The thousand largest non-financial enterprises in the world generate around 15% of the world product. However, they influence around half of such product through their supply and distribution networks. Due to their size, internal complexity and geographical scope, as well as to the increasing concentration, such firms do not have much in common with the traditional enterprise. Their competitive and strategic issues are global and must be examined as such with renewed conceptual and statistical means. The Chair contributes to such research on the statistical level, as well as through fieldwork and conceptual inputs. These activities are undertaken in collaboration with intergovernmental organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), etc. Besides, the multinational (transnational) enterprise is also explored, in its political and institutional context.
SMEs facing up to the challenges of globalisation
Globalisation changes things completely for SMEs. They must sometimes collaborate with the mega-firms, sometimes confront themselves with them for sales market, as well as for access to funding, human resources and technology. Traditionally very international, Swiss SMEs are nowadays facing up to the challenge of finding either global niche markets, or cooperation modalities with mega-firms. Through regular surveys, the Chair is following how Swiss SMEs address such challenges and analyses the impact on the "Standort Schweiz". The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affaires, the associations of SMEs, as well as the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, regularly support such work.
Ethics in Business and Finance
The term "Ethics" is nowadays distorted through its too often abusive use, while economic agents increasingly wonder about the meaning of their activity. Academics need to make sure that the traditional issues of responsibility, open-mindedness, faith and values could be examined in light of contemporary technical and organisational contexts.
In partnership with the "Observatoire de la finance", the Chair edits the quarterly and bilingual (French/English) review "Finance & Bien Commun", organises conferences on subjects such as conflict of interest, trust, responsible investment, and animates the group "Echo de l'Ethique". PME Magazine regularly reports about it.
According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, the Swiss economic fabric is composed of around 600'000 agents among which more than half are micro-enterpises of less than two employees as well as independents. Among such micro-agents, many last only a few years, work in precarious conditions and never grow. The widespread enthusiasm, based on the belief that entrepreneurship will solve all economic and social ills, must be weigthed by the consideration of reality, especially the conditions of business creation and bankruptcy. Through a systematic effort of data collection and publication, the Chair intends to look at the discourses in light of the reality.