Research topic 2

Societal responsibility of management

In defence of research with many different voices, the MOST research project aims to offer a broad response to the issues facing society today. It also aims to assert the role and responsibility of management research when it comes to generating knowledge about and for management in a way that addresses an extended community of stakeholders. The knowledge developed is not exclusively or even primarily intended for the dominant actors. Critical efforts to challenge and denounce everything that has been taken for granted about management practices are seen as indispensable if we are to identify alternatives to the traditional management approaches. Both transformative and performative aspects are therefore clearly rooted in this research programme.
Examining the societal responsibility of management in this way first of all requires an exploration of the dynamics and challenges of contemporary management. It is also based on the identification and evaluation of alternative ways to organise society and produce management knowledge.

  • Dynamics and challenges of contemporary management

The research being conducted aims to characterise the ways in which change occurs and the conditions needed for the development of new strategic, organisational and managerial dynamics.
For example, some of the studies produced by MOST relate to the dynamics of competition, cooperation and governance at play between certain types of actors (relationships between competitors, clients and suppliers, etc.) from a longitudinal and multilevel perspective. Gwénaëlle Nogatchewsky’s project during a six-month visit to the Amsterdam Research Center in Accounting (ARCA), part of the Vrije Universiteit, falls under this area. Her collaborative work, in particular on boundary spanners with Prof. H. Dekker, a specialist in inter-organisational control, will strengthen the international visibility of MOST’s research in this field.
Social and environmental issues are also at the heart of contemporary management dynamics. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has attracted the attention of many top executives. This extension of strategic questions to include environmental and social dimensions has opened up a very important research field and raises many questions: which measures are used to deploy CSR and how do they interact with existing economic and financial measures? How are people involved in the process of overseeing CSR? And how do stakeholders mobilise? The research being done at MOST aims to explore the limits of the functionalist and instrumental approaches to CSR and identify the managerial, organisational and institutional dynamics that can support the sustainable development of the economy and society. For example, one project led by Frédérique Déjean is studying the social construction of the French market for socially responsible investments. Dauphine is hosting the 12th RIODD conference in October 2017, a chance to bring MOST team members together, and in particular DRM researchers and doctoral students, to address the cross-disciplinary topic of sustainable development. Finally, MOST will be hosting an international guest professor from November 2017, Rajiv Maher, who will contribute to this research area through his expertise on the interactions between CSR strategies in major firms and the involvement of local communities and social movements, often in contexts of conflict particularly in Latin America.

  • Alternative management approaches and forms

Finally, MOST’s research programme aims to actively contribute by proposing alternatives to the traditional management approaches, whether in terms of practices, pedagogy or the research methods used in this discipline. 
Several doctoral theses being supervised at MOST focus on organisations that define themselves as alternatives to the traditional organisational models: third places in the theatre sector, business and labour cooperatives, social organisations in Brazil, and feminist organisations in France.
Examining these alternative organisational forms, the principles on which they are based (mutual assistance, sharing, democracy and emancipation) and the ideologies they construct (liberated business, sharing economy, caring economy) is an important dimension of MOST’s research programme, with a focus on the following questions: to what extent are these organisational and management approaches viable and sustainable alternatives to the neoliberal capitalist model? To what extent do alternative forms of management offer individuals emancipation from the restraint of organisational models deemed too individualistic, bureaucratic or managerial? And to what extent are these “new” organisational forms themselves likely to generate new forms of control and domination?
A workshop organised in partnership with the São Paulo-based Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) will be held on 16 and 17 October 2017, addressing the notion of the alternative in organisational theory. The aim of this workshop is first of all to present organisational practices considered alternative, and secondly to analyse their prospects of real change. The following questions will be central to the discussion: what are the management and organisational approaches currently trying to replace the managerial model of neoliberal society? How can we best analyse the promises of so-called alternative practices and organisations that claim they want to overhaul capitalist modes of production?
Plans are currently underway for a session at the Global Fashion Management Conferencein Paris in 2019 on the topic of Alternative fashion management.
These projects contribute to MOST’s objective to identify alternative and emancipatory forms of expression and action dynamics within the field of management studies. They therefore build on and develop the international scope of the research that has been ongoing at MOST for several years, addressing critical approaches to management pedagogy and methodological alternatives through the use of art in teaching and in research methodologies.

Theses currently being written
Lan Anh Hoang, ‘Women leadership and CSR in developing countries’, under the supervision of Gwénaëlle Nogatchewsky and Antoine Blanc
Léa Dorion, ‘Théorie Queer et approches critiques de la théorie des organisations : entre subversion et émancipation. Le cas des organisations féministes’, under the supervision of Isabelle Huault
Guillaume Flamand, ‘Former à l’organisation par l’art pour un retour vers un fondement pratique : Une analyse critique de l’usage de l’art dans la Management Education’, under the supervision of Véronique Perret 
Laure Leglise, ‘Les enjeux de l’articulation des échelles globale et locale : le cas des stratégies d’entreprise pour lutter contre la pauvreté dans les pays du Sud’, under the supervision of Véronique Perret
Marcela Murarova, ‘Responsibility of banks in soft-law regulation through a neo-institutional perspective’, under the supervision of Nicolas Berland
Marie Redon, ‘L'évolution des directeurs financiers au regard de la financiarisation de l’entreprise’, under the supervision of Nicolas Berland