Abstract: The Role of Institutional Cohesion in the Postwar Development of the French National Business System

Charles Harvey, Mairi Maclean. and Jon Press


Managerial revolutions—which witness the appropriation of corporate power by professional managers—come in different shapes and sizes. This paper builds upon existing critiques of Chandler's universal theory of the managerial revolution through reference to the French national business system, arguing that the concept of the managerial revolution is best understood within specific cultural contexts, elite ideologies, and national business systems. It demonstrates, through the inclusion of original data and a business historical case study, that the French model of capitalism is distinguished by continuing links between the state and business, by the density of its corporate networks, and by the large number of elite actors with experience of working in an executive capacity in both the public and private sectors, in stark contrast to the UK. These attributes make for a high degree of institutional and ideological coherence within France, with important implications for both public policy and business strategies.