What is the role of intellectuals ?

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Fellow, the Institut (equivalent of the Royal Society)


Professor, École des mines de Paris

Seminar Business life | Friday June 3, 2005

How can one influence the course of events when one is an intellectual ? Michel Crozier chose a listening approach because he felt that this was the only way of dealing with the gridlocks which paralyse organisations. In a discussion with Claude Riveline, another connoisseur of the typical French resistance to change, Crozier, the sociologist comments on his career, his various meetings with organisations, and assesses his modus operandi. He feels that he was most useful in the business world, especially in helping to resolve two important crises at the SNCF (French National Railways) and Air France. His ideas also appealed to a number of politicians and continue to be used in research and in teaching. It remains to be seen whether society is finally ready to put them into practice.

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