Sébastien Picard
Sébastien Picard

About the project

This project departs from the interest in how global governance can be improved. We believe that societies would greatly benefit from intellectually recognizing and understating the contemporary political role of corporations. Indeed, the management of corporate political activities is today all the more important as social expectations have turned business organizations much more accountable for their past, present and future actions, especially in strategic industries (e.g. energy, health, telecommunication). How can the politicization of corporations in multiple and conflicting institutional contexts be then a source of a new form of social-economic value?

This research project tries to fill this theoretical and practical gap by exploring how corporations have succeeded in establishing corporate capitalism as a ‘modern’ imaginary for social order, as an object of governance and the rule of change. Specifically, it attempts to respond to the following research question: how did ‘anticipatory knowledge’ associated with corporate capitalism imaginary become an important prerequisite for multinational corporations to undertake social functions conventionally dedicated to the state and to posit market-based alternatives as legitimate and viable solutions to social problems, while, at the same time, securing commercial successes?

Relying on ethnographic technic (i.e. semi-structured interviews, shadowing and participant observation) and focusing on corporate political activities in environments of institutional contingencies such as in Asia, we attempt to describe the making of anticipatory knowledge in action, to provide in-depth insights on the underlying motives, priorities, hopes and aspirations of professionals working with anticipatory knowledge and to contribute to a better understanding of the process that underlies the contemporary politicization of corporations.

Short biography

Sébastien Picard is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the Toulouse School of Management, University of Toulouse Capitol. He holds a PhD in Strategic Management from ESCP Europe (Paris), a Master of Science in management science and a Master in Business Administration. Before joining academia, Sebastien worked as a French Air Force officer and as an entrepreneur in Asia where he co-developed a business in the fashion industry. Sebastien’s research focuses on the dynamic of strategy-making and the corporate political activities of multinational corporations in emerging countries. Adopting a process ontology, his work specifically highlights the performative role of resources, time and social imaginaries in organizational dynamics.

Selected publications

Peer-reviewed articles


Ethics, Embodied Life and Esprit de Corps an ethnographic study with anti-money laundering analysts (with M. Pérezts and E. Faÿ). Organization, 22(2): 217-234.

Compliance or Comfort Zone? The Role of Embedded Ethics in Performing Regulation through Institutional Work (with M. Pérezts). Journal of Business Ethics, 131(4): 833-852.

Chapters in anthologies


Leading the war on epidemics: Exploring corporations’ predatory modus operandi and their effects on institutional field dynamics (with V. Steyer, X. Phillipe and M. Pérezts), in Politics and the Corporate World, eds. C. Garsten and A. Sörbom. Cheltenham, MA: Edward Elgar. (in production).