Sciences Po CSO/CNRS CNRS

About the CSO




The Center for the Sociology of Organizations (CSO) – a joint research unit affiliated with Sciences Po and the CNRS – is an academic center that built its reputation on organizational studies and has progressively broadened the scope of its areas of investigation and research questions since. Today it is a well-known center for social science in the fields of economic sociology, the sociology of organizations, of public action, of professions, of social movements, and of law.
The center is directed by Olivier Borraz (Director) and Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier (Deputy Director).


The CSO is composed of a team of 28 researchers and professors (CNRS, FNSP, Ministry of Higher Education), of which 3 are professors emeriti, 26 doctoral students, 5 to 6 postdoctoral researchers on average, 7 research support staff, and some thirty research associates.
The research carried out at the CSO covers a wide range of subjects, which are often approached from a comparative perspective and remain in touch with the changes taking place in contemporary society.


Research at the CSO is organized into 5 research programs that aim to inscribe these subjects within a sociological approach:
- Law, Norms, and Regulation
- Work, Employment, and Professions
- Governance and Economic Organizations
- Knowledge, Science, and Expertise
- Public Action and Transformations of the State



History of the CSO

The CSO was founded in 1964 by Michel Crozier to establish a research program devoted to studying the French administration. The center celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014, during a conference that traced the historical developments of its research themes and analytical frameworks. Initially affiliated solely with the CNRS, it united with Sciences Po in 2001 to become a joint research unit.

CSO Directors after Michel Crozier à la direction du CSO, Catherine Grémion (1985-1993), Erhard Friedberg (1993-2007), Christine Musselin (2007-2013) currently Dean of Research at Sciences Po, and Olivier Borraz since 2013.

A (Inter)National Position

The CSO occupies an important place in the French social science landscape. Together with the OSC and the CEE, it contributes to the excellent reputation that the Sciences Po Department of Sociology currently enjoys in France. Its researchers are present and assume responsibilities in the discipline’s key journals (Revue Française de Sociologie, Sociologie du travail, etc.), professional organizations (Association Française de Sociologie, etc.), and research administration bodies (Comité national du CNRS, Conseil national des universités, etc.). The CSO’s researchers are also keen to ensure that their work has real connections to society at large, leading them to work with public and private institutions (ADEME, Banque de France, ANSES, consulting firms, etc.) as well as to participate in public debate.

On the global scale, the research conducted at the CSO is frequently published in major international journals (Higher Education, Organization Studies, Social Networks, etc.) and the center’s researchers are invested in networks, associations, and research programs that bring together scholars from around the world (SASE, EGOS, etc.). Further, CSO researchers are often solicited as experts by foreign and international organizations (ERC, Fonds de recherche Société et Culture du Québec, FNRS, etc.).
Lastly, the CSO regularly hosts distinguished guest researchers, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students attracted by the center’s reputation and researchers for periods ranging from one month to one year.

Dynamic Research Predominantly Financed by Contracts

LThe CSO responds regularly, and often successfully, to calls for projects on both the national and European levels; alongside contracts and partnership agreements, these supply the necessary financing to complement the recurring subsidies provided to the CSO by Sciences Po and the CNRS.

A Commitment to Teaching and Training

The CSO is distinguished by a long-standing, sustained investment in research training through research practice. Not only are the center’s scholars deeply invested in the Master’s in Sociology and teaching classes for the Department of Sociology at Sciences Po, but the center has also internally developed a doctoral program with full and collective support for its graduate students. These students are directly involved in the center’s research programs and are fully integrated into life of the CSO.
The CSO is also deeply involved in the workings of Sciences Po, where the center’s researchers hold important positions such as: Dean of Research, Dean of the School of Management and Innovation, Dean of the Doctoral School, Director of the Master’s program in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, and Director of the Master’s program in Public Policy.
Many CSO researchers participate in the governance of the School of Public Affairs and the Urban School, while others oversee research programs at the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP). Regardless of their affiliation (CNRS, FNSP, PU), all CSO researchers teach in undergraduate and/or Master’s programs.