Generalists vs. Specialists Impact on Firm Performance: The Case of CEOs and Acquisitions
Investing in knowledge diversification or specialization is a topic of interest and debate for employees, managers, and researchers since a long time. In a recent study, Strategy and Management Professors Denisa Mindruta of HEC Paris, Guoli Chen and Philipp Meyer-Doyle of INSEAD and Sterling Huang of the Management University of Singapore, aimed to understand the consequences of corporate decisions of generalist and specialist CEOs on firm performance, by comparing their decisions in all the acquisitions done by U.S. S&P 1500 firms over a ten-year period.
CSR Priorities: Why Companies Benefit From Unique Choices
While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is widely viewed as highly strategic, not all firms address all dimensions of CSR equally, either across or within sectors. But how much latitude have they actually got when deciding which dimensions to prioritize? And is it more profitable to follow industry norms and patterns or to craft a unique CSR strategy? Researchers Leandro Nardi of the HEC Paris S&O Institute, Todd Zenger of the David Eccles School of Business, Sergio Lazzarini of the Ivey Business School, and Sandro Cabral of Insper, show how making strategic investment choices of CSR dimensions can build competitive edge and greater financial value.
Social Media Moderation: Is it Profitable to Fight Fake News?
Digital content-sharing platforms provide important information to citizens around the world, but they also face enormous challenges, not least those posed by malicious, online information manipulators. Attempts to moderate online content are expensive and are constrained by business models. In addition to investigating the limits of content moderation, this study by HEC Professor of Strategy and Business Policy Olivier Chatain says that government bodies may have a role to play, providing new rules on how to moderate online content while safeguarding freedom of expression.
How Gender Diversity at Law Firms is Driven By Competition for Business
A new study of John Mawdsley and Rodolphe Durand of HEC Paris, and Lionel Paolella of the University of Cambridge, indicates that for U.S. law firms, efforts to increase gender diversity aren’t only motivated by a desire for fairness, but instead are driven by the need to take clients away from rival firms. The authors show that when women are increasingly represented in the senior ranks of clients of rivals, law firms strategically boost their own gender diversity to align with the diversity values of those clients. However, when increasing gender diversity is less likely to be successful for taking those clients, law firms reduce their gender diversity efforts in their organization.
How Will New European ESG Reporting Standards Affect Companies?
The European Commission mandated a group of experts to work on new European corporate social responsibility reporting requirements. Marieke Huysentruyt, Associate Professor of Strategy and Business Policy and Academic Director of the Inclusive Economy Center at the Society & Organizations Institute of HEC Paris, was part of a group that drafted legislation on the question of equal opportunity. She describes how her working group shaped their proposals for a wide, long-lasting impact.
Addressing “S” Demands of ESG: What Role the Board Can (and Should) Play
Faced with rising demands from society, it is crucial that companies address their social/societal impact and the board has a key role to play. A report recently published by the ESG Club of the French Institute of Administrators brushes a fresh picture of current social expectations regarding businesses. In this report, the members of the Social/Societal working group put forward recommendations for administrators to understand these expectations and anticipate the effect of social impact on the competitiveness of companies. Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot Associate Professor (Education Track) of Strategy and Business Policy and cofounder of the Society & Organizations Institute at HEC Paris, and also board member, is one of the report’s authors. In this interview, she comments on the risks and challenges for companies and for board members.
Spotlight on the Social Dimension Measurement in ESG
Three HEC academics joined forces with an S&P Global social specialist in ESG research (Bruce Thomson) to bring out a landmark report on the social factors covered – and not - in ESG frameworks. The report “What Gets Measured” challenges traditional coverage of the social dimension in corporate ESG frameworks and suggests ways to ensure that what gets measured “matters for businesses and the people and communities they impact”. We talk with HEC professor and co-author Marieke Huysentruyt.
Digitalization as an Enabler of Business Transformation: The Orange Case
Transformation is lauded as the best way to build competitive advantage and adapt over the long term. To succeed, it requires a culture of adaptability, a finely tuned focus on the specific context, and the capability to build and grow an ecosystem. Two researchers share their learnings from their analysis of how Orange completely metamorphosed its business over more than two decades.
To Make Your Organization Resilient, Think Like a Family Business
The ups and downs of economic cycles take most companies for dangerous roller-coaster rides, but family firms weather crises much better than their competitors. That's because they focus on resilience rather than on immediate performance. At a time when the global economy seems to experience crisis after crisis, lessons can be drawn from family firms, or non-family ones that behave (and survive) like them.
Do CEOs Matter for CSR Initiatives?
A new large-scale study links CEO influence to a 30% difference in firms’ performances in the areas of social responsibility. Interview with Georg Wernicke, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Business Policy at HEC Paris, and member of the school’s Society & Organizations Institute.