Professional and Alumni

Reflective Human Action

Acknowledgement: This course was adapted from Leadership: Reflective Human Action

(Andrews, Mitstifer, Rehm, Vaughn, 1995)
by Susan S. Stratton and Dorothy I. Mitstifer.
Copyright © 2001, Kappa Omicron Nu.

Reflective Human Action

Introduction and Course Syllabus

Welcome to Reflective Human Action! This eight week online course is sponsored by Kappa Omicron Nu as a contribution to leadership development. Leadership is a popular topic in education and business but Reflective Human Action puts a different twist on the subject. Self-development, after all, is a personal choice, and this course enables persons to take charge of their lives. In return for this “freebie” we ask only that you write your “story”—a sort of testimonial—about how you used the content of this course and what the outcomes were. You may send your story to

You, of course, know that copyright law holds that use of this material for purposes other than your personal self-development requires advance approval. Approval can be acquired through

There are at least four choices for utilizing the course:

1. Knowledge - Read the text to learn about leadership, especially reflective human action. The "e-lectures" are identified by the following symbol:

2. Experiential Knowledge - Read the text and select several exercises that increase your competence in selected areas.

3. Self-Managed Life Change - Read the text and complete the whole series of exercises in order to make a major difference in your life.

4. Life Change facilitated by Telementoring or E-mail Mentoring - Enhance the process with a mentor selected by you, or contact Kappa Omicron Nu to supply a mentor (there may be a cost associated with this choice). Requests can be made through

The focus of this leadership course is to lay the groundwork for the process of reflective human action. This process is an active, mind-engaging method of meaning-making in a community of practice.

The first half of this course focuses on the natural law of systems. Systems exhibit the same principles regardless of what type of system is present. So understanding how natural law creates self-organization of the system will give a leader a tremendous advantage in being confident that a chaotic situation does not require control, but rather acceptance of the chaos. The system will naturally move to sharing information, developing relationships and embracing a vision. This concept is found in Margaret Wheatley’s work entitled, Leadership and the New Science (1994).

The second half of the course focuses on the work of Robert Terry (1993). Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action offers us several tools to examine situations. First, Terry’s work begins with a foundation that underlies all action. That foundation includes authenticity, ethical sensibility and spirituality. Secondly, Terry gives us the Action Wheel, which helps leaders appropriately frame issues, which leads to effective solutions and interventions. Finally, Terry gives us the 7 C’s of Authenticity, which helps us examine whether we have found our authentic self.

Finding our authentic selves takes private reflection, noticing who we are in the present moment, and recognizing the influences of the system to which we belong. Much of this course will require true “inner” work.

Components of the Reflective Human Action Model (below) will be explored throughout the course.

Reflective Human Action Model

Reflective Human Action Model

To do this course well, you will need:

  • The Supplemental Textbook – Leadership: Reflective Human Action.
    Order from Kappa Omicron Nu ((727) 940-2658 ext. 2003 –
  • A private journal
  • Some time management

The following topics will be covered in this course.

Week 1: Theoretical Framework: The Nature of Reality
Week 2: Experiential Learning: Core Principles of the New Reality
Week 3. Theoretical Framework: Core Features of Reflective Human Action
Week 4. Experiential Learning: Core Principles of Reflective Human Action
Week 5: Theoretical Framework: Applying the Issues of Action
Week 6: Experiential Learning: Framing Issues
Week 7. Theoretical Framework: RHA—An Uncommon Journey to Leadership
Week 8: Exploratory Learning: Personal Leadership Styles

Final Paper: The Power of Personal Mission Statements and Reflective Human Action

Each week there will be at least one reading, discussion question, and activity. However, some weeks may require more than one activity.

As for time management, you should plan the following sequence of events each week:

Pick up the e-lecture, reading assignments, and activity(ies) on Friday; that way you can plan your week around completion of the activities. Reading should be completed by Tuesday. Your activities should be well underway by Tuesday. Your participation in the discussion should take place later in the week.

So grab your journals and let’s get to work!!

Week 1: Theoretical Framework: The Nature of Reality



Andrews, F. A., Mitstifer, D. I., Rehm, M., & Vaughn, G. G. (1995). Leadership: Reflective Human Action. East Lansing, MI: Kappa Omicron Nu.
Terry, R. W. (1993). Authentic leadership: Courage in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wheatley, M. J. (1994). Leadership and the new science: Learning about organization from an orderly universe. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.