Managing the World and its Organizations: What is the Role of Sociology?

Prof. Sébastien Arcand
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The contribution of sociology in the understanding of modern social phenomena cannot be questioned. The use of theoretical perspectives and empirical data for studying social practices that appear to be less and less integrated one to another is at the origin of the hyper specialization of sociologies. In that context, the becoming of sociology seems to rely on its capacity to encourage social agents to think differently about the way they picture their collective actions.

Located at the upstream of social practices, sociology is usually seen as a means to stand back from daily practices. At the same time social agents ask for know-how instead of why and how social phenomena occur. That creates a problem of legitimization for sociologists and sociology itself. Starting from this ontological dilemma, we propose to evaluate the role of sociology in the improvement of management practices. It is indeed in the management of organizations that sociology may have its usefulness without perverting its foundations based on critical thinking and scientific analysis of social phenomena. Today’s trends in management practices are too often limited to immediate answers and results and to individual actions rather than more inclusive and collaborative actions. Sociology may contribute to improve management practices on different topics such as social responsibility, integration of all groups in organizations and relation between private organizations and specific social and political contexts.

Our paper revisits some classics in sociology like Dahrendorf, Weber and C. Wright Mills and propose a framework that combines some management theories — Drucker, Hofstede, Morgan — with sociological concepts such as integration, conflict and social representation. The aim is to focus on the relevance and possibilities of devising a Sociology of Management for research purposes and teaching at university level in a broader objective of improving management practices into organizations.

Keywords: -
Stream: Economics and Management
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Sébastien Arcand

Associate Professor, Department of Management, HEC Montréal

After a Ph.D. in sociology at University of Montreal in which I studied the link between organizational structures of ethnic minority groups and political participation in Quebec during public consultations, I did a post-doctorate research at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University while I focused on how the concept of ethnic minority is taking into account in the international human rights system. Now Associate Professor at the Department of Management at l’École des Hautes études commerciales in Montreal, my main interests are A) The role of sociology in management practices, B) Cross-cultural management, C) Organizations, identities and regional integration in the Americas. I also conducted researches on different subjects such as socio-economic integration of North African population in Montreal, on needs for literacy among workers in the textile industry in Montreal and on the evolution of ethnic relations and organizational transformations in urban contexts.

Ref: I06P0212