Public defence for Charlotte Moreau’s and Frédéric Dufays’ PhD theses

Two young PhD researchers of the IAP-SOCENT Programme, Charlotte Moreau and Frédéric Dufays, will defend their thesis during public presentations that will take place respectively on September 13 and September 14. Both presentations will be followed by a reception where you are cordially invited.

Charlotte Moreau’s thesis is entitled "Professionalization of human resource management in social enterprises". The public defence will take place on September 13, 2016, at 2 p.m., at HEC Management School, University of Liege, N1 building (rue Louvrex, 14, 4000 Liège), room 1715. The defence will be held in French (presentation) and in English (Q&As). Please confirm your participation by e-mail by September 7.

Frédéric Dufays’ thesis is entitled "Mix and match: Essays on collective dynamics in nascent social entrepreneurship". The public defence will take place on September 14, 2016, at 4 p.m., at HEC Management School, University of Liege, B31 building (place des Orateurs 3, 4000 Liège), room Laurent. The defence will be held in French (presentation) and in English (Q&As). Please confirm your participation by e-mail by September 7.

Charlotte Moreau’s thesis abstract :

Social enterprises often put the human being at the heart of their functioning. But managing human beings, and consequently managing human resources, remains poorly developed and studied in social enterprises. However, the social enterprise sector is currently undergoing important changes which question the functioning of social enterprises and strongly impact their human resource management (HRM) practices. In this dissertation, we focus on the topic of HRM professionalization in social enterprises. We first clarify our understanding of the black box of professionalization, by developing a conceptual model composed of three dimensions, the HR tools, the HR function and the HR philosophy. The methodology mixing quantitative and qualitative approaches to collect data offers a wealth of learning opportunities. An important diversity in the HR practices is observed. A certain level of formalization has to be highlighted but the deeper issues in terms of HRM professionalization occur around the HR function, i.e. the roles of the HR actors, but above all around the philosophy underlying the HR evolutions. Indeed, social enterprises seem constructed, even implicitly, around a critical choice that impacts the whole organization and its functioning. That critical choice can be conceived as the internal concretization of the organization’s larger mission and is thus specific to each social enterprise. The paths of HRM professionalization and its different dimensions are strongly influenced by these critical choices. In social enterprises, the critical choices act as a filter toward the potential external pressures. Furthermore, critical choices are the results of an evolving compromise between different logics. If new logics arise, the critical choice is challenged, leading to strong questionings of HR issues among others. Critical choices are subject to an important legitimization and power stakes between the actors. Our results let us think that the classic perspectives on HRM are hardly appropriate here. Consequently, we offer a new approach, a "processual" perspective to study the paths of HRM professionalization by considering the contexts surrounding the social enterprise, their internal characteristics, the power stakes around those questions and the evolution of all these elements through time.

Frédéric Dufays’ thesis abstract :

Social entrepreneurship is increasingly recognized both in research and practice as a form of entrepreneurship that is inherently hybrid as it combines a social-welfare logic with a commercial logic at its core. Collective dynamics, whether they point at a networked individual or a team, appear particularly salient both in the discourse on social entrepreneurship and in its practice. This would constitute a distinguishing feature of social entrepreneurship, which this dissertation examines through a set of four related research papers. First, social entrepreneurship as generically collective is taken as a starting point to review the literature. In particular, the literature review identifies how the social network concept is used in relation to social entrepreneurship, and it develops research proposals aiming to explain social entrepreneurship emergence through this lens. Considering the entrepreneurial team as a crystallized social network that allows for bridging distinct logics constitutes one of these proposals, which is further explored in the second paper. Grounded in institutional theory, it develops a processual model describing how hybridity emerges and sustains throughout the entrepreneurial process and suggests that the entrepreneurial team may be a carrier of hybridity. The empirical part of the dissertation examines particular moments of this process. The third paper questions the collective dimension by seeking meanings conferred by individuals onto the process of entrepreneuring in team in the context of social entrepreneurship. Located a bit further in time in the entrepreneurial process, the fourth paper looks at organizational tensions in social entrepreneurial teams and nascent social enterprises and seeks to portray the manifestations of hybridity.