Academic research with real-world impact: ESSEC professors A. Chatterjee and B. Leca recognized by the FT


This week, the Financial Times announced the recipients of their Responsible Business Education Awards, attributed to projects that conducted impactful research with real-world results. ESSEC professors Arijit Chatterjee (Department of Management) and Bernard Leca (Department of Accounting and Management Control) were granted this award for their research on child malnutrition, following an evaluation by a panel of international scholars and policy-makers. 

ln their paper, published in the prestigious Academy of Management Journal,  Dr. Chatterjee, Associate Professor of Management, and Bernard Leca, Professor of Accounting and Management Control, examined how the India-based Child in Need Institute nonprofit was able to scale up its work fighting child malnutrition. They conducted four years of field research, with researchers spending time in local communities, and studied 40 years of archival data to see how organizations and actors big and small can collaborate. 

This allowed them to identify how the expertise of local actors and the resources of large organizations can come together to tackle tough topics, as they emphasize that this kind of “grand challenge” is a multifaceted problem. They label this “double weaving”: a looping process that “connects actors and resources across locations and scales”. This framework has now been used by other organizations, with the aim for their project to be applied to a range of societal challenges. 

As Dr. Chatterjee notes, “When small entities like us hear of grand challenges we feel helpless… [and] grand challenges are complex problems. They cannot be solved without collaboration.” 

Dr. Leca participated in a panel discussion on responsible business education at InTent as part of the Intent x Financial Times strategic partnership, and received the Responsible Business Education Award at this event.