French Business Structures

France:

French companies tend towards rigid hierarchy and functionality within which system the PDG (CEO) holds great sway. The PDG determines in a singular way the future direction of the company. This vision is then disseminated down the line for implementation by more junior management. Senior management, therefore, tends towards the directive, rather than the collaborative, as might be found in such countries as the Netherlands or Sweden.

The power often vested in the hands of the PDG obviously adds impetus to a centralist approach, which is already discernible in many other aspects of French life. Below the PDG will be found a strict hierarchy of managers, organised along rigidly functional lines of responsibility. (All reporting lines leading eventually to the PDG.)

To those from a less hierarchical background, this approach often seems to be eminently well suited for operations which are performing well and producing results. The weaknesses of the system may only become apparent when problems arise and quick responses are called for. With little buy-in having been sought lower down the line, a sense of personal responsibility could be found lacking.
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