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Society & Organizations Institute

Purpose Center

Purpose Center

Purposeful Leadership is a fundamental part of HEC Paris' mission to shape the leaders of tomorrow who understand that their obligations go beyond the bottom line and contribute to the greater good in society.

purpose center s&o logo


Confronted with burning questions, humankind and its multiple forms of economic organizations must renew its roots and practices

We have a wide scale responsibility to act collectively and urgently to face today’s challenges in a world that is increasingly interdependent socially, economically and environmentally.

In this context, the expectations of all stakeholders have evolved. The role of companies needs to go far beyond creating just financial value. Economic performance goes hand-in-hand with positive social and environmental contribution, and businesses can only be successful in the long term if they also enable all of their stakeholders, community and the environment to thrive.

This new environment urgently calls for a new type of Leadership. HEC Paris has decided to play a critical role in this necessary and urgent refounding of business. The objective of the S&O Institute is to prepare tomorrow’s leaders to create a future where businesses strive to create long-term value that benefits customers, employees and communities. By placing Purpose and Leadership at the heart of strategy, we promote the leadership spirit that will contribute to redesigning a responsible and inclusive capitalism to face the challenges of the 21st century.


The first essentials questions guiding Purposeful Leadership


  • Why do we work ? What is the purpose of a company or an organization ? 
  • How can we find meaning in our work ? Is a noble purpose solely in the realm of philanthropy or Corporate Social Responsibility, or can we make this the core focus of a company and all its activities ? 
  • What principles and practices can guide the actions of today’s leaders ? 
  • How can we create an environment in which individual members of an organization can be themselves and blossom personally and professionally ? 
  • Can Purposeful Leadership result in superior business and financial performance ? 


Funded with the support of Hubert Joly H81, Executive Chairman of Best Buy, the Joly Family Endowed Chair In Purposeful Leadership is a first and significant step to positioning the school as a recognized center of global excellence for the study and dissemination of Purposeful Leadership.


hubert joly pictureI believe that leadership is about purposeful, authentic, human service.


En quête de Sens

Book Release: "En quête de sens". Dialogue between top leaders and young talents

Sincere and uncompromising testimonies about the company's mission.

Read more


HEC Paris - SASI Ideas Festival - Sept. 2022
HEC’s 2022-2023 academic year kicked off with talks by a host of outstanding guest speakers largely devoted to the world’s most pressing environmental and societal issues. In the context of geopolitical...
Binome programme purpose M2
For the second consecutive year, the S&O Institute's Purpose Center is renewing and expanding its program for HEC Paris majors and MSc students. This atypical course is based on a "companionship" approach...
signal Forbes - vignette
From August 21 to 24, all the new students from the Master in Management were in Chamonix for the "Purpose and Sustainability" seminar. The objective? To enable them to understand the challenges of the...
Livre en quete de sens vignette
The book "En quête de sens: dialogue entre dirigeants et futurs dirigeants" (In search of meaning: dialogue between leaders and future leaders), published on March 16 by Dunod, is a choral work in which...
HEC Talks with Alan JOPE, CEO of Unilever - April 13, 2022
Unilever CEO since 2019, Alan Jope has stamped his leadership qualities on the consumer goods business by facing head-on the world’s social and environmental challenges. The charismatic Scotsman was the...
Rodolphe Durand & Denis Gromb - The Case Centre 2022 Awards
For the first time in its 32-year history, the Case Centre, a leading independent case-publishing platform, has rewarded not one, but two, HEC academics in the same year for their outstanding case work in...
le pont d'or au Vietnam
People have been banding together since the days they were hunting mammoths, and this natural inclination to work collectively has never ended, says Julien Jourdan, Associate Professor of Management &...
Etudiants HEC Paris - Chamonix (© Quentin Iglésis - Mountain Path)
For the second time ever, HEC’s first year L3 students began their school career with the off-campus “Purpose & Sustainability” seminar. 370 freshmen converged on the Alpine village of Chamonix for a...
Eloïc Peyrache, Directeur Général d'HEC Paris
Six months ago, we launched a slightly crazy project: to redefine the values and purpose of our school, with the help of the entire HEC community, before the end of the summer. Professors, students...
améliorer et développer les entreprises
Far more than a token nod to more conscientious behaviour, Purposeful Leadership will be a way for businesses to survive the coming decades and make positive changes to the world, affirms HEC Paris...
so institute - Podcast - Hubert Joly - news
HEC Paris invited Best Buy’s Executive Chairperson Hubert Joly to the first in a series of online seminars, organized by the Society & Organizations Institute (S&O). In a wide-ranging Q&A led by S&O...
Purposeful leadership - remise des prix denis machuel - HEC paris
Sodexo CEO Denis Machuel helped bring down the curtain on the three-month freshman course in a closing ceremony featuring 381 students, 18 tutors and a top academic team from the S&O Center. The event...
HEC Paris - Mont Saint-Michel - Purposeful Leadership - Sept. 2019
A year after creating the Joly Family Endowed Chair in Purposeful Leadership, HEC Paris launches its three-year sense and leadership program, destined for the entire HEC Grande Ecole 2019 intake. A...
Purposeful Leadership - soirée de cloture - panel Frérot
The second of the three-tiered Purposeful Leadership program featured 10 business leaders who shared with HEC’s first-year students their professional and personal quests towards purpose. In a high-wire...
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...

S&O - Purpose Center Contacts

Rodolphe Durand
Rodolphe Durand
Academic Director of the Purpose Center, Holder of the Joly Family Chair in Purposeful Leadership
Romain Briat
Romain Briat
Executive Director of the Purpose Center
Carole Coche
Carole Coche
Program Manager of the Purpose Center
Véronique Sarfati
Véronique Sarfati
Program Manager of the Purpose Center

HEC Faculty affiliated to the Center