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This article deals with work recognition and the work meaning, in particular, regarding the best recognition practices to be implemented by managers. A growing demand for recognition is observed in the contemporary world (Bourcier & Palobart, 1998; Brun & Dugas, 2005; Peretti, 2005). This term is relevant because globalization, which drowns the individual in a mass, the focus on results and technological development lead to reification (Lukács, 1960). It is a tendency to consider other humans as objects or numbers (denial) or to consider others as inferior beings in a contempt society (Honneth, 2006). Humans seek to have their identity recognized, which is intersubjectively constituted (Mead, 1963). Thus, since the middle of the 20th century, we have seen a rise in approaches based on humanism and the need to recognize individuals beyond their results.
We will mention some theoretical and practical limits that we will try to clarify in this article. At the theoretical level, the concept of recognition is polysemous (Ricœur, 2004; Honneth, 1992) and is the backdrop for many theories. As a result, it shows a fragmented and splintered face. We would like to offer a more systemic vision that allows us to position it as a macro-concept (Morin, 2005) that allows us to articulate numerous theories and ways of thinking. Moreover, most research proposes theoretical principles and themes but does not reach the concrete practices in companies that can be used by managers. Our purpose is to close the gap between recognition expectations and actual implementation of recognition practices…


Recognition is a transdisciplinary macro-concept with complex semantics that deserves to be clarified. In the context of work, there is a visible and growing recognition demand and the crises we are experiencing reinforce this need. The subject is important as it is linked to major contemporary social and economic issues: CSR, burnout, bore-out, stress, work suffering, diversity, quality of life at work, psycho-social risks, work meaning, staff turnover, absenteeism, work-related accidents and many items of motivation. Faced with these issues and the multiplicity of recognition representations, managers find themselves lost and poorly trained in recognition practices. This article focuses on the recognition practices that managers can use. The results are based on two cases of organizations (industry and service) in which an intervention-research was conducted. The article provides a theoretical synthesis on the subject of recognition and presents examples outcomes to move from theory to practice. It thus allows researchers and practitioners to better understand the concept of recognition, its multiple representations, and the practices that can be mobilized in organizations. It also sheds light on the impact of the context in which practices are carried out on recognition, contempt and denial perceptions. The continuation of the research on other organizations and a deepening of the variables impacting the perceptions has to be elaborated through the concept of Humanistic management.

  • recognition at work
  • work meaning
  • research-intervention
  • work quality of life
  • behavior management

Quelles pratiques de reconnaissance au travail entre les mains des managers ? Comprendre les attentes et variables affectant les perceptions des collaborateus

La reconnaissance est un macro-concept transdisciplinaire à la sémantique complexe qui mérite d’être éclairé. Dans le contexte du travail, on observe une demande visible croissante de reconnaissance et les crises que nous vivons renforcent ce besoin. Le sujet est d’autant plus important qu’il est en lien avec des thématiques sociales et économiques contemporaines majeures : RSE, burnout, bore-out, stress, souffrance au travail, diversité, qualité de vie au travail, risques psycho-sociaux, sens au travail, rotation du personnel, absentéisme, accidents du travail et de nombreux items de la motivation. Face à ces enjeux et à la multiplicité des représentations de la reconnaissance, les managers se retrouvent perdus et mal formés aux pratiques de reconnaissance. Cet article s’intéresse aux pratiques de reconnaissance mobilisables par les managers. Les résultats se basent sur deux cas d’organisations (industrie et service) dans lesquelles a été effectuée une recherche-intervention. L’article fait une synthèse théorique sur le sujet de la reconnaissance et expose dans les résultats des exemples pour passer de la théorie à la pratique. Il permet ainsi aux chercheurs comme aux praticiens de mieux comprendre le concept de reconnaissance, ses représentations multiples, et les pratiques mobilisables dans les organisations. Il éclaire également sur l’impact du contexte d’exécution de pratiques sur les perceptions de reconnaissance, de mépris et de déni. La poursuite des travaux sur d’autres organisations et un approfondissement des variables affectant les perceptions sont autant de pistes à approfondir sur un concept central pour le management des Hommes.

  • reconnaissance au travail
  • sens au travail
  • recherche-intervention
  • qualité de vie au travail
  • gestion des comportements
  1. 1 - Introduction
  2. 2 - Recognition, an interdisciplinary path
  3. 3 - Methodology and research fields
  4. 4 - Results: forms of work recognition practices
    1. 4.1 - Remuneration recognition
    2. 4.2 - Recognition associated with official status
      1. 4.2.1 - Official titles
      2. 4.2.2 - Official responsibilities
      3. 4.2.3 - Membership in formal valued groups or the organization’s reputation
    3. 4.3 - Recognition associated with semi-formal and informal status
      1. 4.3.1 - Semi-official or unofficial titles
      2. 4.3.2 - The status in relation to the semi-official responsibilities, the value of the tasks assigned and the autonomy granted in a physical or social area
      3. 4.3.3 - Status linked to the recognition of individuals’ characteristics or skills
      4. 4.3.4 - Other status
    4. 4.4 - Recognition associated with benefits in kind
    5. 4.5 - Recognition associated with working conditions
      1. 4.5.1 - Recognition through physical working conditions
        1. For the material
        2. For the physical work environment
        3. For the human resources to carry out the activity
      2. 4.5.2 - Recognition through intangible working conditions
    6. 4.6 - Feeling of recognition and recognition-accomplishment
  5. 5 - Discussion: variables influencing perceptions of recognition and good practices search
    1. 5.1 - Type of resources mobilized and rarity
    2. 5.2 - Level of autonomy provided by the act
    3. 5.3 - Official or unofficial acts
    4. 5.4 - Equity and Justice
    5. 5.5 - Proxemics and proximity
    6. 5.6 - Time between the expectation development and the act receipt
    7. 5.7 - Efforts and recognition expectations
    8. 5.8 - Mental and emotional load of the receiver
    9. 5.9 - Social position and presence of the sender and observers
    10. 5.10 - History of Individuals, History of Relationships, and Perception of Sender’s Intent
    11. 5.11 - Trend towards recognition-reward and recognition-relation
    12. 5.12 - Theoretical and practical synthesis
  6. 6 - Conclusion
Alexis Roche
Alexis ROCHE is a lecturer at the Iaelyon School of Management, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3. He is a member of the Magellan research center and responsible for a Master’s degree in team management and quality (Master 2 CIPG). He is also responsible for research programs at the Institut de Socio-Economie des Entreprises et des Organisations (ISEOR), an international research center, where he has conducted and continues to conduct research-interventions for the past 12 years in more than 40 organizations of various sizes and sectors. Many of his works and publications focus on the link between recognition at work and performance. He also works on the quality of work life, the links between social and economic performance, as well as on intervention methodologies and transformations of practices in organizations.
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Uploaded on on 19/10/2021
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