Abstract

Abstract:

Jusqu’à une période récente, les rares études qui se sont intéressées aux dirigeants d’entreprises en Suisse aux XIXe et XXe siècles ont eu tendance à célébrer la figure du self-made man, parti de rien et parvenu à la fin de sa vie aux plus hautes positions de pouvoir. Cet article, qui porte sur l’origine sociale et la formation de plus de 800 hauts dirigeants des plus importantes entreprises suisses, actifs entre 1910 et 1980, s’inscrit en faux contre cette vision hagiographique. Il montre, confirmant les recherches sur le recrutement des grands dirigeants en Europe occidentale ou aux États-Unis, que l’origine sociale constitue le facteur le plus déterminant de la réussite. Deux spécificités helvétiques émergent toutefois. D’une part, quelques lieux de formation dominent, qui sont tous des établissements publics. D’autre part, l’armée joue un rôle important dans le parcours des dirigeants helvétiques. Ce lieu de sociabilité exclusivement masculin contribue à l’exclusion des femmes des centres de pouvoir économique.

Abstract:

Until recently, the few studies to have focused on company executives in Switzerland in the 19th and 20th centuries have generally celebrated the figure of the “self-made man”, someone who started from nowhere and by the end of his life had moved up to the highest positions of power. This article – which looks at the social origins and education of more than 800 senior executives from the largest Swiss companies, over the period 1910–1980 – breaks with this hagiographic view. In line with research on the recruitment of senior executives in Western Europe and the United States, our research shows that social origin was the most decisive factor for success. However, two specific features emerge for Switzerland. Firstly, a few educational institutions were predominant, and all of these were public. Secondly, the army played an important role in the careers of Swiss executives. The army, as an entirely male place of sociability, contributed to women being excluded from the centres of economic power.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1961-8646
Print ISSN
0027-2671
Pages
pp. 49-66
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-20
Open Access
No
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