Francqui Chair 2022-2023 : Prof. Benjamin Huybrechts

Louvain-La-Neuve, Mons

Opening Lecture Benjamin HUYBRECHTS - Francqui Chair / October 13, 2022, LSM/LouRIM

"Transitioning towards sustainable business: social enterprise as a source of inspiration”

On October 13 the Louvain School of Management (LSM) and the Louvain Institute in Management and Organisation (LouRIM) celebrated Benjamin Huybrechts, Professor of Business and Society at IÉSEG School of Management (Lille) on the occasion of the inaugural lecture of the 2022-2023 LSM Francqui Chair.

Through his teaching and research in organizational forms and practices, Professor Huybrechts sees ‘social enterprises’* as a source of inspiration for the transition of business models and potential new visions and paradigms to:

(* not-for-profit private organizations)

✔️better understand the root causes of our difficulties to meet sustainability challenges;
✔️find new inspiration to reduce obstacles to sustainability in business;
✔️involve all actors for systemic changes in order to envision ways to work together towards sustainability;

✔️and therefore encourage us to empower our students, our researchers, our colleagues and partners to overcome the status quo;
✔️with the final aim of making the world a better place.

How to make businesses, which are part of the problem today, part of the solution tomorrow?

What would be for example some of these paradigms of cross-pollination? Multistakeholder and participative governance, limited profit distribution, impact scaling as an alternative to growth, collaborative mindset…And how each of these practices can inspire (through a lot of marks and concepts) and be concretely integrated for the business world, taking into account their large potential but also their limitations.

Professor Huybrechts treated us to a four-course menu during this first lecture. Just enough to make our mouths water even more, so great is our hunger for knowledge on sustainability.

As leaving the table, it also raises the fundamental role of business schools in educating future responsible managers and citizens able of guiding businesses through an effective in-depth sustainability transition. Just because there is no plan(et) B!

After this so inspirational appetizer, we are really looking forward to listening to the three forthcoming lessons (open to students of the masters in management) on:

19th October: Sustainability transition: the role of business and the potential of social enterprise

16th November: Social enterprise as a source of inspiration: an intra-organizational approach

21st December: Social enterprise as a source of inspiration: an intern-organizational approach.


Class 2: Social enterprise as a source of inspiration: an intra-organizational approach (16th November)

In this second class, we will examine more in detail the organizational features and practices experimented with in social enterprises. We fill focus on: the role of purpose through the combination of economic, social and environmental goals; multistakeholder governance; and limited profit distribution. We will then explore the potential of these practices to bring about social impact and to orient business activities towards sustainability. This will enable us to assess to what extent businesses can take inspiration from intra-organizational practices of social enterprises to engage into an in-depth transition of their goals, models and practices.

Auditoires des Sciences (A.10 SCES), Place des Sciences 2, Louvain-la-Neuve   -   From 16.15pm to 18.15pm


Class 3: Social enterprise as a source of inspiration: an inter-organizational approach (21st December)

The third class will pursue the same approach of examining to what extent social enterprise can serve as a source of inspiration for businesses’ sustainability transition, this time focusing on inter-organizational dynamics. Two dynamics will be explored, organic growth and collaborative mindset, which resonate with new approaches to growth and collaboration that are needed in the context of the sustainability transition. We will then explore several pathways of cross-pollination, on top of which are partnerships enabling mutual learning. The class will end with a critical reflection on the potential and limitations of cross-pollination between business and social enterprise, and on how business activity can be reshaped as a tool to address sustainability challenges.

Auditoires des Sciences (A.10 SCES), Place des Sciences 2, Louvain-la-Neuve   -   From 16.15pm to 18.15pm