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Organization and Organizing in France

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Organizational Analysis


France has given to  organization science one of its most classical authors, Henri Fayol, as well as  major contributions coming from an interdisciplinary and intellectual perspective inspired by the fields of sociology or philosophy (Chanlat, 1994). These contributions encompass, for example, the organizational micropolitics of Crozier and Friedberg (1980), the Actor-Network Theory of Callon and Latour (Callon, 1986; Latour, 2005), and other contributions in the field of critical management studies inspired by Bourdieu, Foucault, Derrida, Barthes, Lacan or Levi-Strauss. Moreover, French organization research is very active in the field of qualitative methodologies, developing new conceptual frameworks through case study research or action research (Berry, 1995; Savall, Zardet, 2010).

Within the Western economic environment, the French economic model has endured as a particularly distinctive approach to capitalism (Boyer, 2005). This paradigm has generally been characterised by a number of well-established typical features including, for example, a stronger role for the state than the Anglo-Saxon economic model; an economic elite drawn from, and destined for, the highest levels of civil service; industrial policy grounded in, and driven by, a propensity for major projects on a grand scale; and, an overall potent industrial base with particular strength in international sectors such as the automotive, energy, chemical and aerospace industries. Given this context, it seems pertinent and timely to study the patterns of organizing that infuse and underpin the French economic model as well as French organizations that operate within it. The issue is all the more pressing when France’s partner role with Germany in the leadership of Europe, set against the backdrop of the current economic crisis, is taken into account.

 Since the book of Barsoux and Lawrence (1990) some 20 years ago, numerous further valuable empirical studies have been undertaken in order to define if today “L’organisation à la française” still means something. French Organization has been described in Hofstede’s works as a human pyramid (Hofstede, 1991), in d’Iribarne ‘s study (1995) as being ruled by a logique de l’honneur, and in the study of Maurice, Sellier Silvestre (1986) as being conditioned by very specific institutional elements, like a very hierarchical educational system and a conflictual system of industrial relations. Since these classical studies, there exist also an extensive range of empirical studies focussing on French specific organizational experiences and practices  that could be useful for other countries, for example in the field of skill management and skill based pay (Jenkins/Klarsfeld, 2002), in the field of corporate social and environmental responsibility (Igalens/Gond, 2005), or in the field of industrial relations (Laroche/Wechtler, 2011). It therefore seems relevant to take an opportunity to enhance and develop a contemporary overview and understanding of French management and organization through a prism of international authors and reviewers within a special issue of International Journal of Organizational Analysis.

This special issue on French organization and organizing will therefore welcome contributions from a range of sources:
- Empirical studies with empirical data on French organizational practices that develop original conceptual frameworks or focus on original practices that could contribute to organization science
- Cross-cultural, international comparative studies examining the historical cultural and institutional specificities of organizational and management practices in the French context.
- Overview papers providing a cartography of organizational research, or synthesizing the historical evolution of the field of organizational research in France
- Conceptual papers that discuss theoretical frameworks of organization research making links with French major authors from other disciplines.


Barsoux JL, Lawrence P. Management in France. Cassell: London; 1990.

Berry M. Research and the practice of management, a French View. Organization Science 1995; 6; 104-116.

Boyer R. How and why capitalisms differ. Economy and Society 2005; 34; 509-557.

Callon M 1986. Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay. In: Law J (Ed), Power, action and belief: a new sociology of knowledge. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London; 1986. p. 196-223.

Chanlat JF. Francophone organizational analysis (1950-1990): an overview. Organization Studies 1994; 15; 47-80.

Crozier M, Friedberg E. Actors and systems. The politics of collective action. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago; 1980.

Hofstede G. Culture’s consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks; 2001.

Igalens J, Gond JP. Measuring corporate social performance in France: a critical and empirical analysis of ARESE data. Journal of Business Ethics 2005; 56; 131-148.

d'Iribarne P. The honour principle in the “Bureaucratic Phenomenon”. Organization Studies 1994; 15; 81-97.

Jenkins A, Klarsfeld A. Understanding “individualization” in human resource management: the case of “skill-based pay” in France. International Journal of Human Resource Management 2002; 13; 198-211.

Laroche P, Wechtler H. Labor union effects on workplace financial performance: new evidence from France. Journal of Labor Research 2011; 32; 157-180.

Latour B. Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford UP: Oxford; 2005.

Maurice M, Sellier F, Silvestre JJ. The social foundations of industrial power. MIT Press: Cambridge; 1986.

Savall H, Zardet V. The qualimetrics approach - Observing the complex object. Information Age Publishing: Charlotte; 2011.

Deadline for submission of papers: 

First deadline for extended abstract proposals (about 1 page containing the main purpose and the intended contribution of the paper) to the guest editors : 15th of November 2012

Deadline for first full paper submission to the review process : 31st of May 2013
Publication foreseen issue IJOA  April 2014

Should you wish to discuss a paper submission to the special issue please contact one of the special issue editors:
Professor Eric DAVOINE – [email protected]
Professor Ewan OIRY – [email protected]
Professor Peter STOKES – [email protected]