Stefan Gröschl, Professor in the Department of Management at ESSEC Business School, received The French Foundation for Management Education (FNEGE) award for Best research publication 2018 in the category “Business and Society”. A great reward for Stefan and his co-authors of this research, which focuses on the case of Jochen Zeitz, ex-CEO of the global sports apparel company Puma.
What is your reaction to this distinction?
My co-authors and I were delighted to have been awarded the first prize for best management research paper in the business and society category from a highly respected and prestigious institution such as the FNEGE and its partner for this competition - Consult'In France. We are grateful and honored to have been given this award as the other finalist papers were excellent and were published in top journals.
Can you tell us more about this publication?
We argue that doing business as usual is no longer an option when considering the global socio-economic and environmental challenges that our societies are facing. We asked ourselves why some businesses and their leaders are changing their business models to address these challenges and become more sustainable, while many other decision makers continue with a business-as-usual mentality. We looked at Jochen Zeitz and studied how his increasingly complex cognitive patterns during his time as CEO of Puma were associated with his development of an understanding of – and response to – sustainability that went beyond narrow business concerns. By juxtaposing key events and experiences in the biography of Zeitz with the evolution of his views and initiatives on sustainability, we identified how his cognitive complexity and his stance on sustainability co-evolved.
Is your research aimed at having an impact on society?
Our findings highlight the need to grant leaders the time and latitude to develop more cognitive structures and to consider aspects of sustainability that go beyond narrow business considerations. In much the same way as CEOs develop and foster a global mindset for the management of international corporations, the adoption of proactive sustainability initiatives could well make CEOs develop ‘sustainable mindsets’ – all too important for companies on the frontline of sensitive environmental and social issues.
Read more about this research on ESSEC Knowledge