VU Center for Leadership & Change

Leadership and Change are two sides of the same coin. Leadership is the art of influencing others in social interactions to address a challenge an organisation is facing. Great leadership has a transformational effect on followers, such that leaders and followers inspire each other to be better versions of themselves, toward greater effectiveness, or higher values. As James McGregor Burns (Pulitzer prize winner) would say, “the test of the leadership function is its contribution to change.” On the other hand, it is hard to think of any strategic change, or regime change, without leadership playing a key role. Change leaders impact the change process by making strategic decisions on what needs to change (‘change content’ / strategic leadership), their visionary, supportive, and participative behaviors determine for a great deal how a change is received (‘change process’), and whether initial goals are ultimately reached (‘outcomes’). But change leadership can also happen spontaneously from the bottom up, from shop floor initiatives, or a middle manager’s innovations. At all these levels leaders can take a moral stance on an issue, mobilize others to do the same, and together spur social change. These are especially powerful episodes of leadership, which essentially form the basis for social movements. In effect, everyone can be change leader in his/her own quest for a better world.

The VU Center for Leadership & Change is a center of expertise, which aims to be platform for research, education, and valorization. As a research platform, the Center offers an opportunity for bold, process-based, and cross-disciplinary research in the area of Leadership and Organizational Change. The Center is open to macro- and micro oriented scholars and welcomes a wide range of methodologies. We build new theory around questions related to leadership and change management and their constructive and destructive effects. The Center of expertise is connected with the full-time Master of Science in Business Administration (i.e., the accredited Leadership and Change Management master programme), with post-graduate training (e.g., in Change Management), and with the executive MBA (e.g., Leading with Purpose). Through our teaching – we teach, for instance, the art of public speaking and visionary communication) – we offer organisational practitioners theoretical and practical insights that help maximise their leadership potential. Finally, the center offers a platform that reaches out to practice, for instance, for advice / sounding board sessions, for collaborative research, and as a center of expertise for evidence-based leadership and change management practices.

For questions / inquiries, please contact dr. Omar N. Solinger (chair;, at the Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam.

Recent news

  • On Friday the 22nd of February, Timothy A. Judge gave a talk on ‘What’s the matter with leadership?’. In his talk, Timothy A. Judge critically appraised the state of leadership research today, and proposed an agenda for future leadership research that is executed in cooperation with researchers that are connected to the VU Center for Leadership & Change. Judge’s research has been cited over 65,000 times, and he has appeared on several lists of the most-cited scholars in business schools.
  • We are happy to announce that the following article is now available online at the Academy of Management Review: Cite as: Solinger. O. N., Jansen, P. G. W., & Cornelissen, J. P. (Forthcoming). The emergence of moral leadership. Academy of Management Review.