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Who Cares about Particle Physics?Making Sense of the Higgs Boson, the Large Hadron Collider and CERN$
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Pauline Gagnon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783244

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783244.001.0001

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A Unique Management Model

A Unique Management Model

(p.175) 8 A Unique Management Model
Who Cares about Particle Physics?

Pauline Gagnon

Oxford University Press

The experimental collaborations at CERN, such as ATLAS and CMS, each include nearly 5000 physicists, students, engineers and technical staff, from all continents. Nobody manages the group centrally in a command–control fashion. This works thanks to the existence of a common objective, the commitment of each individual and the tolerance of everyone involved. The collaborations function like a huge picnic, where each group contributes a dish according to its taste, resources and talents. Seeing the experiment succeed is what motivates everybody. All decisions are taken by consensus within a collaboration, using commonly agreed coordination mechanisms. This gives power to the base and draws on the talents of all members. Project coordinators ensure that all aspects are covered. This is sometimes a little chaotic, but is necessary to let creativity flow freely and set the stage for revolutionary discoveries. This may be the only possible way to complete such large-scale projects.

Keywords:   collaboration, cooperation, international cooperation, research, competition, management, consensus, multinational teams

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