Research Program

Research objectives

The program is sponsored by the Quality of Life Research Center (Claremont, California) lead by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who created the world-famous Flow theory and who is a legendary pioneer of Positive Psychology and managed by the Corvinus Business School (Budapest, Hungary) and ALEAS Simulations, Inc. (Los Angeles, California).

The broad objectives of the Leadership & Flow Program are:

  1. to extend and apply the Flow concept to the world of organizations and
  2. to make original, empirically-based contributions to the literature and practice of leadership/management.

The research is based on – and extends – the lifetime work of Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont University, California. Flow was initially designed to promote the enrichment and happiness of individuals. In recent years the concept has been extended to organizational performance improvement and leadership development.

Most research on Leadership tries to identify skills for effective leadership without tying those skills – or a subset of those skills – to the different kinds of challenges that organizations typically face. If and when an individual possesses the type of skills most useful for effectively managing particular challenges, he or she will likely gain the “Flow” experience. An organization can greatly improve its performance the greater the number of key employees who experience Flow recurrently. The planned research focuses on identifying and grouping the kinds of managerial/leadership challenges that organizations typically face today and in the foreseeable future.

The expected outcome of the research is to provide prediction and guidance to individuals and organizations how to match skillsets with challenge clusters to achieve more Flow states.

Building on substantial foundations – including the continued active involvement of Prof. Csikszentmihalyi – the objective of the Leadership & Flow program is to create a worldwide community of scholars and practitioners who actively support each other.

The mission of our new Leadership & Flow Program is to extend our current empirical research that goes way beyond case studies, with a view toward finding best practices and applied tools for creating and harnessing Flow at the organizational level.

Research Approach and Method

The planned research focuses on identifying and grouping the kinds of managerial/leadership challenges that organizations typically face today and in the foreseeable future. The expected outcome of the research is to provide prediction and guidance to individuals and organizations on how to match skillsets with challenge clusters.

Leadership & Flow is a special analysis of practicing managers’ (for example, executive MBA students) gameplay data gained from the award-winning leadership simulation game, FLIGBY.

We are using Quantitative and Qualitative research methods at the same time:

  • Quantitative part of the research – The program is based on data gained from FLIGBY online simulation used as secondary data source;
  • Qualitative part of the research – Open questions integrated into the simulation as a part of the gameplay and answered by the participants.

The data generation to support this research is unique, innovative and much more reliable than the data obtained by an individual filling out a questionnaire. The Research Program will rely – for the first time – on a set of data derived from the information gathered from those many thousands who have played, or will play FLIGBY Simulation (Serious Game).

The participant is playing an absorbing game, where his/her answers to the decision the game requires to make is not amenable to manipulation. Thus the individual and/or the organization will obtain Metrix about the player that would be much more reliable and thus more useful than information obtained through standard questionnaires.


Research Network

The three principal sponsors of the global “Leadership and Flow” research program are the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont University (Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi), Corvinus Business School (Dr. Zoltan Buzady), and ALEAS Simulations (CEO Zad Vecsey), shown in the blue circles on the Illustration of the planned organogram:

Program management is coordinated by the two boards shown in white and light blue in the center circle.

Affiliated with the Program will be a network of scholars and institutions interested in teaching with FLIGBY, as well as in research related to the leadership and Flow topics (shown in the small green circles on the right side of Illustration). Initially, we plan to approach leading business schools that have faculty expertise on topics related to management/leadership and Flow; thereafter, any scholar, professional educator and trainer, and the institutions with which they are affiliated, will be welcome to join the Network.

The enlarging and then evolving research network plans to team-up with interested colleagues and experts with different functional and academic interests and credentials; that is, primarily leadership teachers and scholars, those interested in the applications of the Flow concept in various disciplines, statisticians, those with experience in administering publicly-funded research programs, and editors. Naturally, we plan this new academic-professional eco-system to be wide and inclusive, built on the reciprocal benefits that active participants will offer and enjoy.

Characteristics of Invited Academic Partners:

  • Well-credentialed scholars and experts (publications, etc.) in relevant research fields;
  • Ready to take an active part in an innovative management/leadership research;
  • Interested in analyzing and mapping flow-based management/leadership skills and models;
  • Open to employ pioneering and experimental simulation-based (serious gaming) teaching methods;
  • Ready to support content creation for social media outlets connected to the research (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter);
  • Suggests potentially interested qualified scholars/experts as academic partners.

The Managing Board of the Research Program is looking for volunteers (such as pre- or post-Ph.D. students and other young academics) who would be interested in joining the Network, doing such tasks as focused literature search, statistical methodology work reviews, etc. Please contact Dr. Zoltan Buzady, Corvinus Business School.

Gamifying the Data Collection

The “Leadership & Flow” Program is innovative because it gamifiesactive participation in the research process. The data to be analyzed is obtained from the results of those who have completed playing the award-winning online leadership game, FLIGBY.

Serious Game is a kind of digital application whose primary objective is not entertainment but the enhancement of certain skills and self-knowledge.

FLIGBY is the official Flow-program for decision-makers by Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and ALEAS Simulations. FLIGBY’s leadership development program combines video-game learning experience with benchmark-based competence assessment.

The competitive advantage of a using FLIGBY is that it maintains the respondents’ motivation at a high level throughout the game – thus players enjoy what they are doing. This contributes greatly to the reliability and relevance of the results.

FLOW is Good Business™ („FLIGBY®”) is the ultimate leadership online simulation game in the world of serious games. Developed over 3 years by an international team (incl. Prof. Csikszentmihalyi) with an investment of $1 million, the FLIGBY simulation focuses on the managerial challenges of the imaginary (but fully realistic) Turul Winery in California.

The simulation helps discover Flow in simple steps: first by understanding the role of Flow, the joy and positive business outcomes it provides, then by showing you ways to facilitate it. As a result of the learning process, players will improve their skills and become more successful leaders. The simulation tests leadership skills, provides a unique Flow-based self-assessment opportunities and guides the player on a path towards optimizing a “Flow-Centric” corporate culture.

The leadership style of the former manager of Turul has destroyed the spirit of the management team that used to be cohesive. You are the newly appointed manager, whose task as a player is to build a well functioning team out of the poorly-motivated, mid-level managerial group.

The aim is to try to bring as many colleagues as possible – even if just for a short time – into a Flow state, by making small and not-so-small decisions, with a view toward improving Turul Winery’s key performance indicators. The game keeps track of your multi-dimensional achievement scores, which are available automatically during the game.

In 2012, FLIGBY won Gold Medal of the „International Serious Play Awards” in the category of Corporate Games in Seattle. With the panel of experts selected FLIGBY as the best digital game made for managers.