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How to find meaning in our work? What are the conditions of collective action? Is a noble goal only possible in the field of philanthropy or Corporate Social Responsibility, or can it be the main focus of a company and its activities? What principles, what methods can guide actions of today's leaders? How to create an environment that allows organizations' members to be themselves and to flourish, personally and professionally?

Purpose, or 'raison d'être', is a common good that commits and line up all co-workers of a company to the same goals. Conversely, the loss of this common purpose can be the first source of employee disengagement.

However, binding together workers' individual purposes and the company's projects is not obvious, specifically when organizations multiply contradictory conjunctions on the field. Reflecting on this issue and concrete responses to it is a major challenge at the heart of HEC's mission.

Best Buy Chairman and CEO Hubert Joly and his Alma Mater signed an agreement on July 4, creating HEC’s first-ever personally endowed Chair, devoted to purposeful leadership. The 1981 graduate, who was recently recognized by Barron’s as one of the top 30 CEOs in the world, is donating €3.7 million ($4.3 million) to finance the creation of the Joly Family Endowed Chair in Purposeful Leadership. The academic director of the Society and Organizations Center (S&O), Professor Rodolphe Durand has been named as the inaugural Chair holder. Cécile de Lisle is the executive director.

The Objectives of the Chair

The chair aims at answering the question of purpose of an organization and how to articulate it with the search of meaning of individuals


Understand what place the leader has to give to purpose (and which purpose) in order to ensure genuine adhesion


Train to purpose and leadership by experience and humanities


Accompany all HEC students in the construction of their purpose


The purpose of this chair is to identify and bring together the best international experts around the theme of purpose in business, to support research conducted by the best HEC professors to train future generations of CEOs in this field, and to offer an annual scholarship to a distinguished student who demonstrates a strong interest in this issue. 


For the first time, all 'Grande Ecole' first year students (who will get into HEC Paris in september 2019) will follow a specific course lasting for the total duration of their degree, aimed at raising awareness about the role of purpose in business and help them to put their own purposes and values at the very heart of their professional project.

This course will run as follows: 

Purposeful leadership chair pedagogy


Discover (L3)

Mature (M1)

Build (M2+Ms, MBA, Execed)



  • Discover the issues of purpose in economic action / work


  • Mature the place of purpose in professional projects
  • Help students to place purpose in the heart of their professional projects 


3 axes:

  • “Be yourself” : Purposefully lead self – Authenticity axis
  • “Be with” : Purposefully lead others – Team leadership axis
  • “Be for” : Purposefully lead organizations – Mission axis

Digital course: 

  • Strong focus on humanities
  • Including leaders testimonies & testimonies of their teams
  • Including best L3 short videos
  • Coaching on the search for positive externalities of students professional projects
  • Encourage the research of the meaning of its action to become a priority axis
  • Fostering purposeful entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship 



HEC Paris - Joly Family Endowed Chair in Purposeful Leadership
Best Buy Chairman and CEO Hubert Joly and his Alma Mater signed an agreement on July 4, creating HEC’s first-ever personally endowed Chair, devoted to purposeful leadership . The 1981 graduate, who was...
Hubert Joly
In a rousing introduction to Hubert Joly at the Matins HEC, H&C editor-in-chief Arthur Haimovici described Best Buy’s CEO as being responsible for developing “a new model for the retail industry in the...