Is SSE Ready for a Liberated Enterprise?

The released management also wins ESS. Source: Care News.

Each era has its own management tendencies. For several years now, the notion of free enterprise has been imposing itself and fueling controversy between followers and detractors. Behind this term lies a philosophy, strives to put employees at the center of the decision-making process and which horizontalizes the organization of the structure. Thus, employees become more autonomous and self-determination enters the company.

Structure to meet basic needs

According to Isaac Goetz, who popularized the term in France with his book Freedom & Co.this type of company is responsible the basic needs of employees and helps maintain productivity.

This trend has not bypassed the social and solidarity economy. The SSE is a collection of companies (foundations, associations, mutual companies, etc.) that seek to benefit society, but that have also (usually) adopted participatory democratic organization. But then why can these structures take advantage of the liberated organization?

“When there are contracts, I sign them, but I don’t read them”

Energy supplier Enercoop is fully in line with this trend. Midi-Pyrenees Local Cooperative (SCIC) has created free management with collective decision-making thanks to participatory tools. For example, remuneration and holidays are determined by the team. In this context, the director has a legal role and the employees work independently: “When there are contracts, I sign them, but I don’t read them,” explains François Richet, volunteer director of Enercoop Midi-Pyrénées.

But what is the interest for the cooperative to choose this liberated management? “It is a form of organization that is in line with our values, with who we are,” explains Francois Richet. “In some cooperatives, there is a form of schizophrenia where employees can talk about everything in general meetings, but are daily in a subordination relationship with the director,” he analyzes.

What SSE structures are we talking about?

Many SSE structures use loose management without even knowing it. This is explained by Beranger L. Szostak, Associate Professor of Management Sciences at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, University of Paris Saclay:

When we are dealing with small neighborhood associations, we are talking about the management of mutual adjustments. We count on everyone, and adjustments are being made between volunteers. In these cases, a free business idea will not violate the practice.”

The specialist, however, believes that larger organizations, especially those with a large proportion of employees, are more interested in implementing liberated management. “It’s not because this is ESS, this is the world of care bears. There are also conflicts and difficulties., explains Beranger L. Shostak. Maif, for example, chose this type of control several years ago.

What controls are released in Microdon?

Microdon, a specialist in micro donations from clients or employees with the ESUS label, has also created a form of free management in its structure. In 2013, four years after inception, an increase in the workforce prompted Microdon to think about the type of management it wanted.

In a liberated company, the goal is to allow employees to realize themselves and, among other things, to unite everyone on the basis of common values. The company sets an annual workshop that “allows us to reflect on the challenges of transformation so that we collectively set a time horizon”, explains Olivier Cuellier, co-founder of Microdon. Employees are listened to to participate in the transformation plan.

Management in line with aspirations

Olivier Couelle believes that this type of management is ideally suited to the aspirations of workers in the social and solidarity economy who are looking for meaning and influence: “It becomes an important tool to stimulate, motivate and retain this group of employees,” he explains. Which seems important considering that according to an Opinion Way survey, nine out of ten employees are bored at work. Four out of ten believe that initiatives should be encouraged to dispel boredom.

civil administration

At Enercoop, the company is conceived as a social structure, inseparable from the rest of society. It is for this reason that the company strives to make a positive impact. It is also for this reason that he created the liberated administration: “it seems difficult for us to say that you are a citizen in the territories, but that you cease to be one when you come to the company”, explains François Rich. .

Being a corporate citizen requires a lot of commitment. Moreover, François Richet suggests this: not everyone is made for this type of organization. Beranger L. Shostak also shares this observation. She also believes that life events can change our desire to participate, even in people who wanted to participate from the very beginning.

Another nuance introduced by Beranger L. Shostak, potential loss of values ​​closely related to SSE: “With this management, we have brought back the identity as an actor in everything. Thus, in SES we may lose something fundamental: the question of the collective. »

Theo Nepivoda

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