The education system fosters a sense of rivalry and competition from an early age, with peers competing to pass entrance examinations to gain entry into the elite Grandes Ecoles.
A sense of team working is not encouraged in this process and does not therefore come naturally in later working life. People prefer to have definable, personal sets of objectives rather than to work in more general team roles. Thus teams are often defined as sets of specialists working on single issues for a strong leader.
Teams arranged between functional lines for the purpose of promoting one particular project (as found in the USA) are often difficult to implement as loyalties are divided between the project team and the functional home of the team member.
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
France represents both a challenge and an opportunity from a business perspective. It is a large modern economy with a highly educated workforce, a sophisticated consumer base and a solid industrial base of successful companies spread across a range of industries. France is also a country where protectionist policies have proven very hard to remove and where change comes slowly at the macro level.
Recent political changes might indicate that France has recognised the need for a new vision for the country to help propel it into the future. Indeed, we have recently seen the strange sight of France standing up as a guardian of free trade and globalisation whilst the USA looks to retreat into a more isolationist and protectionist approach – a strange situation from a historical perspective.
It certainly seems that France is at a crossroads and only time will tell which route the country choses to take. In the interim, France remains too big an economy to ignore. If you are not doing business in France at the moment you should probably be looking at entering the market in the near future and this country profile is designed to help you understand the cultural landscape you will find when working with French colleagues or customers.
The French have a distinct and unique approach to many aspects of working life and anybody considering doing business in France would be well advised to research some of the specifics of French business culture before embarking on any commercial activities.
This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of French business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on: