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Thisbook is the fruit of a number of years of assimilating another culture and learning about the evolution of its institutions, altogether an incr- iblyrich andrewarding experience. Ihopetopassonto the reader some of that richness in the belief that, even in a “globalizing” context, learning about other nations and cultures is more and more necessary. The reasons andvalues behind this belief are perhaps evident,but I amconvincedthat they bear repeating here. To begin with, the hasty generalizations that often liebehind the cynicism—and ultimately the violence—of ethnocentrism and xe- phobia are still being aired today and still need to be fought, even in “unified and advanced” regions of the world like Europe and the United States. The historical and social sciences disciplines need to be solicited constantly in this combat, even though they themselves are terrains of controversy and contestation. I personally have not lost faith in their “progressive” potential and character. Second, my belief is that only through this process of appeal to these disciplines and their findings can we resist a dangerous contemporary slide into simplisticand sensation- ist pictures of the world—viewpoints often associated with an implicit assumption that social and economic change are linear processes, so- how unfolding according to the same neat “logic” wherever they are at work.
Introduction: The French Exception. 1. An Institutional Legacy. 2. A New Era of Reform. A Brief Guide to the Following Chapters. 1: The `Reform of Work' and the Evolution of Participative Management in France. Introduction. 1. Employee Involvement in France: Perspectives and Strategies. 2. The Impact of 1970's Workplace Experimentation. 3. The Auroux Laws of 1982. 4. The Progression of Work Reform; Expression Groups and Quality Circles in the 1980's. 2: A Decade of Technological Modernization: Negotiation and Organizational Change During the '80's. 1. The Strategies of Institutional Actors in France. 2. Emergent Patterns of Negotiation of Technological Change. 3. Work Organization in the French Firm at the Dawn of the 90's. Conclusion: The Lessons of French Experience. Appendix: The Participative Introduction of Automation; the Case of Peugeot and `Projet ISOAR'. 1. Introduction. 2. The Environment of Peugeot in 1982 and ISOAR's Origins. 3. ISOAR - Principal Phases and Working Groups. 4. The Production of Analyses and Proposals. 5. Decisions, Action and Assessments. 6. The Impact of ISOAR. 3: Towards Quality and Process Redesign: Lean Production in French Industry. 1. Total Quality Management and its Spread as `La qualité totale' in France. 2. `Just-in-Time' Within Lean Production. 3. Management and Work Under `Lean Production'. 4: Decentralized Bargaining and the Spread of Individualization in Appraisal and Remuneration. 1. The Scale of the Diffusion ofIndividualization. 2. Impacts of Individualization in the Firm; New Workplace Identities? 5: Employment Crisis, Restructuring and `Downsizing'. 1. Employment Crisis and Downsizing in France. 2. French Multinationals, Negotiated Restructuring and European Industrial Relations: A Tale of Two Companies. 6: The Impact of New Flexibilities in Working Time and Contracts. 1. French Innovations in the Use of Working Time. 2. Contractual Flexibility, Company Employment Strategies and the Problem of Insecurity. Conclusion: Employment Insecurity and the Future of Flexibility. 7: Conclusion: Crisis, Conflict and Reform in French Work and Society. 1. Crisis in Work and in Organized Labour: The Recent Resurgence of Industrial and Social Conflict. 2. Crisis of Politics and the `Elite-Mass' Relationship. 3. Crisis of Values, Crisis of `Identity'? Conclusion: On Reform.