emlyon business school and Malakoff Humanis are launching the chair “Mental health in Executive Directors of SMEs and VSBs”, in order to study the psychological health of executive directors, its representations and consequences in the universe of SMEs and VSBs. The chair pairs methodological innovation and subject with powerful societal and economical outreach. This diversity in viewpoints and lines of approach will allow for the amplification of research works and the development of operational resources.

Mental health, an essential issue poorly addressed in companies

Mental health at work is a major issue for all of the actors: companies, public authorities, healthcare professionals, health insurance and supplementary health coverage.

  • Just like any other major health issue, mental health of executive directors can determine the very survival of companies in the universe of SMEs and VSBs, characterized by the central place of executive directors and the lack of operational resources dedicated to such issues, (HR managers, safety & prevention managers ...).
  • As opposed to other medical issues, mental health is often stigmatized. Getting help or a treatment can be perceived as a weakness in a competitive or managerial environment.
  • Prevention can be analyzed as a sure-cost in the present for an uncertain-benefit in the future, which does not encourage companies in resorting to it, reinforcing the risk of low-prevention.
  • Lastly, we have witnessed how the pandemic has reinforced the needs in mental health in numerous groups of the population.

A chair to analyze and improve the effectiveness of mental care

The objective of the chair is to obtain a wide variety in the richness of operational teachings with expected achievements in:

  • Identifying lines of prevention approach in mental health adapted to companies, especially for SMEs and VSBs.
  • Identifying and analyzing the impact, notably the economic one, of mental-health-related risks for companies.
  • Screening risk factors influencing mental health in executive directors to improve prevention.
  • Carrying out case studies on mental health at work in directors.
  • Studying the effectiveness of mental health prevention and the economic, social and human consequences of non-prevention.
  • Analyzing the cost-benefit of mental health prevention efforts at companies' level but also nationwide.
  • Providing a mental health diagnostic tool for executive directors based on data analysis (collected as part of the research chair).
Chair Malakoff Humanis | emlyon business school

A multidisciplinary team for a chair conducted by Aurélien Baillon and Olivier Bachelard

The chair, carried by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from emlyon business school, will support two theses and other shorter-term projects with students, such as pedagogical provisions.

Doctoring students and researchers will provide their input by participating in:

  • The BRiO (Behavioral Research in Organizations) research group of emlyon business school,
  • The CNRS GATE – UMR5824 laboratory (Analysis Group of Economic Theory - Lyon Saint-Etienne),
  • The Magellan (ED-SEG 486) (EA 3713) laboratory - University of Lyon.

The chair will be conducted by:

  • Aurélien Baillon, Professor at emlyon business school (after 15 years at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam). Behavioral economist, specializing in the attitude when dealing with uncertainty and its applications to health issues and prevention, he has supervised twelve theses projects throughout the past 10 years and participated in large international field experiences. Associate editor in peer review journals such as Management Science and Economic Journal, coordinator-editor of the Theory and Decision journal, he was published in more than twenty different scientific journals including some of the most prestigious ones (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, American Economic Review, Management Science, Psychological Science…),
  • Olivier Bachelard, Professor at emlyon business school and Director of the double degree Research Study in Management with the IAE of Lyon. He has made a career as teacher-researcher, then as Director of Continued Education at the École Nationale Supérieure de la Sécurité Sociale (EN3S) and as Managing Director of the ESC Saint Etienne. In 2007, he founded and was in charge of the chair “HR, Safety and Security” at work, in partnership with the Casino Group and AG2R. His research works cover human resources management and health at work. He is the author of numerous articles and books (L'usager acteur du service public ? (2022), Humanisme et finance, l'impossible mariage ? itérations entre réflexions et actions, (2022), La formation dans les services publics, nouveaux enjeux, nouvelles pratiques (2019) Le bien-être au travail (2017). He is President of the International Institute on Social Audit.
About the research chair "Malakoff Humanis"
For Aurélien Baillon, professor-researcher and head of the chair:

« Partnering with Malakoff Humanis will give us the means to study in depth and under many angles, the issue of mental health of those who play a key role in the economic fabric of our country: the executive directors of SMEs and VSBs. This is a population who, by accepting to take risks, allows economic growth and provides employment. This risk-taking can be done at the expense of their own well-being. There are three major questions which we will help address, I hope: Firstly, what are the elements which affect mental health in French entrepreneurs? Secondly, what kind of prevention is effective? And finally, if I may, what effects can a boss-comfortable-in-his-own-skin have? » ? »

For Olivier Bachelard, professor at emlyon:

«The objective we are pursuing consists in better addressing the tension there is between mental health and mental suffering of executive directors. In such a professional environment where there is no room for weaknesses, the issue of mental health impairment, professional exhaustion, mental disorders, burn-outs and if not suicide risk, is important humanly, but also in terms of organizational and economic impact. We want to build a warning and monitoring process, a diagnostic tool to allow executive directors, healthcare givers and social protection organizations to come out of the denial state they are in, and reinforce prevention for a long-lasting mental health in executive directors.»

For Anne-Sophie Godon-Rensonnet, Director of Malakoff Humanis services:

«We know that constant pressure, complex challenges and greater responsibilities can have a deep impact on mental well-being. That is why we have decided to partner with emlyon, a state-of-the-art institution in terms of research on health and well-being at work, to conduct research works and develop concrete resources aiming at supporting mentally fragile executive directors. Directors with a better mental health, just like employees, provide higher performance, are more creative and more resilient. Paying attention to what they have to say and supporting them is necessary for all.»

About emlyon business school:

Founded in 1872 by the Lyon CCI, emlyon business school has an enrollment of 9,050 students of 125 nationalities over 6 campuses worldwide (Lyon-Ecully, Saint-Etienne, Shanghai, Paris, Bhubaneswar and Mumbai). emlyon draws on a Faculty of 166 international professors and researchers, and a network of 200 global academic partners, to provide learning tracks of excellence opened to the world. emlyon runs a community of 41,700 alumni spread out in 130 countries. As a Société à Mission since July 2021, emlyon's raison d'être consists in: “providing life-long training and support to meaningful individuals able to transform organizations, for a fairer society, with more solidarity and respect for the planet.” In its early makers pedagogy, action and reflection are closely intertwined. Skill hybridization and social responsibility are at the heart of its training programs, where the best of both socio-economic and academic worlds meet.

About Malakoff Humanis

Major actor in social protection, Malakoff Humanis was created in January 2019 from the merger of the Malakoff Médéric and Humanis groups. With €8.2 billion in equity capital, more than 370,000 corporate customers and 10 million people protected (policyholders and beneficiaries), Malakoff Humanis has a 15% share of the collective insurance market.
As part of the management of the Agirc-Arrco supplementary pension, the Group pays €38.6 billion in benefits to more than 6 million beneficiaries, and collects contributions from nearly 600,000 companies and 7,2 million contributors.
Malakoff Humanis is a solidarity-based, mutual, non-profit company that puts its performance at the service of social utility: in 2022, the Group invested €219 million in supporting people in situations of social fragility.

Press contacts:

KBZ Corporate for emlyon: Laurence Martin - lmartin@kbzcorporate.com - 06 47 69 85 99

Malakoff Humanis :
Élisabeth Alfandari - elisabeth.alfandari@malakoffhumanis.com- +33 7 60 09 25 30