Corporate Leadership

Taught by a former corporate CEO and CFO who is now a leadership scholar, this course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of leadership, focusing specifically on leadership in corporations. Looking at leadership from both a theoretical and practical standpoint and from the perspective of both formal and informal leadership positions, you will gain insight into the different approaches to leading “up”, leading “laterally” and  “down.” It also aims to help students on their journey of self-development as leaders, using a positive psychology framework.
Course levelAdvanced Bachelor/Master, open to PhD staff and professionals
Session 2
18 July to 1 August 2020
Recommended session 1 course combination
Foundations of International Business, The Economics of Urbanization, Creativity and Innovation (with Cardiff University), Organizational Behaviour Management
Co-ordinating lecturersEmilia Bunea MBA, CFA
Other lecturerstba
Form(s) of tuitionLectures, case studies, simulations, excursions, group work
Form(s) of assessmentTeam-based homework assignments, in-class presentation, and class participation
ECTS3 credits
Contact hours45
Tuition fee€1150, read more about what's included.
This course is for advanced Bachelor’s and Master students interested in a corporate career. PhD students and professionals are also very welcome to sign up for the course. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.

This course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of leadership, focusing specifically on leadership in corporations. Looking at leadership from both a theoretical and practical standpoint and from the perspective of both formal and informal leadership positions, you will gain insight into the different approaches to leading “up”, leading “laterally” and  “down.” It also aims to help students on their journey of self-development as leaders, using a positive psychology framework.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to: 

  • Understand the different conceptualizations of leadership from individual competence  (leadership styles, skills, identity) to collective process (distributed leadership, the social construction of leadership) in which followers are as important as the leaders (Day & Dragoni, 2015). 
  • Show awareness of the self and others’ implicit leadership theories (Offermann & Coats, 2018). 
  • Appreciate the crucial role of context, and why different contexts require different skills (Mumford, Friedrich, Caughron, & Byrne, 2007; Mumford, Marks, Connelly, Zaccaro, & Reiter-Palmon, 2000).  
  • Understand the importance of storytelling and creating meaning in a leadership context. There will be a variety of practical tasks during the course to reinforce this concept, including developing one’s own personal “leadership journey” story. 
  • Show familiarity with the components of psychological capital, the “HERO” within: Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism (Luthans & Youssef-Morgan, 2017) and have an initial “toolbox” for developing and maintaining high PsyCap levels.  
  • Appreciate the value, as well as the limitations, of authentic leadership (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Sidani & Rowe, 2018), and have developed an awareness of one’s values and their application in an authentic leadership context while also understanding the paradoxes that authentic leadership entails.  
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of corporate-setting phenomena such as “the shark smelling blood effect” (based on victimology theory, Curtis, 1974) and the “impostor syndrome” (Kets de Vries, 1990) and knowledge of how to address them. 
  • Appreciate the many and often contradictory stakeholder expectations placed on corporations’ top management and discover how and what type of leadership can satisfy these expectations. 
  • Show awareness of the constraints placed by a corporation’s organization and governance on its leaders at all levels. 
  • Show an understanding of the ethical grounding of leadership and its importance for corporate governance. Analyse key corporate governance mechanisms, their interplay with how the organization is managed, and how governance mechanisms seek to address conflicts of interest inherent to corporate realities. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of leadership approaches and the high-level methodology required for large-scale change processes in corporate settings.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to: 

  • Understand the different conceptualizations of leadership from individual competence  (leadership styles, skills, identity) to collective process (distributed leadership, the social construction of leadership) in which followers are as important as the leaders (Day & Dragoni, 2015). 
  • Show awareness of the self and others’ implicit leadership theories (Offermann & Coats, 2018). 
  • Appreciate the crucial role of context, and why different contexts require different skills (Mumford, Friedrich, Caughron, & Byrne, 2007; Mumford, Marks, Connelly, Zaccaro, & Reiter-Palmon, 2000).  
  • Understand the importance of storytelling and creating meaning in a leadership context. There will be a variety of practical tasks during the course to reinforce this concept, including developing one’s own personal “leadership journey” story. 
  • Show familiarity with the components of psychological capital, the “HERO” within: Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism (Luthans & Youssef-Morgan, 2017) and have an initial “toolbox” for developing and maintaining high PsyCap levels.  
  • Appreciate the value, as well as the limitations, of authentic leadership (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Sidani & Rowe, 2018), and have developed an awareness of one’s values and their application in an authentic leadership context while also understanding the paradoxes that authentic leadership entails.  
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of corporate-setting phenomena such as “the shark smelling blood effect” (based on victimology theory, Curtis, 1974) and the “impostor syndrome” (Kets de Vries, 1990) and knowledge of how to address them. 
  • Appreciate the many and often contradictory stakeholder expectations placed on corporations’ top management and discover how and what type of leadership can satisfy these expectations. 
  • Show awareness of the constraints placed by a corporation’s organization and governance on its leaders at all levels. 
  • Show an understanding of the ethical grounding of leadership and its importance for corporate governance. Analyse key corporate governance mechanisms, their interplay with how the organization is managed, and how governance mechanisms seek to address conflicts of interest inherent to corporate realities. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of leadership approaches and the high-level methodology required for large-scale change processes in corporate settings.
An excursion to a corporation in the financial sector in the Netherlands will likely be arranged and/or a senior leader from such an organization will be invited to speak to the students.
  • Avolio, B. J., & Gardner, W. L. 2005. Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 16(3): 315-338. 
  • Day, D. V., & Dragoni, L. 2015. Leadership Development: An Outcome-Oriented Review Based on Time and Levels of Analyses. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Vol 2, 2: 133-156. 
  • Kets De Vries, M.F.R. (1990) The impostor syndrome: Developmental and societal issues. Human Relations 43(7): 667–686. 
  • Luthans, F., & Youssef-Morgan, C. M. 2017. Psychological Capital: An Evidence-Based Positive 
  • Approach. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Vol 4, 4: 339366. 
  • Mumford, M. D., Friedrich, T. L., Caughron, J. J., & Byrne, C. L. 2007. Leader cognition in real-world settings: How do leaders think about crises? Leadership Quarterly, 18(6): 515-543. 
  • Mumford, M. D., Marks, M. A., Connelly, M. S., Zaccaro, S. J., & Reiter-Palmon, R. 2000. Development of leadership skills: Experience and timing. Leadership Quarterly, 11(1): 87-114. 
  • Offermann, L. R., & Coats, M. R. 2018. Implicit theories of leadership: Stability and change over two decades. Leadership Quarterly, 29(4): 513-522. 
  • Sidani, Y. M., & Rowe, W. G. 2018. A reconceptualization of authentic leadership: Leader legitimation via follower-centered assessment of the moral dimension. Leadership Quarterly, 29(6): 623-636.

Bunea 1 
Emilia Bunea, MBA, CFA is a corporate leader with over 15 years of board and C-level experience at multinational firms in the Netherlands and abroad, most recently as CEO of a company with 800 staff and 2 million clients. She holds a Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma and she is currently a director at a financial services company and a supermarket chain and a leadership researcher at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Her research has been featured on Harvard Business Review’s website and in London Business School Review and has been nominated for an Academy of Management award. She has held courses, guest lectures and keynote presentations in over 10 countries. She has recently delivered a TEDx talk at London Business School on the powerful role of serious leisure in leaders’ lives, to wide acclaim.

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