Damart Sébastien, David Albert, Klasing chen Milena, Laousse Dominique
Turning managers into management designers: an experiment

Management, as it has been materialized through management principles, systems, techniques or practices, is the product of a design activity: managerial "objects" can be described and labeled and the process of their invention can be analyzed. The objective of this paper is not to state if and to what degree management can be designed, but, much more precisely and modestly, to analyze how managers within an organization can be turned into management designers. In other words, how can we organize a group of managers who decide to take management as an innovation field, i.e. a target for a design activity? In order to explore this question, we - the authors of this paper - designed an experiment: about ten managers were proposed to form a group and to take part to a workshop. Four half-day sessions took place. This paper proposes an analysis of this experiment. In order to understand the specific nature of this experiment, we first need to understand how management has been designed up to now. Literature review will analyze which kind of actors have been inventing management throughout its history and make hypothesis on which design goals were at stake and under which design regimes. With respect to the specific goal of our experiment -turning managers into management designers- and to the specific design regime we want to experiment - innovative design- we will then detail our methodology. We detail the process as it happened, at each phase of the workshop, and comment on the logics of each step. Finally, we discuss the nature of the process and conclude on the effects of the experiment in turning managers into management designers.