Entre idéal et expérience vécue : du concept de valeur de lien à son expression au sein des entreprises d'assurance mutualistes : Le cas du groupe Macif

Abstract : This research focuses on the concept of « linking value », applied to mutualist insurance companies, in order to contribute to the revival of their core values and democratic ideals. It is fed by the evolutions of contemporary society, where chosen consumption is progressively replacing mass consumerism, thus moderating the producer-consumer dichotomy, which allows new types of relationships between actors to emerge. The progressive disappearance of the borders between consumption actors is key to our work, as the mutualist insurance companies’ stakeholders build new types of relations, beyond classic consumption relations, which yields not only exchange value and use value, but also a linking value. The concept of linking value was originally developed by social science, and further brand community developments have led to mobilize this notion in the marketing field. Its usage in the field of insurance services is new. Our work comprises a survey among members of Groupe Macif, including interviews with Macif employees, Macif delegates, and Macif’s historic founder. Linking value is an “evasive object”, and we had to implement a specific research methodology in order to bring it to light and characterize it within the company. To analyze the interviews, we used an appropriate coding technique, through dedicated software (Modalisa). The research is carried through a double data analysis method, named etic - emic (or horizontal – vertical), aimed first at understanding what has a meaning in the respondent’s locutions, and then at identifying the elements of structure of the linking value from the meanings identified. Such reasoning requires that the interviewer has empathy capacities with the respondents. Our research brings the following results: • First, we qualify the “link experience” based on emotions, a reciprocity intention, an ethical functioning and shared confidence. • We then propose a characterization of linking value in the mutualist field, based on an extension to Rémy’s typology (2000), which is the current reference for services companies. • Next, we show how linking value emerges, depending on it being based on a priori activism, or on a posteriori relationship between the employees and the policy holder. • We establish the main characteristics of linking value: its capacity to temper the otherness created by the contract, an asymmetry between the partners of the exchange, the very lack of community feelings among members. • We expose the privileged expression vectors for this linking value: the empathy deployed by company’s employees and the solidarity schemes. • Recognition emerges also as a foundation to linking value. We register our reasoning in the field of recognition theory, as it founds an ethic of interpersonal relationship, constituent of social link. The mutual recognition dynamics allows each individual to experience a “collective revival”, and to share his belonging to a political or ethical community, without losing his identity. Mutualist insurance companies need to recognize such a pluralist community, in which each individual sees himself in the purpose of a company model, as this recognition founds linking value. We finally show that resuming the democratic ideals that historically founded Mutualist Associations is what will allow them to restore an authentic social link, in the spirit of modern mutualism.
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Juliette Weber. Entre idéal et expérience vécue : du concept de valeur de lien à son expression au sein des entreprises d'assurance mutualistes : Le cas du groupe Macif. Gestion et management. Ecole Centrale Paris, 2009. Français. ⟨NNT : 2009ECAP0046⟩. ⟨tel-00658615⟩

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