News & Highlights

  • May 2019
  • Events

ERC Roundtable Discussions with Professors Rohit Deshpandé and Charles Wang in Paris

In May 2019, the Europe Research Center organized two events in Paris with Harvard Business School faculty. Professor Rohit Deshpandé from the Marketing Unit led an engaging and interactive discussion about a new initiative on cultural entrepreneurship at HBS, featuring excerpts from the “Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center” case study. The second event was an evening discussion with Professor Charles Wang from the Accounting and Management Unit, who shared some interesting thoughts on shareholders' influence in corporations and the impact of governance arrangements on shareholder value.
  • March 2019
  • Working Knowledge

HBS Working Knowledge: “The Ferrari Way”

In this article, Professor Stefan Thomke discusses the subject of a new Harvard Business School case study, supported by Elena Corsi of the Europe Research Center. Ferrari is among the world's most powerful brands but how the company operates has remained mysterious. This article explores the inner workings of the company - the Ferrari Way - from the way it designs, produces, and markets its cars, to how its leadership team is driving future growth. Central to Ferrari's strategy is its response to disruptive changes in the automotive industry and their impact on the company's products and brand.
  • January 2019
  • MBA Curriculum

The Global Classroom: Student Immersion in London, Oxford, and Paris

As part of the elective curriculum within the MBA program, students have the opportunity in their second year to enroll in an Immersive Field Course – or “IFC.” These courses are driven by faculty research and industry connections, and provide students with an opportunity to get out of the classroom and put the skills they have learned to practice in the field. Typically, about 200 students participate in IFCs annually. In January 2019, Professor Michael Luca from the Harvard Business School’s Negotiation, Organizations, and Markets Unit led a group of students to London, Oxford, and Paris for 10 days. Students were split into groups and worked with real clients from the UK government to design interventions inspired by behavioral science. This trip also included site visits and panel discussions with industry experts.

New Research on the Region

  • 2019
  • Book

The Economic Turn: Recasting Political Economy in Eighteenth-Century Europe

By: Steven L. Kaplan and Sophus A. Reinert

The mid-eighteenth century witnessed what might be dubbed an 'economic turn' that resolutely changed the trajectory of world history. From the birth of new agricultural practices and the foundation of private societies to the sustained and popular theorization of social and material phenomena, the period experienced an unprecedented interest in 'economic' concerns across a wide spectrum of human activities and social strata alike. The discipline of economics itself emerged amidst this turn, and it is frequently traced back to the work of François Quesnay and his school of Physiocracy (literally the 'Rule of Nature'). The school or, as it was called at the time, sect of économistes spearheaded a theoretically sophisticated form of economic analysis that postulated the virtues of laissez-faire and the unique ability of agriculture to generate wealth. Though lionized by the subsequent historiography of economics, the theoretical postulates and policy consequences of Physiocracy were disastrous at the time, resulting in veritable subsistence trauma in France. This galvanized relentless and diverse critiques of the doctrine not only in France but also throughout the European world that have, hitherto, been largely neglected by scholars. Though Physiocracy was an integral part of the economic turn, it was rapidly overcome both theoretically and practically, with durable and important consequences for the history of political economy. 'The Economic Turn' brings together some of the leading historians of that moment to fundamentally recast our understanding of the origins and diverse natures of political economy in the Enlightenment.

  • August 2019
  • Case

Helena Divišová

Helena Divišová (MBA, 2016) decided to return home to the Czech Republic soon after graduation to be near her father who became seriously ill soon after she started HBS. She had considered leaving HBS immediately to help run his business. But her father, who grew up in the Czech Republic when travel and overseas educational opportunities were severely limited, would not allow her to abandon her studies. Instead, Divišová’s husband, Pavel Diviš, returned to help with the family business while she completed her MBA. She also gave birth to their first child in April, just before graduation. And so, the decision to return to the Czech Republic seemed obvious; her immediate family would be together and she would be able to be with her extended family during her father’s illness.

  • August 2019
  • Case

Humanistic Capitalism at Brunello Cucinelli

This case explores one company’s attempt to experiment with a different underlying model for a capitalist enterprise. Brunello Cucinelli, S.p.A. is a leading manufacturer of luxury fashion apparel. Despite being a publicly traded enterprise with annual revenues exceeding 500 million, the company follows a somewhat unique human resource and cultural model. The company’s founder, Brunello Cucinelli, has striven to create an enterprise that follows principles of what he calls “humanistic capitalism”. Human capitalism, according to Cucinelli, means pursuing growth and profitability in a “gracious way.” At the company, humanistic capitalism manifests itself in a very specific set of policies and behavioral norms. Workers are paid wages that exceed 20% of the market norms; the workday (even for senior executive) is limited to the hours of 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM; emails are not to be sent after hours or on weekends; lunch breaks are one and half hours long to allow workers to have lunch at home should they choose. There are also strong cultural norms emphasizing respect and dignity. As part of this culture, employees are expected to keep their workspaces clean; eating at desks is not permitted; water can only be drunk from cups (not bottles); speaking should be done in hushed tones so as not to disturb colleagues. None of these cultural norms, however, are explicitly described in any written documents. The company has adopted this model in both its Solomeo, Italy headquarters and in its North American headquarters located in New York City. The case allows students to explore the strengths and weakness of this culture and human resource model. A particular focal point of the case concerns the question of whether such a model is scalable and transferable across geographies. Does this model contribute to the company’s success or is ‘humanistic capitalism’ only possible because of the company’s underlying success? Is this model sustainable? The case invites discussion of deeper issues concerning alternative models of modern capitalism.

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Paris Staff

Vincent Dessain
Executive Director
Daniela Beyersdorfer
Senior Associate Director, Research and Administration
Emilie Billaud
Assistant Director
Giulia Bussoletti
Executive Assistant
Elena Corsi
Assistant Director
Federica Gabrieli
Research Associate
Mette Hjortshoej
Research Associate
Tonia Labruyere
Research Associate
Emer Moloney
Senior Researcher
Jan Pianca
Associate Director, Educational Programs
Oksana Sichi
Assistant Director, Administration