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Management science is the new political science, by Y. Pesqueux

Yvon Pesqueux

Professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers

Business Science Institute


In this interview, Yvon Pesqueux discusses the importance of critical reflection and the political and moral dimension in management science. He begins by suggesting that management science should occupy a central, reflective place in the academic world. He believes that if this reflection had been more thorough, it might have helped prevent some of today's crises.

The interview also sheds light on the drifts observed in management sciences, particularly in the field of management. Pesqueux points out that these drifts are often linked to the borrowing of concepts and methods from other disciplines, such as political science, without sufficient reflection on their epistemological foundations. This can lead to a reductive and authoritarian vision of management.

Yvon Pesqueux is renowned for his work on contractual theories, particularly of American inspiration. He insists that models and theories have a significant impact on our understanding of the world, and that these underlying ideologies can unintentionally transform reality. He raises the question of the trilogy between model, theory and representation, pointing out that many management theories are in fact models that participate in the construction and reinforcement of certain representations.

The interview also touches on the logic of "problem solving", where one person holds the indisputable solution to a problem. Pesqueux questions the rigidity of this approach and the lack of debate surrounding the proposed models. He uses the example of hospital management to illustrate the serious consequences this can have, particularly in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, Yvon Pesqueux highlights the importance of the political and moral dimension in management science. He argues that every discipline, including management, has a political and moral dimension, which requires in-depth reflection. He encourages researchers and practitioners to recognize the authoritarianism potentially inherent in certain approaches, and to engage in critical debate on these issues within the management sciences.

In sum, Yvon Pesqueux emphasizes the importance of critical reflection, ethics and political awareness in management science, while warning against the dangers of mindlessly borrowing concepts and models.

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