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L'américanisation en Europe au xxe siècle : économie, culture, politique. Volume 1

 | 
Isabelle Lescent-Giles
, 
Dominique Barjot
, 
Marc de Ferrière

Troisième partie. Une diffusion progressive

American influences on the reform of French management education in the late 1960s : the case of the FNEGE (Fondation Nationale pour L'enseignement de la Gestion des Entreprises)

Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel

Résumé

« L’influence américaine sur l’enseignement supérieur de gestion français à la fin des années 1960. Autour de la FNEGE (Fondation Nationale pour l’Enseignement de la Gestion des Entreprises) »
Cet article est centré sur une étude de cas, la FNEGE (Fondation Nationale pour l’Enseignement de la Gestion des Entreprises), qui est à la fois un révélateur et un acteur du développement de l’enseignement supérieur de gestion français à partir de la fin des années 1960. On considère généralement que cette institution a favorisé l’américanisation de l’enseignement supérieur de gestion, car elle a été pensée au moment de la parution du Défi Américain de Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber (1967) et elle a permis la formation de plusieurs centaines d’enseignants en Amérique du Nord (1969-1973). Pourtant, l’analyse de la genèse et des premières années de cette fondation montre que la réalité fut plus complexe et que l’américanisation fut loin d’être en la matière un phénomène uniforme et homogène. En effet, tous les acteurs concernés par la réforme des formations à la gestion (technocrates, patrons ou universitaires) n’avaient pas la même conception de l’Amérique et de son influence potentielle. S’ils se sont mis d’accord sur des programmes de formation outre-Atlantique, c’est parce chacun y a projeté sa propre conception de la réforme.

Texte intégral

  • 1 Translated by Rachel Rich. For an overview of research on the “Americanisation” of Europe and its l (...)

1Is Americanisation a uniform phenomenon? Unity of place, time, and action does not necessarily imply that individuals shared a common vision of America. Indeed, images of America were shaped by the individual’s very own experience. As a resuit, America could be presented both as a source of conflict and as an agent of reconciliation between the technocrats, the employers, and the academics who sought to reform French management education in the 1960s. To understand France in the 1960s, one must take the American influence into account. France was obsessed with the so-called “American challenge” (“le défi américain”). It is surprising, therefore, that so many historians of France’s Americanisation process focused on the 1950s and mostly ignored the 1960s.1

2In the 1950s, France embarked on a productivity challenge (“la France de la productivite”) and sent productivity missions to the United States. By the 1960s, it saw itself as a growing economy (“France de l’expansion”) that looked up to the United States as a benchmark. Studying American influences on French management education in the late 1960s leads us to question how American influences changed over rime and how the 1950s productivity drive led to the economic growth emblematic of the 1960s. In particular, three questions need to be addressed: what happened to the structures that presided over the productivity missions? How did the promoters of the new ethos of “management education” perceive these, in particular at the ministry of Finance? Finally, how was America perceived both by the promoters of continuing exchanges with the United States in the late 1960s and by the beneficiaries of these trips (scholarship holders and directors of training establishments in the midst of reform)? Answering these questions will yield some insights into the similarities and discontinuities between the successive “waves” of Americanisation from the 1950s to the 1970s.

  • 2 For the traces left by the FNEGE on the memories of managers see for example : A. Cabanis, “Contrib (...)

3The Fondation nationale pour l’enseignement de la gestion des entreprises (thereafter abbreviated to FNEGE) was a direct resuit of pressures to develop further management education in France in the 1960s and 1970s. This publicprivate foundation was created in 1968. From the very beginning, it was seen as an outpost of American training methods. Its birth coincided with the publication of Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber’s famous book, Le Défi américain (the American Challenge), in 1967. Its mission was to bridge the perceived gap in French management education by introducing modem training methods imported from America.2 In the early 1970, it provided the finance for sending several hundred trainees over to North America. Some of these trainees went on to become the first professional management teachers in France’s commercial and management schools. Many of these were then going through major reforms. This was the case at some Instituts d’administration des entreprises (IAEs) within existing universities, at the Ecole des Hautes études commerciales (HEC) as well as at the Ecole supérieure des sciences économiques et sociales (ESSEC).

  • 3 See M.-E. Chessel, F. Pavis, Une histoire de la FNEGE (1965-1975), Rapport final de recherche, Lyon (...)

4This paper summarises the results of a larger study carried out into the history of the FNEGE.3 It looks at its founding years, from 1965 to 1969, and argues that those involved in reforming management education in France were divided over the issue of America. The paper also identifies elements of continuity and discontinuity with the 1950s productivity missions by looking at the school’s wide-ranging training programs in America from 1969 to 1973.

THE FNEGE AND GAULLISM: A STORY OF EMANCIPATION

  • 4 M. Kipping, J.-P. Nioche, “Politique de productivité et formations à la gestion en France (1945-196 (...)
  • 5 Cf. for example Problèmes et perspectives de la formation à la gestion des entreprises en Europe (d (...)
  • 6 J.-J. Servan-Schreiber, Le défi américain, Paris, Denoël, 1967, p. 113.

5From the 1950s to the mid 1960s, French management education remained largely untouched, even though the management gap between France and the United States had been identified as early as the 1940s and a few steps taken to reduce it. Change was blocked by a combination of local resistance and ill-conceived foreign initiatives.4 In spite of all its efforts, the 1950s “campaign for productivity” had little impact on management education, and the gap remained. French and European experts discussed it at length in the mid 1960s.5 In the late 1960s, it came to prominence in the context of European growth and expansion. Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber’s book, The American Challenge, published in 1967, was but the most famous of a string of publications on the theme of French backwardness. It became a best-seller overnight and sold 600 000 copies in ten months. This book, written by a prominent French journalist, dealt with the scientific and technological gap. This gap, it argued, stemmed mainly from inadequate management education: “the famous technological gap, which is now widening between Europe and America, must be attributed first to the weaknesses of higher education, to the inadequacies of research and science. But it also stems from an apparent inability — due to a lack of investment, that is the correct word, in men — to latch onto modem methods of management”.6 The technological gap was linked to a management gap, which France needed to bridge. In fact, this replicated the analysis made at the time of the first productivity missions. But if the fascination with managerial America and the diagnosis of French managerial backwardness were not new, the way America was represented and the proposed solutions were subtly different in the late 1960s.

Michel Debré’s initiative: from “productivity” to “management”

  • 7 “Loi no 66-892 du 3 décembre 1966 d’orientation et de programme sur la formation professionnelle”, (...)
  • 8 A. Prost, “Décision et non-décision gouvernementale. La politique gaullienne d'éducation de 1962 à (...)

6Whilst the idea for the FNEGE predated the publication of JeanJacques Servan-Schreiber’s Défi américain, France’s Gaullist State shared many of its core ideas on the management gap and the quantitative and qualitative “backwardness” of France’s management training. Several studies were carried out by international and national organizations, by private enterprises and by the State (including within the Plan). Building on the results, Michel Debré, France’s then Finance minister, drew up new legislation, published on December 3rd 1966.7 It provided a framework and concrete steps for a reform of French management education. It called for the creation of a national Foundation for management education. This had indeed been one of the recommendations of France’s Productivity Mission of the 5th Plan (1965-1970). Françoise Dulery, a close adviser of Michel Debré, had played a crucial role in drawing up the legislation. A lawyer and then a technical advisor in charge of educational matters, she had served as an official (maître des requêtes) at the powerful Conseil d’Etat since 1962 and accomplished several missions for Michel Debré when he was Prime Minister. Also influential was the general secretary at the Ministry of Education, Pierre Laurent. He was another conseiller d’Etat who had acted since 1963 as deputy minister in charge of reforms. Sadly, most of them had not been implemented.8

  • 9 Kipping, Nioche 1997: 72.
  • 10 Chessel, Pavis 2000: 50-55.

7The reform of management education must not be seen as a legacy of the productivity campaigns of the 1950s. One major difference was that Michel Debré’s entourage now saw America more as a threat than as an opportunity. They also put in doubt the very structures set up for the productivity missions. For Françoise Dulery, the FNEGE lay at the heart of the debate over the future of the structures that had been created to support the productivity campaigns. The Ministry of Finance and the Planning Commission (Commission au Plan), which had taken over from the General Commission for Productivity'in 1959, had been engaged in bitter rivalry over who should lead the modernisation of France’s society and economy.9 The FNEGE raised the issue of who should be in charge of management education: the productivity agencies, the FNEGE or an association of both? A hidden political agenda was at stake: the productivity agencies acted through negotiation and involved all levels of the firms’hierarchy. The productivity missions had brought together managers, engineers and workers. This was precisely what the Gaullist promoters of the FNEGE refused. This was a clash between two models of public intervention and collaboration between State and business. The first model was based on collaboration between three parties: planners, unions and managers. This model led to the creation of the Centre national pour l’information et la productivité des entreprises (CNIPE) in 1968. The second model, which presided over the setting up of the FNEGE, was aimed exclusively at managers and company executives. The Ministry of Finance seized this opportunity to try to regain the upper hand in management education. They tried to make the CNIPE report to the Ministry of Finance and a mere annex of the FNEGE. But Françoise Dulery sided with representatives from the Planning Commission, intent on preserving the tradition of workers’participation in management (paritarisme), and on defending small business against a narrower vision favouring the managers and executives of large-scale enterprise.10

8Neither Françoise Dulery nor Pierre Laurent, true to their Gaullist convictions, saw the FNEGE as an instrument for “Americanising” French management education. However, the FNEGE soon escaped their tutelage and became more open to American influences, as employers and academics involved in educational reforms took control of the school’s destiny.

Pierre Tabatoni, the Ford Foundation and America

  • 11 The suggestion of creating a French foundation on the Belgian model was first made in a report of t (...)
  • 12 On Louis Dherse, see P. Mioche, La sidérurgie et l'Etat en France des années quarante aux années so (...)

9The FNEGE’s statutes were finally approved on 15th May 1968, in the very midst of the student and worker protests, and after heated debates amongst senior civil servants, employers and academics. Françoise Dulery and Pierre Laurent’s first step was to try and convince the FNEGE to support a partnership between university and industry on the Belgian model. The Belgian “university-industry Foundation”, created in 1956 by Gaston Deurinck, a philosopher engineer and active member of the Belgian Office for improving productivity was very successful.11 Louis Dherse was appointed as the first Président of the FNEGE in 1968, a post he held until 1970. An engineer trained at the prestigious Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées, he had become Chairman and Director General (PDG) of the Steel firm Sollac (Société lorraine de laminage continu) in 1959, before becoming the boss of the merged Steel firm Sacilor (Société des aciéries de Lorraine) in 1964.12 But he was in effect controlled by the French federation of CEOs (the CNPF), which had appointed him and expected a certain level of immobility in return.

  • 13 On the actions of the EPA, see B. Boël, “The European Productivity Agency and the development of ma (...)
  • 14 G. Gemëlli, “Les écoles de gestion en France et les fondations américaines (1930-1975). Un modèle d (...)
  • 15 AN, 870 191, art. 13, Ministère de l’Education nationale, Note from J.-L. Quermonne to P. Aigrain, (...)

10The Ministry of Education controlled the appointment of the general secretary and chose Pierre Tabatoni. This did not corne as a surprise. An economist and professor at the Paris faculty of law and economics since 1961, he was an expert on management education in the eyes of the Ministry of Education. He knew the United States well, having spent time there in 1958 thanks to a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation at Harvard University (from whence he visited the Harvard Business School). He had kept a close eye on the Ford foundation’s attempts at reforming management education in both the United States and Europe. Furthermore, he was at the heart of a European network of businessmen and academics (to which Gaston Deurinck also belonged) and had taken an active part in bringing management science to the universities through the back door, via the Instituts d’administration des entreprises (IAE), created in the 1950s. He headed the IAE of Aix-en-Provence from 1955 to 1961, was general secretary of the national Association of IAE directors (1955-1958), and president of Association européenne des centres de perfectionnement à la direction des entreprises (1959-1961). He was a symbol of continuity. Pierre Sabatoni had hands on experience of productivity missions. He was involved with the European Productivity Agency (EPA)13 and belonged to the productivity commission of France’s 5th Plan, which had advocated a foundation on the Belgian model. But Pierre Sabatoni wanted to move on to a new phase, anchoring management within the universities through the training of teachers.14 He pleaded with the leaders of France’s higher education to establish management as a real university subject, based on research, in the context of a reform of the exact sciences. Discussions took place at the end of 1967. Pierre Tabatoni was put in charge of co-ordinating this policy with the FNEGE.15 However, in May 1968, the university and political context changed dramatically. Pierre Tabatoni felt less inclined to occupy the position to which he was nonetheless committed.

  • 16 Archives du Centre de l’histoire de l’Europe du XXe siècle (Sciences Po), Fonds Michel Debré (AD), (...)
  • 17 AD, 3, Manuscript mention on the note from Françoise Dulery, July 5th 1968.
  • 18 AD, 1, FNEGE, Summary project of the finance committee, July 31st 1968.

11Relations between Pierre Tabatoni and Françoise Dulery quickly deteriorated. Pierre Tabatoni started by following an initiative of the Ford Foundation to create a high-profile international business school in Rotterdam. He thought this was an interesting opportunity, in which France should be involved.16 He was, however, critical of the American project. The latter wanted to create a centre modelled on the prestigious Chicago Business School, that would pool “all the most brilliant intellectual resources of Europe” to develop one model of management education. Marshall Robinson, director of the Ford Foundation’s educational and research division, suggested that Pierre Tabatoni and Gaston Deurinck should corne up with an alternative solution. Their counter-proposal led to the création of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) in Brussels. But neither Michel Debré nor his entourage agreed with Pierre Tabatoni’s rejection of an exclusively American model nor his desire to preserve a diversity amongst the European projects. The Finance Minister gave clear instructions on the Rotterdam project: “Not a cent. Not a student, not a professor. We cannot accept this American colonisation and we must take the most hostile position”.17 The situation was not helped by Pierre Tabatoni’s first initiative, which was to send, without consultation, several young scholars for the Harvard International Teachers Program (ITP).18

12Two opposite concepts of America were at odds here. Pierre Tabatoni and Michel Debré were both aware of France’s technological and managerial “backwardness” vis-à-vis the United States. But Pierre Sabatoni felt that the quickest way to bridge this gap was through co-operation with the United States and other European countries. Michel Debré, on the other hand, saw cooperation as an open path to American imperialism, that had to be opposed at all cost. This divergence emerged in the open when the FNEGE tried to draw up a concrete plan of action. Pierre Tabatoni soon draw the necessary conclusions from his disagreement with Françoise Dulery and from changing political circumstances. Besides, he did not want to play the role of negotiator with the Chamber of Commerce and the CNPF (France’s employers’confederation). The Tabatoni-Dherse team was buried before it had a chance to succeed. It was succeeded by two employers who were firm believers in modernisation, who acknowledged American influence, but who could engineer a compromise between the two visions of America. They launched an ambitious overseas training program for French management teachers.

THE AMERICANISATION OF FRENCH MANAGEMENT EDUCATION: A MULTIFORM PROCESS

  • 19 Interviews with Charles Giraud (September 3rd 1998) and Jean-Yves Eichenberger (August 28th and Oct (...)

13Charles Giraud became the new General Secretary of the FNEGE in March 1969. At about the same time, Jean-Yves Eichenberger replaced Louis Dherse as president of the FNEGE. The newcomers had more distant relations with both the CNPF and the Chamber of Commerce, which gave them more freedom than had been enjoyed by Louis Dherse. Both knew the United States well. Charles Giraud was an engineer, trained at the prestigious École centrale. After managing a company in Marseilles and being close to the Centre desjeunes patrons, he had spent a year studying and visiting businesses in the United States. Jean-Yves Eichenberger was another engineer, specialising in mining and civil engineering. He had acquired experience of the US management methods through working for the multinational firm Alcan (Canadian Aluminium), for which he managed the Centre d’études industrielles (CEI) in Geneva from 1966 to 1968. They were acutely aware of the differences between the American and the French management System. When speaking of his experience at Alcan, Jean-Yves Eichenberger insisted on the importance of accounting, of strategy, and, most and foremost, of “human relations”. He was was a friend of the Président, who called him by his first name. He was a Christian, like many of France’s CEOs, from Marcel Demonque (Lafarge-Coppée) to Jean Chenevier (BP France). That made him all the more receptive to this type of management. Giraud’s and Eichenberger’s America was not the America of business schools. They admitted their relative ignorance in this field when they joined the FNEGE. Their goal was to support the evolution of management techniques in French companies by diffusing several management tools that were more developed in North America.19

14Charles Giraud confirmed existing programs. Some people were about to go and study in the United States, others were already there. Several management schools had sent teachers to the United States for further training. But Charles Giraud had higher ambitions and wanted to send several hundred potential management teachers to North America. He asked Maurice Saias, an academic who acted as scientific advisor, to contact American business schools in order to design programs specifically aimed at training France’s future management teachers. Saias was 32 in 1969 and a young economics professor. He held a Ph.D from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and had taught at Austin in 1968. Charles Giraud sent him on a tour of the business schools in the summer of 1969, accompanied by a representative of the FNEGE.

  • 20 Interview with Maurice Saias, September 4th 1998; AF, VI.2I, Financial committee, 1969 and VI.3L, L (...)

15As a resuit, two American universities, Northwestern and Austin, agreed to put in place specific non-diploma courses for French management students.20 Several other business schools accepted scholarship holders on an individual basis.

From “short programs” to PhDs

  • 21 Calculated from the FNEGE archives. See also F. Pavis, “Une génération d’apôtres du management”, in (...)

16The FNEGE has been widely credited for sending more than 700 scholars to America, who returned to France carrying the flag of management theory. In fact, its action was more gradual and piecemeal: it consisted of a mosaic of training programs with different aims and beneficiaries. They had just one thing in common: quantity. The FNEGE wanted to train the largest number of management teachers in the shortest possible time. But its directors also tried to diversify its intake. For example, they tried to attract experienced executives and offered them training in America in exchange for becoming teachers on their return. All in all, 290 people were sent to North America by the FNEGE between 1969 and 1973, which was the period of greatest activity. By comparison, during the same period, 52 potential teachers were awarded scholarships to train at the EIASM in Brussels and Amiens’s IFACE (Institut de formation d'animateurs conseillers d’entreprise). It was not until 1981 that the number of scholars trained by the FNEGE reached the figure of 700.21

17The mosaic of programs reflects the diversity of the FNEGE, whose administrative council brought together employers, leaders of employers’organizations, academics and senior civil servants from several ministries. Each had its own vision of the FNEGE and its intended role, especially those who had been involved from its very beginning. The multiplication of programs was their answer to the threat of paralysis. It gave each administrator the possibility of direct involvement in the training of teachers, whatever their vision of what a teacher should be.

  • 22 The use of the terms “management education”, “management sciences” and “business administration” we (...)

18The diversity of directors’expectations was matched by the diversity'of the training programs offered in the States. The first FNEGE scholars to arrive at the American business schools found them in the midst of wide-ranging reforms. The French authorities were kept informed about these changes. Management science was not a stable and well-grounded subject, but the fragile product of the 1959 reform, brought at the instigation of the Ford and Carnegie Foundations. The FNEGE training programmes reflected the dilemma faced by American business school on how management teachers should be trained. The first vision was that of Harvard and its ITP program, copied by many business schools. It formed the basis for the specifically tailored training programs negodated by the FNEGE for its French scholars. This vision promoted proximity with businesses, learning by doing and active pedagogy. The one-year programs were aimed at executives and teachers with professional experience. The second vision stressed the need to recruit an academic teaching body in line with university requirements in other subjects and with looser links to existing businesses. It was shaped by a heated debate both in America and Europe about how best to develop management science. It was closer to the views that both Pierre Tabatoni and the AEP had held since the early 1960s. It gave priority to research over action and boosted the importance of the doctorate, aimed at younger people.22 Both visions agreed on the importance of research but disagreed on what that research should be.

19Paradoxically, these two visions coexisted within the FNEGE itself. The “Harvard vision” was advocated by employers on the FNEGE’s administrative council, whilst, unsurprisingly, academics defended the merits of the PhD. Charles Giraud’s himself hesitated between the two: in 1969, he committed himself to the first approach, feeling the urgency of the needs of French business; but as time went on, he gave increasing priority to the training of scholars as well as of practitioners and encouraged candidates to enrol for PhDs.

Another America: Quebec

20The FNEGE’s programs became even more diverse under renewed pressure from Gaullist politicians and “technocrats”, which the FNEGE had managed to sideline in the early 1970s. In 1969, Michel Debré moved to the Foreign Affairs Department. Françoise Dulery and Pierre Laurent duly followed, the first as a technical advisor, the second as director general of cultural, scientific and technical relations. Still, they kept an interest into the affairs of the FNEGE, and were kept informed of impending projects by Philippe Agid, a zealous senior civil servant who latter became the FNEGE’s second General Secretary. This is how they came to recommend that a program be set up in Quebec on the lines of the American one. Thus, a Masters of Arts (“maîtrise ès arts”) from the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, was added to the one-year programs at Northwestern and Austin. Incidentally, both Michel Debré and his father Robert Debré held honorary doctorates from Sherbrooke. The University was part of an exchange and co-operation agreement, signed between France and Quebec in 1965, and reinforced by the General de Gaulle’s historic trip in 1966. Exchanges were organised by the permanent France-Quebec co-operation committee.

  • 23 Ad, 3, Letter from Michel Debré to Jean-Yves Eichenberger, September 28th 1972.
  • 24 Chessel, Pavis 2000: 207-223.

21Michel Debré’s continuing interest in the FNEGE and his battle against the possibility that it might become a tool for the Americanisation of French management studies became evident once again in September 1972. Acknowledging receipt of the FNEGE’s activity report, Michel Debré wrote to Jean-Yves Eichenberger: “I notice that sending professors and interns to the United States has remained an important aspect of the Foundation’s activities. It seems to me that this period should be at an end. To my mind, the Foundation’s goal was to develop scientific and practical teaching in France, by French people, so that we could respond to the needs of France and play a role on the international scene”. And he concluded: “Hasn’t the time corne to fulfill this ambition, which should be the true purpose of the Foundation?”23 Philippe Agid, appointed General Secretary in 1973, gave him partial satisfaction. From 1973 onwards, co-operation between the FNEGE and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs increased. Together, they tried to “export” French management methods (particularly its “engineering tradition”), after having “imported” knowledge and methods from America.24

New Productivity Missions?

22Should one speak of the FNEGE’s 1969-1973 program as a second wave of productivity missions? In order to answer this question, one must assess the importance of the heritage on which Charles Giraud leaned and the specificity of his action. It is true that the priority given by the FNEGE to “mass programs” resembles certain productivity missions, in particular those involving “young expert” engineers. Although he relied on French people who had already been educated in the United States, Charles Giraud wanted to put together a large-scale collective program, which would benefit all firms and training institutions. This brings the FNEGE in direct line with the productivity missions. The FNEGE was a hybrid tool of public action directed by a private entrepreneur.

  • 25 This comparison was one of the themes raised at a round table organised at the FNEGE on November 26(...)

23But it exhibits some major differences with the productivity missions in terms of the length of the exchanges and of the goals pursued. Training management teachers required longer stays, of over a year. Trainees were given a real university'education, with a diploma at the end. On the contrary, the 1950s productivity missions had relied on short visits to factories. The goals were also different: trainees committed themselves to teaching management for several years on their return.25

24While the FNEGE’s programs and the productivity missions are not really comparable, it is important to keep in mind the “memory” which directors of the FNEGE, scholarship holders, and educational institutions retained of the 1950s productivity missions. The FNEGE’s actions took place in a country that had the experience of the productivity missions. This speeded up the understanding of the FNEGE’s purpose and increased the efficiency of its organisation. Its programs were aimed, at least in part, at people who already held “memories” of America. The Aix-en-Provence’s IAE, directed by Pierre Tabatoni from 1955 to 1961, is but one example. Several teachers had been educated in the US or/and had spent time there as visiting professors in the 1950s and 1960s. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many more received scholarships from the FNEGE and, on their return, slipped back into a context that was already partly “Americanised”. The Aix-en-Provence’s IAE eventually tried to turn itself into a business school.

  • 26 Af, Administrative Council of October 24th 1969.
  • 27 Af, Administrative Council of September 9th 1970.

25On the other hand, the FNEGE also used the 1950s productivity missions as an example of what it did not want to do. In 1969, Charles Giraud suggested that returning scholars should be “pooled” into a small number of institutions, in order to boost efficiency and promote research. “Productivity, some time ago, did very good things, but it declined because the efforts were dispersed”, he explained.26 Maurice Saias also supported what came to be called the “critical mass policy”. “One of the rules of efficiency is critical mass”, he said. “Many organisations tried to do what the Foundation is now doing; there were many missions to the United States. On their return, people went into French institutions and found themselves in a desert”.27

26This policy of the “critical mass” was difficult to implement in the early 1970s: the FNEGE had little influence over the hiring policies of private and consular training establishments and no control whatsoever over university appointments. The reforms of such schools as ESSEC, HEC and Aix-enProvence’s IAE started before the FNEGE but came to be influenced by the pooling of scholars with American experience. However, other schools, including the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Lyons, underwent similar reforms at the same time, in spite of not being chosen by the FNEGE as “critical poles”. Scholarship holders from the FNEGE played no role in the reforms of the latter.

  • 28 On all these points: Pavis 2001.

27In other words, a good knowledge of local institutional configurations allows a better understanding of the role of the FNEGE’s scholars on returning to France. Individual career paths were not radically transformed by these trips to America. Other factors, such as previous educational background, were more important. But a survey of former interns shows that today, the majority of them consider the trip to America to have been very significant.28

CONCLUSION

28This case study allows us to put into perspective any attempts to see Americanisation as a homogeneous phenomenon. Even the FNEGE, which embodied the Americanisation of management education from the early 1970s (and which was criticised for that reason), the reality was much more complex. On the one hand, those involved in the creation and the running of the FNEGE were sharply divided on the subject of America. Gaullist technocrats opposed pro-modernisation employers and academics like Pierre Tabatoni. The latter succeeded in forcing through the creation of a training program in Quebec. And although the FNEGE gradually managed to distance itself from its Gaullist promoters, their influence on the FNEGE’s policy after 1973 was far from negligible. Imports of knowledge eventually gave way to exports of engineering courses to third world countries. In spite of all this, former FNEGE scholars, many of whom became management teachers, largely ignored the francophone policy of the ministry of Foreign Affairs, and continued to disseminate knowledge and methods borrowed from the United States.

29However, those championing American management methods in France did not share a common vision of America and disagreed on the role the business schools should play in the training of French teachers in management science. This is not surprising if one considers the diversity of America itself and the fact that America was then undergoing major structural changes. With hindsight, this diversity was at the root of the FNEGE’s success. A more complex public-private partnership would no doubt have found it more difficult to identify programs that could bring together the diverse expectations of the employers, the technocrats and the academics present in its administrative council.

  • 29 On this topic, see also Gemelli 1997.

30This case study reveals the continuities and breaks between the old France of the 1950s productivity missions and the new “France of growth” of the 1960s and early 1970s. Some elements of continuity no doubt exist: The FNEGE was created by the Ministry of Finance in order to boost productivity for the 5th Plan, and the European productivity agency’s men and initiatives influenced the gestation of the FNEGE. Several institutions, such as Aix-en-Provence’s IAE, continued to develop thanks to American influences inherited from the 1950s. The FNEGE programs fitted in nicely within the framework of previous reforms.29 But there were also some major discontinuities: the Finance Minister, who was being the creation of the FNEGE, tried to replace the structures linked to productivity with new structures tailored for the reform of management education. He received the support of employers, who defended a narrower definition of management education. They considered management studies were the preserve of company executives and should not reach out for the masses. The resuit was that the FNEGE built on the experience of the 1950s productivity missions. But its originality lays in the fact that the FNEGE’s programs were aimed exclusively at “management trainees”, executives and teachers. The 1950s productivity missions, by contrast, had included workers. Finally, the trips financed by the FNEGE were of a longer average duration (from one year upward). Their aim went beyond providing a glimpse of “real America” and allowed for cultural immersion. Scholars participated, to varying degrees, to the transformation of several management schools and to the birth of a new discipline in French higher education.

Bibliographie

***

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Notes

1 Translated by Rachel Rich. For an overview of research on the “Americanisation” of Europe and its limits, see J. Zeitlin, “Americanization and Its Limits: Reworking US Technology and Management in Post-War Europe and Japan”, in G. Hirrigel, J. Zeitlin (eds.), Americanisation and Its Limits. Reworking US Technology and Management in Post-War Europe and Japan, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 1-50. On the American influence on management education between 1945 and 1960, see T.R. Gourvish, N. Tiratsoo (eds.), Missionaries and managers. American influences on European management education, 1945-60, Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press, 1998. On the history of French management education in the late 1960’s see for example G. Gemelli, “Les écoles de gestion en France et les fondations américaines (1930-1975). Un modèle d'appropriation créative et ses tournants historiques”, Entreprises et histoire, no 14-15, juin 1997, p. 11-28.

2 For the traces left by the FNEGE on the memories of managers see for example : A. Cabanis, “Contribution à l’histoire de l’enseignement de la gestion”, in Mélanges offerts à Pierre Vigreux, Vol. 1, Toulouse, IPA-IAE de Toulouse, p. 176-178 ; J.-M. Doublet, “L’aventure américaine”, Le Monde-Campus, 6 novembre 1987 ; C. Stoffaës, “La révolution invisible : une mise en perspective des missions de productivité”, in R. Girault, M. Lévy-Leboyer (dir.), Le Plan Marshall et le relèvement économique de l’Europe, Paris, Comité pour l'histoire économique et financière de la France, 1993, p. 760.

3 See M.-E. Chessel, F. Pavis, Une histoire de la FNEGE (1965-1975), Rapport final de recherche, Lyon-Paris, Centre Pierre-Léon-Fnege, 2000 and Le patron, le technocrate et le professeur. Une histoire de l’enseignement supérieur de gestion, Paris, Belin, 2001.

4 M. Kipping, J.-P. Nioche, “Politique de productivité et formations à la gestion en France (1945-1960) : un essai non transformé”, Entreprises et Histoire, no 14-15, juin 1997, p. 65-87.

5 Cf. for example Problèmes et perspectives de la formation à la gestion des entreprises en Europe (dit Rapport Platt), Paris, OCDE, 1963.

6 J.-J. Servan-Schreiber, Le défi américain, Paris, Denoël, 1967, p. 113.

7 “Loi no 66-892 du 3 décembre 1966 d’orientation et de programme sur la formation professionnelle”, Journal Officiel, 4 décembre 1966.

8 A. Prost, “Décision et non-décision gouvernementale. La politique gaullienne d'éducation de 1962 à 1968”, in Education, société et politiques. Une histoire de l’enseignement de 1945 à nos jours, Paris, Le Seuil, 1997, p. 114-132.

9 Kipping, Nioche 1997: 72.

10 Chessel, Pavis 2000: 50-55.

11 The suggestion of creating a French foundation on the Belgian model was first made in a report of the Plan (know to Michel Debré’s entourage) : Archives Nationales (AN), 930 277, art. 125, Commissariat général du Plan, Commission de la Productivité, summary of the work of groupe IV, “Formation aux fonctions d’encadrement, de gestion et d’organisation”, La formation aux fonctions d'encadrement, de gestion et d’organisation, june 1965. On this Belgian foundation see R. Talpaert, “The Belgian "Fondation Industrie-Université" : a pioneering approach in a European context”, ESSHC Conference, Amsterdam, 2000 and K. Bertrams, “From exchange programmes to the legimisation of university-based management education : the case of Belgium, 1920-1970”, in M. Kipping, N. Tiratsoo, Americanisation in 20th Europe : business, culture, politics, Villeneuve d’Ascq, CRHEN-O, 2002, p. 225-242.

12 On Louis Dherse, see P. Mioche, La sidérurgie et l'Etat en France des années quarante aux années soixante-dix, doctorat d'état thesis, History, Université de Paris IV, 1992, p. 461.

13 On the actions of the EPA, see B. Boël, “The European Productivity Agency and the development of management education in Western Europe in the 1950s”, in Gourvish, Tiratsoo 1998: 34-49.

14 G. Gemëlli, “Les écoles de gestion en France et les fondations américaines (1930-1975). Un modèle d'appropriation créative et ses tournants historiques”, Entreprises et histoire, n" 14-15, juin 1997, p. 11-28 ; interview of September 22nd 1998.

15 AN, 870 191, art. 13, Ministère de l’Education nationale, Note from J.-L. Quermonne to P. Aigrain, “Suite de l’entretien du 31 octobre avec M. Tabatoni”, November 1st 1967 ; Note from P. Tabatoni, November 1st 1967 ; Note from P. Aigrain to P. Laurent, “Projets de l’Education nationale relatifs à l’enseignement supérieur de l’administration des entreprises”, November 27th 1967.

16 Archives du Centre de l’histoire de l’Europe du XXe siècle (Sciences Po), Fonds Michel Debré (AD), 3, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, F. Dulery, “Note pour le ministre, a/s du colloque de Rotterdam, 5 juillet 1968 and Pierre Tabatoni, “Note sur la réunion du 12-14 juin 1968 à Rotterdam, à laquelle a participé M. Pierre Tabatoni avec l’accord de M. le directeur général des enseignements supérieurs”, July 6th l968.

17 AD, 3, Manuscript mention on the note from Françoise Dulery, July 5th 1968.

18 AD, 1, FNEGE, Summary project of the finance committee, July 31st 1968.

19 Interviews with Charles Giraud (September 3rd 1998) and Jean-Yves Eichenberger (August 28th and October 5th 1998). See also the FNEGE archives (AF) (I.38 A), Personal file of Charles Giraud. These archives, deposited at the National Archives, can now be consulted at the Centre des archives du monde du travail (Roubaix), Fonds 2000043.

20 Interview with Maurice Saias, September 4th 1998; AF, VI.2I, Financial committee, 1969 and VI.3L, Letters from Charles Giraud to Maurice Saias, 3rd and 12th of June 1969.

21 Calculated from the FNEGE archives. See also F. Pavis, “Une génération d’apôtres du management”, in Chessel, Pavis 2001 : 147-214 for an analysis of the results of a survey of 158 former scholarship holders.

22 The use of the terms “management education”, “management sciences” and “business administration” were under construction during the 1960. “Management education” is a generic term that includes marketing, finance, human resources management, etc. This term is broad since it includes different types of education valuing either practical training and case studies, or scientific academic research. The term “management science” derives from this latter trend, and was promoted by the Ford and Carnegie foundations from the late 1950s onwards. The term “business administration” is the name frequently given to management departments at their creation. It corresponds to the first phase, more marked by empiricism. But later, in certain reformed departments promoting “management science”, it will have a generic meaning. On the reforms of the late 1960s, see F. Cochoy, Une histoire du marketing. Discipliner l'économie de marché, Paris, La découverte, 1999.

23 Ad, 3, Letter from Michel Debré to Jean-Yves Eichenberger, September 28th 1972.

24 Chessel, Pavis 2000: 207-223.

25 This comparison was one of the themes raised at a round table organised at the FNEGE on November 26th 1998 “Autour de la FNEGE (1968-1977). Histoire et conditions de changement”. We base this on the analysis proposed by Vincent Guigueno on this occasion. See also V. Guigueno, L’éclipse de l’atelier. Les missions françaises de productivité aux Etats-Unis dans les années 1950, Université de Marne-la-Vallée, Ecole nationale des ponts et chaussées, DEA thesis, 1994 and “Jour de Fête et l'américanisation de la société française”, Vingtième siècle. Revue d’histoire, no 46,1995, p. 117-124.

26 Af, Administrative Council of October 24th 1969.

27 Af, Administrative Council of September 9th 1970.

28 On all these points: Pavis 2001.

29 On this topic, see also Gemelli 1997.

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