News & Highlights

  • February 2023
  • Working Knowledge

Is Sweden Still 'Sweden'? A Liberal Utopia Grapples with an Identity Crisis

In this article, Professor Debora Spar discusses the subject of a new Harvard Business School case study, “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Sweden's Utopia at a Crossroads,” supported by Emer Moloney and Vincent Dessain of the Europe Research Center. In this case, Professor Spar examines recent shifts in Sweden’s political views and economic forces and what they mean for the country's future. Is it the end of the Scandinavian business-welfare model as we know it?
  • January 2023
  • IFC

Immersive Field Courses in the UK and Italy

As part of the elective curriculum, students can enroll in an Immersive Field Course (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’ve learned into practice. The immersion locations vary each year based on the IFC portfolio. In “Entrepreneurship in the UK and Europe,” with Professors Greg Marsh and Jeffrey Rayport, students got a surprise visit from UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He discussed the state of entrepreneurship and startups in the UK. In “Italy; Capitalism: Past, Present, and Future,” with Professors Arthur Segel, Sophus Reinert, and Dante Roscini, students traveled to Italy, visiting Milan, the country’s economic capital, and Florence, the “cradle of the Renaissance” and home to many famous luxury brands.
  • November 2022
  • MBA Admissions

Lilium Webinar: Behind the Scenes of Writing a Case Study

In November 2022, the ERC and MBA Admissions co-hosted a 45-minute webinar about the Lilium case study, a German company developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that can be used to offer air taxi services. The event centered on what goes on behind the scenes when writing a case study, including what Professor Navid Mojir intends to achieve with the case and what students should hopefully take away from it. The idea behind this event was to target new MBA prospects in Europe by offering business-related content that would appeal to the target audience while also showcasing the HBS case method.

New Research on the Region

  • 2023
  • Book

Deeply Responsible Business: A Global History of Values-Driven Leadership

Corporate social responsibility has entered the mainstream, but what does it take to run a successful purpose-driven business? This book examines leaders who put values alongside profits to showcase the challenges and upside of deeply responsible business. Should business leaders play a role in solving society’s problems? For decades, CEOs have been told that their only responsibility is to the bottom line. But consensus is growing that companies―and their leaders―must engage with their social, political, and environmental contexts. Jones distinguishes deep responsibility, which can deliver radical social and ecological responses, from corporate social responsibility, which is often little more than window dressing. Deeply Responsible Business provides a historical perspective on the social responsibility of business, going back to the Quaker capitalism of George Cadbury and the worker solidarity of Edward Filene and carrying us through to impact investing and the B-corps. Jones profiles exemplary business leaders from around the world who combined profits with social purpose to confront inequality, inner-city blight, and ecological degradation, while navigating restrictive laws and authoritarian regimes. The business leaders profiled in this book were motivated by bedrock values and sometimes driven by faith. They chose to operate in socially productive fields, interacted with humility with stakeholders, and felt a duty to support their communities. While far from perfect, each one showed that profit and purpose could be reconciled. Many of their businesses were wildly successful―though financial success was not their only metric of achievement. As many companies seek to coopt more ethically sensitized consumers, Jones gives us a new perspective to tackle tough questions and envisions a future in which companies and entrepreneurs can play a key role in healing our communities and protecting the natural world.

  • March 2023
  • Case

Mirakl: Growing The Marketplace Economy

By: Antonio Moreno, Santiago Gallino and Emilie Billaud

Mirakl provided the technology and seller network required for companies like Macy's, Best Buy, Walmart, Siemens, or Carrefour to simply design, launch, and administer a marketplace that included products from third-party sellers. What began as a basic business idea in 2012 had grown into a thriving venture ten years later. Mirakl expected to grow its $100 million revenue by fivefold during the next five years. But how was this to be accomplished? Mirakl had previously prioritized the development of solutions for marketplace operators, the "Macy's of the world". It was now working on a new solution, Mirakl Connect, with the goal of becoming the premier destination for third-party sellers. But, how should Mirakl monetize these services? Should they charge for them, and if so, to whom? Should Mirakl explore adjacent opportunities, such as financial services, fulfillment, or advertising? Finally, should Mirakl expand its services to marketplaces outside the Mirakl ecosystem?

  • March 2023
  • Teaching Material

The Social Purpose of the Firm

By: Debora L. Spar and Julia Comeau

The Social Purpose of the Firm (SPF) is a short module designed to explore how, and under what circumstances, business leaders can harness the power of capitalism and markets to “make a difference in the world” – that is, to address a significant societal problem as a commercial endeavor. This Module Note summarizes the cases and themes discussed in SPF. Together, the cases are designed to study entrepreneurs and business leaders who are tackling some of the world’s most complex problems and understand 1) how to identify the problems or challenges that have both commercial potential and a positive impact on society; 2) the opportunities and limitations of the private sector’s role in systems change; and 3) how to collaborate with other societal entities to operate most successfully in a cross-sectoral fashion.

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Paris Staff

Vincent Dessain
Executive Director
Daniela Beyersdorfer
Senior Associate Director, Research and Administration
Emilie Billaud
Assistant Director
Elena Corsi
Assistant Director
Lena Duchene
Research Assistant
Nikolina Jonsson
Research Assistant
Tonia Labruyere
Senior Researcher
Emer Moloney
Senior Researcher
Carlota Moniz
Research Assistant
Jan Pianca
Associate Director, Educational Programs
Patricia Rosas
Staff Assistant
Oksana Sichi
Assistant Director, Administration