Goals Gone Wild: Setting Realistic Corporate Goals

By Sébastien Quadri, Junior Project Leader

HEC Lausanne, the University of Lausanne and swissnex China invited Prof. Xavier Castañer, expert in strategic management at HEC Lausanne, to give a talk about new developmental managerial perspectives on June 4.

 Prof. Castañer shared with special insights with the audience.

Prof. Castañer shared with special insights with the audience.

Corporations (as well as cities, regions and countries) seem to be obsessed with quantitative growth; in particular, with revenue growth as an overriding goal. However, it is often said that corporations should be concerned with profitability and increasingly their corporate social responsibility should extend beyond this goal. Moreover, publicly-traded corporations seem to be exposed to high expectations of revenue growth which are difficult to achieve through organic growth and require alliances and acquisitions, modes which bring substantial challenges.

Xavier was an excellent orator and easily shared his passion for strategies to the audience. From this talk, the forty fascinated guests will remember that:

·      Corporations’ obsession with revenue growth (size) might be rooted in our primitive territorial built-up

·      Corporations have multiple owners who often have different preferences and not just revenue growth or profitability

·      Greater corporate or organizational size doesn’t necessarily entail greater profitability, actually it is difficult to achieve scale or scope economies

·      We should better talk about organizational or corporate development rather than growth

·      Corporate development might often require divestment, abandoning some activities, even the core or original businesses, rather than expanding to better develop

·      Shareholders and board members should be careful and critical with expansionist projects of CEOs, particularly if they use free cashflow and there is poor corporate governance (no chairman and CEO separation) 

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The subsequent networking reception was the perfect moment to share ideas, trade opinions with the professor, and to meet people from various fields (business, management, finance, lawyers, and curious intellectuals).

Thank you Xavier for sharing your precious thoughts and ideas.

We wish you a great success in your following research!