A few words from the President of the Chair

""The establishment of this Chair embodies the will to develop a culture of industrial relations for future and current leaders. Research carried out within a global framework must facilitate behavioural change and advance the content of teaching on this subject."


Jean-François PILLIARD, Affiliate Professor at ESCP Europe, former CEO of IUMM,
Vice President of MEDEF and President of the "Pôle Social", Co-President of the European Metallurgy Industrial Relations

A few words from the Academic Director

"Collective bargaining is at the heart of my research, which looks at especially at the processes of influence and decision-making at work in the organisational environment. I welcome the Industrial Relations and Firms’ Competitiveness Chair project with great enthusiasm.

Due to its complexity and the many factors that influence the process, collective bargaining offers a very rich field for research. In addition, the existence of different collective bargaining practices, resulting from different cultural approaches, strengthens our desire to undertake international comparative research in the Chair that can lead to conclusions which will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to broaden their outlook and practical knowledge of this process.

Finally, the common goal of this research is to identify factors both internal and external to organisations, that can make industrial relations a real asset for business performance.

ESCP Europe, with its international positioning and humanist managerial approach is the natural birthplace of such a Chair."

Maria KOUTSOVOULOU, Doctor in Psychology,
Associate Professor and Academic Director of the Chair.

A few words from the Director of the Chair’s Academic Committee

"Academic research is far from having considered all the mechanisms by which industrial relations can affect business performance. The ambition of this Chair is, in particular, to produce academic studies whose objective will be to examine more systematically the impact of such relationships on business competitiveness, taking into account the institutional frameworks within which industrial relations take place. Thus, the comparative analysis of national industrial relations systems will enable the mechanisms at work to be better understood. This international comparative approach is also fully in line with European and international management culture of ESCP Europe." 


Patrice LAROCHE, Affiliate Professor and honorary member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF) will be Director of the Chair’s Academic Committee as well as all of its research activities. 

Industrial Relations and Firms’ Competitiveness Chair

This Chair’s objective is to reflect on the evolution of industrial relations and study the effects thereof on company performance. It aims to develop a greater understanding of economic, social or societal challenges and their impact on governance and innovation… 

How did this Chair appear?

The importance of good industrial relations as a performance and innovation lever is now well established. Consequently, industrial relations are at the heart of business issues, especially due to current economic instability and the development of new forms of digital business.

The Industrial Relations and Firms’ Competitiveness Chair is founded on the desire to provide a platform for exchange of knowledge and best practices which will further knowledge and the development of innovative methods thus having a real impact on company policy (in France, but also in Europe and worldwide).

The meaning of the partnership

Renault wished to join ESCP Europe and three other international partners to create this Chair to explore, from a futuristic point of view, how to have a successful dialogue on an international level in a world undergoing massive societal change, being increasingly affected by political, economic and social evolution. With its international scope, Renault will share its worldwide experience and practices, notably through the activities of the World Group Committee. It may also contribute to the development of training programmes.

Airbus is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services with more than 138,600 employees worldwide. This company is only the success it is today because it has embraced efficient social dialog across countries to foster people engagement and the culture of change. Airbus strives to develop trustful relationship with its social partners. Maintaining positive employee relations is key to the success and sustainability of the company.
Creating this chair with ESCP Europe and 3 other successful companies is a great opportunity to investigate the link between social dialog and company’s performance as well as to share knowledge and best practices in an international environment. Airbus is committed to proactively contribute to the innovative thinking of industrial relations.

For Sodexo, the quality of industrial relations contributes to improving employees’ lives, and thus has a direct impact on consumer satisfaction and client performance. As the world is changing very rapidly, we must innovate to continue to make progress in this field. The research and work carried out with ESCP Europe and 3 large companies that share the same objectives, will open up new opportunities.

What is this Chair about?

The aim of the Industrial Relations and Firms’ Competitiveness Chair is threefold:

- To create a centre of excellence for research on industrial relations and business performance
- To bring together experts of several nationalities and a community of practitioners to reflect on the development of industrial relations in companies
- To provide a platform for exchange of best practices in industrial relations, linking economic and social approaches.

Its activities will focus on three fields:

  • creating new teaching at ESCP Europe on the theme of industrial relations as a corporate performance driver


  •  developing research on this subject in particular by creating an international observatory of industrial relations and producing research on the theme via a network of researchers in France, Europe and worldwide


  •  organising a series of seminars bringing together practitioners, students and researcher/teachers.


Research areas

Among the research actitivites:

The evolution of professional relations in the age of globalisation:
What are the new platforms for industrial relations? What is the role of transnational industrial relations and international framework agreements? Which companies are involved? What is the content? What are the implications for industrial relations and business performance?

The evolution of industrial relations in the age of individualisation:
Which staff representatives in the age of individualisation? Why engage in collective action today? How can young workers be encouraged to join Unions? Does being a staff representative affect a professional career? How can the value of staff representatives’ careers be enhanced? To what extent does the decline in collective action affect the performance of companies? How do industrial relations, via Union representation, supplement managerial dialogue? What is its marginal utility? Under what conditions does it make a difference?

The evolution of industrial relations in the age of digitisation:
What industrial relations in the age of the "uberisation" of the economy? What are the consequences of new forms of micro-work on industrial relations? How can performance be affected by the new forms of employee consultation made possible by digitisation (referendums, etc.)?