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«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 ...»

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However, to avoid overinterpreting this discourse as triumphant and unchallenged, its banality should be stressed: it was only to express in a particularly rigid fashion (the celebration of America sometimes particularly dogmatic) a conviction that was almost unanimous, at least in the dominant class in the beginning of the 1950s. T. A. Wilson was not wrong when he noted that if"in Europe it later became more fashionable to jeer at those who imitated American cultural models and American business and to accuse the United States of practicing" Coca-Cola imperialism" during the Marshall Plan years, the United States still constituted a generally acknowledged model: some EUropeans were passionately attracted by everything that America represented," (43).

Yet the fascination of America could be expressed in a language which if taken at face value, often appeared interchangeable, but carrying very different senses depending on the social position and the political projects of the agents and groups who generated it. A more profound analysis would show the difference between those for whom the adoption of American models was justified by the goals of increasing national independence (notably vis-a-vis the U.S.A.) and redistributing the wealth created by economic growth (as was often the case in Pierre Mendbs-France's circle), and those who, only interested in interpreting the "lessons of history" in their positive aspects, found in the archetypal representation of "American democracy" an instrument for the reconversion of conservatism, a form of enlightened conservatism. The latter prepared to accept concessions in order to avoid subversion of the establishment, and in the submission to American enterprises saw a means to increase the prosperity of private ~ndustry and, above all, to maintain its independence from the State.

Of these different political projects, although sometimes apparantly interrelated, the attitudes toward the Plan undoubtedly constitute a privileged indicator, because they refer to the opposition, fundamental in France since the end of the nineteenth century, between the public and the private sectors, between the groups and the classes whose interests are tied either to the reinforcement of the institutions placed under State control or to the development of free enterprise. Often confused, inasmuch as the political conjuncture imposed blame on the Vichyite grandpatronat, and perhaps above all, inasmuch as the Plan seemed to be the indispensable instrument of a growth policy favorable to private industry, these two types of interests tended to oppose each other more and more clearly as, with the reinforcement of industrial and financial groups and the unanimous conversion of the upper business bourgeoisie to the ideology of management toward the mid-1960s, the "Plan appeared a vestige of a leftist thought now out of date. "59 NOTES

1. This text is a chapter of a book published in 1982 on the formation and evolution of the category of cadres in France from 1936 to 1975. A different French version was published in Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 38, May 1981.

2. Sociology has not been included in this analysis, in particular the sociologie du travail which developed during that period outside the French intellectual traditions (the Durkheim school), mainly by importing methods, problematics, and concepts derived from American sociology, not only because such an analysis would necessarily have been construed as polemical, but also insofar as, unlike psychosociologists, sociologists, who are often influenced by Marxism, often critical of employers, often ouvrikristes (and tending to confuse "field work" with "going to the masses"), generally did not act directly in firms to carry out reorganization.

3. See F. Braudel and E. Labrousse, Histoire Economique et Sociale de la France, 4, Vol. 2, PUF, (Paris: 1980), 785-786. After 1952, reoreanization became more frequent: only twenty six of the fifty largest firms in 1952 were listed under the same name in the 1962 list of the fifty largest firms (P. Bourdieu and M. de Saint Martin, "Le Patronat," Actes" de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 20 21, March/April 1978, 3-82.

4. M. Elgozy, L'Aide Economique des Etats-Unis ~ la France, Plan Marshall et "'Defense Support," Documentation Franqaise, (Paris: !953) 37.

5. J. Gimbel, The Origins o f the Marshall Plan, (Stanford University Press: 1976) in particular 228 et seq.

6. Cf. Actions des Problbmes de Productivitd, First Report for the Comit6 National de Productivit6, 1950-1953, (Paris: 1953).

7. P. L. Mathieu, La Politique Franfaise de Productivitd Depuis la Guerre, 1.E.P. thesis, under the direction of Jean Fourasti6, (Paris: 1961).

8. For example the April 14, 1949 report for the Plan Commission by the electrical construction team upon returning from the United States: Notes et Etudes Documentaires, (no.

1296), March 15, 1950, 15.

9. OEEC, Les Problbmes de Gestion des Entreprises. Opinions Am~ricaines, Opinions Europeennes, (Paris: October 1954) 13.

10. European Productivity Agency, Notes et Etudes Documentaires, (No. 2604), December 1959, 10.

11. European Productivity Agency. Notes et Etudes.

12. Recueil de documents sur la productivitk, 16.

13. OEEC, Les Problkmes, 14 et seq.

14. T. A. Wilson, The Marshall Plan, Headline Series, (New York: 1977) 43-44.

15. J. L. Servan-Sehreiber said "It was normal t O identify oneself with John Kennedy, who incarnated the central concepts of my age: America: youth, success, beauty, the future," in A Mi-Vie: L'Entrke en Quarantine, (Stock: Paris) 137.

16. J. Monnet, Mdmoires, (Fayard, Paris: 1976) 276 277.

17. Many sources of precise information on Pierre Mendbs-France, his associates and above all on the Servan-Schreiber family are now available. In addition to interviews, the following were consulted: Pierre Mend~s-France, Choisir, (Paris: Stock, 1974) and La VOritd Guidait Leurs Pas, (Paris, Gallimard: 1976) (in particular the chapter on George Boris, 231-248); C.

Gruson, Programmer L'Espdrance, (Paris, Stock: 1976); F. Block-Lain6, Profession: Fonetionnaire, (Paris, Le Seuil: 1976); P. Dreyfus; and, above all, the fundamental work by Francois Fourquet, Les compres de lapuissance (Paris: 1980), "]6. For the Schreiber family and L'Express, the following were consulted: E. Schreiber, Raeonte Encore, (Paris, Presses

de la Cit6: 1968); J. C. Servan-Schreiber, Le Huron de la Famille, (Paris, Calmann-LSvy:

1979); Jean-Jaccjues Servan-Schreiber, interview with Roger Priouret, in R. Priouret, La France et le Management, (Paris, Stock: 1972); S. Siritzky and F. Roth, Le Roman de L'Express, 1953-1978, (Paris, M. Jullian: 1979); M. Jaumet, L'Express de Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, doctoral thesis, (Paris: 1979).

I8. G. Boris, Servir la ROpublique, presentation by P. Mendbs-France, (Paris, Julliard: 1936), 181.

19. For the religous traditionalists, who are known to have contributed more than any other group to the creation and diffusion of the "social doctrine of the Church," liberal Catholics who favored adaptation of the church to the liberal society stemming from 1789, the "modern world" as it stands, were dubbed "Americans." D. Strauss, Menace in the West, the Rise o f Anti-Americanism in Modern Times, (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1978), 11.

20. L. Romier, L'Homme Nouveau: Esquisse des Consdquences du Progrks, (Paris: Hachette, 1929). L. Romier, journalist for Le Figaro, was connected to the Action Catholique circle.

He was to become one of P6tain's advisers.

21. A. Fabre-Luce, A Quoi ROve le Monde, (Paris: Grasset, 1931). The first part ("Crise g Wall Street, 9-110) contains most of the stereotypes about the "materialism" of American society.

22. On Franco-American conflicts during the inter-war period over debt, reparations and disarmament, see M. R. Zahniser, Uncertain Friendship: American-French Diplomatic Relations Through the Cold War, (New York: J. Wiley, 1975) 219 239.

23. See for instance C. Pomaret, L'Ambrique gtla ConquOte de l'Europe, Paris, A. Colin, 1931.

Charles Pomaret, who was a businessman, held a position that diverged from that of the "young right" in that he suggested that in order to fight against "American imperialism" European business should adopt the main innovations American capitalism had used to become wealthy.

24. On American investments in Europe during the inter-war years, see M. Wilkins, The Maturing o f Multinational Enterprise, American Business Abroad f r o m 1914 to 1970, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1.974) particularly 70 et seq. (electric industry) and 211 et seq. (oil industry).

25. Cf. R. Aron and A. Dandieu, Dbcandencedela Nation Frangaise, (Paris: Ed. Rieder, 1931), and R. Aron, Le Cancer Ambricain, (Paris: Ed. Rieder, 1931).

26. In the late 1920s, Hyacinthe Dubreuil spent fifteen months in the United States where he worked in large metallurgical plants. He wrote a book on his experience showing a very

favorable attitude towards the new methods of rationalizing labor (see H. Dubreuil:

Standards: Le Travail A m~ricain Vu par un Ouvrier Frangais, preface by H. LeChatelier, (Paris: Grasset, 1929). A few years later, H. Dubreuil wrote a book on the New Deal, Les Codes de Roosevelt et les Perspectives de la Vie Sociale, (Paris: Grasset, 1934). He saw organization and methods as "the essential tools of true socialism..." (Standards, 422) and viewed the National Recovery Act, which "induced the creation of fair competition laws," as an extension of Taylor's works, Les Codes de Roosevelt, 58 60 and the "code" policy as an "attempted transition from the old individualism to the coming forms of organized democracy," 82.

27. Emile Schreiber published two reports on the United States: the first, during his youth, in 1917, to "carry out useful, gripping propaganda in favor of the ideas which - more than ever

should rule after the war," L'Exemple Ambrican, Le Prix du Temps aux Etats- Unis, (Paris:

Payot, 1917)) xix, the other book, L'Amkrique Rbagit, (Paris: Plon, 1934) concerned the New Deal and the administration stemming from the National Recovery Act which, for Emile Schreiber, should also be an example for the European ruling classes.

28. R. Marjolin, Les Experiences Roosevelt, (Paris: Librairie Populaire, 1933).

29. See P. Bourdieu and L. Boltanski, "La Production de l'ld6ologie Dominante," Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 2 (5-6), 1976, 3-73.

30. S. M. Lipset, "The Changing Class Structure and Contemporary European Politics," Daedalus, winter 1964, 271-303. These ideas were vulgarized at the same time by Michel Crozier (see, for example, "Classes sans Conscience ou Pr6figuration de la Soci6t6 sans Classes," Archives Europbennes de Sociologie, 1(2), 1960, 233-247.

31. This opposition between the "old" middle classes and the "new" middle classes originated in German social democracy. Already mentioned in texts by Bernstein and Kautsky, it recurred during the inter-war period thi'ough German university scholars in sociology. However, it is rarely used in France except in studies, usually by Germanists, on the rise of National Socialism in Germany and is based on the untranslated work of Theodor Geiger. Henri de Man, who worked in Frankfurt and wrote in German, used it, "Le Socialisme et le Nationalisme Fasciste," Le Socialisme Constructif, (Paris: Alcan, 1933) 199-249. This is also the case for H. Laufenburger who taught at the Strasbourg faculty of law, "Classes Moyennes et National-Socialisme en Allemagne," Revue Politique et Parlementaire, 40 (461), 1933, 46-60. For the definition of classes, see T. Geiger, On Social Order and Mass Society, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969) 10-11, and P. Aygoberry, La Question Nazie - les Interprbtations du National-Socialisme 1922-1975, (Paris: Seuil, 1979) 103 107.

32. On the role of CGPME in the advent of the Pinay government, the ties between Gingembre and Laniel, and CGPME hostility towards Mend~s-France, as well as the overall role of the government officials working on the Plan, see G. Lavau, "La CGPME," Revue Francaise de Science Politique, 5(2), 1955, 370-384.

33. J. Touchard, "Bibliographie et Chronologic du Poujadisme," Revue Francaise de Science Politique, 6(1), 1956, 18-43.

34. Sapiens, Mendbs ou Pinay, (Paris: Grasset, 1953).

35. See R. Salmon, L'Information Economique, Clef de la Prospbritb, (Paris: Hachette, 1963), 24 30.

36. This is one of the functions of industrial journals, which numbered twenty in 1939 and five hundred in 1962, with an overall circulation of 1,500,000 (as opposed to, for example, 600,000 in 1952).

37. M. Drancourt, Les Clefs du Pouvoir, conclusion by Louis Armand, (Paris: Fayard, 1964).

38. M. Beaud, A. M. L6vy and S. Li6nard, Dictionnaire des Groupes lndustriels et Financiers en France, (Paris: Seuil, 1978) 19.

39. In 1950, twenty thousand engineers and foremen had taken evening classes organized by CNOF, Revue Internationale du Travail, July 1950.

40. See "Le CRC, Dix Ans d'Activit6," Direction du Personnel, (76), Dec. 1963, 15-17.

41. "Evolution de la Formation 5_l'Administration des Entreprises," Direction du Personnel, (73), July 1964, 17 24.

42. "L'Institut des Sciences Sociales du Travail," Direction du Personnel, (88), June 1964, 38-40.

43. Until the 1950s, economics was of only secondary importance in engineering school curricula, with the exception perhaps of the Ecole des Mines of Paris where Maurice Allais taught as of 1943. In this respect, the Conservatoire National des Arts et M6tiers was a precursor (Frangois Simiand, for instance, began teaching there in 1923), F. Etner, "Note sur la formation 6conomique des ingenieurs," communication at the Le Creusot Colloquium, Oct.


44. Calculation based on PrOcis de I'Enseignement Gestion, (Paris: FNEGE, 1972).

45. A. Moutet, "Les Origines du Syst~me Taylor en France, le Point de Vue Patronal, 1907-1914," Mouvement Social, (93), Oct.-Dec. 1975, 15-49.

46. As shown by Judith A. Merkle, Management and Ideology, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980) in her chapter on France (130 171), the influence of Fayol on the scientific management movement in France was deep and long-lasting, stressing less the technical division of labor than the administrative abilities of the management, the quality of the cadres; underIining less organization of production and appropriation of worker skills than rationalization of management and authority.

47. The information used here was drawn from two unpublished notes written respectively by Marie Coutrot Toulouse and Gilbert Bloch, a CEGOS engineer, ex-BICRA associate, as well as from various documents courteously loaned to the author by Mme Aline Coutrot.

48. CEGOS, '.'Les Cadres et rExercise du Commandement," Hommes et Techniques, Jan. 1958.

49. Interview with Noel Pouderoux in La France et le Management, by R. Priouret, Paris, Deno~l, 1968, 397.

50. R. Armand, R] Lattes and J. Lesourne, Matibre Grise, AnnOe ZOro, (Paris: Deno~l, 1970) 206.

51. In 1976, 205 firms belonged to SYNTEC, representing over forty thousand people, out of whom close to sixteen thousand were engineers and cadres. Their overall turnover for 1975 was over four billion francs, 30 percent from exportation (source: brochure on engineering professions published by SYNTEC in 1976).

52. "Les Cabinets de Conseil en Recrutement de Cadres," Hommes et Techniques, (325), Nov.

1971, 841 876.

53. H. W. Ehrmann, La Politique du Patronat Franfais, (Paris: A. Colin, 1959) 387. Founded in 1946 by a group of Catholic Ecole Polytechnique graduates, some of whom worked in the nationalized sector, ACADI assembled the reformist and progressive employers of the 1950s.

54. Actions et Problkmes, 412.

55. B. Krief, Le MOdecin Chinois, Pour une Politique de la Santo de l'Entreprise, (Paris: Presses de la Cit6, 1979) 30.

56. M. Pollack, "La Planification des Sciences Sociales," Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales; June 1976, (2 3), 105-121 and M. Pollack, "Paul F. Lazarsfeld: fondateur d'une multinationale scientifique," Actes de la recherche en Sciences Sociales, (25), Feb. 1979, 45-60.

57. O. Gblinier, Morale de l'Entreprise et Destin de la Nation, (Paris: Plon, 1965), 155.

58. On the strategies developed by American multinationals in the organization of foreign subsidiaries, the recruitment and training of local managers, personnel management, see

M. Z. Brooke and H. L. Remmers, The Strategy o f Multinational Enterprises, (London:

Longman, 1970), particularly the first part, chap. 2 and 5.

59. C. Gruson, Programmer, 92.

–  –  –

Theory and Society 12 (1983) 375-403

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