The Shareholders vs Investors project studies the effects that shareholders have on firm strategy. Shareholders come in all forms. They can be concentrated or dispersed, family based, or from the public at large, domestic or foreign. The various types of shareholders, their expectations, their presence on the board of directors, and their willingness to influence management all have a decisive impact on company policy. It is important, insofar as possible, to be able to anticipate the economic and social consequences for the firm and its strategy of evolutions in its capital structure.


The impact of the shareholding structure on firm development is a topic that has been studied for decades. The central question concerned whether the system of widely dispersed ownership (known as the «Anglo-American model») produced results that were superior to those obtained in the system of more concentrated ownership (known as the Rhineland model). Well publicized collapses of American companies in recent years have highlighted the weaknesses of the Anglo-American model, and have caused the research focus to shift. Today the focus is more on trying to understand the link between ownership structure and the strategic development of firms.

Our research concentrates on three areas:

The role and effects of shareholder meetings in listed companies.

Here we try to understand how shareholders can influence strategy, whether they have the means to do so, and if so, how they succeed. Our first results were published in 2006. Our studies in this area are continuing with detailed research into the functions and effects of shareholder meetings in France.

The role of employee shareholding in companies.

Does employee ownership affect firm strategy in the short term, or in the long term? Does employee participation in governance institutions, such as the board of directors, have a positive or negative effect on strategy? Because employee shareholding is a widespread phenomenon in France, we possess a considerable database dealing with facts related to these questions. Initial results were published in 2006, and research into this area is continuing (see publications).

Family firms.

What are the characteristics of owner-controlled firms in terms of entrepreneurial latitude? Is the room for manoeuvre greater because control of the company is in the hands of one family, or is it constricted because ownership is more concentrated? Does widening ownership have an effect on firm strategy? What is that effect? At the present time we are building a database around 300 small (and medium sized/ family firms?) in France. We are also undertaking specific research on firms involved in leveraged buyouts.


If you would like to contribute to this research stream, contact Xavier Hollandts

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«I like very much the work done on the governance of SMEs at IFGE. It is priceless to benefit from professional researches in that field.»

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