France: From Direct to Indirect Participation to Where?

  • Jean Michel Denis
  • Gilles Jeannot


France is a particular case when it comes to relations between public management reform and staff participation. Whereas today staff participation no longer features on the reform agenda or even on reformers’ lists of concerns, a few years ago it was a key issue. At that stage public management reform in France was based on the assumption that a transformation of institutions was unnecessary, since change in public management could be achieved through staff participation. Later the more conventional new public management approach was adopted. The focal point today is budgetary reform in which central state intervention is organized around programmes and the use of funds is to be decided by programme managers. This reform actively mobilizes state services. For the moment its impact on staff participation is still unpredictable. The only effects that can be identified are changes in forms of participation and dialogue with trade unions. In this chapter, we present the highlights of French administrative reform and the movement that was founded on direct participation in the 1980s. We then explore the current state of participation and reform and relations with the unions. Finally we give some comments with regard to a recent white paper which has put the topic back on to the government’s agenda and we make a link with the new framework law on public finances.


Trade Union Civil Service Collective Bargaining Labour Relation Public Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Jean Michel Denis and Gilles Jeannot 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Michel Denis
  • Gilles Jeannot

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