L’atout de l’expert

LONDRES – La quasi-totalité des membres du conseil d’administration de Google sont titulaires d’au moins un diplôme universitaire ou doctorat en informatique ou en ingénierie. On y retrouve deux présidents d’université et éminents experts – John Hennessy de l’Université de Stanford, et l’ancienne présidente de l’Université de Princeton, Shirley Tilghman – ainsi que plusieurs membres de l’Académie nationale d’ingénierie et d’autres institutions prestigieuses. Google bénéficie incontestablement de la présence d’une telle expertise technique au sommet de l’organisation.

Le géant d’Internet présente ainsi une caractéristique inhabituelle en ce sens qu’il a tendance à désigner des scientifiques virtuoses au plus haut de la direction. Au-delà de la Silicon Valley, rares sont les hauts dirigeants d’entreprise à pouvoir se vanter d’une profonde expertise technique autour des produits commercialisés par leur société. Les conseils d’administration américains sont abondamment constitués de MBA, notamment diplômés d’Harvard, tandis que les autres entreprises du monde occidental (à l’exception peut-être de l’Allemagne) semblent préférer promouvoir des professionnels de la gestion plutôt que des talents techniques ou scientifiques.

Il semble aujourd’hui aussi anormal de désigner des professionnels de la connaissance à des postes de hauts dirigeants qu’il semblait autrefois singulier de promouvoir des scientifiques au sein des conseils d’administration. Auparavant, nous considérions le leadership comme une moindre nécessité au sein des organisations à forte intensité en savoir, où les experts étaient considérés comme supérieurs, car motivés par un enthousiasme intellectuel plutôt que par des considérations extrinsèques telles que croissance des bénéfices et autres objectifs de coûts.

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