Looking ahead to 2024: key issues the IÉSEG centers will be following this year
At the beginning of this new year, five experts from the IÉSEG centers of excellence and research outline some of the key issues or trends they will be following this year in their fields.
IÉSEG Center of Excellence for Organizational Responsibility (ICOR) – Frank DE BAKKER
There are several key issues in the domains of sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), ethics, equality and social entrepreneurship that will persist in 2024. These focus on four different areas:
Climate Change Impact: While COP28 revealed the world’s sluggish transition towards climate goals, 2024 will witness heightened regulatory demands for corporate transparency on climate risks, such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Firms will face increased obligations to disclose their impact and exposure. Climate finance mechanisms therefore will gain prominence, for instance funding sustainable initiatives and innovative business models. Meanwhile, debates on alternative economic models, degrowth strategies and fossil fuel phaseout will persist and grow stronger.
Business and Society Intersection: In the pursuit of global sustainability, 2024 will spotlight the intersection of business with diversity, equality, inclusivity, and peace. Organizations will acknowledge the role of sustainable business practices in fostering social stability, conflict resolution, and inclusivity. Initiatives promoting economic development in conflict zones and advocating for workplace diversity and equality will become integral to CSR.
Technology-Driven Sustainability: 2024 will also witness the further advancement of cutting-edge technologies to achieve sustainability goals. Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, and Internet of Things applications will be proposed to drive efficient resource management, supply chain transparency, and data-driven decision-making. Circular economy principles will be important, extending beyond recycling to also encompass reduction and refusal of products and services.
Socially Responsible Supply Chains: The spotlight on socially responsible and ethical supply chains will intensify in 2024. Companies will continue to grapple with mounting pressure to ensure transparency and ethical practices in their supply networks, aligning with broader societal demands for accountability. This emphasis on social responsibility will thus complement environmental sustainability efforts, fostering a comprehensive approach to responsible and ethical business practices.
Find out more about the ICOR team of experts: https://icor.ieseg.fr/team/
IÉSEG Center of Excellence for Marketing Analytics (ICMA) – Arno DE CAIGNY
The year of 2023 will be forever associated with the breakthrough of OpenAI’s ChatGPT to the public, introducing the groundbreaking era of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Generative AI are models that can generate content. These are not only limited to textual content (such as ChatGPT) but can also integrate images (e.g., Dall-E) or speech.
This technology offers new possibilities for marketeers in 2024. One can think of recommending the most appropriate products to customers based on their preferences or based on what similar customers have bought. Another example is the identification of customers that are likely to leave a company or stop using a product/service via historical customer data.
Now, thanks to these new technologies, AI systems are capable of pattern generation, and we expect many applications to enter the market in the next year. One example could be customer support systems that use generative AI to answer customer concerns immediately, or truly personalized advertisements with images specifically designed for you. The possibilities are almost endless.
Despite these technological advances, it will be important for companies to continue investing in enhancing their current analytical capabilities. The advent of these new technologies is expected to give rise to additional data sources and foster increased digitalization. This, in turn, acts as fuel for data-driven firms as they strive to extract business-relevant insights. Accordingly, it will be important for firms to embrace innovation and new technologies to stay ahead of competition.
Find out more about ICMA here: https://icma.ieseg.fr/
IÉSEG Center of Excellence for Intercultural Engagement (ICIE) – Grant DOUGLAS
As we step into 2024, the fields of intercultural communication, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continue to attract the attention of organizations worldwide. The integration of these aspects into organization’s strategic plans is increasingly vital to the success of organizations as highlighted by a recent McKinsey Report titled “Diversity matters even more: The case for holistic impact“.
From the perspective of intercultural practitioners (including corporate trainers, consultants and educators) , the upcoming year presents a distinctive set of challenges. The foremost task is to continue to carve out a legitimate space for intercultural approaches within the expanding landscape of DEI and sustainability initiatives. Achieving coherence and effectiveness in training and education will be paramount in a world marked by increasing polarization. It will be important for organizations to take a systemic and long-term approach which avoids ‘diversity washing’.
Continuing migration, within and across borders, will present both personal and societal challenges. In 2024, the focus must be on helping individuals and organizations develop the skills and processes necessary to navigate these challenges successfully in the short, medium and long term. Rapid technological advances in the realm of AI and increased connectivity will also need to be taken into account, notably in the way training is designed and delivered.
As we venture into 2024, the convergence of intercultural communication, DEI, sustainability, and technology poses challenges that demand innovative and adaptive solutions. Navigating these intersections requires a proactive approach, emphasizing not only the global trends but also the unique local nuances. Organizations and practitioners alike must embrace the opportunity to create a future where diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just corporate buzzwords but integral components of sustainable success.
Find out more about ICIE here: https://icie.ieseg.fr/
IÉSEG Center of excellence on Negotiation (ICON) – Valon MURTEZAJ
As we move into 2024, we are surrounded by different types of international political and economic conflict. That would include the US-China highly tough trade rivalry or the increase in food and energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. At the same time EU and China leaders are engaged in negotiations over the need for a more balanced trade relationship. Other similar economic and political fragilities around the world will continue to persist. As consequence, in 2024, we will be witnessing all kinds of political battles at numerous levels, including those related to business and the economy, or those related to political negotiations to build governments; and diplomatic negotiations to solve armed conflicts and human tragedies. Such negotiations are a part of a crucial commitment to creating a sustainable future for our planet.
On one hand the pressures and problems caused by conflict can serve as a catalyst for innovation and development processes, but on the other hand they require such conflicts to be dealt effectively. As result, international negotiations to prevent or manage or end conflict will play a crucial role.
In another dimension, 2024 will be of the biggest election years in history, as half the world will go to the polls: for example, Europe will have nine parliamentary elections and 27 European Union countries will pick 720 European Parliament members, who will decide on issues such as EU voting reform and enlargement, immigration, and climate change. Americans will choose the 60th president of the United States in a very tight battle, while India – the world’s most populous nation – also goes to the polls as well.
International and multilateral collaboration among governments and organizations, will therefore be a key challenge in the year ahead. The team of international experts at ICON will be following such negotiation processes closely as it continues to develop practical knowledge and applications for organizations and companies in terms of negotiation and conflict management.
Find out more about ICON here: https://icon.ieseg.fr/
IÉSEG Center of Research on Family, Labour and Migration Economics (IFLAME) – Simone MORICONI
Migration will continue to be a central subject of political discussion in 2024. This will be the case for sure in Europe, following the stricter migration legislations introduced by the UK governments, the controversial agreement between Italy and Albania on refugees’ settlements and the new immigration Law recently approved in the French parliament.
Based on past evidence, I do not think that stricter migration regulations will reduce migration flows (either legal or illegal) to European countries. History shows that humans have a natural propensity to migrate and seek better living conditions, and there are no policy restrictions that can truly avoid this. What these policies naturally accomplish instead, is to make the life of migrants (voluntary or not, legal or not) more difficult in the host country. They reduce opportunities for successful economic and social integration of migrants, impede the valorisation of their skills, competences and qualifications in the host country. And ultimately, they tend to favour job and residential segregation of migrants in the host country.
In 2024, The priority of the IFLAME research centre is to put in place research initiatives that contribute to create a different mindset and awareness regarding the positive role that migration may play in the host economies. Our research aims at establishing objective facts on the determinants and economic effects of historical migrations. We will also tackle the challenges posed by contemporaneous migrations, and how fostering the social and economic inclusion of new waves of migrants, particularly refugees. We believe our research will allow new evidence to emerge about the long run benefits of migration, through the contribution of better integrated and empowered migrants to local economic prosperity.
Find out more about IFLAME: https://iflame.ieseg.fr/