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The “service project” experience in the French civil service

Gilles Jeannot (LATTS – École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Marne la Vallée, France)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 1 November 2003



Reform of the French civil service, embarked on in 1989, was designed to involve state employees and officials in the process by appealing to their sense of duty and commitment, rather than adopting a top‐down approach and imposing control over them. “Service projects” provided for active participation of state officials in the definition of aims and objectives and organisation of their services. Several thousand individual services were involved. The evidence suggests that, in practice, participation concerned mainly the conditions of work organisation and often failed to involve all levels of the hierarchy. The reforms did not involve the trade unions, although they were consulted. As in the case of quality circles, which the reforms resembled, participation by all agents was not maintained after the first project. The use of “strategic projects” are still under way but the dimension of staff participation has progressively disappeared. The conclusion is that “service projects” are a failed experiment in staff participation and involvement.



Jeannot, G. (2003), "The “service project” experience in the French civil service", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 459-467.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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