HEC Paris - MBA Program


The Chair seeks to contribute to the international academic debate surrounding the new inclusive business models and CSR issues, and it aspires to have an impact on the broader society.

The objective of the Chair is to develop high quality research into social business, and into the broader issue of corporate involvement in the fight against poverty, both in France and abroad.

From an academic standpoint, this means tapping into a widely unexplored field of research, thereby positioning HEC Paris as a pioneering school in this area. From an operational point of view, the objective is to provide companies with the necessary theoretical and managerial knowledge for them to achieve a greater involvement in the fight against poverty.

The Chair’s research program is structured into three thematic clusters.

First of all, qualitative and quantitative studies aimed at achieving greater understanding of poverty and the mechanisms that generate it. The Chair has been particularly involved in the analysis of “poverty penalties” in France, in other words the paradoxical situation whereby low-income consumers pay more for a large number of products and services: the goal is to quantify this phenomenon, to identify the main causes and provide companies with solutions to break this vicious circle. The Chair is also actively involved in the study of consumer behavior of low-income households: what budgetary choices, what strategies when faced with stigmatization? Following an in-depth analysis qualitative, a quantitative study (of 1000 households) has been launched. The first results will be published in 2014.

The second cluster: studying the benefits companies might reap by getting involved in fighting poverty, in terms of value creation, innovation, and transformation of their practices. As an example, the « BOP for Top » project analyses win-win partnerships between companies in the luxury sector and companies with rare, valuable know-how from developing countries. Another example: the Chair is working with two multinational companies involved in a large number of social business projects, to assess the business impact of these projects for the companies.

Finally, the Chair is involved in research projects aimed at determining the most effective intervention levers for companies in the struggle against poverty. An ambitious research-action program is currently being set up with players from the Action Tank “Entreprise & Pauvreté” to identify the mechanisms and key success factors of social business in developed countries. For example, the Chair is currently working on the mechanisms of collaboration between firms and NGOs, emphasizing the need to coordinate different institutional logics. Several other projects are also looking into the practices of companies abroad, like the « Last Mile Delivery » project, which aims to identify the most adapted marketing strategies companies can adopt to reach consumers from developing countries.


Download some of the research material following the links below:


  • Les pénalités de pauvreté en France: comment le marché aggrave la situation des populations pauvres“, revue FACTS ‘Field Actions Science reports’ – Institut Veolia Environnement, by Frédéric Dalsace, Charles-Edouard Vincent, Jacques Berger and François Dalens (2012)
  • The study on the double-penalty the Chair conducted with the BCG (in French) (May 2011)
  • “Getting involved: BoP versus Social Business”, Journal of Social Business, 1-1 by Frédéric Dalsace and David Ménascé (2011)
  • L’entreprise contre la pauvreté“, Institut Jean Jaurès, by Frédéric dalsace, David Ménascé et Pierre Victoria (2011)
  • Special issue n°208-209 of the Revue Française de Gestion, co-authored by David Menascé and Frédéric Dalsace (2010-2011), including the following articles: Le social business, laboratoire d’apprentissage des stratégies de rupture, by Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot, Laurence Lehmann-Ortega and Bertrand Moingeon and Structurer le débat Entreprises et Pauvreté: Légitimité, Intérets, Modalités, Efficacité, by David Menascé and Frédéric Dalsace
  • “Leveraging BOP markets for strategic Renewal: a longitudinal study of Danone”, working paper, by Bénédicte Faivre-Tavignot and Laurence Lehmann-Ortega (2010-2011)
  • “Challenges in Marketing socially useful goods for the Poor” California Management Review, Summer 2010, 52 (4), 29-47, Bernard Garrette and Aneel Karnani (2010)
  •  “Building Social Business Models: Lessons from the Grameen Experience, Long Range Planning”, 2010, 43 (2/3), 308-325, Muhammad Yunus, Bertrand Moingeon and Laurence Lehmann-Ortega (2010)
  • “Is Marketing Losing its Luster? A Longitudinal Study of Public Perceptions of Marketing”, Frédéric Dalsace and Dimitri Markovitch (2010)


The Chair works on different research projects such as:

What are the consumption patterns of poor consumers in France?
The HEC team investigates 3 directions:
– Are poor consumers different from non-poor consumers: attitudes, values, behavior?
– Creation of a typology of poor consumers
– What kinds of business models are more efficient to address poverty? 3 main parameters are studied: attractiveness, stigmatization, and cannibalization.

“Voluntary differentiated pricing”: when does consumer-to-consumer solidarity work best?
Is the « voluntary differentiated pricing » an efficient business model to develop poor consumers’ access to goods and services?

When do social projects have a business and transformational impact on firms?

How could partnerships between firms and NGOs function in the long term?
Dalsace Frédéric, Dragonetti Nicola & Patureau Clémence: “Aligning and Weaving: Managing Social Ventures in NGO-Firm Alliances”, working paper presented in various academic conferences:

  • Strategic Management Society (SMS) Conference, Atlanta, September 2013
  • European Theory Development Workshop (ETDW), June 2014
  • European Group on Organization Studies (EGOS) Colloquium, Rotterdam, July 2014
  • Academy of Management (AoM) Meetings, Philadelphia, August 2014

How could social projects co-exist with regular business projects in MNEs?
Dragonetti Nicola, Dalsace Frédéric, & Patureau Clémence “Killing Me Swiftly: Escalation, Attention and Exit in Multi-Logic Projects”, working paper presented a the Strategic Management Society (SMS) Conference, Madrid, September 2014


The Chair has specifically developed case material for the Certificate:

2 new cases in 2013-2014:

  • The “Danone Corporate Strategy: combining business and societal objectives” case, submitted at the Case Centre (ECCH)
  • The “Pure Stove” case, focused on marketing issues for social businesses, written and taught several times.

These cases have already been developed and are regularly taught:

  • “Veolia Water in Tanger”
  • “Schneider Electric: the In-Diya Challenge in India”
  • “Grameen Danone Food Limited”
  • “Sarvajal: access to water in India”
  • “Coopa Roca in Brazil”
  • “Veja in Brazil and Europe”
  • “Les Ateliers du Bocage in France »


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