Rereading the millefeuille effect from the QualiREG case: Proposal of an explanation in terms of borders


  • Emilie HOAREAU Grenoble IAE Université Grenoble Alpes


Effet millefeuille, réseau d’innovation, frontières


The aim of this case study is to illustrate the millefeuille theory with empirical data from the QualiREG case. QualiREG is an international innovation network which brings together different actors of the Indian Ocean area. Between 2011 and 2014, QualiREG was the subject of an empirical research based on the case study method. Qualitative data of QualiREG’s case were used here to illustrate how media are selected and layered. An extended portfolio of media is observed. QualiREG case study provides theoretical perspectives on the millefeuille
theory as well as lessons for managers. Confronting the explanation of Kalika et al. (2007, 2008) to empirical data, we obtain support to several effects and more details regarding their potential mechanisms. Observations also shows that the layering effect is the results of deliberate action by actors in response to their insularity. Media choice depends on the combination of variables. Several theoretical perspectives emerge from this analysis, regarding the origin, the form, and the consequences of the layering effect. In addition, a new way to
explain the media stacking is presented. The “Boundaries effect” states that choice and use of media are influenced by knowledge boundaries. Following this approach, we proposed feedback from QualiREG’s case to managers who have to deal with knowledge boundaries.


Carlile, P. R., (2002), « A Pragmatic View of Knowledge and Boundaries: Boundary Objects in New Product Development », Organization Science, Vol. 13, n° 4, p. 442-455

Crozier, M., Friedberg, E., (1977), L'acteur et le système: Les contraintes de l'action collective, Editions du Seuil, Paris

Daft, R. L., Lengel, R. H., (1986), « Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design », Management Science, Vol. 32, n° 5, p. 554-571

Daft, R. L., Lengel, R. H., Trevino, L. K., (1987), « Message Equivocality, Media Selection, and Manager Performance: Implications for Information Systems », MIS Quarterly, Vol. 11, n° 3, p. 354-366

Dhanarag, C., Parkhe, A., (2006), « Orchestrating Innovation Networks », Academy of Management Review, Vol. 31, n° 3, p. 659-669

Fulk, J., (1993), « Social Construction of Communication Technology », Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 36, n° 5, p. 921-950

Gardet, E., (2009), « Modes de coordination instaurés par le pivot d'un réseau d'innovation : le cas d'un porteur de projet TPE », Revue Management et Avenir, Vol. 26, p. 33-51

Kalika, M., Charki, N. B., Isaac, H., (2007), « La théorie du millefeuille et l'usage des TIC dans l'entreprise. », Revue Française de Gestion, n° 172, p. 117-129

Le Loarne, S., Blanco, S., (2011), Le Management de l'innovation, Pearson Education, Paris

Loilier, T., (2010), « Innovation et territoire: Le rôle de la proximité géographique ne doit pas être surestimé », n° 200, p. 15-35

Loilier, T., Tellier, A., (2004), « Comment peut-on se faire confiance sans se voir? », Ma@n@gement, Vol. 7, n° 3, p. 275-306

Markus, M. L., (1994b), « Finding a happy medium: explaining the negative effects of electronic communication on social life at work », ACM Transactions on Information Systems., Vol. 12, n° 2, p. 119-149

Orlikowski, W. J., Yates, J., (1994), « Genre Repertoire: The Structuring of Communicative Practices in Organizations », Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 39, n° 4, p. 541-574

Reix, R. et Rowe, F., (2002), « La recherche en systèmes d'information: de l'histoire au concept » in Faire de la recherche en systèmes d'information, F. Rowe, Vuilbert, Paris, p. 1-17

Sproull, L., Kiesler, S., (1986), « Reducing social context cues: Electronic mail in organizational communication », Management Science, Vol. 32, n° 11, p. 1492-1512

Von Hippel, E., (1994), « "Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation », Management Science, Vol. 40, n° 4, p. 429-439

Weber, R. (2004), « The Grim Reaper: The Curse of E-Mail », MIS Quarterly, Vol. 28, n° p. 1-1





Case, experience and education