i3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217)
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Institut Interdisciplinaire de l'Innovation

The performance of authority in organizations: an example from management consulting

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In this paper, we sketch a pragmatist model of authority. We show that, as authority is concretely performed through interaction, it contributes to the constitution of organizational boundaries. Through the case of a six-month consultancy assignment at a large French energy group, our study highlights that authority is not only the result of a mandate or a particular endowment of the consultant, but has constantly tobe established as everyday work unfolds. We argue that a consulting assignment involves a large share of ambiguity which, while being a source of uncertainty, also allows the consultant to position himself as acting on behalf of a variety of figures that lend weight to his actions and authorize them. We identify three different forms that these figures can take: people, material artifacts and abstract entities. Finally, we show that it is the mobilization of some figures rather than others that situates the consultant either within or outside organizational configurations, thus allowing him to tactically act as an outsider or an insider.

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Quand la domination du leader contribue au déclin : analyse de l’écosystème d’affaires Symbian et rôle de Nokia

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Symbian est un système d’exploitation pour téléphones mobiles, fruit de la collaboration d’équipementiers constituant un écosystème d’affaires. Cette contribution, utilisant des matériaux qualitatifs et quantitatifs, vise à identifier les étapes du cycle de vie de Symbian afin de les relier à la stratégie du leader et à l’implication des autres membres notamment en termes d’exclusivité. L’analyse longitudinale (2000-2011) permet de constater un accroissement de la domination de son leader apparent, Nokia, et un retrait des coopétiteurs.

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The Hero Figure in Business and Cinema

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Textbooks and manuals on management suggest that managers are heroes who deal with difficult problems of collective adaptation and change. American films are similarly built on the premise of a hero confronted with extremely difficult situations. What if this hero figure promoted for so long in both management literature and the American film industry was the same at the structural level? This paper will attempt to clearly define the performance of heroes that is perhaps shared by the imagination industry (Hollywood) and the image of human relations in the western industrial world. We shall follow this picture of the Manager as Hollywood Hero–or the Managerial–Hollywood Hero(MHH) –through multiple examples in both writings on management and American movies.

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Making a consultancy slideshow ‘rock solid’: a study of pragmatic efficacy

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The paper examines the pragmatic efficacy of a paradigmatic representational device used in the work of management consulting: the diagrammatic presentation of managerial problems in a consultancy slideshow. We present an ethnographic analysis of a consultancy mission, focusing on the momentsin which presentation is crafted, altered and discussed before reaching a stage of relative felicity. We analyze the conditions for this felicity as they are made explicit throughthe consultants’ ordinary work.We found that consultants manage three types of constrains when producing the representational device: (1) to create an appropriate effect on the target, (2) to be faithful to the “reality” of the situation and (3) to maintain an internal coherence of the representation. We further discuss these three aspects in the light of a pragmatist approach.

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