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The research

We want to make the world of tomorrow evolve every day. This is why with our teams we publish our research work as soon as possible. 

You will find summaries of the publications on this page or download them by clicking on the photo.

The main research work being theGiang Pham thesisPhD in Economics from the University ofBurgundy Franche-Comte:

"Specific territorial skills: invisible link between companies, assets and the territory"


Spatial mobility is put forward as a solution to the economic changes impacting the territory, for the adaptation of its sectors, its companies and ultimately its assets. The need to solve unemployment on the one hand and, on the other hand, the labor needs of companies constitute drivers of this mobility and conversely, the factors of viscosity of the labor market and in particular situations of territorial anchoring are considered as anomalies. The management objective of public policies is then to resolve them through measures promoting mobility, in particular by providing workers with the most cross-functional skills possible and thus securing career paths through greater mobility. In this logic, the territorial anchoring of assets is difficult to understand and the specification of skills linked to the territory a strategic error. However, it turns out that despite the measures in favor of mobility, many working people continue to be attached to the territory and prefer to stay rather than leave at the risk of suffering a period of unemployment or even accepting a job that does not correspond to their qualifications. . In addition, companies seem to continue to seek in the skills of employees characteristics relating to specificities such as trust or reputation, which have a territorial component. This thesis seeks to shed light on this apparent contradiction on the assumption that this situation continues to persist for positive economic and social reasons. Indeed, by crossing the specificity of skills with the territorial nature of economic activity, we are looking for specific territorial skills capable, in our opinion, of explaining the link between companies, human resources and the territory. In this thesis, we seek to empirically establish the existence of these specific territorial skills provided by the literature. As part of the regional sciences in economics, this thesis is based on the theory of labor market segmentation and we have borrowed one of its particular characteristics, namely segmentation by skills in Becker's human capital theory. (1964). This specification by human resources is not an anomaly but the result of a “normal” functioning of the market. Thus, in general, the specification of assets and by extension of skills is explained as a source of competitive advantage for companies through the theory of resources (Penrose, 1959, Wernerfelt, 1984, Barney, 1991). are based on three levels of data composed by a base of 213 Territorial Initiatives in favor of Employment of the Ministry of Labor, by an analysis in position of observation-participant in the territory of Figeac and by interviews carried out in the territory of Langres and of southern Alsace. In terms of results, we set up and tested an identification method which made it possible to reveal three specific territorial skills: the local market anticipation skill, the relational skill specific to the territory and the detection and use of local skills. For each, they are combinations of basic, individual skills that allow the realization of an economic activity specific to the company in connection with the territory. Alongside these skills, we have also identified the collective skills of territorial development in the territories. These skills have been analyzed within the framework of their territories. Thus, in terms of local public policy, this research will make it possible to better specify the territories for businesses and local actors. It will also provide an answer in terms of securing career paths. 


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Papers at scientific conferences:

  • Communication scientifique présentée à l’AGRH de Brest en 2022, MAZZILLI, PHAM, BORIES-AZEAU

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Notre étude élargit le regard porté à la GRH territoriale (GRH-T), en faisant la proposition que certains de ces projets peuvent faire l’objet d’un changement qui en conduit les acteurs à entrevoir de nouvelles dynamiques collaboratives, tout en prenant en compte d’autres facteurs liés à leur territoire pour faire évoluer leur contenu.
Le travail d’analyse porte sur deux études de cas réalisées en territoire d’Erdre et Gesvres et en Sud-Lozère.
Cette recherche contribue à approfondir la littérature sur la GRH-T sur deux points : elle réaffirme tout d'abord le poids des processus non seulement au cours de l'émergence et de la pérennisation de tels projets territoriaux. Ces résultats s’inscrivent dans la continuité des travaux ayant montré que la dynamique collective constitue le coeur de ces projets de GRTH-T (Arnaud et al. 2013 ; Loufrani-Fedida et Saint-Germes, 2018 ; Couteret et al., 2019). Plus spécifiquement, les résultats complètent les recherches menées en mettant l’accent sur le changement nécessaire à la prise en compte d’une approche globale du territoire pour réaliser un travail d’identification et de valorisation des compétences.

• MAZZILLI and PHAM, 2021, HR-oriented territorial diagnosis:  from the analysis of needs to the emergence of social innovation 

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In a context of crisis, a growing number of territories are getting organized to develop local strategies in favor of employment, training and integration. These projects emerge when a group of local actors decide to pool their efforts to deploy and promote the emergence of actions to support the local economy. The approaches, generally driven by the public authorities within the framework of funding allocated during calls for projects, are intended to meet the specific needs of the territory. Consequently, these actors find themselves led to reflect together on the future of their territory and more specifically, to question themselves on the activities that they wish to support and on the way of implementing these projects. However, although taking into account the human issues of the territory seems to be one of the necessary conditions for initiating projects, the reality of practices comes up against difficulties in the field: how to carry out a territorial diagnosis oriented HR? Which methodology to deploy? And finally, to what extent does taking these human issues into account lead to the emergence of a form of social innovation at the territorial level?

The first part of this communication will present the state of the art, pointing out in particular the shortcomings of the literature in management sciences in terms of HR-oriented territorial diagnosis. At the end of this literature review, it will be proposed to study HR-oriented territorial diagnoses as a process leading to the emergence of forms of social innovation. This process will be studied through the prism of the contextualist analysis framework (Brouwer et al. 1997).

The second part will return to the HR-oriented territorial diagnostic method carried out in a situation of participant observation in the territory of Erdre et Gesvres (CCEG) in Loire Atlantique. Requested by the Maison de l'emploi team, itself headed by the Economic Development Center of the Community of Municipalities of Erdre and Gesvres, the diagnostic method was tested in order to meet the needs for understanding the needs in territorial skills. It was implemented between 2017 and 2019 throughout the territory of the Community of Communes. 


The results and the discussion will be presented in the third part. We will show to what extent the elements of context, content and process have contributed throughout the diagnostic process, to the emergence of a form of territorial social innovation.

•  PHAM and AUBERT, 2013, Diagnosis of territorial HRM issues, feedback from Fougères and Figeac, JRSS Angers

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Rural areas experience many different development trajectories in terms of unemployment, activity rates and its actors (elected officials, business leaders and association leaders) also seem to approach the question of human resources differently. It seems that a segmentation of the labor market on a spatial basis is at the origin of these differences. However, to understand all the dimensions at the origin of this spatialization of jobs and skills, it is necessary to have an effective HR diagnostic tool. What should be expected from such a diagnostic tool, what can be its founding principles and how to use it? The purpose of this work is to try to determine what a territorial diagnosis of jobs and skills might be. To do this, we will base ourselves on the feedback from the prospective support mission of the Pays de Figeac and the Pays de Fougères between 2012 and 2013. Through this project, these two rural territories are implementing a territorial management approach jobs and skills (GTEC).

•  PHAM and BORIES AZEAU, 2019, The theory of social capital: a grid for reading the approaches of GPEC Territoriale, AGRH Bordeaux

The territory has been extensively investigated in recent years by HRM research which has mainly focused on the conditions for the emergence of a collective territorial approach like the GPECT. Wishing to deepen this field of research, we have retained the theory of social capital as a framework for the analysis of a qualitative research on two territories in the East of France. Our results show that GPEC can be understood as a factor of territorialization of social capital. They also specify the conditions for strengthening its logic of collective action, in particular the animation of the system by an actor.

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• PHAM and AUBERT, 2013, La GTEC, analysis of an approach in a rural context, CEREQ

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The GTEC is used more and more by the actors of the territories in order to allow them to manage and anticipate the needs in human resources of the territory. Initially, it was a tool used by large companies. However, beyond the methodological precautions, it turns out to be able to put into motion a real global approach in favor of the attractiveness of the territory. In the context of rural specificities, the GTEC also proves to be a lever for development provided that appropriate organizational methods are found at the very heart of the territories.

•  PHAM and AUBERT, 2014, HRM at the territorial level: From diagnosis to anticipation in the Pays de Figeac, ASRDLF Paris,

The economic foundations of the territories are undergoing major changes, relying less and less on agriculture and the agri-food industry and more and more, but to varying degrees, on a set of local sectors. This development, which seems to be accelerating, is leading a number of local players to use human resources management tools to manage the overall attractiveness of their territories. Among the instruments for managing these human resources, there is that of Territorial Management of Jobs and Skills (GTEC). This approach is inspired by the company's Job and Skills Forecasting Management (GPEC) tool, but with numerous operational adjustments. From an economic point of view, the question that arises is that of taking into account all the labor supply and demand factors on a spatial basis. Entering through the territory makes it possible to understand the different dimensions of this market, but on the condition of finding a way of dealing with its social and geographical fragmentation. The question is particularly acute in the case of rural territories where the characteristics of density and remoteness reinforce the problems of pairing and mobility. Our contribution is based on an intervention carried out with the Pays de Figeac in order to support the actors of this territory in their GTEC approach. This intervention required the implementation of an original methodology in order, on the one hand, to establish a territorial diagnosis of human resources and, on the other hand, to anticipate the needs for skills and the changes in the activities of the territory. through participatory foresight.

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•  PHAM and AUBERT, 2018, Territorial GPEC: what place for skills? HRMA Lyon

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By extending HRM to the territory, the concerns of business players meet those of elected representatives of local authorities who are increasingly taking over local employment and skills policies. In doing so, they place human resources at the heart of local analyzes and policies. The central hypothesis of this communication is that the keystone common to these concerns is based especially on an intrinsic characteristic of local human resources which allows employees to better anchor themselves in the territory and companies to position themselves more effectively on globalized markets. It would be less a question of elementary specific skills than of combinations of skills which would take on meaning in the particular productive and social context of a territory. These skills, which we call “territorial specific skills”, are not easily substitutable and not very transferable to other territories. The purpose of this research is to identify them and to characterize their main operating mechanisms from the point of view of the employee, the company and the territory. Our approach is based on the theory of labor market segmentation and in particular on spatial segmentation via qualifications. We have completed this corpus with the theory of resources and skills which focuses on the internal resources of the company to deploy its competitive advantage; it is thus a question of trying to understand the springs of the territory in its concrete social functioning in order to identify among the territorial competences those which could be specific to them. For this communication, we base ourselves on a database provided by the Ministry of Labor on territorial initiatives in favor of employment as well as a participant observation carried out within the framework of support for the Forecast Management of Jobs and Territorial competences on the territory of Figeac (Lot). We supplemented our analysis with around forty interviews conducted on companies in the territory in 2016. Among the results, this work made it possible to identify a method for identifying specific territorial skills, and as well as their potential in terms of the anchoring of companies in the territory and the securing of professional careers.

• PHAM, DANTON and AUBERT, 2015, Mobilization of territorial intelligence around the GPEC. The case of the Pays de Figeac, CNAM Biennial

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In this paper, we analyze the challenges of developing production activities and jobs in rural areas, in a global context that gives advantage to agglomeration and urbanization economies. We assume that the territorial organization, which is based on a double cooperative commitment, that of a coordinated productive system and that of a set of local actors, is favorable to the maintenance of rural activities. We rely on empirical material that corresponds to an in-depth knowledge of the Mecanic Vallée cluster and the strategic foresight of the Pays de Figeac in its approach to Forecast Management of Jobs and Territorial Skills (GPECT).

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