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.
Unintended Consequences: When Minority Directors Get a “Pass” in Cases of Fraud
Companies are increasingly facing societal pressure to diversify their boards. However, these well-intended measures may have unforeseen consequences, a new study finds. Because of a perceived shortage of minority candidates, fraud-tainted minority directors — unlike their non-minority counterparts — enjoy some immunity from negative reputational consequences.
Can Financial and Social Missions Truly Coexist Within Companies?
A number of business leaders and researchers have promoted the idea that social and financial goals are complementary. The authors of a recent paper say that may be true, but if so, why aren’t all companies pursuing these dual goals? They propose ways to diminish tensions between the two aims.
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.
BtoB: How Much Should You Focus on Existing Buyers?
Managers of supplier firms often dedicate substantial resources and attention towards maximizing the level of the business they capture from their existing buyers. But can there be downsides to deepening these BtoB relationships? In related prior research on client-led diversification, John Mawdsley, assistant professor of Strategy at HEC Paris, explained how deeper relationships with existing clients lead to law firms following their clients’ expansion into new lines of business. Now, in a study with Deepak Somaya of the University of Illinois, Professor Mawdsley asks whether the strength of the relationships between a supplier and its existing buyers influences the rate at which the supplier can grow its business. In this interview, Mawdsley reveals an important trade off of deepening existing B2B relationships.
How to Manage Innovators for the Public Good
Today’s major societal challenges – such as climate change, migration and inequality - urgently call for new ideas and approaches that can create both economic growth and social value. Recent years have seen a surge of support programs targeted specifically at nascent social entrepreneurs - new actors on the innovation scene -, widely thought to be invaluable for bringing forth and inspiring such ideas. It is essential, now more than ever, for organizations to understand how they can motivate and manage teams or nascent entrepreneurs to innovate for the public good. An interview with one of the scholars at the forefront of research on innovations for the public good, HEC Paris Professor Marieke Huysentruyt, Academic Director of the Social and Inclusive Business Inclusive Center at the Society & Organizations Institute (S&O), on her experimental approaches and results.
How Tech Firms Influence the US Supreme Court to Shape Innovation Policies
Building on the long tradition of innovation research that examines changes in firms’ rate and direction of innovation, the research by HEC Paris Professor Elie Sung aims to help further our understanding of firms’ innovation strategy by examining their actions in nonmarket arenas along with their market strategies. Elie Sung has examined how firms and the courts jointly shape patent policy and how in turn those policies shape firms’ innovative activities. This research participates to a long-lasting debate on the relationship between patents and innovation, and strongly contributes to the economics of innovation and to the nonmarket strategy academic literature.
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.