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  • Writer's picturegabriellehalpern

Acteurs publics: "The public manager must have several cultures and identities"

On the occasion of the publication of her comic book "La Fable du centaure" (illustrated by Didier Petetin, Humensciences, 2022), the philosopher Gabrielle Halpern was interviewed by Acteurs publics.

"For years now, we have spent our time putting everything into boxes. We stick labels on professions, territories, generations, activities and individuals. Each of us does this on an individual level, but when it's done on a collective level, we unwittingly create or reinforce silos and divides. The public sector needs to reconsider its processes, because a categorical view of society means categorical public policy. However, the world is becoming increasingly hybrid and nothing fits into the boxes any more.

The manager therefore has a particularly strong responsibility, since he or she must be a hybrid or a 'centaur', i.e. have a foot in several worlds, several professions, cultures or professional identities, and guarantee hybridity within his or her teams. On the one hand, it is a question of putting an end to the terrible professional and cultural consanguinity that exists in administrations; it is also a question of being prepared to recruit very atypical profiles without cutting off the feathers that make them rare birds. Of course, these profiles will bring unpredictability to the team, but if managers reject unpredictability internally, they no longer know how to deal with it when it comes from the outside, in the form of a covid-19 or... one day, a computer virus!

But it is not just a question of having a diverse team of co-workers, it is a question of being able to guarantee genuine encounters between the different professions, jargons and professional identities within this team.

Hybridization is a reciprocal metamorphosis - if you come out of a meeting exactly as you went in, if you are not a little bit different, then it's a sign that you've come together, but you haven't met (...)".


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