Social enterprise & Business ethics


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 develop, 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.

Research projects cover a wide range of topics, both at the theoretical and empirical levels, using quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies:

  • conceptual work defining the notions of and related to social enterprise and business ethics
  • statistics measuring the scope of social and ethically-driven enterprises and key indicators (e.g. size, employment, growth, ethical dimensions, etc.)
  • social and environmental impact measurement
  • ethics in business, corporate social responsibility and partnerships between social enterprises, foundations and businesses
  • entrepreneurial profiles and trajectories of social and ethical entrepreneurs
  • emergence and development of social innovations in new fields of activity (e.g. ethical finance, fair trade, integration of low-skilled workers, etc.) and in the context of sustainability transition (e.g. recycling, renewable energy, short food supply chains, etc.)
  • financing of social enterprises, philanthropy and social investment
  • governance and HRM practices in social enterprises and foundations
  • institutionalization, networking and public policies
  • social enterprise and business ethics in developing countries



  • Center for Social Economy CES 
  • International Research Center on the Public and Co-operative Economy (CIRIEC)
  • Associated researchers at HEC

The research projects are developed together with other international partners, such as the EMES International Research Network, of which the CES is a founding member and  has hosted the Coordination Unit ever since. Other collaborations have been developed with universities (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, etc.), management schools (e.g. ESSEC, HEC Paris, etc.) and international associations (e.g. ISTR) that develop research in the areas of social enterprise and business ethics.




DEFOURNY Jacques, Full Professor, PhD

HUYBRECHTS Benjamin, Associate Professor, PhD

MERTENS DE WILMARS Sybille, Associate Professor, PhD

XHAUFLAIR Virginie, Assistant Professor, PhD



RIJPENS Julie, Researcher, PhD



BOUCHAT Maxime, Researcher 

BROLIS Olivier, Teaching & Research Assistant

CARO CASTRO Victor, PhD Student 

DAL FIOR Catherine, PhD Student

DESSY Elodie, Researcher, PhD Student

DETHIER Fanny, Researcher, PhD Student

GERKENS Caroline, Researcher

LANZI Florence, Researcher, PhD Student

MOREAU Charlotte, Researcher, PhD

PONGO Thomas, Researcher, PhD    

SAVARESE Claudia, Researcher, PhD Student

SOETENS Aurélie, Researcher, PhD Student      

Last update :13/12/2018