Amsterdam, Netherlands

Leadership in Corporations: a Movie Learning Experience

when 1 July 2023 - 15 July 2023
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 1050

Corporations are complex environments, sometimes difficult to navigate and frustrating, other times fertile ground for your personal and professional flourishing. This course uses cinematic storytelling to draw you into the world of knowledge and skills required from a recognised leadership talent. The course is structured around the film 'Crossroads Life', a real-life case of a leader in a global corporation (now also a movie that won multiple awards). However, the course also uses other management cases, movies and current unfolding affairs as examples as we progress together in our leadership discovery journey. You will actively participate in class discussion, role plays, quizzes and group work, as well as build your own personal learning diary and ultimately your very own leadership movie!

Course leader

Emilia Bunea

Target group

This course is ideal for ambitious young people who are considering or have already embarked on a leadership career in corporations, after completing their bachelor studies or while working on their masters' degrees. However, the course also speaks volumes to more experienced corporate managers too, who will recognise their own stories in the cases and stories being presented and who will be in the safe, experienced hands of a lecturer with over 20 years of executive corporate experience.

Students should have been exposed to basic organisational behaviour and/or management topics, either through academic learning or through practical experience.

Course aim

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

- Have a nuanced understanding of what makes effective leaders in corporations and the importance of context, seniority level and follower characteristics.
- Understand the separate dimensions of emotional intelligence, its role in leadership and its interaction with context (e.g. followers, company culture, power dynamics, high job demands).
- Review cognitive, interpersonal, business & strategic skills and their relative weights at different management levels.
- Appreciate individual differences, their correlation with leadership effectiveness and practical applications (e.g. leadership tips for introverts).
- Know about McCauley’s leadership levels and where one might find oneself in this hierarchy.
- Deepen awareness of different leadership styles, e.g. transformational, authentic, transactional and laissez-faire leadership, with a focus on what transformational leadership may mean in different contexts.
- Defend the importance of self-management for sustainable leadership.
- Be familiar with the concept of psychological capital and its importance for leaders.
- Understand the different types of stressors impacting leaders. Including self-generated stressors connected to leader “impostorism” and self-handicapping behaviour.
- Appreciate the authenticity challenges leaders increasingly face including the challenge of staying “true to oneself” while adapting to the requirements of a new job.
- Have a new understanding of value-based leadership, including its pitfalls.
- Be aware of the role serious leisure can play to support leaders in responding to executive job demands.
- Have practical knowledge of cultural differences and how to assess a new culture.
- Be aware of the elements that compose culture (of an organization, department, geographical unit) as per Hofstede’s “onion” and of questions one could ask to assess a new culture;
- Have practical knowledge of leading across country cultural dimensions.
- Argue in favour of the importance of trust, implicit leadership theories, and motivation in leaders’ relationship with their followers.
- Debate about the conditions for effective teams and appreciate the challenges of social distance on transformational leadership and the risk of falling prey to the fundamental attribution error.
- Have a practical and complex understanding of why large programmes succeed or fail in corporations, of Kotter’s eight steps for successful change and of the crucial role played by leadership.
- Argue in favour or against power and politics in organisations.
- Be familiar with French & Raven’s bases of power, appreciate the interplay between leaders’ powerful and humble leadership style.
- Reconcile political skills and leader authenticity.
- Value political choices vs. “doing the right thing” (utilitarian vs. Kantian ethics).
- Be aware of ethical dilemmas in leadership (e.g. the competing values of a leader’s responsibility for their collective and a leader’s broader organisational citizenship; utilitarian decision making; the effect of instrumental networking on felt authenticity; moral courage in everyday management work.

Credits info

3 EC
45 contact hours

Fee info

EUR 1050: Tuition fees two-week course

VU Students/PhD candidates and employees of VU Amsterdam* or an Aurora Network Partner €700
Students at Partner Universities of VU Amsterdam €950
Students and PhD candidates at non-partner universities of VU Amsterdam €1050
Professionals €1250

Early Bird offer
Applications received before 15 March (14 March CET 23:59) receive €50 Early Bird discount!


VU Amsterdam Summer School offers two kinds of scholarships: the Equal Access Scholarship and the Photographer Scholarship. More information can be found on the VU Amsterdam Summer School website.