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Doctors/Dr. SCHMIDKONZ Miriam


Miriam Schmidkonz, a native of Munich, Germany, first held business roles in France and Germany before moving to Paris and starting a Franco-German communication agency in 1990, together with a partner. In 2000, she joined the world of French Business Schools, first as adjunct lecturer and then as full professor at the Normandy School of Management, Le Havre campus. In 2008, she became manager of the Grande École program at the Normandy School of Management. In the beginning of 2016, she received a career opportunity from the SKEMA Business School as Director of the Student Office on their campus in Sophia Antipolis (Nice) and then later in Lille. With this additional experience and her simultaneous pursuit of an Executive DBA at the Business Science Institute, in the spring of 2017 she accepted an offer from the Normandy School of Management to take the role of the academic director of their campus in Oxford (UK) and has held this position since August 2017.


Thesis summary

Plaisir au travail en Business Schools françaises.

[Pleasure at work in French Business Schools]

This thesis aims to understand the characteristics of pleasure at work for employees in French Business Schools today, whether they are working in educative or executive positions, research, etc. This work is based on grounded theory methodology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Glaser, 1978). The qualitative data have been collected through formal research interviews, along with an auto-ethnography (Heider, 1975) and a participant observation from a managing position in accredited French Business Schools between 2011 and 2016.

Social ties are set forward by the results as the potential main source of pleasure at work. Professors, researchers, managers as well as administrative employees describe the consequences of social ties on their pleasure and therefor their personal well-being and efficiency at work. This latter aspect is getting even more crucial lately, especially for schools that are struggling with a strong competitive environment and thus, have to deal with attracting and retaining their best employees more than ever before. Sustainability of social ties in working teams is increasingly threatened, by both restructuration due to school mergers and a soaring turnover since organizations’ reluctance to fire an employee is decreasing.

The term “pleasure” in the current Business School context is occurring as an originality of this thesis and so is also the large scope of the population considered (administrative and teachers-researchers). The approach itself is revealing how schools are changing by performing like private companies but with the particularity that executives often are simultaneously teachers and researchers. Schools need to be highly performant and the border between what some call “students” and others “clients” is shrinking. Students are provided with more and more services in order to get attracted and researchers are imposed with more and more ambitious objectives regarding their publications. Nevertheless, intellectual creation does not always enter an imposed period.

Finally, the managerial recommendations aim to encourage discussions that can then become integrated into work in the Business School for both today and tomorrow.