The lessons of the pandemic, according to Henry Mintzberg

Les leçons de la pandémie selon Henry Mintzberg

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
It is the solidity, the balance and the complementarity of public authorities, the market and of the different forms of civil society that are democracies the strongest, healthiest and most prosperous, writes management expert.

The pandemic of sars coronavirus will change the functioning of organizations, but perhaps not as long as it observes the management guru, Henry Mintzberg.

The venerable professor, McGill University, admits to be just as amazed as amazed by the speed and ease with which many workplaces have appropriate platforms to videoconferencing as a Zoom. “It is fascinating as it can be powerful “, he explained Thursday, precisely at a video conference organised by the association of graduates of the university of montreal. “And then, the contact is a remarkable intimacy. We never looked at them so closely. “

Longtime advocate of a more egalitarian and collaborative management of companies, he observed that these videoconferences tend, at least visually, to place its participants on the same footing. “I had to think about what it would look like if the location and the size of their images reproduced the organizational chart of the organizations. “


The dashboard on the evolution of the coronavirus in Quebec, in Canada and in the world

The demonstration that is in the process of making the usability and effectiveness of telework will ensure its continuation, at least in part, after the pandemic. “It’s not the bosses who are going to impose it, but the employees who are going to ask “, says the expert of management science of international reputation who, in the course of a career spanning 50 years, has accumulated almost twenty books, nearly 200 scientific articles and a multitude of accolades and awards, including twenty honorary degrees around the world.

But not everything can be done remotely, ” he said. It is still around a meeting table and in front of the coffee machine that important things happen. “Nobody encounters by chance on the Zoom. “

For the country

Fierce opponent of the so-called “leaders, the conquerors” and omniscient that celebrate too often, textbooks in management, the expert admits that some political leaders have without doubt made a difference in the response of countries to the pandemic COVID-19 for the best or for the worst. But not as much as the capacity of these countries to grow and deepen the ménage à trois between the government, the market and the different forms taken by civil society and what he calls the “sector” plural “.

Like the three legs of a stool, it is the solidity, the balance and complementarity between these three sectors which are the democracies, the strongest, the healthiest and the most prosperous, considers the expert. He wants to show the international rankings at the summit of which appear, in particular, the countries of Northern Europe, New Zealand, Germany, or even Canada, but where the United States is doing a poor job. However, it is probably not a coincidence, he thinks, if several of these first-class are also the ones who have best managed the pandemic up to now.

“Of course, that this crisis requires political leadership, repeats Henry Mintzberg. But no political leader has been trained to deal with such an event. Also, it is a call to their ability of listening to experts and people on the ground, and to be reagents. “

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