Erhard Friedberg
Vienna, 13/04/1942


Professor Friedberg’s major contribution to the study of organizations lies in the systematic development of a théoretical and methodologiocal framework for the analysis of organized action. In Actors and Systems co-authored with Michel Crozier, and and more recently in Local Orders. The Dynamics of Organized Action, he has developed a general theoretical model of organization understood as the process (always political in nature) of constructing and maintaining “local or partial orders“, i.e. orderly patterns of interaction among a set of individual and collective actors linked by strategic interdependence. Formal organizations are only one subset on a continuum of such “local orders”, and the theoretical and analytical framework designed for their analysis can therefore be transposed for the study of apparently less structured and formalized fields of action as for instance social and political mobilizations, public policy arenas, economic markets and other forms of collective action.Professor Friedberg is Austrian by birth and education. His career has been conducted largely in France where he has completed numerous empirical studies in a variety of settings both in private firms, and especially the Frech automotive industry, and public policy arenas such as the implementation of industrial and cultural policy in France, or the comparison between the French and the German university systems. Erhard Friedberg is both a researcher and a teacher. He presently directs the Master of Public Affairs at SciencesPO and the Post-Graduate Program in Sociology at SciencesPO (the Paris Institute of Political Science). He is a frequent consultant to Renault and other French or European Firms, as well as the author of numerous articles on the theory and practice of organized action.E. Friedberg is currently at work on a major project called “The Living Archives of Organization Theory”. The idea behind the project is twofold : on the one hand to conduct and assemble videotaped interviews with the “Founding Fathers of Organization Theory” in the United States and Europe; on the other hand to use the material of these interviews to document the history of organization theory in a series of multi-media productions and documentaries. So far, interviews with twenty “founding fathers” have been completed, and two multi-media series have been published: “A la recherche de l’organisation” (three CDROMs) and a second collection of three DVDROMs on “Questions d’organisation” with a first volume on “La decision”, available in French and English.
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