My thesis in 3 questions

The floor is given to doctoral students and young doctors. They present their work by answering 3 questions.

Weights of risk-perception decision-making in the context of innovation, by Benjamin Astier, young PhD in information and communication sciences from UPHF (2021), temporary teaching and research associate at LARSH (DeVisu department) and at IUT.

Benjamin Astier

What is the originality of your doctoral research ?

The majority of innovation projects fail. Also, in the Hauts-de-France Region - the location of my work - there are many innovation issues. By taking the textile industry as the field of my research, questions like  How to relocate the textile while remaining competitive ? How to link technology 4.0 and traditional know-how ? Is it possible to organize collective actions between competing companies with similar issues?


From this angle, a first originality of my thesis aims to grasp the influence of a territorial innovation ecosystem through the way executives in companies or entrepreneurs perceive the risks inherent to innovation processes, from an info-communication point of view. How do they build their "strategic landscape" based on their perceptions? Which perceived risks - rightly or wrongly - appear preponderant in the decision-making processes?


A second originality lies in the modeling of the dynamics of perceived risk. Following an exploratory and inductive study, the formalization of this dynamic is constituted in two parts. The first part highlights prominent elements of the HdF ecosystem, namely the Device, Networks, Aspiration, Infrastructure and Territory. The second part identifies risk-perceived attributes associated in a weighted manner by social actors themselves with the five key elements of the ecosystem. The four bivalent and related attributes are Trust, Intelligence, Feasibility and Difference. Cross-referencing the salient elements of the ecosystem by weighting the attributes thus sheds light on the nature of decisional risk-perception.

This work changes what ?

The doctoral work more specifically identifies managerial informational practices that tend to accentuate or mitigate innovation risk. Thus, the thesis offers public decision makers, wishing to act on the ecosystem, a typology of decision-making needs of social actors involved in innovation according to their position, activity, situation and environment.

With this in mind, the thesis develops a decision aid on the dynamics of risk perceptions within an innovation ecosystem. To do so, the work operationalizes an informational (how certain data informs decision-making issues) and communicational (what social actors share as norms, expectations, ...) analysis within a territorial ecosystem.

What was the major challenge to overcome?

A major challenge was to identify the fashion and textile sector, which is undergoing organizational and technological change. Some companies, small as well as behemoths, are sometimes gambling their survival in an extremely competitive market. This has the effect of exacerbating the discretion of managers on their strategy and practices. We are, therefore, in an area where data privacy is paramount.

These constraints of operational reality impacted the way field data was collected and analyzed. This required the development of a mixed research methodology, based on the work of Pierre Vermersch (2019) and Alex Mucchielli (2016) in particular, concerning qualitative interview and analysis methods, and then the work of George Kelly (1955), in psychology, on the Repertoty Grid approach.

As a final word, the thesis was realized thanks to the co-financing of the Hauts-de-France Region and the HemisF4ire Design School research team (Institut Catholique de Lille) as well as by the doctoral supervision in Information and Communication Sciences of the DeVisu department.

Mainstream comics from the United States to France. A contribution to global history, by Pierre-Alexis Delhaye, PhD student.

What is your research topic ?

My research focuses primarily on mainstream comics, that is, graphic narratives produced in the United States by publishers like Marvel or DC Comics that most often tell superhero stories. I study two aspects in particular. The first is the socio-political part of these publications, to better understand how they can help the reader think about contemporary times. The second is mainly editorial since it is about analyzing the ways of publishing comics in the cultural transfer, that is to say how they are imported to the French-speaking world, translated, adapted, censored and published in anthological reviews between the years 1960 and 1990.


Why analyze comics ?

Comics have fascinated me for some twenty years now, but beyond this personal interest, there is the conviction that these popular publications are an ideal access for the history of mentalities, fiction being here a means of reinterpretation of politics, primarily for the American reader. Through their international distribution, comics are also part of a global cultural history, a field that has been explored more for legitimated intellectual or artistic relations but less for the most popular media. The publishers analyzed in my thesis (Mainstream comics from the United States to France. A Contribution to Global History) have almost never been the subjects of in-depth research, where studies on the major publishers of Franco-Belgian comics have multiplied in the last decade.

What does this approach bring that is new ?

The fact of treating my subject through both a historical and literary analysis allows us to observe a complete cultural transfer, both on the content of the publications and their reception, thanks to readers' letters for example, and on the conditions of this transfer, such as the legislation that generates a censorship of comics in France. It is an opportunity to get to know better those who are called "smugglers", the forgotten publishers and translators who organize the transfer under unfavorable conditions, sometimes former Resistance fighters who reconvert to the youth press after the war. It is also a way to return to the sources of an imaginary superhero today well established in France, as evidenced by their success in the cinema.