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Is the French sociology of organisations specifically French?

Yves Frederic Livian (Centre Magellan IAE-Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3, Lyon, France)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to study the contribution of French sociology of organisations (mainly represented by M. Crozier, E. Friedberg and J.D. Reynaud) to the knowledge of organisations in the French context, specially through the “bureaucratic phenomenon”.


The author shows that the work has provided a relevant picture of some of the main characteristics of a “French way of organising”, but shows in a second part that French specificities are only a part of the authors’ scientific project, and discusses some of the reasons why it did not get a large international recognition in the English-speaking literature.


The article provides a summary of the analysis and a discussion of its relevance to the French context today. It opens a reflection about the question as to whether a sociological school based on field studies can be used outside of its original context of conception.

Research limitations/implications

The author does not have the ambition of an exhaustive overview of the international impact of this school.

Practical implications

The author aims at a reevaluation of the contribution, for English-speaking academics, and at a development of the thinking about the use of the “strategic analysis” model.


An examination of the today relevance of the “bureaucratic” model in France, and a better knowledge of the interest of this school outside France.



Frederic Livian, Y. (2014), "Is the French sociology of organisations specifically French?", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 534-550.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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