the transformative force of companies

Delivered. Business management is not the subject that we intuitively associate with the pleasure of reading. “Best-seller” alongside “management” would almost sound like an oxymoron. And yet the Covid has shown us to what extent the organization of the company can generate passions, tensions and produce innovations, disrupting our daily lives.

Sixteen years ago, the professor of management sciences Armand Hatchuel began to publish in The world chronicles on the life and transformations of the company based on the contributions of research. His collection What to manage means (MA Editions-Eska) published at the end of September brings together all its chronicles in a tribute to the Roman “bene gesta”.

He describes there, through the analysis of the shocks of the beginning of the century – the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the subprime crisis, the drama of Rana Plaza, the fall of Carlos Ghosn, the phenomenon of “yellow vests”, etc. -, the transformative force of the company and, concretely, the capacity for collective innovations to face the “new monsters” of our time.

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The good management of which he speaks explains the responsibility of the company in society. Theorized by Cicero, the “bene gesta” “Wants to be as efficient economically as it is honest and citizen”. And « (…) is recognized by the relations of reciprocity and solidarity that there are between rulers and ruled, representatives and represented He writes.

AZF, Enron, Parmalat, Carillion

A pioneer in the study of the dynamics of collective action, Armand Hatchuel deals in his work with the various protagonists within and around the company: “Unions facing industrial risks”, about the explosion of the AZF factory in September 2001; employees as ” action potential “ rather than like “Human capital which would mask their capacity for learning and invention ”; the leaders, “When the big bosses doubt”, confronted with a responsibility and an exposure exacerbated by globalization and media coverage, about the Enron and Parmalat scandals; and finally the shareholders, and the irresponsibility of the shareholder company, illustrated by a series of cases including the brutal bankruptcies of Carillion (ex-British No. 2 in the construction industry) in 2018, followed by that of the world leader in tourism Thomas Cook in 2019.

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This review of the last 16 years of business life is intended “Help to design desirable futures”. To this end, the book logically concludes with the transformation of relations between States and companies, the overhaul and reform of companies, with the example of the Pacte law (Action plan for the growth and transformation of companies , voted on May 22, 2019) which creates mission companies. Definitely, management sciences are for Armand Hatchuel a resource for political action.

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