplinary understanding of strategic leadership by examining complex organisational factors. We explore the ways in which organisations and their key constituents operate, including aspects such as: crafting effective visions, developing pathways for future leaders, planning and engaging with strategic change initiatives, developing entrepreneurial thinking, formulating effective mechanisms of strategic communication, creating mechanisms of innovation, and building and maintaining trust.

Core purpose and mission

To be a world-class centre widely known for being at the forefront of strategic leadership thinking, based on an interdisciplinary approach, scholarly excellence, and outstanding engagement with organisation leaders. We strive to be the interface between academia and industry.

Core values

  • research excellence
  • industry and community engagement
  • knowledge translation

The Centre for Strategic Leadership accomplishes its mission by examining the:

  • structure, practices and values that constitute effective operations
  • effective leadership of strategic transformations
  • development of entrepreneurial mind-sets to address complex leadership problems in innovative ways
  • harnessing of new technologies and forms of data
  • governance systems that can lead to more or less effective decision-making
  • interpersonal activities that mobilise individuals to achieve high levels of performance

We enhance understanding of strategic leadership in four ways:

  1. Research: Developing a rich inter and multidisciplinary research agenda that provides insights into strategic leadership in its broadest sense.
  2. Engagement: Cultivating an engaged and open community that identifies the intractable issues leaders face through consultation with external organisations addressing their most pressing strategic leadership concerns. We provide an open platform for honest and constructive discussions.
  3. Teaching: Playing a major role in the newly designed MBA and EMBA programs.
  4. Executive education:
    1. Identifying what it takes to lead successfully in different industry sectors.
    2. Developing custom executive leadership programmes for organisations.

Our definition of strategic leadership

We define strategic leadership as a process of articulating a long-term vision that involves the identification of advantages, opportunities and potential risks to an organisation. It requires:

  • disciplined attention to the allocation of resources
  • establishment of effective practices.
  • development of intra- and inter-organisational relationships
  • effective communication with stakeholders