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OUMAR SOUMARE. Managing regional internationalisation in Africa. The case of Malian agro-industrial companies faced with multidimensional obstacles.


How to develop a company internationally in a context of crisis? How to overcome the obstacles? What are the key success factors?  This short paper taken from the author’s Executive DBA thesis, provides some answers based on research carried out with Malian agribusinesses whose objective is to develop in the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union regional customs union (UEOMA).

Research impact(s)

Mali has been facing a serious security crisis since 2012, a source of political and economic instability that is hardly conducive to the development of companies on the local market. In order for these companies to expand internationally, the following recommendations are made to managers:

  • The creation of a regional logistics network that ensures the transport of finished products on the outbound journey and raw materials on the return journey (Mali has no direct access to the sea),
  • The use of local raw materials in the production of products,
  • The introduction of integrated sales networks through to depots in the local and regional markets,
  • The development of a range of products accessible to different segments of the population,
  • The development of an offer adapted to orders placed by public authorities.

In order to implement this strategy, and in the face of a failing institutional environment (corruption, fake certificates, smuggling), networking among Malian business leaders to gain influence with the relevant stakeholders is recommended.

On the theoretical level, this research makes a contribution to developing the Uppsala model in the context of a multidimensional crisis. The results show that the majority of exports come from informal exports, and that internationalisation is more a default choice than a truly strategic intention. These results concur with the work of Bah et al (2020) who showed that Senegalese firms are often traditional, historically and strongly embedded in their local market.

Research foundations

The Uppsala model, which describes the internationalisation process of firms in relation to the management of uncertainties and the evolution of the business environment (Vahlne and Johanson 1977), was used. This model has been the subject of successive versions (2009, 2013, 2017, 2020). The main idea of this model is that companies adopt a sequential approach to internationalising their activities, and that the network model is a way of managing the uncertainty associated with the psychological distance between the home and host countries.

Research methodology

The research involved an in-depth case study of one agribusiness, based on 25 semi-structured interviews and a closed questionnaire. This was complemented by secondary data collection on three other agribusinesses and on the Malian economic environment. Data processing was carried out using content analysis via the Sphinx software platform.

Research outcomes confirm the Malian proverb that “Don’t drop the fish in your hand to try to catch the one under your feet” (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush). Clearly, as the Uppsala model states, the success of an internationalisation strategy depends on a successful local presence.

Further reading…

CROCE, F. (2018). La recherche du management africain au XXIe siècle : sous l’effet de la globalisation, vers un management africain « métis » ? Revue Africaine de Management, Vol.3 (1), pp. 1-12. (The search for African management in the 21st century: under the effect of globalisation, towards a “mixed” African management model?).

KAMDEM, E. et MUTABAZI, E. (2017). Le management en Afrique : entre universalité et contingence, Paris, L’Harmattan, 318 p. (Management in Africa: between universality and contingency).

MINIALAI C., MABROUKI, M-N., MONNOYER, M-C. et BOUTARY M. (2019). Les institutions des pays émergents, soutien ou handicap à l’internationalisation des PME ? Une entreprise marocaine en Afrique, Revue Africaine de Management vol.4 (2), pp. 197-210. (Institutions in emerging countries, support or handicap for the internationalisation of SMEs? A Moroccan company in Africa).

L’avis des professeurs

I was most interested in the extensive empirical work carried out, which underlines the high-context approach to the research (Professor Mourey, examination panel member).

This thesis represents a valuable DBA journey and collaboration between academia and the area of business in which Mr. Soumare works (Professor Mayrhofer, thesis supervisor).

2022-01-06T15:35:42+00:000 Comments



Why and how should the health care partnership between patients and professionals be deployed within a regional health care system? As in a business ecosystem, all the players must share the values, language and practices that aim to achieve their common goal. My research enables me to make recommendations on how to deploy this partnership not only at the level of health care, but also in the organisation of services and the governance of the system.

Research impact(s)

The analysis of my findings revealed four key insights. 1. The health care partnership is on the move. It is not a question of knowing whether it is appropriate to introduce it into our health care systems (nearly 90% of the players say they are familiar with it and put it into practice), but rather a question of supporting its introduction in a coordinated manner, so that it produces as many positive effects as possible, both on the running of the system and on the health of the population. 2. The deployment of the partnership requires an action plan. Although more than 90% of professionals claim to practice it systematically or occasionally, less than 50% of patients actually perceive it. It is therefore necessary to share a language and a culture, and to pool practices and resources (the time invested by certain actors in the partnership later benefits other actors within the system). 3. The effect of partnership on the coordination of the health care system is certain, but not sufficient. It is perceived as a factor in continuity of health care as inter-organisational practices develop, but there are structural obstacles to its deployment: absence of digital patient records, excessive fragmentation of organisations and funding, absence of evidence-based local research on the subject. 4. The historical context is favourable. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the interest in partnership for nearly 60% of the actors interviewed. The national regulatory framework (health care insurance law) is finally leading to quality and coordination of health care as serious ways of controlling costs. At the more local level (Swiss Cantons), political support for partnership projects is increasingly strong. Finally, several of these projects are reaching the end of their pilot phase and will be continued. I was able to translate these results into general recommendations, based on my theoretical framework, and recommendations with a managerial impact, intended for the organisation in which I conducted my research.

Research foundations

I initially wanted to examine the deployment of the health care partnership from the perspective of organisational change theories (Van De Ven & Poole, 1995 / Kerber & Buono, 2005). However, I found them difficult to operationalise in a field where change is more incremental than radical. After making a diversion into the sociology of translation (Callon & Latour, 1986), I wanted to retain an ‘organic’ approach while returning to a framework better suited to management, and opted for that of business ecosystems (Moore 1993, 1996). It can be suitably applied to the evolution of a regional health care system, since it carries with it the notion of the permanent adjustment of actors for the purposes of coordination and innovation (societal in my case). It lists the challenges to which the ecosystem is subjected throughout its life cycle, both from the point of view of cooperation and competition. On this basis, I was able to formulate general recommendations for the deployment of the health care partnership in health systems.


I adopted a pragmatic constructivist epistemological approach and used mixed methods (Creswell and Plano Clark, 2018). The main focus was qualitative involving intervention research into the introduction of a preventative health care project within my organisation (Coghlan & Brydon-Miller, 2014 / Savall and Zardet, 1987, 2015). This allowed me to investigate a dozen cases of clinics and to conduct interviews with patients, their relatives, professionals and managers of the institutions involved. I was able to contextualise this research thanks to two questionnaire surveys addressed at a year’s interval to actors in the network, punctuated by exploratory and/or explanatory interviews. In all, 619 individual contributions were collected, from 504 professionals and 115 patients. The quantitative data were processed and analysed statistically using the Sphinx Déclic software, while the qualitative data (recordings and transcriptions of interviews on RedCap) were analysed lexically by grouping the verbatims either by key ideas or by metadata (tags).

Further reading

Feedback from panel members

Once again, I would like to congratulate Philippe Anhorn for this excellent, instructive and academically rigorous thesis, which contains numerous high-quality results. His career path shows that even under difficult conditions, assuming professional responsibilities while pursuing a DBA thesis is possible!  (Prof. Zardet, thesis supervisor)

The thesis draws on genuinely rigorous scientific observation in the context of a complex problem involving a very large number of variables and evolving data. From this point of view, a research-intervention approach makes it possible to build up a highly relevant body of knowledge  (Prof. Bonnet, examination panel member)

2022-01-06T15:38:47+00:000 Comments



Public infrastructure is an essential ingredient in the socio-economic development of emerging countries. How can the performance of these projects be managed within the framework of a wider stakeholder vision? Below are some answers based on research carried out on major roadwork projects in Senegal.

Research Impact(s)

While the majority (60%) of major road projects undertaken between 2007 and 2016 have failed to meet the performance criteria set at the outset (deadline, cost and quality), this thesis proposes an assessment model designed to:

  • broaden the range of stakeholders involved in projects, which are often limited to the project owner and the funding body (it is desirable to include the design office, the project manager, the contractor, the users and the local residents),
  • identify the roles of these different stakeholders and relate them to the stages of the road project (identification, preparation, implementation and evaluation),
  • link the roles with a range of performance criteria (deadline, cost, quality, satisfaction of users and local residents, and environmental protection) approached from the perspective of effectiveness, efficiency and relevance.

Managing the performance of infrastructure projects requires a broad perspective on stakeholders to understand how and when they interact with the project. In addition, it is recommended to go beyond the “golden triangle” measurement of performance (quality, deadline, cost) and include criteria relating to users, local residents and sustainable development.

Research foundations

This doctoral thesis is grounded in the literature on project management and performance criteria. It follows the thinking of the researcher Roger Atkinson who, as early as 1999, emphasised the need to go beyond the traditional vision of project performance to include more diversity in the criteria.  


The research methodology is based on the following two stages: (i) a quantitative analysis of the results (deadline, cost, quality) of 41 major road projects carried out by the Agency for Road Works and Management from 2007 to 2016; (ii) a qualitative approach based on 34 semi-structured interviews with representatives of the road project stakeholders. The data was processed using Textual Data Analysis (TDA) techniques via Sphinx™ software and visualisation techniques using DataViv™ software.

Further reading

  • Atkinson, R. (1999). Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, it’s time to accept other success criteria. International Journal of Project Management, 17(6), 337-342.  
  • Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120.
  • Freeman, R. E. (2010). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Miller, R., Castonguay, J., & Chebil, F. (2006). La gouvernance des grands projets d’infrastructure publique-Le processus de révision de la qualité (No. 2006rp-23). CIRANO. 29p.

The governance of major public infrastructure projects – the quality review process.

  • Perret, F. L., & Louafa, T. (2008). Créativité et innovation: l’intelligence collective au service du management de projet. Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes, Lausanne, 351 p.

Creativity and innovation: collective intelligence for project management.

Feedback from panel members

Mr Mohamed Laye is highly involved professionally in a topic that is particularly important to him. He demonstrates this clearly in the first part of the thesis, where he introduces his research question in all its complexity by intelligently explaining it through the literature to which he refers (Pr Lemay, rapporteur).

Professor Mourey considers this thesis to be a high-quality piece of doctoral work and shows that the candidate has mastered the scientific approach. He was very impressed by the large-scale empirical study carried out at AGEROUTE, which highlights the context-specific nature of the research approach.

2022-01-06T15:57:56+00:000 Comments


Bringing out the best in your teams to avoid a crisis:

individual preventive resilience


What is the managerial process for moving from individual resilience (reacting to a crisis) to collective resilience (anticipating a crisis)? What is the missing link between individual and collective resilience in a hospital context? To what extent can simple awareness of the risk of the structure disappearing be a fundamental factor in organisational resilience?

Research Impact(s)

Two models for mobilising teams working in the hospital sector are illustrated:

  • In the private sector, the risk of an organisation disappearing can be used to good effect to leverage the resilience of the workforce. Centred around the meaning given to proposed measures and a more pronounced form of authority, due in particular to the direct contractual link between management and staff, the notion of collective resilience is commonplace in private hospital management.
  • In the public sector, the successful engagement of teams in change management is based more on internal communication and informing staff of the issues and risks to be avoided. Such approaches are part of a more collective contractual link, based on the financial support given to projects carried out by the medical teams.  The ability to mobilise collective resilience is confronted with a feeling of immortality among staff, due to their status as civil servants. The involvement of hospital teams in the co-construction of development and change projects is a prerequisite for the success of these initiatives.

The role of management is to work continuously to develop individual preventive resilience, which is a type of theoretical bridge between individual resilience (the ability to react) and collective resilience (the ability of the structure to anticipate), and to keep staff engaged in continuous organisational transformation. Management therefore concentrates on:  

  • analysing the challenges of the environment and anticipating risks,
  • defining the strategy necessary for (1) the survival of the organisation and (2) its development,
  • the meaning given to the projects undertaken and communicating this to staff,
  • supporting technological and managerial innovation by giving more room to middle managers and promoting initiatives and participative management,
  • establishing close partnerships with institutions whose work is complementary and offers opportunities to strengthen strategic positions in a market.

Research Foundations

This research follows on from Weick’s (1993) work on resilience mechanisms in management. Indeed, while the literature on change management is abundant, few studies have made the link between resilience and management. My research has therefore involved assessing the mechanisms for anticipating crises, particularly in relation to the theory of collective resilience and the impact of learning in High Reliability Organisations (Altintas and Royer, 2009).


The methodological framework used in this study is based on a Group Concept Mapping approach. This methodological approach, first introduced by Trochim (1989), is based on a mixed bottom-up approach, enabling the statistical quantification of qualitative data. By mobilising the experience of hospital managers in the field and hospital directors, the Group Concept Mapping approach allowed me to assess priorities and possible solutions, and to formulate recommendations.

Further reading …

Reinforcing resilience through post-crisis learning: a longitudinal study of two turbulent periods.

  • Cloutier M., Larivière D. et Tremblay G., La cartographie des concepts en groupe : étapes de réalisation et conversations orientées terrain, dans Chevalier F., Cloutier M. et Mitev N. (2018). Les méthodes de recherche du DBA, EMS Editions, 2018.

Group concept mapping: steps involved and practice-oriented conversations.

Resilience in hospitals, collective responsiveness to healthcare challenges.

  • Larivière D., La gestion de la crise de la COVID-19 à l’Hôpital : la résilience adaptative au service de la survie de l’organisation, dans M. Kalika, L’impact de la crise sur le management, EMS Editions, Octobre 2020.

Managing the COVID-19 crisis in hospitals: adaptive resilience for organisational survival.

Feedback from panel members

Professor Lemay comments at the outset that this is a very good thesis with interesting results for hospital administrations worldwide. (Professor Lemay, member of the examination panel).

Professor Sébastien Liarte agrees with the quality of the work and underlines the high degree of coherence of the topic, methodology and results leading to a very smooth flowing reasoning and development. (Professor Liarte, member of the examination panel).

2022-01-06T15:44:01+00:000 Comments

CONSTANTIN DABIRE. Public-Private Partnerships as an instrument for financing efficient public infrastructure: Myth or reality? The case of member countries of the West African Monetary Union (UEMOA).


Do public-private partnerships (PPP), contracts whereby a public body entrusts a private contractor with the financing and management of an investment allocated to a public service, satisfy all the parties involved – whether private, public or users? Is there an optimal financial and ownership structure for PPP? This question concerns African countries seeking financing for their investment projects, but it also applies to developed countries which, faced with a constantly increasing public debt, may wish to use this mechanism.


Research Impact(s)

PPP, as an alternative form of public financing, is the guarantee of a contribution in technical expertise for the realisation of new infrastructure. It is also associated with the successful completion of projects (76% completion rate).  On the other hand, it does not guarantee compliance with the deadlines and budgets allocated to projects: the overall average annual delay is just over one year, and the average unit cost is approximately 16,000,000 euros (for more than 80% of projects).

This research invites those responsible for PPP projects to develop tools for monitoring deadlines, staying within budgets and allocating risks among stakeholders. Furthermore, it shows that the success of these operations depends on the prior preparation of the projects, particularly with regard to:

– the quality of preliminary studies

– the procedures used for selecting the private partner

– the contractual clauses linking the private and public partners.

On the other hand, there is no link between the financing and ownership structure of PPP and the performance of these schemes: clearly, in the West African context, the success of a PPP does not seem to depend on the percentage of equity or the financial weight of the private partner in the financing.

 Research Foundations

The trade-off theory was used in this research, based on the work of authors who demonstrate the existence of an optimal debt ratio that maximises the value of companies (DeAngelo et Masulis, 1980; Myers, 1984; Fischer et al., 1989). This theory is based on the notion of arbitrage while taking into account various costs such as bankruptcy costs and agency costs (Jensen et Meckling, 1976; Jensen, 1986).



Based on a hypothetico-deductive methodology with hypothesis testing, our study, which develops a positivist approach, is carried out using primary and secondary data.  The primary data comes from an online satisfaction survey of users and beneficiaries of twenty-nine PPP projects in various sectors of activity in seven countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union.  The secondary data is mainly made up of the database of PPP projects supported by the West African Development Bank. The hypotheses were tested using statistical processing methods.


Further reading or viewing (in French)

 Le partenariat public-privé comme alternative au financement des infrastructures publiques performante : mythe ou réalité- Cas des pays membres de l’Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA), Éditions EMS, 2019.

YouTube videos:







L’avis des professeurs

Professor Husson stressed the economic significance of this research: the thesis directly questions the question of development in its most global sense, of a region and its inhabitants. (Professor Husson, member of the examination panel).

Professor Gajewski underlined the merits of the work carried out, highlighting the quality of the presentation […] He also insisted on the fact that the issue is very relevant and topical, recalling the need to find such partnerships in Europe, due to public deficits. (Professor Gajewski, member of the examination panel).

2022-01-06T15:47:53+00:000 Comments

THIERRY LAMARQUE. Key success factors for buyers in takeover negotiations

The takeover of a company involves a number of stages that need to be understood if negotiations are to be carried out successfully. Both owners and buyers may adopt a variety of emotionally charged strategies, not to mention the crucial role played by the buyer’s counsel during this process.

Research Impact(s)

Our recommendations are intended for senior managers who wish to leave salaried employment for entrepreneurship, through the successful completion of an SME takeover project. To this end, our work opens up the “black box” of owner-buyer negotiations, and enables these senior managers to:

  • Identify the five stages that structure this singular process of negotiations,
  • Focus on the three sub-processes at work during the interactions between protagonists,
  • Help bring out the various emotions and strategies that drive buyers and owners,
  • Develop an ecosystemic approach to observing the organisation of five rounds of negotiations during the takeover project,
  • Understand the ten key success factors of these complex negotiations.

In addition, our research highlights the role of the experts commissioned by the buyer, and defines in an unprecedented way the crucial role of the buyer’s counsel during SME takeovers. 


Research Foundations

Our research topic falls within the disciplinary field of entrepreneurship, in a context of takeover planning.

More specifically, our work concerns negotiations during outside takeover operations of non-listed SMEs, generally with a turnover of between €1 and €10 million.  These operations pit individual buyers, former senior executives, against owner-managers, who are often founders of their companies.

This work uses Von Neumann and Morgenstern’s Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour (1944), which offered a seminal model in the field of negotiations through a scientific analysis of the interactions between actors.  The literature called upon involves research into negotiation as a strategy adopted by the parties involved, its process and the emotions experienced by these parties.


Our methodological approach is qualitative. It is based on semi-directive interviews with ten one-to-one interviews conducted with ten individual buyers who have been involved in outside business takeover negotiations for less than two years. We triangulated the points of view of those involved in the negotiations by meeting the members of the buyers’ coalition: chartered accountant, lawyer, buyer’s counsel. Finally, we recorded in a negotiation diary the notes relating to our observations of 35 business takeover negotiations.

Data from this material was coded using the SPHINXTM iQ 2 statistical analysis tool, its content was analysed and a lexical analysis was also carried out.

Further reading

“Rôles du conseil acheteur dans la négociation d’un transfert externe de PME”, (Roles of the buyer’s counsel in the negotiation of outside takeovers of SMEs), article co-written with Bérangère Deschamps in the journal “Revue Française de Gestion” (January 2020).

“Les émotions du repreneur lors des négociations de transfert externe d’entreprise”, (The emotions of buyers during outside business takeover negotiations), article co-written with Bérangère Deschamps in the magazine “Finance Contrôle Stratégie” (September 2020).

“La stratégie du repreneur lors d’une négociation d’une reprise externe d’entreprise”, (Buyer strategy during the negotiation of outside business takeovers), article co-written with Bérangère Deschamps in the magazine “Management International” (January 2021).

“Reprendre une entreprise”, (Taking over a company), book co-written with Martine Story, Editions Maxima, 2018.

“Reprise d’entreprise – Tout pour réussir votre négociation”, (Business takeovers – The key to successful negotiations), book co-written with Martine Story Editions Maxima, 2013.

Deschamps, B. & Lamarque, T. (2021). La stratégie du repreneur lors d’une négociation d’une reprise externe d’entreprise. Management international-Mi, 25(spécial), 228-240.



Feedback from panel members

Professor Helfer says that he was impressed by the thesis and that he is very satisfied to discover a number of factors that are very much present in real cases of takeovers. The model offers managerial implications that will be widely used in practice. Many of the analyses contained in the thesis can be extrapolated to great benefit. (Pr. Helfer, President of the examination panel).

This is without doubt an exemplary DBA thesis: a perfect illustration of how to capitalise on the professional experience of an expert offering an academic perspective on their practice (Pr. Boissin, External examiner).

2022-01-06T15:54:25+00:000 Comments

SEBASTIAN BOURBON. Overcoming uberization through knowledge asymmetry and cognitive rent

The new-build real estate market

Could the estate agent end up by disappearing? How can intermediation in the purchase of real estate be revisited in the digital age? What kind of organisational and management design should be envisaged to address this challenge? These are all strategic questions to which the real estate agency manager must find answers.

Research Impact(s): key results

In addition to modelling the way the new property market functions today, I aim to explore the positioning of the estate agent not as the consequence of an asymmetry of information between housing supply and demand, but as an asymmetry of knowledge. The real estate agent derives his legitimacy above all from the possession of tacit knowledge that cannot be accessed through digital technologies.

I have also developed a knowledge asymmetry assessment tool that identifies and measures knowledge asymmetry, positions the agent according to the identified asymmetry within a configuration table, and includes measurements of the estate agency’s knowledge management. I am currently promoting the tool and the concept of cognitive rent – in particular by relaying my recent publications – to major organisations in my sector for a larger scale implementation. Some of them have already shown great interest in the approach.

Finally, my DBA thesis revisits Jensen and Mecklings’ agency theory in the light of the current reality of the real estate agent’s work. In a recent publication, Mickael Jensen himself acknowledges the need to update his theory.  According to him, the increased transparency of information generated by digital technology no longer allows the advantage of informational rent to be maintained. One of my proposals is to replace informational rent with the concept of cognitive rent, defined as: “intangible capital constituted through the accumulation, transformation and creation of implicit and explicit knowledge that gives a competitive advantage in a given market and/or a favourable position in a relationship with an interlocutor”.

Research Foundations

The thinking underlying my work is structured around the notion of asymmetry of information in a market that uses intermediaries, i.e. the estate agent.

My preliminary research led me to choose Jensen and Mecklings’ agency theory (1976). It offers an interesting interpretation of the legitimacy of the intermediary in a market characterised by a strong asymmetry of information.  This theory helps to understand how the agent becomes necessary in a situation where there is an imbalance of information between supply and demand. One of the two parties, called the “principal” (the client), will then enter into a moral and/or legal contract with the agent.  The principal then mandates the agent to act on the market, through a lack of sufficient information to do so himself.

Research Methodology

The methodological framework is based on action-research, the objective being to co-produce knowledge with the field studied, and to build a tool to identify and leverage knowledge asymmetries.  A series of 42 semi-structured interviews were carried with players in the real-estate new build market, and then analysed using Sphinxsoftware.

Following this, the initial roll-out phase of the tool was carried out in my company, IFIC Groupe Immobilier, thus enabling us to improve its performance after feedback from the field and to assess its actual managerial impact.

Further reading and viewing …

Feedback from panel members

By formulating the concept of cognitive rent and by taking the risk of deriving a tool from it for the benefit of his employees and his organisation, Mr. Bourbon demonstrated that writing a DBA thesis can involve regenerating practices, which is first and foremost the ambition of a scientific contribution at the highest level. (Pr. Denis, thesis supervisor).

Prof. Pallud enjoyed reading the thesis, which deals with a topical issue, namely the need to adapt to changes in the market and in demand, in a context where the real estate sector is under danger from digital technologies and uberization. She cites the case of Liberkeys, a virtual real estate agency, which has managed to raise 5 million euros in two years, thus illustrating the arrival of new players in the real estate sector and the importance for agents to differentiate and transform themselves. (Pr. Pallud, member of the examination panel).

2022-01-06T15:51:13+00:000 Comments
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