IMVP and GERPISA's parallel history. A study of two forms of international co-operation in social sciences

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References

Freyssenet M., « Formes de coopération en sciences sociales et résultats de recherche. Brèves remarques sur deux réseaux interdisciplinaires et internationaux : l'IMVP et le Gerpisa », Genèses, n°43, juin 2001, pp 128-144. Édition numérique, freyssenet.com, 2007, 296 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Freyssenet M., "Histoires parallèles: IMVP et GERPISA. Réflexion sur les formes de coopération en sciences sociales". 1ère partie, les années 80, mars 2001 (n°150), pp 3-12. 2ère partie, les années 90, La Lettre du GERPISA, avril 2001 (n°151), pp 3-12. Éditions numériques, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, Ko; freyssenet.com, 2007, 296 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Freyssenet M., IMVP and GERPISA's parallel history. A study of two forms of international co-operation in social sciences. First period, La Lettre du GERPISA, mars 2001 (n°150), pp 3-12. Second period, La Lettre du GERPISA, avril 2001 (n°151), pp 3-12. Éditions numériques, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, Ko; freyssenet.com, 2007, 296 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

The texts are readable or/and downloadable. Please, go to the foot of this page to find the attached files. Clik once to read, twice to download. This presentation page is also printable.

The texts are the same, except some little differences of presentation. The first was published by Genèses. The two others by La Lettre du GERPISA. The third is in english.

Abstract

For most people involved in social science research, this remains an individual and solitary activity. Yet government authorities, research organisations and universities have made many efforts, as have the researchers themselves, to find other forms of work that will make it possible to increase the yield and practical applicability of research. Should we conclude from this that the forms which have been used up until now (seminars, colloquiums, collective publications, magazines, networks, teams etc.) are sufficient, i.e., that they cannot be bettered?

The primacy of individual work offers many advantages: a diversity of research topics and approaches, a greater sensitivity to new themes, personal involvement, an easier evaluation of researchers' output, the stimulation of scientific debate due to each participant's need to emphasise his/her contribution, etc. On the other hand, the subjects that are being dealt with and people's theoretical ambitions tend to be sized in terms of what one individual can reasonably be expected to do and to achieve. This has two consequences: some debates are never resolved because the work they require cannot be accomplished by one researcher working alone; and field researchers are forced, whenever they try to develop theoretical conclusions, to present their work in terms of current theoretical truisms or the conjectures of whatever essayists are in fashion at the time. This leads to a paradoxical situation, characterised by an increasingly wide range of viewpoints; by a huge pile of information in a scattered and difficult to articulate form; and by relatively mediocre theoretical advances.

And there is another reason for not considering that the current form of work in the field of social sciences constitutes a definitive version. National representatives and government authorities periodically and legitimately worry about research orientations - and about the uses that are being made of the funds they invest. Hence the many new systems, often unwieldy, contradictory, even suspicious, which seek to orient research and to make it controllable. For all of these reasons, researchers need to find forms of collective work that are productive and satisfying - before others make the decision in their place.

It is therefore highly salient to describe the experiences of two interdisciplinary international networks that have been founded by researchers themselves. The first, known today under the name of the IMVP (International Motor Vehicle Programme), was created by two researchers from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Alan Altshuler and Daniel Roos. The second, known as the GERPISA (a French acronym for the Permanent Group for the Study of the Automotive Industry and its Employees) was founded by Patrick Fridenson and myself, working out of the EHESS (Paris) and the Université d'Evry.

These networks have a number of points in common - but they diverge from one another in the forms of co-operation that each chooses, and in the research findings that each has developed. They were created at the same time, respectively in 1980 and 1981. They study the same field, the automotive industry and its employees. They both work using scientific preoccupations and ancillary practices. They aim to explore macro and micro relationships and to predict the sector’s possible futures. They deal with similar topics: industrial systems, internationalisation, etc.. They share the same ambitions, both theoretical (enhancing our understanding of the ways in which firms, and the environments within which they operate, have changed) and practical (communicating the results of their work to the actors involved and discussing with them the actions that they plan on taking). Finally, both networks are still functional after 20 years.

Nevertheless, the IMVP has developed a type of co-operation that tends to be market-oriented in nature, whereas the GERPISA seeks to establish a system based on a co-operation between equals. The two networks' findings have been very different - yet contacts between them have increased over the years.

Content

From an epochal shift to a single research question, 1980-1985
Programme sizes and network perimeters
Diagnostics on one side, identification of essential issues on the other

Crisis entry and exit, 1986-1990
IMVP, from diagnostics to solutions, from a network of equals to a network of subcontracting
GERPISA, from a seminar to a co-operative programme
International success on one hand, mobilisation on the other

More than one productive model? 1991-1995
The IMVP's instrumentalisation by researchers and firms versus the GERPISA's systematisation of its experiences

History decides, 1996-2000
The IMVP attempts to renovate its theories while the GERPISA devises a new scheme for analysing industrial historical
Manifestations of Japanese diversity and rapprochement between the IMVP and the GERPISA[

Conclusion

Key words

GERPISA, EHESS, University of Evry, IMVP, MIT, interdisciplinary co-operation, international co-operation , research in social sciences , research work, market-oriented cooperation, co-operation between equals, automobile, automobile industry, globalization, régionalization, internationalization, national growth modes, profit strategy, innovation, business history, theory of firms, productive models, employment relationships, productive organisation, product policy, company governance compromise, fordism, lean production.

Concerned disciplines

Economics, Management, Geography, History, History of Sciences and Technologies, Engineering, Political Science, Sociology.

Writing context

Contribution
to personal questioning
to scientific reflexion of research laboratory or network
to national and international scientific debate
to diffusion of scientific results
to implementation of scientific results

References, commentaries, critics

Curent relevance

See also

Possible purchase websites

http://www.gerpisa.univ-evry.fr/
http://www.editions-belin.com

Last presentation page updating

2007.07.20

Date of the putting on line of the downloadable texts

2007.01. 20 : Freyssenet M., « Formes de coopération en sciences sociales et résultats de recherche. Brèves remarques sur deux réseaux interdisciplinaires et internationaux : l'IMVP et le Gerpisa », Genèses, n°43, juin 2001, pp 128-144. Édition numérique, freyssenet.com, 2007, 296 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

2007.01. 20 : Freyssenet M., "Histoires parallèles: IMVP et GERPISA. Réflexion sur les formes de coopération en sciences sociales". 1ère partie, les années 80, mars 2001 (n°150), pp 3-12. 2ère partie, les années 90, La Lettre du GERPISA, avril 2001 (n°151), pp 3-12. Éditions numériques, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, Ko; freyssenet.com, 2007, 296 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

2007.01. 20 : Freyssenet M., IMVP and GERPISA's parallel history. First period, La Lettre du GERPISA, mars 2001 (n°150), pp 3-12. Second period, La Lettre du GERPISA, avril 2001 (n°151), pp 3-12. Éditions numériques, gerpisa.univ-evry.fr, 2001, Ko; freyssenet.com, 2007, 296 Ko, ISSN 7116-0941.

Fichier attachéTaille
IMVP and GERPISA s history. A study of two forms of international co-operation in social sciences.pdf364.57 Ko
Formes de cooperation en sciences sociales. Breves remarques sur deux reseaux interdisciplinaires et internationaux, l IMVP et le GERPISA.pdf317.59 Ko
Histoires paralleles, l IMVP et le GERPISA. Reflexions sur les formes de cooperation en sciences sociales.pdf300.51 Ko