Philippe de Woot’s work focuses on one central theme, the enterprise, and the creativity of the economic action. His purpose was to restaure the ethical and political dimensions of the enterprise and to re-think its purpose. He strongly believed that the ultimate purpose of the enterprise should be the pursuit of common good.
His research focuses on the conditions of long-term performances and their consequences for society at large.
His empirical research shows that technical progress depends as much on its organization and management quality as on its R&D activity.
For several years he lead multidisciplinary teams clinical research which allowed to understand innovation and progress mechanisms, and more significantly, the enterprise long term performance.
He engaged in a systematic critical reflection about the meaning of progress and the purpose of the economic action. The UCLouvain approach is based on the concept of economic and technical creativity as a specific function of the enterprise. Generally, this function is only assessed on the basis of purely economic or financials criteria. Given the increasing impact of the technical progress upon human societies, it is all the more important to bring ethical and political answers to the following questions: economic and technical progress: How? Whom for? What for?
This research contributed to the progress of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement. Philippe de Woot took part in the creation of the “Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI)”, a worldwide network of “paired” companies and universities with the objective of jointly undertaking a research/action drive about the training ? of globally responsible leaders for the XXI century.
Today corporate role, governance, environmental and social responsibility are major concerns. The impact of companies on society has reached unprecedented levels due to their size, their international presence and market globalization. Rarely, have we known such a critical crisis period when International Institutions, States, civil society, investors and the academic world question the credibility and efficiency of the economic and financial markets, today in full turnover.
Throughout his 40-year long career, Professor Philippe de Woot had a constant concern to encourage students, enterprises, economic actors as well as international and national public bodies to adhere to the ethics of what is now called CSR. He was a forerunner of the groundswell that is now embodied in the commitment to CSR by top companies and business schools.