The higher the position within a larger organization, the ore formal will be the dress code with formal suit and tie being worn. The further south one travels, the more informal business dress becomes, with open shirt and slacks being the norm. One thing that is common to all areas and all positions however is the need to appear well-presented. Casual does not mean scruffy. Appearances are important at all times in France French Management Style Most senior management in most French companies were educated at the Grandees Coles which are the elite schools of France.
These colleges champion an intellectual rigor in their students, which is rarely matched elsewhere in the world. This produces a highly educated management population, which approaches leadership with an unusual degree of academic precision. ‘Intellectualism’ is something to be cherished rather than sneered at and a comment once attributed to French management was that ‘this idea seems alright in practice but will it work in theory? Thus, management is an intellectual task to be mastered and thought about in terms of detailed analysis, the complete mastery of complex concepts and information and the eventual application of rational decisions.
More pragmatic issues of buy-in, motivating staff etc. In the Anglo-Saxon understanding of these terms) are not as prominent in French management thinking. Decisions, once taken at senior levels, will be passed down the chain to lower management for implementation. This directive approach can be seen, especially by those from a consensus oriented, non-hierarchical background, as being overly authoritative and lacking in the necessary team-building elements. Women in Business in France Women are gaining an increasingly prominent position in French business life – with particularly strong representation in retail and service industries.
Once gain, the prerequisite for success as a woman is to have achieved a suitable level of education. Some evidence points to less progress having been made in the more engineering-based industries and that they are less accepted in senior positions outside Paris. Ex-Patrice women working in France should feel little gender bias towards them and will be judged on their intellect, verbal skills and technical ability. French Meetings As management style tends towards the directive, meetings can often be more for the dissemination of information of decisions previously arrived at than for the open debate of perceived difficulties.
They will often be chaired by the boss and follow a set agenda as determined by the boss. In such formal meetings it would be rare to contradict the boss openly – this will have been done elsewhere, prior to the meeting in more informal lobbying sessions. If meetings sometimes appear to be a rubber-stamping exercise, it is because that is what they often are. In such an environment, it is vital to be actively involved in the pre-meeting lobbying if any influence is to be brought to bear. Meetings, which take place bet. ‘en peers without the presence of a senior figure, will be more open and less rigid.
Open debate will often be seen in such situations and this debate can often become heated – especially when people are defending the validity of their own cherished logic. In such meetings, strong confrontations can often occur which reflect the sense of competition often found just below the surface at peer group levels in large organizations. Cartesian logic is at the heart of French thinking and this process introduces the thesis – counter thesis approach where adversarial debate around a topic is seen as very healthy. This can be seen as disagreeing for disagreeing sake through the eyes of more consensus- minded cultures.