The attitude toward work and business is quite different in French culture than in the United States. These differences become apparent when examining a publication written for a regionally specific audience, as I was researching topics covered in chapter 14 of Managing Cultural Differences, I stumbled across Forbes France. I found reading what I typically thought of as a U.S. only magazine with articles and tips about to navigate business from the perspective of a native author from another culture very intriguing.
Many of the latest articles from Forbes France, discussed our current global situation brought on by COVID-19 and the need to work remotely. French leaders have a very different struggle than those in the States; France has a power distance score of 68, which is high and indicates a preference of hierarchical structure within an organization (Hofstede Insights, n.d.). Employees have a high level of dependency on their leaders for constant direction, but how does that translate when working remotely? Micromanaging employees from a distance is a cause for great concern and is stressed as fear of “losing control over their employees” (Forbes France, 2019). Working remotely requires a high degree of independence, this may be an issue from the management’s point of view, but France also has a high score in individualism. With a score of 71 in individualism, this makes for a unique combination; generally, high power distance cultures are collectivist (Hofstede Insights, n.d.). The French declare they hold fellowship and equality as central points of their culture, but the high score in individualism states otherwise (Moran, Abramson, & Moran, 2014). The conflict in these scores indicates subordinates respect and show compliance to their boss’s demands, but when left to their own devices may do the opposite of what they have committed to, as they believe that they know better (Hofstede Insights, n.d.). As the weeks of quarantine have progressed requiring the adoption of telework practices by the majority of the French workforce, the view of the primarily U.S. practice has changed from ridiculous and unacceptable to a means of achieving increased productivity and work-life balance (Forbes France, 2019; Midena, 2020).
Differences in business behaviors and practices are evident and can be examined not only by applying behavior and cultural theories, such as Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions, but by comparing articles in the same publication for different regional audiences. Forbes is a business magazine published in 55 countries and features articles written about leadership and management from the cultural perspective of the local culture. I found it very interesting to read business articles from another cultural view. With the help of google translate, I think I will continue to explore other regional business practices through similar sources while applying lessons from this course.
Forbes France. (2019, October 21). Etats Unis VS France : Des Leviers De Motivation Au Travail Différents. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.fr/management/etats-unis-vs-france-des-leviers-de-motivation-au-travail-differents/?cn-reloaded=1
Hofstede Insights. (n.d.). Country Comparison. Retrieved from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/france/
Midena, M. (2020, April 8). Télétravail Intégral : L’Exemple De Fizzer. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.fr/management/teletravail-integral-lexemple-de-fizzer/
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014). Managing cultural differences (9th ed.). Oxford: Routledge.