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Faculty Insights

Florence Honoré Brings Cross-Disciplinary Expertise, International Perspective to WSB Faculty

By Clare Becker

September 12, 2017

Assistant Professor Florence Honoré poses for a portrait
Florence Honoré, assistant professor of management and human resources. PHOTO: PAUL L. NEWBY II

Bringing cross-disciplinary expertise in entrepreneurship, strategy, and human resources, Florence Honoré joins the Wisconsin School of Business as an assistant professor in the Department of Management and Human Resources.

Originally from Mons, Belgium, Honoré’s entry into these fields of study was sparked by an interest in how individuals obtain knowledge and how they can work with others to acquire different types of experiences.

“That’s really at the intersection of human resources, innovation, and entrepreneurship,” says Honoré. “When you see people coming up with ideas for their own new businesses—that’s why I like this field. It’s at the heart of all of those things.”

Prior to joining WSB, Honoré was an assistant professor in management at Iowa State University. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees in business engineering at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, and a Ph.D. from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in 2015.

“We are delighted to have Florence Honoré join the Wisconsin School of Business faculty. Her work is an ideal fit as it connects entrepreneurship, human capital, and competitive strategy,” says Barry Gerhart, senior associate dean for faculty and research. “We have significant strengths in each of these areas, and she helps to tie it all together.”

International perspective shaped by hometown influence

Honoré’s research is influenced by the economics of her home area, a small coal mining region called Borinage.

“The economy is quite different in Belgium, but there’s more inertia; it took Borinage a long time to move out of the heavy industry of coal mining and to be able to recreate some kind of economic activity,” Honoré says. “Growing up there, I always had questions: What can we do? Do individuals need to take action or should the government? Of course, it’s probably a mix of both. When I started my Ph.D., that general interest in economic activity became more channeled into research about individuals and the creation of new businesses.”

As a doctoral student, Honoré started working with WSB’s Martin Ganco, an associate professor of management and human resources, on a project that examined European entrepreneurship. Later research expanded on this initial work, studying entrepreneurial teams and how they bring new employees into the fold.

Headshot of Assistant Professor Florence Honore
WSB Assistant Professor Florence Honoré. PHOTO: PAUL L. NEWBY II

A current stream of research revolves around partner selection questions, in this case, looking at the relationship between buyer and seller in the context of thoroughbred horse farms.

“People often assume that once a firm makes a decision, that’s it. However, in the case of partnerships, both parties have to agree to work together and that’s something that is at times underestimated in strategy and entrepreneurship research.”

Teaching tied to the real world

Honoré received a junior faculty teaching award while at Iowa State and looks forward to teaching WSB students starting in Spring 2018. She will teach a strategic management course for undergraduate management majors as well as a business strategy course at the master’s level. Honoré says teaching students about strategy is more impactful if it’s linked to events in the outside world, and not left at the conceptual level.

“You need to tie it with situations that companies are facing,” Honoré says. “Right now in the U.S., there is a lot of uncertainty around policies, and that’s something that firms have to analyze for themselves.”

What she likes most about teaching, Honoré says, is the real-world experience she can pass on, particularly for seniors headed toward graduation.

“It’s important to give students a broad perspective, to make sure that they realize companies’ strategy might differ by environment, from one state to the next, from one country to the next. What do they need to know once they start in the workforce or if they want to start their own company? Giving students a broader perspective is critical, and it’s also very rewarding to me as an educator.”

Two additional faculty members to join WSB this year

WSB also welcomes two additional new faculty members during the 2017-2018 academic year:

Assistant Professor Xiaoyang Long joins the Department of Operations and Information Management in October 2017. Long received a Ph.D. in 2017 in operations management from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Professor Yongheng Deng joins the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics beginning January 2018. Prior to WSB, Deng was the Provost’s Chair Professor of Real Estate and Finance, the head of the department of real estate, and the Director of the Institute of Real Estate Studies at the National University of Singapore. Deng received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.