French Management Style

In a 2007 report on how workers assess management among 10 countries, France got the lowest rating. Also on the same year, seven leading countries were evaluated on their leadership styles and results identified France as having a unique management structure in such a way that both middle management and low-level employees are not included in many aspects of running organizations, with the term “disengaged” used to describe this practice. Here are the characteristics of the French management style.

1. It Is Based On a More Intellectual Approach.

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of French organizations are well educated and come from top universities which is evident in their theoretical principles and applications. They are not like British CEOs who are more pragmatic and open to collaboration from lower level of the hierarchy. And because of this, it is observed that most organizations hire top executives externally, who are educated from elite universities, over their own people who are in middle management or low-level employees.

2. It Is An Authoritative Kind Of Management.

French managers are said to be authoritarians who adhere to policies and strict guidelines. They do not build personal relationships with subordinates whether in or out of the organizations. This type of management makes it hard for managers to communicate with employees. Moreover, they are not into team-building but more on individual performance of their employees who are to follow instructions from managers. For them, training of managers should not take place while in the organization but should be while they are still in universities, the reason behind them having to graduate from elite schools.

3. It Follows Hierarchy And Compartmentalization.

Organizations in France are compartmentalized in a way that they isolate issues when it comes to dealing with them just as a doctor would set aside emotions to carry out his or her job. As for hierarchy, managers or top level executives do not mingle with file and rank employees and are considered to be experts and decision makers while people at the bottom of the corporate ladder are there to follow orders and respect authority. This practice is also symbolized with how the offices are designed, with chief executives’ offices being on the top floors while low-level employees are in the lower floors of the corporate building.

4. It Has a Paternalistic Model.

French organizations operate like a family, in a way that executives are the decision makers just as parents are, while subordinates are there to follow instructions just as children are expected to listen to their parents. That said, the French management style works with the managers guiding their subordinates and making decisions without necessarily getting the views of other members of the team.

5. It Prefers Long-Term Planning And Decision-Making.

The way French people handle business as well as negotiations are based on analysis and theories. As a result, the planning and the process of making decisions often take some time. With this kind of management style, every detail is scrutinized and decisions are made intellectually.

The French management in general is formal and authoritarian with a highly hierarchical structure.

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