PhD Defence Emilia Bunea

Bunea, Emilia
Organisational Behaviour

Dissertation title
Leading and Leisure: How serious leisure influences leaders’ development and effectiveness

Date and location
September 22, 2020 at 9:45 in an online session

Leading and Leisure: How serious leisure influences leaders’ development and effectiveness
Bunea, EmiliaBeing a leader can be central to one’s sense of self. Yet one is never only a leader, but also maybe a parent, a spouse, a friend. These nonwork selves, especially when one identifies with them strongly, influence the leader one. But what happens when one of the leader’s strongest nonwork identities is moonlighting as a DJ, volunteering as a running guide, being an amateur but passionate painter? This dissertation explores how such “serious leisure” pursuits can influence leaders’ development and their effectiveness in the leader role. Its findings reveal that serious leisure can not only provide important resources to the leader role, such as stress management and valuable skills, but is also a source of “diversification” from the overpowering leader identity that threatens to engulf how one defines oneself. Moreover, leaders with serious leisure create numerous connections between the values, qualities and “philosophy” expressed by their nonwork passion and those desirable in their leadership role, making their leader identity not just richer, but also more layered and interesting. This thesis also examines when serious leisure can negatively impact the leader identity, such as when it is practiced at obsessive levels. For leaders and HR departments, this is a message that passion outside of work can encourage and enrich passion for one’s leadership work.

Short biography
Emilia Bunea is a corporate leader with over 15 years of experience as CFO and then CEO of multinational corporations, currently serving on the supervisory boards of several organizations. She has delivered guest lectures at universities and keynote addresses at corporate and industry events in over 10 countries around the world. Her TEDx talk “Why leaders should take their leisure seriously” has been met with wide acclaim. She is a marathon runner and a mother of two.