Professor Giovanna Michelon

Professor of Accounting

Research area

Since my PhD I have been interested in a variety of topics related to social and environmental accounting and corporate social responsibility (CSR). My work has significantly contributed to the emerging strand of literature on how corporate governance drives CSR and CSR reporting.

What is the name of your current research project, and what does it focus on?

Currently I am interested in understanding the dynamics of shareholder activism on CSR. There are two aspects I plan to focus on. First, I want to disentangle - in the most possibly nuanced ways - why various shareholders decide to sponsor CSR and how they perceive CSR relates to firm value, if at all. Second, because the institutional and regulatory context does not bind managers to implement the various CSR demands, how corporations perceive and deal with activist shareholders’ requests is a very intriguing issue. 

What other institutions/partners are involved in the project?

The closest collaborator is Prof. Michelle Rodrigue, Université Laval (Quebec City, Canada) but other researchers will be involved in different phases of the project, and they are based in U.S. and EU universities. 

What impact do you hope the research will have?

The investigation of how shareholder activism on CSR is a driver of change in corporate behavior is timely and important for activist shareholders who have put CSR at the forefront of their agenda. Nowadays, the interrelation between business and society is on the spotlight as never before. I believe that a clear understanding of shareholder activism on CSR is critical to assess the role that corporations play in creating a more sustainable society. The project will thus be insightful for managers and investors, but also for governments, regulators and other stakeholders.

What are the potential challenges involved in your research?

The most challenging task is the development of a valid conceptual framework applicable to different types of investors and firms. The research requires strong interdisciplinary awareness and sound methodological skills. This is why I plan to work with a very heterogeneous team of researchers who complement and integrate my competences.