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Chair "Theory of the Enterprise" Models of Governance and Collective Creation

An innovation-driven view of the firm

The main proposal of our program is that modern companies, with professional management, have emerged at the end of the 19th century, because of the need to organize the development of new collective capabilities (technologies, functions, methods, competencies…), that would not be available otherwise on the markets.

This breakthrough in the organizations has deeply transformed our societies. But, despite the tremendous expansion of companies all over the 20th century, it hasn’t been conceptualized enough and has remained overlooked by classical theories of the firm and by business rules or corporate law.

This fundamental proposal has lead our team:

  • To explore a new theory of the firm: building on management history, we see modern companies as innovation-driven organizations and we analyze the conditions of joint “venture in unknown” to revisit the foundations of managerial authority and of stakeholders’ participation (Segrestin and Hatchuel, 2008).
  • To analyze forms and models of corporate governance: considering that the law of (public) corporations was already set up before the birth of modern management, we question the implications of this gap and investigate possible management-based (or innovation-driven) principles of governance, such as for instance mission-driven corporations (Segrestin and Hatchuel, 2010) (Segrestin and Hatchuel, 2011)(Levillain 2017)(Levillain et al., 2019).

Academic and socioeconomic impacts

Bridging traditionally distant academic fields, the program has connected management, innovation management and design theory, with business history and law. Academic and socioeconomic impacts include:

  • Numerous awards for the publications on the new model of the enterprise, profit-with-purpose corporations and transformation of the shareholding industry:
  • Several awards (Manpower foundation for employment’s award, AFCI award, Best book in applied research in management Syntec-SFM) for Refonder l’Entreprise(Segrestin & Hatchuel, 2012).
  • Best research book in management 2017 from FNEGE and Consult’In France for Les Entreprises à Mission(Levillain, 2017).
  • « Livre RH » award (SciencesPo, Le Monde, Syntec) for La Mission de l’Entreprise Responsable (Segrestin & Levillain 2018).
  • Several best paper awards of the SIG Business for Society at EURAM conference (Levillain et al. 2014, Belinga et al. 2019)
  • Direct participation of the research work to the transformation of French corporate law for the creation of « Sociétés à Mission » (adopted May 2019). Numerous experimentations with different companies of the new governance devices adapted to innovative purposes
  • Creation of new education and lecturing programs, based on the new approach of the firm and the implications for governance, for graduate students and doctoral students (Mines ParisTech, Dauphine University…).

The scientific objectives of the Chair

The research program focuses on 4 major dimensions:

Our partners
Our academic partners


For a full list of references see Publications

Levillain, K., & Segrestin, B. 2019. From primacy to purpose commitment: How emerging profit-with-purpose corporations open new corporate governance avenues. European Management Journal37(5), 637-647.

Levillain, K., Segrestin, B. & Hatchuel, A. 2019. Profit- with-Purpose Corporations An Innovation in Corporate Law to Meet Contemporary Corporate Social Responsibility Challenges. In McWilliams, A., Rupp, D. E., Siegel, D. S., Stahl, G. K., & Waldman, D. A. (Eds.). The Oxford handbook of corporate social responsibility: Psychological and organizational perspectives. Oxford University Press.

Segrestin, B., Johnston, A., & Hatchuel, A. 2019. The separation of directors and managers: A historical examination of the status of managers. Journal of Management History25(2), 141-164.

Levillain, K., Parker, S., Ridley-Duff, R., Segrestin, B., Veldman, J., & Willmott, H. 2018. Protecting Long-term Commitment. In Driver, C., & Thompson, G., Corporate Governance in Contention. Oxford University Press.

Segrestin, B., & Levillain, K. 2018. La mission de l’entreprise responsable. Principes et normes de gestion. Presses des Mines.

Levillain, K. 2017. Les Entreprises à Mission. Vuibert.

Segrestin, B., Levillain, K., Hatchuel, A. (eds.) 2014. La Société à Objet Social Etendu : proposition pour un nouveau statut de l’entreprise, Paris: Presses des Mines.

Segrestin, B. and Hatchuel, A. 2012. Refonder l’entreprise, Paris, Le Seuil.

Segrestin, B. and Hatchuel, A. 2011. Beyond Agency Theory, a Post-crisis View of Corporate Law. British journal of management, Vol. 22, pp. 484–499.

Segrestin, B. and Hatchuel, A. 2010. Theories of the firm in a post-crisis world: management theory as the foundation of new business law? . EURAM. Rome.

Segrestin, B. and Hatchuel, A. 2008. The shortcomings of the corporate standard: towards new enterprise frameworks? International Review of Applied Economics, Vol. 22, pp. 429 – 445.