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S&O Research

To promote the creation of a European way of thinking about enterprise and society



An Institute of Excellence for research

Founded in 2008 under the aegis of Rodolphe Durand, the S&O Institute brings together forty professors and PhD students from HEC Paris. Our research approach combines a broad range of methods tailored to the studied phenomena. It also incorporates theoretical lenses from various disciplines including economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and history, which is then integrated with a management focus. The research is conducted in partnership with other leading academic institutions in Europe and North America.

Research that directly addresses the challenges of our time

The S&O Institute offers new ways of understanding the world, helping organizations reconcile economic priorities with a new series of imperatives. The research conducted by the Institute’s academics tackles concrete issues, yielding results that businesses can immediately put to use in these following areas: climatic constraints, responsible finance, impact investment, social inequality, ethical imperatives, implementation of CRS policies, renewable energy, circular economy, partnership between public and private sector, action of NGOs, incentives at work, diversity in the workplace, liberalization, regulation, and more. 

Research of global significance

The S&O Institute has become a vibrant center of reflection recognized throughout Europe. Over the past four years, the Institute’s members have already produced more than 80 research papers, of which more than half have been published in leading academic journals. Through its publications, academic exchanges and partnerships, organization of international events (the Medici Summer School, the European Theory Development Workshop), and its doctoral scholarship scheme, the S&O Institute is proudly contributing to the development of an international research community concerned with key contemporary challenges.


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We engage in the study of what forms the basis of responsible capitalism.
As crises shake the economy and societies worldwide, can Europe and its legacy of state-firms partnerships and intercultural relationships be a source of knowledge for addressing the key challenges of the XXIst century?

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What you need to know about Sustainability and CSR

S&O Executive Factsheets

Have a look at our collection of 19 factsheets

Latest Research

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Activist Hedge Funds: Good for Some, Bad for Others?

Do activist hedge funds help or harm the companies they target? Mark DesJardine of Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business and Rodolphe Durand of HEC Paris (members of the HEC’s Society & Organizations Center) investigated the long-term effects of hedge fund activism on companies that get targeted by these activists. In their extensive research, they found the value of targeted companies spikes the first year after targeting but drops in later years relative to similar non-targeted companies. In addition, the authors found that being targeted by activist hedge funds put a halt to the broader investment portfolios and socially responsible efforts of companies.

Read the article

Also featured in the Financial Times and the Institutional Investor

Full Press Review on the Hedge Fund and Impact on CSR Research


Labor Market Polarization and the New Geography of Jobs

The labor market is strongly polarized. What consequences on the society? Based on their latest research, professors of Economics Tomasz Michaslki and Eric Mengus explain this "Great Divergence", and give insights on how to find new ways to create added value, both in bigger and smaller cities.

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Also featured in VOXeu


Optimizing Feed-In Tariffs to Boost Renewable Energy Production

Feed-in tariffs (FITs) are crucial tools to increase the adoption of renewable energy technologies. But setting them at the right level (price) is a balancing act. If they are poorly designed, they can backfire, stunting the industry and wasting public money. A duo of HEC researchers, along with a colleague from the University of Texas at Austin, have shown that, to set optimal FIT levels, regulators must take into account the behaviours all players affected, including technology manufacturers.

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Walking the talk: why companies should be politically transparent

More and more companies flaunt their policies regarding social or environmental sustainability. However, these same companies may promote policies that contradict their stated CSR objectives through their political actions. Enough is enough, says a group of top researchers arguing for political transparency in a paper that won the California Management Review’s Best Article Award 2019.

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S&O ARCS Report - Researcher-Practitionner Collaboration on Sustainability Research

Accelerating Researcher-Practitioner in Sustainability Research

The report showcases 7 sustainability research collaboration

Upload and Read the Report
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Social Impact Assessment Strategy Report

Make the best of social impact measurement

Download the report

Academic Events

The S&O Center annually organizes academic workshops and conferences related to corporate sustainability, corporate social responsibility, management, behavioral economics, business performance, etc...

S&O Monthly Research Seminar on campus

On April 21, we were delighted to welcome a remarkable guest speaker: 
HEC Associate Professor of Finance and Member of French Parliament Jean-Noël Barrot to talk about a hot topic of Sectoral Effects of Social Distancing

JN BARROT S&O seminar

Abstract of his paper : 
The health crisis caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus has led many states to take drastic measures of social distancing. By reducing the amount of work, these measures in turn lead to a drop in activity which is difficult to quantify without taking into account the overlapping of sectors. Starting from a standard model of production networks, we analyze the sectoral effects of the shock in the case of France. It is estimated that six weeks of social distancing brings GDP down by 5.6%. Apart from the sectors directly concerned by social distancing measures, those whose added value decreases the most are the upstream sectors, that is to say those furthest from final demand. We estimate the effect of progressive phasing out of social distancing by sector, age, and region.

More Knowledge@HECSocial Distancing: What Will the Economic Fallout Be?

Medici Summer School

The Medici Summer School in Management Studies is a unique opportunity for doctoral students and young researchers to interact with thought leaders in the management field. The Summer School combines lectures and research seminars that contribute to the development of enlightened practice in the management of business.

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Research Partnerships

The S&O Center has cultivated various partnerships ranging from business schools to academic institutions in order to facilitate research on topics including, but not limited to, climactic constraints, social inequality, technological disruption, and corporate social responsibility.

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Dow Chemical plant in South Charleston, West Virginia. West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-highsm-31713)

Walking the Talk: Why Companies Should be Politically Transparent

By Rodolphe Durand

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Activist Hedge Funds: Good for Some, Bad for Others?

By Mark Desjardine, Rodolphe Durand

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Sustainability Indices: Do Investors Actually Care?

By Rodolphe Durand, Luc Paugam, Hervé Stolowy

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The Role of Marketing in Climate Change: Carbon Footprinting and Pricing

By Daniel Halbheer