Society and Organizations (S&O) 

Society and Organizations (S&O) 

This sustainability centre is part of NBS's Sustainability Centres Community, representing business schools from around the world. Find out more.

Picture of Society and Organizations (S&O) 

Society and Organizations (S&O) 

HEC Paris

Paris, France


S&O members research on and teach about the contemporary challenges that organizations face and how these organizations (e.g. firms, NGOs, rating agencies, regulators) mold society.  Contemporary challenges include, but are not limited to, climatic constraints, social inequality, technological disruption, ecological values, ethical imperatives, liberalization, regulation, and more.
Its mission statement is to contribute to the understanding of these phenomena, accompany actors of these transformations, and prepare future generations of managers to lead in these complex environments.  
To anchor HEC Paris strategy of putting social impact at the heart of business policy, S&O Center cofounded the Movement for Social*Business Impact that was launched in November 2016, in  presence of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and top representatives from six multinationals among whom Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone. This ambitious new initiative aims at contributing to a more inclusive economy, where businesses maximize both their social impact and their business performance. 

 Main Activities 

S&O's mission is based on 3 pillars : Research (Think), Education (Teach) and Action (Act) supported by numerous actors.  

THINK TANK : Research of Excellence which directly addresses the challenges of our time  
Our research approach combines a broad range of methods tailored to the phenomena under study and uses theoretical lenses coming from various disciplines including: economics, sociology, psychology, philosophy and history. These are combined with our management focus.  
This research is conducted in partnership with other leading academic institutions in Europe and North America. 
SnO has published more than 50 scientific articles in the top academic journals over the past 5 years. 
TEACH TANK : A school to shape the future or to train change-makers and leaders to a responsible and sustainable management 
The S&O Center aims to blend its research into the curriculum and teaching methods of HEC programs. The objective is clear: to train managers capable of grasping the major challenges of our times and becoming leading players in the transformation of business and society.  
42 courses are delivered in 4 programs (Ms/MSc, MBA, Executive Education and others)  within HEC Paris + 2 MOOCS « Time to Reorganize » and « Devenir Entrepreneur du Changement » with more than 70,000 participants 
In this objective, S&O leaders closely work with program directors to create innovative courses dedicated to societal issues and integrate management of global challenges in core courses.  
One distinctive element of our pedagogy is field action-learning through out many programs such as the Master in Sustainability & Social Innovation, SnO flagship program, and its new course in Strategy « Have a cause, make impact » ; as well as the Social Business Certificate.  
ACTION TANK : Accompany organizations to implement alternative and sustainable business models 
To contribute to a more inclusive economy, in France and in other developed countries as well as in developing nations, the S&O Center facilitates experimentations by bringing together HEC Paris academics, large firms, government members and heads of the non-profit organizations.  
In France, the S&O Center has a privileged partnership with the Action Tank “Business and Poverty”, an innovative project incubator launched in 2011 by the HEC Paris Social Business/Enterprise and Poverty Chair. The Action Tank brings together academia, multinational corporations, the public sector and charity organizations with the goal of experimenting new business models to offer essential services to the number of the French population that suffers from economic poverty, and spatial and social isolation. The Action Tank co-manages the Movement for Social * Business Impact together with the S&O Center. 

Organizational Structure

Founded in 2009, the S&O Center is the largest of the 3 strategic interdisciplinary centers of the School alongside the Entrepreneurship and Digital Centers. 
It is led by Rodolphe Durand, Academic Director, and Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, Executive Director.  
S&O members are composed of : 


Rodolphe Durand