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Le rôle des managers de proximité dans la fabrique du sens stratégique à l’Office National des Forêts : les effets des frontières sur le travail d’influence des pratiques de martelage

Abstract : To support the growth of a promising sector and improve its financial situation, the National Forestry Office (ONF) adopted a new roadmap for the period 2016-2020, focusing primarily on increasing wood supply. However, this strategic focus, which is based on sustainable production, comes up against a patrimonial vision of forest management inherited from a multi-century-old administration, the Eaux et Forêts (Water and Forests). The weight of tradition may explain an intensity of harvesting that remains below the estimated productivity of ecosystems and the objectives set out in previous roadmaps. This calls for an examination of the ONF's capacity to adapt to meet the demands of a changing environment. In a practical approach to strategy, hammering practices can be a possible entry point for explaining and understanding how the ONF's wood supply strategy is formed and implemented in the field. Hammering consists of marking with hammer hits or traces of paint the trees that will be cut by logging workers. This technical act directly influences the volumes of wood put on the market. Hammering is carried out by relatively autonomous professionals who work under the responsibility of middle managers. Middle managers are considered as key actors of change. Based on the sensemaking theory, I show how middle managers can seek through interactions to influence the meaning behind hammering practices. However, these interactions are conditioned by the symbolic, social, physical and temporal boundaries that structure the practices. These boundaries are not fixed but may potentially evolve in the daily actions and interactions. This movement can be driven by middle managers and understood through the concept of boundary work. The influential work of middle managers consists then in working on the boundaries to influence practices towards increased wood supply. This leads to examine a potential change at the ONF through two questions: what are the effects of boundaries on the work of influencing practices of hammering? How do middle managers work on boundaries to influence practices?To answer these questions, an ethnographic case study was conducted in the Great East region. The data collected over nearly two years show that the boundaries that structure hammering practices strongly constrain the interactions needed to influence practices. These boundary effects have led the middle managers to create “free spaces” that provide more favourable conditions to interact and to influence the practices towards increased wood supply. Three main theoretical contributions arise from this study. First, taking boundaries into account in the influential work of middle managers allows us to shed light on the conditions of sensegiving, which Maitlis and Lawrence (2007) have long been calling for. The results obtained then make it possible to enrich the concept of ecology of spaces. Spaces of freedom are used to inform and influence the "front stage" spaces in which practices are carried out or in which boundaries are defined. Finally, this study invites a discussion on two aspects of the theory of sensemaking, that of resources and that of temporality.The results of this study lead to managerial recommendations aimed at increasing the influence of middle managers and promoting wood supply. These recommendations consist of several measures such as redynamizing work exchanges by opening spaces of discussion and using technical language to influence hammering practices.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 4:18:08 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-03231319, version 1

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Nathalie Carol. Le rôle des managers de proximité dans la fabrique du sens stratégique à l’Office National des Forêts : les effets des frontières sur le travail d’influence des pratiques de martelage. Gestion et management. Université de Lorraine, 2021. Français. ⟨NNT : 2021LORR0041⟩. ⟨tel-03231319⟩

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