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French Management

Elitism in Action

Jean-Louis Barsoux, Peter Lawrence

Publisher: Cassell, 1997 , 196 pages

ISBN: 0-304-70238-2


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A revised and up-to-date successor to the acclaimed Management in France by the same authors, this fascinating book provides an informed and thorough portrait of French management, set in its contemporary business context. The authors compare practices in France with those in Britain and the United States, analysing their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Barsoux and Lawrence, who have studied French business practices at close quarters for many years, give a scholarly account of a range of issues which lie at the heart of French corporate life. They consider the educational background of French managers and examine both the dynamics of selection and advancement and the nature of elite composition and interaction. They investigate interpersonal relations and rituals within management settings. The link between management practice and social values is explored, and connections are traced between education, elitism, authority and career.

New research and first-hand interviews illuminate the text, resulting in a brilliant overview of current practice and future trends. French Management provides unique insights into a business culture which is not easily understood. It is an extremely useful book for all students of international and comparative management, as well as for those in business who deal with French organizations.

Table of Contents:

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  1. Déja vu et jamais vu
    • Power, orders, and ambiguity
    • Paradoxes
    • The French economy
    • Capital and ownership in France
    • Personal ties between state and industry
    • Management style versus business change
    • Privatization
    • Liberalization
    • Internationalization
    • Flexibility
    • Ethics are good for us
    • Tensions or change
  2. Cadres: Qui êtes-vous
    • What is a cadre?
    • How to become one
    • Defining the population
    • Homogeneous body?
    • Consumer group
    • Social esteem
    • Role of the cadre
    • A growing malaise?
    • Overview
  3. Education: Les jeux sont faits
    • The French education system
    • Higher education
    • The role of education
    • Management education in France: games people play
    • Consequences
  4. Careers: La force de destin
    • Recruitment procedures: reading between the lines
    • The spectre of education
    • Career strategy: where to start
    • Getting ahead
    • Mobility
    • Training and development
    • Performance and aspirations
    • Overview
  5. Work relations: Entente (pas très) cordiale
    • Formality
    • Working with others
    • Hierarchy
    • Partitioning
    • The informal system
    • Work versus social relations
    • Overview
  6. Rituals: Beau gestes et faux pas
    • Greetings
    • Form of address
    • Written rituals
    • Feeding rituals
    • Business hours
    • Holidays
    • Future trends
    • Overview
  7. Bosses: L'enterprise c'est moi
    • Reputation
    • Ways to the top
    • A new breed of manager?
    • Homogenity?
    • A different view of leadership
    • Is there an explanation?
  8. Grand dessin: Grand malaise
    • Distinctive features
    • Coherent whole
    • Brilliance and its limitations
    • Informal groups and team work
    • Motivation
    • Implementation
    • The national elite
    • Change?


French Management

by Roland Buresund last modified 2007-12-12 14:38

Rating: ********* (Outstanding)

This is the only book that describes the specifics of French management (and society) in easy to understand detail.

Of course, it helps if you're at least bilingual, as French phrases are intermingled everywhere in the book. Of course, they always provide translations, but it can help scare non-French speaking people away (and if that is the case, don't buy this book and don't do business with the French).

If you're interested in understanding the French, especially the businesspersons, , this is varmly recommended.

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