Danny MILLER & Cyrille SARDAIS, «Bifurcating Time: How Entrepreneurs Reconcile the Paradoxical Demands of the Job», Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice,) Vol. 39, Issue 3, May 2015, p. 489-512.

Abstract: Entrepreneurs have been portrayed in paradoxically contrasting ways in the literature. On the one hand, they are said to be intrepid optimists who venture forth with great persistence even in the face of considerable uncertainty and multiple failures; on the other hand, they are held to be realists who are quick to acknowledge the negative realities of their initiatives and adapt very quickly. In order to reconcile these contrasting views, this study tracks in real time the frequent confidential communications of an entrepreneur and his closest consultant and partner during the last 6 months of a failing venture. We are able to gain insight into how by adopting a positive “frame” or consistent mindset about the future, the entrepreneur is able to sustain confidence in the face of significant challenge while at the same time acknowledging and reacting to significant problems in the present. We propose that an intrinsic quality of an entrepreneur is this ability to integrate or reconcile these seeming opposites—to manage paradox, largely by bifurcating time—by making temporal distinctions, and we show how that person simultaneously can be optimistic and realistic, and persistent and adaptive.


MILLER, Danny, SARDAIS, Cyrille; «How our Frames Direct Us: A Poker Experiment», Organization Studies, Vol. 34, no 9, Septembre 2013, p. 1381-1405.

Abstract: We adapt Erving Goffman’s (1974) frame analysis to discover how frames shape individuals’ decisions in a poker-based experiment. The frames that surfaced in our subjects’ verbalizations suggest the ways in which they form very different impressions of “what is going on” in an identical situation. Our findings revealed that people’s frames drive the information they attend to in a situation, the interpretation they put on that information, and the way they synthesize the information to make a decision. The thematic frames that emerged differed dramatically across groups of individuals; they also were cohesive, multifaceted, and relatively few in number. As a result they were predictive: one could foretell a person’s behavior across multiple situations given the consistency in the frame adopted. In most cases, frames also revealed a significant mismatch with the requirements of the situation. Management scholars and practitioners would be wise to be more alert to frames which can do as much to derail effective decision-making as to facilitate it.


MILLER, Danny, SARDAIS, Cyrille; «A Concept of Leadership for Strategic Organization», Strategic Organization, Vol. 9, no 2, Mai 2011, p. 174-183.

Introduction: Leaders’ efforts at shaping people’s convictions are vital to the effectiveness of formal and informal organizations (Hambrick, 2004; Whittington, 2003). Unfortunately, the domains of strategy and organization theory have been ignoring the critical role of leadership – a concept that may both enlighten and help bridge the two domains. In strategy, the emphasis has been largely on economically rational behaviour, competitive positioning, and resources and capabilities. In organization theory, the focus has been on macro-social levels of analysis and on structural parameters. In each domain there has been too little attention paid to the micro-processes of individual human interaction in which beliefs and values – indeed convictions – are transferred among people within an organization: a process that is at the heart of developing and implementing strategy, and a central contributor to, and outcome of organization design. We shall argue this process to be, in essence, leadership. One possible reason for the neglect of leadership in strategic organization is that we lack a robust concept of it that would be useful to scholars in this domain. Certainly, there have been thousands of studies of leadership, and the term has enjoyed a wide range of definitions and conceptions (Bass, 2008; Yukl, 2006). In fact, Bass’s Handbook of Leadership contains about 10,000 references! However, the concept of leadership is sometimes cast too broadly to have clear implications for organizational behaviour, or too narrowly to do it justice in the many management situations in which it occurs (Podolny et al., 2010). That may limit its usefulness. The objective of this essay is to provide an appropriate concept of leadership for scholars of strategy and organization and to suggest its research implications. First we relate why most current notions of leadership are unable to capture fully its significance for the study of strategic organization. Then we propose a baseline conception of leadership whose parameters are promising for that purpose. We also investigate the boundaries of the term to appreciate its varieties. We conclude with the implications our conception of leadership has for addressing gaps in the literature on strategy and organization, and suggest several research directions.


MILLER, Danny, SARDAIS, Cyrille; «Angel Agents: Agency Theory Reconsidered», Academy of Management Perspectives, Vol. 25, no 2, Mai 2011, p. 6-13.

Abstract: Agency theory stipulates that executives will use their superior information to exploit owners unless effectively monitored or incentivized to do otherwise: Agents here are held to be opportunists and owners responsible parties. However, sometimes agency theory misses the mark and the reverse holds true. It may be the owners who exploit their firm and compromise its long-term interests, and steward-like agents who use their superior information to benefit a firm and its stakeholders. This analysis provides an inspiring historical example of how that can happen and illustrates some conditions under which one might expect similarly happy circumstances to arise.


SARDAIS, Cyrille; «Autopsie d’une négociation. Le règlement de la grève d’avril-mai 1947 à la Régie Renault», Le Mouvement Social, No 232, Juillet-septembre 2010, p. 47-73.

Résumé: Grâce à la richesse des archives du premier PDG de la Régie Renault, et notamment des comptes rendus inédits des réunions qui ont rassemblé la direction de l’entreprise, la CGT et/ou le gouvernement, cet article rend compte du processus de négociation qui a conduit à résoudre le conflit Renault d’avril-mai 1947. Il montre comment la solution qui fut construite par les acteurs, tout en étant impensable au début du conflit, a finalement rendu compatibles l’ensemble des impératifs posés d’entrée par les différents protagonistes. Parce qu’il se propose d’entrer dans l’univers des principaux acteurs de cette négociation, ce texte éclaire d’une manière originale un processus de négociation particulièrement spectaculaire, ainsi que toute une page de l’histoire de la France de l’après-guerre, page décisive qui a conduit à l’exclusion des ministres communistes du gouvernement et à la rupture du tripartisme.


SARDAIS, Cyrille; «Mêmes causes, mêmes effets?», Management international, Vol. 13, no 3, 2009, p. 67-78.