This book is intentionally grounded in the field of Management Science; that is, the sciences that seek to understand work in order to improve the functioning of organizations. As recently noted by an esteemed colleague, Professor François-Xavier De Vaujany, during a presentation to support an Authorization to Direct Research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches)1, the sciences of management and sociology fundamentally differ in terms of their subject, though they do share some common points. Sociology examines “how to live together” and Management Science looks at “how to act together”. We are, then, clearly in the domain of organized action. More precisely still, we study management situations defined by Girin [GIR 90, p. 142] as:
“A management situation occurs when participants are brought together and must, in a set amount of time, accomplish a collective action leading to a result subject to an external judgment.”
A management situation therefore includes individual actions, but these are integrated into the workings of the organization. Moreover, a result is expected and will be assessed by various stakeholders and major participants [FRE 84] in this organization.
Of course, there are different types of management situations, marked notably by the changes of the economic world within which organizations evolve, in particular the “crisis–opportunity–crisis” loops that have shaped the economic world for 40 years now. In fact, the first oil shock in 1973 put a ...