Fatemeh Movahedian - ISEACAP: a gamified participative method for a better understanding of organisational routines related to the absorptive capacity

Organized by: 
Fatemeh Movahedian
Fatemeh Movahedian


The jury is composed of:

  • Mme. Carine Dominguez-Pery, Professor, Université Grenoble Alpes, Thesis supervisor
  • Mme. Agnès Front, Professor, Université Grenoble Alpes, Thesis co-supervisor
  • M. Imed Boughzala, Professor, Institut Mines-Télécom Business School, Reviewer
  • M. Camille Salinesi, Professor, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Reviewer
  • M. Mehran Ebrahimi, Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal, Examiner
  • Mme. Nathalie Fabbe-Costes, Professor, Aix-Marseille Université, Examiner
  • Mme. Camille Rosenthal-Sabroux, Professor, Université Paris Dauphine, Examiner


SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) confront resource scarcity during innovative projects. Thereby they are increasingly taking part in collaborative networks to access the required complementary knowledge for conducting their projects. To achieve this, SMEs deploy their absorptive capacity (ACAP) which means their ability to acquire, assimilate, transform and apply external knowledge. ACAP can be integrated via diverse practices called routines when they are repeated and accepted collectively. However, organisation’s actors often perform these routines unconsciously. Thus, enhancing knowledge absorption requires highlighting applied routines to acquire, assimilate, transform and exploit external knowledge.
This interdisciplinary thesis aims at: (i) Proposing a new participative method called ISEACAP (Identification, Simulation, Evaluation and Amelioration of Absorptive Capacity) based on gamification techniques. (ii) Providing a refine level of applied knowledge and ACAP’s routines during innovative project by detailing related practices to each dimension of ACAP (acquisition, assimilation, transformation and application). (iii) Highlighting roles of ISEACAP’s facilitators during experimental sessions to raise reflexivity among participants (organisations’ actors). (iv) Describing role of ISEACAP’s phases to facilitate learning on ACAP’s routines for actors.
Applied methodology during this thesis relies on qualitative analysis of collected data through semi- structured interviews and experimental sessions via ISEACAP. Based on the conducted interviews and experimental sessions in France and UK with practitioners, in different activity sectors, two case studies had been developed in textile and food sectors. Collected data from these two cases were coded and analysed thematically. Considering the results, this thesis contributes in engineering science by proposing and formalising a new gamified participative method (ISEACAP), and in management science, the contribution relies on providing a better understanding of ACAP’s routines.