«375 V I S I O N S OF A M E R I C A N M A N A G E M E N T IN P O S T - W A R FRANCE LUC BOLTANSKI Historical studies of Franco-American relations in ...»
inspired by psychology was at least partially due to the fact that such technology seemed capable of conciliating demands hitherto considered relatively contradictory because they referred to different types of methods and rhetoric, and ultimately to different social groups. On the one hand, there was efficiency, rationalization, company discipline, the respect of the hierarchy demanded by industrial imperatives: on the other hand, imagination, intelligence, initiative and above all flexibility, in the relationships with both higher and lower-ranking employees, a restrained type of permissivity which excluded "blind" obedience as much as open conflict. New psychology had to make cadres more flexible in their professional relations, make them bow to company discipline (but without any excessive rigidity) and, above all, make them understand that the authority they have is relative and has been "delegated" to them, while supporting their efforts in carrying out their assignments, stimulating their zeal in their work and their alertness at monitoring the performance of their subordinates. New psychology was thus supposed to make cadres "happy," one way among others to acknowledge their belonging to the bourgeoisie and to keep them from joining workers' unions.
Restructuring of industry and production, training and reeducation of cadres all contributed, during this period, to make management a booming industry. CEGOS, which had approximately forty associates in the 1950s, when Octave G~linier became director, grew during the following years at a yearly rate of 20 percent, created new departments (marketing, personnel management, administration, financial control, management, data processing, and cadre training), specialized in merger and purchase operations, and opened branches in various European countries. By the mid- 1960s, CEGOS employed six hundred persons in several countries. Its board of directors included university scholars (such as Dean Capelle), financiers (Banque Nationale de Paris, Banque d'Indochine, etc.) and senior executives.
In the late 1960s, Noel Pouderoux, president of CEGOS, met Jean Stoetzel, professor of social psychology at the Sorbonne, and with him embarked upon an association which led to the creation of ETMAR ("Etudes de March6") and to recognition of the Institut Frangais d'Opinion Public (French polling institute known as IFOP). 49 CEGOS thus created a branch in a new hiatus - marketing studies and public opinion polls - competing with Soci6t6 d'Economie et de Math6matique Appliqu6e (known as SEMA), which directed SOFRES (the other main polling institute). Connected to Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, and founded in the late 1950s by an Ecole Polytechnique graduate, Jacques Lesourne, and a handful of engineers, SEMA had 120 associates in 1960 before its implantation in the main Common Market countries and over two thousand employees in 1969. The new company specialized in the most modern forms of management, decision-making, applied economics and above all operational research, inspired by the systems theory, not to mention implementation of "softer" sciences, with psychosociological studies, staff screening, and evaluation and training, which also contributed to the boom of this new industry, the "brain" industry. 50 As of 1960, management and advisory counsels flourished: the Chambre Syndical des Soci6t6s d'Etudes et de Conseil, or SYNTEC, founded in 1969, included, in just the "management and training" section, over thirty large councils, practically all located in Paris. 51 Growth was particularly rapid in the field of "sales management," sales promotion, training of sales staff and in cadre recruiting. In the late 1960s there were two hundred cadre recruiting councils, eighty of which were located in the Paris area where the ten largest councils made 80 percent of the income of the entire professionP z
Group Dynamics, Politics and Culture
To understand the interest the "progressive" businessmen and the "modern managers" had in the human sciences and particularly in the modern techniques derived from industrial psychology, which was invented in the U.S. in the 1930s and spread rapidly in France in the 1950s, it should be noted that it was a reaction against the bureaucratization of business. Group techniques, psychosociology, brain-storming and creativity, educational or training cells, and role-playing were first applied to the cadres and particularly to the petits cadres. They were used as a sort of"social orthopedics" through which the participants "would understand themselves in relation to others" and "experience their conflicts" in the context of restricted, artificial groups and would thus acquire the ability to transfer the informal, efficient "rational style" in accord with the new economic ethics to their actual jobs, in their relations with their co-workers, both higher and lower ranking.
The large nationalized enterprises, directed by progressive employers (e.g.
Renault and EDF) in the forefront of the battle for productivity, for the modernization of the economy and for the reeduction of the old "reactionary" patronat, were also the first to take the "human relations" movement seriously, to welcome psychologists among their executives, to establish services for the screening and management of personnel inspired by the new methods, and to open their doors to the sociologues du travail. These were followed, in the mid-1950s, by the progressive employers, directors of the large modern firms already heavily bureaucratized (e.g. T616m6canique, Aslthorm, P6chiney, and Ciments Lafaye) often belonging to Catholic movements and to ACADI (Association de Cadres Dirigeants de l'Industrie pour le progrbs social et 6conomique) which in 1948 set up a group for the study of"industrial relations53. '' "Americans", declared a Catholic employer, "ultimately concur with our philosophical and moral conceptions since they consider that an employee who does not feel free, who has the impression of being frustrated, who is placed in an unfavorable work atmosphere, will only bring the company a small part of his possibilities. T M Everything happened as if, from the mid-1950s, the innovative avant-garde of the grandpatronat (often tied to Social Catholicism) had, in turn, reinvested the hopes formerly placed in corporatism in the social sciences, social psychology techniques and industrial sociology imported from the U.S.
Thus, a mixed discourse can be seen to be forming in which the words and expressions borrowed from the spiritualist and personalist vocabulary (community, person, man, liberty, dialogue) are blended with terms used for technical efficiency and psychoanalysis. The switch to human relations and the social sciences by the heirs of Social Catholicism after the aggiornamento of corporatism, contributed to a large extent to making it possible for a closely-woven instrument for cadre management to be created.
The diffusion in France of industrial psychology and particularly of"group techniques" owes much to the efforts of the members of the French Psychotechnical Mission to the United States organized by the French Association for the Growth of Productivity (AFOP) in 1952, which included, in addition to Paul Fraisse, head of the mission, Jean Bonnaire (head of the psychotechnical service of Renault), Jean-Marie Faverge (who belonged to the Center of Psychoanalytic studies and Research of the Ministry of Labor), and Suzanne Pacaud (maftre de recherche at the Centre National des Recherches Scientifiques (CNRS) and head of the Psychotechnical Laboratory of the SNCF (national railroad)). The Mission reports were the object of a special issue of Revue de Psychologie Appliquke (4,1, January 1953). One article was devoted to the cadres and their selection (J. Bonnaire, 38-54) which must be founded upon the experimental study of "leadership," their promotion, which must be "rationally organized," and the "grading systems" and "training"; another discussed their education in psychology (Suzanne Pacaud, 98-128).
A new generation of psychosociologists followed importation of group techniques by both legitimizing them in the universities and diffusing them in business. Claude Facheux, Jacques Ardoino, Guy Palmade, Max Pagbs, Robert Pagbs, Didier Anzieu, Jean Maisonneuve, and Roger Muchielli, all born between 1920 and 1925, most having received after their university studies a complementary education in the United States from the "masters" of American social psychology (in particular Carl Rogers), all were active in universities or in research in the CNRS and worked in numerous organisms, usually private - management, selection or training councils which were created or developed during the 1950s. Sometimes also they founded their own "consulting" business in the form of a non-profit association. Thus, Guy Serraf, who was to become in 1960 the main associate of Bernard Krief, owner of one of the most important recruitment agencies, founded with Didier Anzieu and Jacques Ardoino the National Association for the Development of the Human Sciences (ANSHA), "an association of a small number of high-ranking academics who already had consulting activities.
Thanks to the association," said Bernard Krief, "in 1959, I discovered the techniques of group animation, transmission of information, comprehension of human relations, etc., techniques which business was not to apply until several years later. ''55 This intermediate position between the university and business and sometimes political power (specialists in the social sciences were welcomed in the technical sections of Ministries or the Plan) 56 predisposed the masters of industrial psychology to incarnate the new model of the intellectual manager, directly involved in "action." More generally, the interest which the government officials and employers had for psychology and sociology contributed to a large extent to the development of the social sciences in the 1950s and 1960s.
"The Conversion of the Whole World" But the introduction of m a n a g e m e n t, h u m a n relations, group dynamics, marketing and, no d o u b t more profoundly, the representation of economic agents as free subjects invested with the deep-seated desire to "succeed and to consume," also helped to impose, particularly a m o n g the middle management, the high standards, knowledge and objects rightly or wrongly associated with the culture of the United States (which was one of the conditions for the opening of the financial market to American capital). It also made it seem inevitable that France develop a social order similar to "American society."
Octave G61inier, one of the most ardent proselytes of the new belief, wrote in1965:
Today, we can have a clearer view. First, the political and economicsystem of traditional Europe has shown its failure. This strange amalgam of medievalconceptionsand modern techniques was able to hold the stage for three centuries,by virtue of its initial advanceand the weakness of competition, but its collapse, which has nothing to do with chance, is definite.... As imperfect as it may be, the American model constitutes the principle of unification of industrial civilization.It has demonstrated its effectivenessin creating wealth and power, proved its flexibilityand its adaptivefaculties. Those who intelligently adapt this model to their particular case soon receive the same fruits: and they are increasingly numerous. It is reasonableto believethat this movementis goingto continue... The puritan ethic, now the scienceof management, has acquired a new force. It is no longer taught in Sunday school but in businessschools. To propagate it throughout the world, missionaries have been replaced by the 'institutesof productivity'created in each country with the support of subsidiesand American experts. And each year the leaders of the whole world come on pilgrimage (which they call a 'productivity mission') to see and hear first hand the latest revelations. The puritan ethic of good managementin the modern versionof the Scienceof Management,is now rapidly convertingthe entire world, includingFrance and the U.S.S.R.57 The partial homogeneity of the value systems and behavior style due in part to the m a n a g e m e n t industry clarifies in particular one of the remarkable aspects of the f u n c t i o n i n g of m u l t i n a t i o n a l corporations. This is the aptitude of these companies to find or establish in countries with relatively different social structures and cultural traditions, a sufficiently homogeneous staff, especially the m a n a g e m e n t staff, to make it possible to orchestrate the internal policies and rules of personnel m a n a g e m e n t and even professional h a b i t s ) 8 (Despite the increase, in this period of economic strike, in the authority of the parent c o m p a n y over the n a t i o n a l subsidiaries whose independence c o n t i n u o u s l y decreases.) The analysis of the effects of cultural dependence, which economic dependence also induces, shows to what extent the multinationalization, that is, the Americanization, of the managerial reference for cadres constitutes an i m p o r t a n t aspect of the rising fractions of the middle classes.