Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
In the June 2003 issue of Futuribles we published an article by Michel Albert arguing that business could have a key role in promoting sustainable development. Nicole Notat has a similar viewpoint here, showing how the idea of the social responsibility of firms (SRF) has developed, driven by the growing awareness of the social and environmental risks associated with their activities and by a groundswell of opinion among both intergovernmental organizations and civil society.
Mme Notat describes the forms that reactions to these new demands can take, including ethical financing and socially responsible investments, or where necessary outright philanthropic actions. Better still, she stresses that firms can make a real contribution through preventive or proactive strategies that integrate social and environmental concerns in their management.
At the same time, Nicole Notat argues that, because there is no normative statement of what the SRF involves, it is essential to ensure that efforts conducted under this label are in fact genuine. Hence the creation of agencies like the one she heads, Vigeo, which tries to ensure the good faith and good practice on the part of firms.
For her, in any case, the issue is extremely important and the investment in it will be rewarded. A firm that os truly socially responsible has every likelihood of also being more competitive in the short term and, a fortiori, in the long term too.
How the social sciences conceptualize the future depends in varying measure upon intellectual developments within these sciences, upon competition versus cooperation between them, and upon changes in the surrounding society that alter the role of social science. This article notes that social science has matured into a set of somewhat static disciplines that do not expect to grow rapidly as they did decades ago, and this fact may give them a relatively conservative view of the future. However, it is ...
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Contrary to the beliefs of neoclassical economists, the value of a firm (or a territory or, more generally, an organization) cannot be assessed solely in traditional accounting terms which, at best, tell us about the past and not about their potential to create value. And this is all the more true when we start looking at an economy where the main factors of wealth are intangibles.
The problem, however, is that "intangibles" is an umbrella term covering all manner of things, and it can give rise to a wide range of interpretations, depending on whether it is taken to mean only skills and intellectual potential, or only items related to information, or ...; besides, it is usually understood as a stock, although increasingly it should be treated in terms of flows and interactions.
A study group was therefore established by Futuribles to determine, on the basis of specific cases, what the key components of "intangibles" are, to explore the indicators that might best capture them, and lastly to develop a tool to evaluate and assist the strategic guidance of organizations.
Véronique Lamblin and André-Yves Portnoff, who together led this working group, present here how we arrived at our conception of this intangible capital, what its main components are (collective intelligence, quality of relationships, organizational factors, capacity to activate, etc.), and what is involved in the method of evaluation that has been developed, called "Valeur Instantanée et Prospective" (VIP, Immediate and Prospective Value) of organizations.
This method has already been successfully tested on several firms; in the future it may perhaps enable firms to avoid strategic errors arising from reliance on traditional accounting systems that are now clearly inadequate.
Firms are increasingly obliged to be accountable for the impact of their activities on the environment. Anticipating this need, many firms have begun to include this requirement in their annual reports, sometimes even producing a report specifically concerned with sustainable development. How worthwhile are these early initiatives?
Thierry Lavoux and Patrice Grégoire have examined a study of the 2001 annual reports of 150 French firms conducted by the French Institute for the Environment (IFEN). They issue a warning: environmental reports have been produced by few firms, especially those whose activities involve considerable risks to the environment, and they should be treated with caution. These reports tend to provide few facts, especially long-term data, but plenty of general ideas.
Moreover, their findings are corroborated by several international surveys whose results they summarize. Sustainable development is clearly a matter of increasing concern so that firms have to give an account of what they are doing in this regard. Yet much progress remains to be made before this concern becomes fully integrated in management thinking and firms produce plausible reports of their efforts to act responsibly towards the environment.
Sous les effets conjugués du déclin démographique, d'une population vieillissante, d'une forte concentration de cette même population dans quelques aires urbaines et d'une succession de crises économiques et financières, la société japonaise pourrait bien connaître de profondes mutations. Ce dossier a pour objectif d'en appréhender les évolutions en prenant comme angle d'analyse la ville et trois dynamiques sous-jacentes qui rendent compte de ces changements : l'évolution démographique, la modification du rapport entre collectivités locales et ...
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In this article, the authors challenge the hegemony of western science fiction, arguing that western science fiction is particular even as it claims universality. Its view remains based on ideas of the future as forward time. In contrast, in non-western science fiction the future is seen outside linear terms: as cyclical or spiral, or in terms of ancestors. In addition, western science fiction has focused on the good society as created by technological progress, while non-western science fiction and futures ...
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While many writings in the scenario planning literature point to aspects of the constructivist learning perspective, few have made the links explicit. This manuscript intends to expose the links between the process of scenario planning and the constructivist approach to learning and teaching. Thus, the contribution of this manuscript is that it identifies constructivism as a core theoretical domain that informs the process of scenario planning, and describes the ways in which the principles of constructivist learning are found in ...
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Contrairement aux croyances des économistes néoclassiques, la valeur d'une entreprise (d'un territoire ou, plus généralement, d'une organisation) ne peut s'apprécier exclusivement à l'aune des éléments comptables classiques qui, au mieux, ne nous renseignent que sur le passé, nullement sur leur potentiel de création de valeur. Et ceci est d'autant plus vrai que nous entrons dans une économie au sein de laquelle les principaux facteurs de richesse sont de nature immatérielle. Le problème toutefois est ...
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Just over ten years ago Michel Albert published an influential book Capitalism against Capitalism (Capitalisme contre capitalisme, Paris: Seuil, 1991) in which he contrasted two models of capitalism: the "neo-American" model, geared to individual success and profit, and the "Rhineland" model, which emphasized collective success, consensus and concern for the long term.
Since then, Michel Albert has often had things to say about the decline of the Rhineland model, and the retreat of "social market economics" in favour of the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. But now suddenly he is arguing that firms -making up for the shortcomings of the state- are paradoxically starting in the United States to embody a new style of social market economics...
He is now arguing that there are two contrasting models of the firm: one is concerned only with maximizing profits for shareholders, whereas the other is motivated by the ideal of broad-based partnerships, seeking to reconcile the interests of customers, shareholdersand employees as well as both short- and long-term demands.
And, somewhat surprisingly, Michel Albert reveals that this new style of firm, which is both socially responsible and a highly efficient business, is coming from the United States to show us what to do.
In this article we present scenarios of wind power development in Finland up to the year 2025. We asked 14 experts to describe probable and preferable futures, through the means of a questionnaire and interviews. The 28 cases were grouped using cluster analysis, and the emerging five clusters were complemented into scenarios by qualitative analysis of the interviews. Wind power production grows in all scenarios but there were differences in the order of magnitude of ten The growth rate of ...
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De nombreuses entreprises ont été amenées à modifier leur organisation à l'occasion de la réduction du temps de travail. « Toutes choses égales d'ailleurs », les salariés ont diversement vécu ces changements. Leur appréciation est plutôt positive quand il s'agit d'utiliser davantage les technologies de l'information ou de développer le travail en groupe, ou encore quand cela permet de disposer de plus de temps pour s'occuper de sa famille, spécialement pour les hommes. À l'inverse ...
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At the start of the 21st century, there were less than 1 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Russia. Most of these were in Moscow or St.-Petersburg. Employment in SMEs has fallen in the last 3 years to about seven million people. The proportion of SMEs per thousand of population is well below European levels. Should these downward trends be changed, and if so how? The potential for entrepreneurship amongst the Russian people appears to be no ...
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Les auteurs rendent comptent dans cet article des conclusions d'un programme de recherche financé par plusieurs grandes compagnies américaines. Selon eux, la plupart des entreprises ne savent pas manager les knowledge workers de manière efficace. Elles pourraient améliorer leur productivité et leur flexibilité en réduisant dans le même temps leurs coûts fixes de 30 % Le changement de nature du travail (de plus en plus intellectuel), la diversité croissante de la population active (plus féminine, plus âgée), les attentes de ...
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Les nouvelles technologies bureautiques et industrielles brouillent les frontières entre les métiers. Les traits caractéristiques de l'organisation du travail des cadres se diffusent au sein des autres groupes socioprofessionnels, conjointement au développement des technologies de l'information et de la communication (TIC) et des machines automatiques. Cela conduit à une homogénéisation du rapport au travail, qui passe par plus d'autonomie, plus de communication, plus de réunions, plus de tâches indirectes. Néanmoins, ce phénomène s'accompagne de clivages forts ...
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Basing his discussion on the national surveys of time-use in a dozen countries, Jonathan Gershuny argues that the changes in how time is spent every day reveal a general similarity among countries and between the sexes, although women still do more housework than men. He also shows that there has been a slight increase in the amount of time spent on paid work (and rising with level of education) and a slight fall in time spent on domestic chores.
Despite these trends, Gershuny stresses that there are potentially substantial differences from country to country, especially between those with long working hours, poor public services and where therefore there are big gender differences, and those with shorter working hours, better public services and where therefore gender differences are smaller.
From this he outlines a political economy of time, and argues that the time spent on paid work has an impact on how and which services are used. He ends by showing that "social democratic states tend towards high-value leisure service consumption, whereas liberal market states tend towards the low value pattern".
In order to anticipate technological futures of Building Management Systems (BMS), many methods can be identified. However, people often focus on the results of these studies relating to new products. Undoubtedly it is easier to agree on conclusions of a study than on methods used to carry it out. Thus, answering several methodological issues, we develop a new technological future method named `CLE' (complexity, logic, evolution). This one relies on three main ways to answer particularly the problems of complexity ...
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Basing his analysis on surveys of time-use in France, Alain Chenu discusses the main trends in the use of time by people aged between 18 and 64 and living in urban areas over the period 1974-1999.
In essence, he shows that while half the day is spent on satisfying physiological needs, the other half is devoted to work (either in jobs or in education) -where the amount of time has fallen sharply, especially between 1974 and 1986- and to leisure, which has tended to increase. Chenu points out, however, that there is a clear difference between the sexes, although that is diminishing: in 1974, women spent three times longer on domestic tasks than men, whereas in 1998 they spent just under twice as much time; in 1974, men were responsible for 80 % more of paid work than women, but by 1998 this had fallen to around 50 %.
Chenu then examines the data broken down into more detailed categories and finds that some major changes have been observed: a fall in the time spent sewing, washing and dressing, cooking and looking after children, etc. By contrast, more time is spent on do-it-yourself tasks in the home, gardening and shopping, with (once again) obvious differences between men and women.
Lastly, Chenu notes how the way French people spend their time varies depending on their level of education and their income. This analysis reveals a quite sharp distinction between highly qualified people who are working harder and harder and the unskilled, who enjoy more leisure time but spend it in mostly passive ways, such as watching television.
La fin du monde bipolaire a eu pour effet indirect de consacrer l'entreprise comme acteur géopolitique à part entière. D'une part, les industries stratégiques (transports, énergie, télécommunications) se sont émancipées de la tutelle des États grâce au mouvement de dérégulation et certaines activités militaires ont même été privatisées. D'autre part, la défense des intérêts économiques des entreprises privées est devenue un axe majeur de la diplomatie des gouvernements. En outre, les entreprises les plus puissantes pratiquent un ...
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Hiromasa Suzuki describes here the various changes since 1970 in how time is spent in Japan. After setting out the major changes that have occurred in lifestyles (quality of life, division of labour between the sexes, time spent on work, leisure, etc.), the author stresses two key trends in Japan: a reduction in so-called "constrained time" (mainly paid employment and housework) and greater diversity of lifestyles (a shift in the active day towards the evening, more varied schedules). He raises some questions to ponder about ways of adapting things like community services to these changes, but the big unknown remains how the Japanese will spend their increased leisure time in the future.
John Robinson has therefore analysed the daily routine of Americans and the changes that have occurred in their lives in recent decades. He then uses this information to compare France and the United States.
The trends in how time is divided between work, the family and leisure pursuits has changed little overall since the 1960s, and turn out to be remarkably similar in the two countries. Nevertheless certain changes can be observed: more women in paid work, less time spent on household tasks and caring for the family, men taking on a greater share of household tasks and a slight fall in the amount of time spent on personal care (washing, dressing, etc.). The greater leisure time available tends to be spent watching television and keeping fit.
While French and American trends usually run in parallel, they diverge in certain areas, in particular the non-productive aspects of life (meals, socializing, group activities) that increase the social capital of daily life. Unlike the Americans, the French prefer to spend their leisure time with other people even though, paradoxically, they spend less time with their children when they get older.
Dominique Anxo undertakes here a comparative study of the sexual distribution of time use (professional, domestic, parental) in France and Sweden. He argues that, even if there have been some changes in recent years, in both countries the division of tasks still has a strong sexual bias, with women still spending more time than men on domestic activities and parenting.
Nevertheless, Swedish couples turn out to be more egalitarian in the allocation of tasks than their French counterparts. Among the critical factors responsible for this, Anxo identifies the Swedish employment policy, which allows for a "negotiated flexibility" throughout the life cycle, as well as childcare arrangements for infants which he argues are key, since the presence of pre-school children (i.e. under 3 years old) plays a major role in determining how women organize their time, in both the home and their jobs. Lastly, this (slight) advantage of Sweden over France (and many other countries) as regards the sexual division of activities is also linked to the high level of education and salaries of women in Sweden: total household income and wide differentials in pay scales between men and women heighten the inequalities in this area.
As well as a vivid analysis of male/female disparities, Dominique Anxo therefore suggests some ways of reducing the highly unequal division of labour between the sexes.
The term "huge mess", applied to science in France, well sums up some experts on public research's view. On that matter, Rémi Barré has chosen to take as his starting point Olivier Postel-Vinay's book, which is very typical of this point of view.
Postel-Vinay first examines the problems facing French research (inertia, lack of either accountability or transparency, etc.), which is conducted via an old-fashioned, rigid, centralized state system unable to adapt to a changing world. He then goes on to show the poor results achieved by French science and technology, despite strong forces for change.
According to Postel-Vinay, the source of the problems of French public research lies in the inappropriate way in which the whole system is organized. He therefore proposes that the issue of the universities and their relationship with research institutions must be tackled, arguing for an action plan aimed at moving away from the traditional French approach towards the standard Anglo-Saxon one.
According to Rémi Barré, thinking that we should first integrate the "grandes écoles" and the research bodies into the universities is illusory: those are major changes, which are impossible to carry out in the short and middle run. We'd better try to strengthen the virtues of the French model -the researchers'independence, the ability to attract highly skilled people and to build on accumulated research work over the long term -in the frame of a deep decentralisation of the responsibilities.
Such reforms will only come about through concerted action, involving everyone concerned and creating an impetus to reinvent and update the existing model, which won't be possible without a real forward-looking policy for the national research system.
According to Rémi Barré, the question is not whether one model is preferable to another, but to set in motion the dynamics of change which will make France a country with strong science and industrial innovation within an increasingly competitive European context.
Comparing the global situation in the year 2000 with what experts, some of them quite famous, predicted 30 years earlier, the conclusion can only be that they were remarkably wrong; not only as a group but almost every single one of them. Anybody willing to anticipate the year 2000 would have done so very badly, basing his opinions on any one of them, or on the group as whole. The theory to explain this is based on the idea that ...
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Même s'ils ont parfois du mal à le reconnaître, l'enquête Ipsos-Enfant Magazine montre que pour beaucoup de jeunes parents, la vie professionnelle empêche de vivre pleinement la vie familiale. Inversement, la vie familiale est souvent perçue comme un frein à l'épanouissement professionnel, surtout pour les femmes.
Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.