The sudden and brutal nature of the COVID-19 outbreak and its global emergency measures have created a systemic crisis that, beyond the purely health aspects, has undermined many certainties. or even beliefs, on the principles of regulation of societies, in their national and international dimension. It has thus brought to light the fragility of the dominant economic and social models that struggle to anticipate risks correctly and to provide indisputable solutions both in terms of effectiveness and in ethical terms. In this sense, it refers to the fundamental debate that has been held since its creation by RIODD around development models and their implications for organizations. This debate focuses first on the meaning of the actions, the individual and collective objectives pursued, the order of priorities. It then goes on to look at how to undertake these actions, how to pursue these objectives. It thus raises questions about the respective role and legitimacy of public authorities and private actors, and the level and type of interaction between them.
The initial objective of the 15th RIODD Congress (2020) was precisely to address this debate, at the level of organizations, by questioning the model of the «entrepreneurial society» (D. Audretsch, 2006, 2007), claimed for several years by leaders of many countries as being particularly relevant to addressing major contemporary social and environmental challenges. The health constraints having led to propose a lightened and remote edition of the 2020 congress, the 2021 edition must allow to continue and deepen the debate usefully, by crossing more than ever the eyes of sociologists, philosophers, jurists, historians, geographers and ecologists, and economists and management specialists.
The health crisis, by the speed and scale of the upheavals it has induced, has indeed provided a formidable terrain for analysing the model of the “entrepreneurial society” (and alternative models) on which the debates of the congress will be anchored, around the issues of innovation of products and services, of process, of managerial (Schumpeter, 1935; Carland, Hoy, Boulton and Carland, 1984) in public and private organizations, of new or destroyed opportunities (Venkataraman, 1997; Shane and Venkataraman, 2000)development or disappearance of organizations (Gartner, 1985), creation or destruction of economic and non-economic value (Gartner, 1990).
State interventions, made necessary to combat the pandemic and to face the global economic and social crisis it has brought, have emphasized the irreplaceable role of States in crisis situations. This renewal of public power, which holds the sovereign powers, has also been accompanied by a number of initiatives from both the business sector and civil society collectives, in order to find innovative solutions to problems, Sometimes unpublished, posed by events. In a largely renewed context, the conditions for the emergence of a “balanced society” (Mintzberg, 2017) arise between the “three pillars” of states, markets and organised communities (ib).
In the same perspective of a renewal of the current frameworks for the analysis of economic and social policies, the question arises in particular of a revision of the United Nations’ “2030 Agenda” and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that had been set out, in another context in 2015. In what sense should these SDGs be reviewed and how should the role of organizations (public, private or common) be placed in order to achieve true sustainability? This major issue will be at the heart of the discussions at the 16th RIODD Congress.