Title: Different stages of the positioning of participative innovation (PI) over time. The case of the PI routine at the French National Railway Company (SNCF)

Authors: Carine Deslée

Addresses: University of Lille 2 – IMMD, University of Lille North of France, LEM – UMR CNRS 8179, France

Abstract: Our research focuses on the SNCF company. With 160,000 workers, SNCF is a bureaucratic structure (Weber, 1971; Mintzberg, 1982; Alter, 1995, 1996) facing the challenge of openness to competition. We analyse the participative innovation routine that has deeply changed since the 1990s, whereas a routine in the literature is considered to be stable (Nelson and Winter, 1982; Cohen et al., 1996). How can the participative innovation routine within SNCF have changed so deeply, and why? We rely on the methodological approach by Barley and Tolbert (1997) to understand the different steps of an organisational routine's transformation through the notion of script. We adopt an interpretativist posture (Girod-Séville and Perret, 1999) to study this participative innovation routine, understood in the sense of Feldman (2000). We show how this articipative innovation routine has changed over the years, and we interpret why. The interest of this research concerns all large companies involved in markets opening to competition as in the example of this company.

Keywords: participative innovation; SNCF; Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français; French National Railway Corporation; France; railways; bureaucratic structures; bureaucracies; Max Weber; Henry Mintzberg; Norbert Alter; openness; competition; Richard Nelson; Sidney Winter; Stephen Barley; Pamela Tolbert; organisational routines; routine transformation; performance programmes; scripts; interpretativist postures; Martine Girod-Séville; Veronique Perret; Martha Feldman; articipative innovation; regional development; regions; regeneration.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIRD.2013.052508

International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, 2013 Vol.5 No.1, pp.58 - 72

Published online: 06 Mar 2013 *

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