Activist Hedge Funds: Good for Some, Bad for Others?
Recent news cast some doubts about the effects of shareholder activism on firms’ strategic orientation. Hence, the question: 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 Institute) 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.
Why Activist Hedge Funds Target Socially Responsible Firms, and How Executives and Investors Can Counteract Them
Danone’s CEO had to leave his position under the pressure of increasingly powerful and influential activist hedge funds. With their controversial tactics aimed at maximizing shareholder profit, they undermine sustainability practices, which they consider wasteful. Indeed, not only do they tend to suppress the corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of the companies they target, they also target companies with stronger CSR records in the first place, as a new study reveals. But its authors Mark DesJardine, Rodolphe Durand, and Emilio Marti also show that these companies can divert the attention of activist hedge funds, and that policymakers and socially minded investors can intervene, too.
How Corporate Political Activism Fuels Innovation
What do companies gain when they make political contributions? HEC Paris professor of finance Alexei Ovtchinnikov and his co-authors sought to pinpoint one benefit for firms—increased innovation—and to understand the mechanisms behind it.
4 Lessons From Bringing Design Thinking Into a Business
Design thinking has been hailed as the latest strategy to gain a powerful competitive edge in both innovation and processes. But to be successful, it must involve a major cultural and organizational shift. Two researchers and Thales Chief Design Officer share the lessons from their analysis of bringing design thinking to technology giant Thales.
What Approach and What Future for Companies Hit by COVID-19? Managing Contradictions in the Affected Companies
What we are experiencing is similar to an earthquake of strong magnitude. Everyone agrees that there will be a before and after Covid-19. Whilst this earthquake assails us all, we do have control of the choices and decisions to be made. These will determine how crippled or strengthened we will be by the end... As always in times of crisis there are losers and winners, the cards are redealt.
Covid-19: How Helpful Are the EU and French Policies to Reduce the Impact of the Recession?
The propagation of the coronavirus Covid-19 and the consequent preventive measures and restrictions taken worldwide have had an impact on the global economy. In this interview, Tomasz Michalski, Associate Professor of Economics at HEC Paris, explains the effects of this recession and shares his insights on the policies just launched by France.
The Challenge of Different National Leaderships for Tackling Covid-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, we observe starkly divergent approaches being experimented across the European Union. In this interview, Alberto Alemanno, Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law at HEC Paris, explains this lack of coordination between the governments and its consequences, and shares his insights on what could be improved in this diverse decision-making setting.
The Taboos and Ambiguities of the Prevailing Narrative on Corporate Social Responsibility
In an article published this month in the journal Business & Society1, Aurélien Feix, research fellow at HEC, and Déborah Philippe, HEC alumna and professor at the University of Lausanne, analyze narratives that promote voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices as a privileged means to combat social inequality and environmental degradation. In view of the similarities that exist between these narratives, the authors argue that they must be conceived of as variants of one and the same “metanarrative of CSR”. They show that this metanarrative stays ambivalent about crucially important questions, including that of the results that can realistically be expected from activities performed voluntarily by business firms that are bound by profitability constraints, and subjected to the capitalist growth imperative. Therefore, they call for challenging the comforting, but largely inconsequential, rhetoric of the metanarrative of CSR.
The Key to Involving the Private Sector More in Public-Private Partnerships
In a context of tightening of public purse strings, governments increasingly rely on public-private partnerships (PPP) to design, build, finance, maintain and operate infrastructures and services, were once purely state managed. This includes traditional infrastructures, such as bridges and roads, and services, such as schools and hospitals. Researchers have found that the key factor in attracting strong private partners to build efficient PPPs is the quality of national institutions.
Understanding and Improving e-Government Website Usage
Administrations invest significant time and money into the development of e-government websites. Ultimately, the reward is cost savings and greater efficiency for governments, but this depends on the public’s initial adoption and continued use of the sites. A new research paper investigates the factors that influence people’s usage of e-government sites and offers tips to improve service quality.