French management style has been blasted by foreigners, although they do appreciate the lunch breaks. Management photo: Shutterstock.
French management style slated by foreigners
Published on: 27 Feb 2015 17:30 CET
The study - French Management as Experienced by Non-French Managers - was carried out over the past few years by researchers at the Panthéon-Assas University in France and Princeton University in the US.
They quizzed 2,200 non-French executives about how they experience French management at 18 different companies on the Paris stock market index CAC 40.
The results were often less than flattering for the French, reported the French newspaper L'Express.
Around 67 percent of those surveyed used the word "hierarchy" to describe French management. That figure was even higher for those interviewed from the US and the UK, at 79 and 76 percent respectively.
Many foreign managers pointed to a feeling of a "glass ceiling" for any non-French worker, preventing them from reaching the upper echelons of management.
The words "arrogance" and "authoritarianism" were also used by the foreign respondents to the survey to describe typical French management style.
Other respondents took aim at selfish French bosses, including one manager from Norway who said his own bosses would often leave the team behind.
"Some French managers typically tend to put their own career ahead of the concept of thinking collectively," the manager said, adding that this was slowly changing with the arrival of more international teams.
Just over 55 percent of respondents said knowing French was essential to getting into top management.
It wasn't all bad news, however.
Just a touch under 78 percent of foreigners noted the importance of performance-based work, saying that workers were pushed to achieve their potential.
The respondents praised French management for their loyalty, analytical skills, ethics, and good work-life balance.
Some respondents even pointed out how much they appreciated the importance of a solid lunch break.
As one respondent said: "With the French, everything stops lunch time, no matter what. You never see a French manager with a lunch-box."