An Important Career Landmark

The Doctor of Business Leadership (DBL) is designed to prepare senior executives to more effectively assume overall leadership responsibility within a substantial multi-business unit organisation operating in intensely competitive national and global markets. The DBL involves a learning journey that has been identified by corporate leaders, their boards and past DBL participants as vital preparation to deal with increasingly complex and dynamic contexts.

Many corporate leaders have gained their formal organisational positions as a consequence of their performance and meritorious achievements, complemented by general management education in courses such as the MBA, but frequently have not had opportunities to undertake higher education CEO level leadership courses suited to senior corporate executives where the outcomes of Master level courses in management have been surpassed. The DBL equips candidates to accelerate their leadership development by assisting them to make explicit their implicit personal contingent leadership paradigm, drawing on their personal leadership journey.

The DBL provides personal challenges and capability enhancement opportunities for experienced executives who have demonstrated the ability to contribute to the success of their enterprises over at least a ten-year period and who have completed a Master Degree in a relevant business or leadership discipline.

The DBL reflects the proposition “when theory is deduced through practice research, it is more likely to successfully guide future practice.” In essence, a good theory is a good practice.

Course Outcomes

Upon completion, candidates will have:

  • A comprehensive understanding of leadership theory and its implications for leadership practice;
  • Greater personal confidence and an ability to innovate and lead adaptation to increasingly complex and uncertain multi-stakeholder contexts;
  • Sensitivity to cultural, social, demographic and economic change and diversity reflected in their decision-making and communication;
  • The ability to critically analyse from a holistic perspective leadership issues likely to emerge and impact the future performance of their organisations;
  • An appreciation of the role corporate leadership has in securing socially responsible outcomes; and
  • Demonstrated and justified an original and significant contribution to the practice of leadership.

Course Summary

The Doctor of Business Leadership commences with four coursework double-subjects covering leadership theories and practice, case analyses, leadership ethics and leadership issues, which provide a background of relevant leadership knowledge, research skills and insights required for the second stage of the course.

Following the completion of the four coursework double-subjects, under supervision candidates evolve and critique (and, if necessary, re-think) a personal contingent leadership paradigm through documentation and analysis of personal leadership experiences, which is then submitted for external examination.

The Doctor of Business Leadership is recognised nationally and internationally under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

The course can be completed remotely via online distance education including video conferencing; a stable broadband internet connection is required. There is no need to visit a campus, all course delivery, communication and assessment is undertaken online.

Who should apply?

The types of executives who should apply for admission to the Doctor of Business Leadership include, for example:

  • Experienced senior executives preparing to take on more significant leadership roles;
  • Business unit leaders aspiring to CEO-level positions;
  • Leaders of substantial teams wishing to broaden and boost their career trajectory;
  • CEO-level leaders looking for an opportunity to consolidate and demonstrate contributions to leadership practice throughout their career.

Admission Criteria

Applicants to the doctoral programme are expected to satisfy the following academic criteria:

  • Possession of a Master’s degree by thesis or dissertation appropriate to the professional field of the applicant; or
  • Possession of a Master’s degree by coursework appropriate to the professional field of the applicant completed at a superior standard; or
  • Possession of a Bachelor's degree with Honours (typically 1st Class or Class 2A Honours level or equivalent); or
  • In exceptional circumstances, an equivalent academic background that is considered by the University to be appropriate preparation for independent study and research work at the doctoral level.

An applicant may be required to satisfy the University that they are able to understand and communicate in both written and spoken English at a level adequate for the purpose of pursuing doctoral-level research. To proceed to stage 2 the candidate will need to present a Critique proposal that satisfies their Review Panel.

In addition to the academic criteria listed above, applicants are normally expected to have a minimum of 10 years of relevant professional leadership practice experience to be admitted to the course.

Former Students Say:

"Following completion of the DBL I have been given the confidence and ability to accept and successfully complete leadership challenges that I would not have otherwise attempted.

One of the major benefits from completion of the DBL has been the improvement in my ability to mentor other leaders. Since I completed the DBL I have been called upon to provide leadership in overcoming significant challenges faced by a number of organisations with whom I have been involved. My ability to provide this leadership has been greatly enhanced by my participation in the DBL.

The DBL has also enabled me to better recognise, prioritise, and critically evaluate high priority emerging leadership issues and also understand and apply appropriate strategies in developing arguments in major negotiations."

Dr John Harvey AO, former Director, IBM

"From my study of leadership theory and its evolution, I reasoned that in the dynamic environment facing the Cambodian Public Sector it was essential to move away from the traditional hierarchical command approach and adopt a participative leadership approach.

As proposed in my leadership paradigm, I could see that the success of the reform depended largely on the commitment, accountability, and integrity of leaders at all levels of the Ministry of Economy and Finance who were able to communicate, empower, and encourage the participation of key stakeholders and developed cultures that helped foster and support the required change.

Without my involvement in the DBL, I do not think I would have attempted what some, at the time, regarded as a dangerous move. I shall always be extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to undertake the DBL"

Dr Vanak Khan is a senior member of the Cambodian Public Service

"I developed an interest in becoming more deeply involved in the study of leadership and finally decided to undertake a DBL out of personal interest. There followed many examples in which my leadership contributions were enriched by my involvement in the DBL course, including determining a governance structure for a global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations."

Emeritus Professor Frank Billson, Foresight Australia

The Doctor of Business Leadership is offered by the Australian Graduate School of Leadership at Torrens University Australia.

Program taught in:
  • English
Last updated June 27, 2019
This course is Online, Campus based
Start Date
Jan 2020
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