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The « Social Enterprise and Business Ethics » field pursues three major goals:

  • to develop research in the areas of social enterprise and business ethics mainly from the perspectives of economics, management and organization theory
  • to feed, through its work, teaching in the areas of social enterprise and business ethics at the University of Liège and elsewhere;
  • to participate in building an ecosystem that fosters the development of social enterprises and ethically-driven businesses.


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Research projects cover a wide range of topics, both at the theoretical and empirical levels, using quantitative and qualitative methodologies, which are grouped under five main categories:

  • conceptual work defining the notions related to social enterprise and business ethics (e.g. social economy, non-profit or cooperative economy, philanthropy, etc.)
  • entrepreneurial dynamics underlying social and sustainable entrepreneurship in new fields of activity (e.g. ethical finance, fair trade, integration of low-skilled workers, etc.) and in the context of the sustainability transition (e.g. recycling, renewable energy, short food supply chains, etc.)
  • new financing modes for social and sustainable enterprises, including through philanthropy and social investment; new approaches to social impact measurement 
  • organizational models and management practices in social enterprises, foundations and ethical businesses
  • institutionalization of social innovation in the context of transitioning to a more sustainable economy, including through cross-sector partnerships and networks with businesses and public authorities

These research themes are developed in connection with the teaching and dissemination missions of the field. To do this, the research field relies on three chairs (W.ALTER, E. Piedboeuf, Prosperity and Post-growth) and on numerous action research projects. The escap project in particular, thanks to funding from the Walloon region, aims to systematize the links between research, teaching and practice around various jointly identified themes. The research results are used to feed the course programs related to the subject, in particular the master's in "Management of Social and Sustainable Enterprises" as well as the specialization master in social economy (in collaboration with UCLouvain). 


Social Enterprise & Business Ethics

Article (Scientific journals)
Exit, Voice, or Both: Why Organizations Engage with Stakeholders
Billiet, Adrien; Bruneel, Johan; Dufays, Frédéric
In pressIn Business and Society
Article (Scientific journals)
Ronald Plantinga, Wit goud, groene woestijn. Zuivelproductie en het Friese landschap na 1945
De Herde, Véronique
2023In Bijdragen en Mededelingen Betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, 138
Article (Scientific journals)
Stronger together, but how? Lessons from the Walloon dairy history on the strategic relevance of cooperative models
De Herde, Véronique
2023In Journal of Co-operative Organization and Management, 11 (1), p. 100198
Article (Scientific journals)
Unlocking the potential of income and wealth caps in post-growth transformation: A framework for improving policy design
François, Martin ; Mertens de Wilmars, Sybille ; Maréchal, Kevin
2023In Ecological Economics, 208, p. 107788
Article (Scientific journals)
Entrepreneurial ecosystem for cooperatives: The case of Kyrgyz agricultural cooperatives
Beishenaly, Nazik; Dufays, Frédéric
2023In Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics

Members of the field


Research teams



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