COMPANIES: WHAT PURPOSE DO THEY SERVE?
An economic, but also social responsibility: what is the role of companies? How far can it go? Are companies being asked too much...? Or could more be expected from them?
The "collaborative" company
Does the development of "collaborative management" (now a thriving practice) serve to enhance corporate responsibility? How can company executives and employees become involved in approaches favoring corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Along these lines, which best practices demonstrate that such involvement to promote responsibility actually improves the company's economic performance?
The networked firm
To work together in a collaborative mode, companies assemble into networks. The goal here is no longer to simply organize a conventional relationship between prime contractors and subcontractors, but rather to design a chain of segmented functions under a common "umbrella". How and in what context do companies form and operate in a network configuration? Does this collaborative strategy provide a better way to take into account the interests of all stakeholders?
"Uberization" of the labor market
The "Uberization" of labor is encouraging, to some extent, the replacement of salaried personnel by other forms of employment. What is the feedback from companies (and their staffs) that have pursued this option? Is this trend being generalized to a point that leads to fewer company employees, yet with increasing numbers of individual entrepreneurs? What are the social consequences initiated by such a movement?
A remote workforce
New technologies facilitate working off-site, whether at home or in dedicated shared spaces. This phenomenon primarily concerns telecommuting, but other modes of activity are being affected as well, like decentralized manufacturing with 3D printing.
What are the specific consequences (and outlook):
- on both a company's organization and its earnings?
- on the living conditions of telecommuters?
How are labor relations and the protocols for employee representation evolving as changes reshape the organization of companies, management and the labor market?
Does improving the well-being of company personnel really influence creativity and economic performance? Would it be possible to prove, e.g. through best practices, that "happy employees make for a winning company"?
Artificial intelligence and employment
Robots and artificial intelligence are - and will continue to be - increasingly present everywhere in companies. This begs the question: where are the humans, what is their role, and which jobs are they performing?
Universal Basic Income
As robots and artificial intelligence more readily take over from humans in the workplace, what status will the human race be relegated to in society and what will be their means of subsistence? In a world where a greater number of tasks and functions will be accomplished by "machines", the burning issue will thus concern a "universal basic income". What lessons can be drawn from experiments conducted in various countries?
Which aspects make a particular territory more suitable than others for introducing a responsible economy?
- How is it possible to create the conditions for a territorial dynamic capable of fostering responsible entrepreneurship?
- What are the best territorial practices in the cities and regions where the Forum is being held (i.e. Lille, Strasbourg, Grenoble, La Rochelle)?
Companies, territories and climate
During the COP21 climate conference in Paris, decisions were announced on taking global action to combat climate change. A year later, what has been achieved at the local level? What progress has been observed within the various territories? Which initiatives have been led by public authorities and by the private sector?
Role of public authorities
How are public authorities, at all levels, able to incentivize companies to better integrate their social responsibilities? What are the most promising institutional and territorial frameworks? For example, which clauses relative to corporate responsibility can be inserted into public procurement calls for tender? Moreover, which tax incentives could be awarded in recognition of approaches aimed at corporate social responsibility?
Adopting incentives promoting responsible companies obviously raises the issue of evaluating the amount of "enhanced" CSR. How can a measurement be made of CSR and, by the same token, of the company's overall performance? Many indicators and labels are available. Their proliferation gives the impression of overkill. What is the appropriate course of action? Is it best to choose, synthesize or create new tools?