Abstract: A Chemist's Community as a Forerunner in Management Change and Innovation in France during the Second Part of the Twentieth Century? The Case of the Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, a CNRS Laboratory

Muriel Le Roux


Understanding the dynamics of innovation involves local and national levels and different types of analyses. Historical perspectives stress the heterogeneity of innovation processes across time, sectors, and countries. During the twentieth century, links among science, technology, and innovation became more complex. Science, state, and industry are interconnected; science and technology constitute a continuum. What do we know about the researchers themselves and their behavior? Studying a small community of French academic natural substance chemists from the 1960s until the early twenty-first century allows us to understand how researchers interacted within the various milieus encompassing their work. These chemists seem to have assimilated both industrial norms and international academic principles early on to overcome the competition inherent in their discipline and to prepare them for globalization. Although often criticized by their peers, they serve as a model on which to pattern future French research.

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