Skip to main content
About HEC About HEC
Summer School Summer School
Faculty & Research Faculty & Research
Master’s programs Master’s programs
Bachelor Programs Bachelor Programs
MBA Programs MBA Programs
PhD Program PhD Program
Executive Education Executive Education
HEC Online HEC Online
About HEC
Overview Overview
Who
We Are
Who
We Are
Egalité des chances Egalité des chances
HEC Talents HEC Talents
International International
Campus
Life
Campus
Life
Sustainability Sustainability
Diversity
& Inclusion
Diversity
& Inclusion
Stories Stories
The HEC
Foundation
The HEC
Foundation
Summer School
Youth Programs Youth Programs
Summer programs Summer programs
Online Programs Online Programs
Faculty & Research
Overview Overview
Faculty Directory Faculty Directory
Departments Departments
Centers Centers
Chairs Chairs
Grants Grants
Knowledge@HEC Knowledge@HEC
Master’s programs
Master in
Management
Master in
Management
Master's
Programs
Master's
Programs
Double Degree
Programs
Double Degree
Programs
Bachelor
Programs
Bachelor
Programs
Summer
Programs
Summer
Programs
Exchange
students
Exchange
students
Student
Life
Student
Life
Our
Difference
Our
Difference
Bachelor Programs
Overview Overview
Course content Course content
Admissions Admissions
Fees and Financing Fees and Financing
MBA Programs
MBA MBA
Executive MBA Executive MBA
TRIUM EMBA TRIUM EMBA
PhD Program
Overview Overview
HEC Difference HEC Difference
Program details Program details
Research areas Research areas
HEC Community HEC Community
Placement Placement
Job Market Job Market
Admissions Admissions
Financing Financing
FAQ FAQ
Executive Education
Home Home
About us About us
Management topics Management topics
Open Programs Open Programs
Custom Programs Custom Programs
Events/News Events/News
Contacts Contacts
HEC Online
Overview Overview
Degree Program Degree Program
Executive certificates Executive certificates
MOOCs MOOCs
Summer Programs Summer Programs
Youth programs Youth programs

THINK

Purposeful Leadership

With Purposeful Leadership, we do research to unleash human potential by placing purpose at the heart of leadership. Our world-class research team is working to understand the conditions that make purpose a driver of both personal fulfilment and organizational performance.

 

What the research demonstrates

Most of us have the intuition that a concrete goal that goes beyond profit maximization is essential for companies’ effectiveness and performance. But evidence indicates that simply having a purpose does not necessarily improve organizational effectiveness nor performance. Why should it be? Purposes come in multiple forms and shapes and at least half of them could be energizing and the other half cheap talk, resulting in a null effect on average.

What researchers have found to be crucial for purpose to result in higher performance is how clearly employees perceive their organizations’ purpose and how authentic this purpose is in relation to practice

We also know that performance benefits from enhanced engagement toward activities not directly related to financial performance (pro-bono, corporate social initiatives in general) and better coordination among organizational members.
 

How then can purposeful leadership have an impact on performance?

 

This impact is actually channeled through an increase in labor productivity and current research suggests that this increase relies on two connected mechanisms: one, an increase in deeper trust and loyalty; two, an increase in dedication and autonomy.

Thus, we assume that the fusion of the purpose and the strategy of a company, driven by a purposeful leadership that creates trust and engagement, together allows companies to improve performance through better coordination and higher engagement. 

schéma fusion of the purpose and the strategy


 
Managers are expected to help their teams develop a clear sense of their organizations’ purpose and how their everyday work is related to this purpose. The way and the degree to which managers achieve this varies considerably, but the more actively managers engage in behaviors intended to communicate the organizations’ purpose, the more clearly their teams will perceive it.

For all these reasons, we are thrilled to conduct research on purposeful leadership.

 

Latest Research Papers Published in Scientific Journals

  • Rodolphe Durand, From the Boardroom: Making Purpose Research Relevant for Practice, Strategy Science, 2023
  • Durand R. & Gouvard G. (2022) An audience-based theory of firm purposefulness, Lockwood, C. and Soublière, J.-F. (Ed.) Advances in Cultural Entrepreneurship (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 80), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, 193-216
  • Durand R. and Huynh C-W (2021) Legitimacy Judgments and Prosociality: Organizational Purpose Explained, in Handbook on the Business of Sustainability: The Organization, Implementation, and Practice of Sustainable Growth, Gerry George, Martine R. Haas, Havovi Joshi, Anita McGahan and Paul Tracey (eds), Edward Elgar Publishing, Chetelham, UK, 42-60

 

Examples of Research

The S&O Purpose Day 2023 has permitted to it's four PhD's affiliated students, Nauman Asghar, Pauline Asmar, Pauline Asmar, Chang-Wa Huynh, to present their research, around topics such as: 

  • How autonomy and trust combine to stimulate innovation team culture (but only when leaders relate team work to organizational purpose);
  • Leaders’ purpose-based communication and how it enhances their team’s commitment.
  • How the moral dimension of purpose can tamper down the attractiveness of a company;
  • How the combination of purpose and greater autonomy for manager enhances firm performance;
  • And how relevant purpose communication can neutralize age and gender dissimilarities between a team and its leader.

Collection of Purpose Booklet

APPROACHES TO PURPOSEFUL LEADERSHIP  

Purposeful leadership offers new managerial responses to contemporary social demands and technological developments by proposing to give a meaning to action taken in organizations. Several approaches to purposeful leadership, rooted in distinct...

ARE WE ALL EQUALLY SENSITIVE TO PURPOSE IN THE WORKPLACE?

The motivation behind individuals’ decisions is a central topic in nearly every field of study. If the self-interest hypothesis has been predominant for several decades, the exploration of how concerns for others might meddle with motivation in the...

THE DUAL EFFECT OF PURPOSE ON TEAMS

In this study, we investigate and precisely measure the channels through which purpose-based leadership improves (or not) team-level cooperation and innovativeness. In particular, we evidence that purposebased leadership strengthens trust between...

CORPORATE PURPOSE, MANAGERIAL AUTONOMY, AND PERFORMANCE

Corporate purpose - the raison d’être of a company beyond pure profit-making - has made a comeback in the business world. Despite its origins in the early 20th century, where it was believed that top executives’ role was to foster a common purpose...

Research Team

Rodolphe Durand
Professor, Strategy and holder of the Joly Family Purposeful Leadership Chair
Jin Wook CHANG
Korea University Assistant Professor, Management
Yoonjin CHOI
Yoonjin Choi
LBS Assistant Professor, Organizational Behavior
Audrey Holm
Assistant Professor, Management & Human Resources
julien jourdan HEC
Associate Professor, Management & Human Resources
Hyejun Kim
Assistant Professor, Strategy and Business Policy
Ekaterina Netchaeva
Assistant Professor, Management & Human Resources
Crystal Shi
Assistant Professor, Accounting and Management Control
Santosh Srinivas - HEC
Assistant Professor, Management & Human Resources
Georg WERNICKE
Assistant Professor, Strategy and Business Policy
Nauman ASGHAR 2
Ph.D. Student, Strategy and Business Policy
Pauline ASMAR 2
Ph.D. Student, Strategy and Business Policy
chang-wa huynh - HEC
Ph.D. Student, Strategy and Business Policy
Andrew Montandon
Ph.D. Student, Strategy and Business Policy
Harrison MUNRO-CLARK
Harrison Munro-Clark
Ph.D Student, Strategy and Business Policy