IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Changing Institutions of Governance in Corporate France:What Drives the Process?


  • Peter Wirtz

    () (Université de Lyon 2)


Since the middle of the nineteen-eighties, the French system of corporate governance has undergone some major transformations. Originally, it was dominated by the State’s important weight in the structures constraining managerial discretion in some of France’s largest firms. But, the public administration has increasingly retired from its active role in corporate governance matters. This paper addresses the question of a theoretical explanation of the observed phenomenon of the dynamics of governance. The conceptual framework we propose is to a great extent based on the economic theory of institutional change. It strongly emphasizes the role of so-called ‘organizational entrepreneurs’, who lead the initiative aiming at a transformation of existing structures. In this context, a country’s shared mental pattern is, however, supposed to be a force enhancing path dependence. Theoretical propositions are deduced and applied to the case of the French corporate governance system. The analysis of the latter’s evolution yields some encouraging results, indicating that the proposed theory seems globally consistent with empirical facts.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Wirtz, 2004. "The Changing Institutions of Governance in Corporate France:What Drives the Process?," Working Papers CREGO 1040701, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
  • Handle: RePEc:dij:wpfarg:1040701

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moerland, Pieter W., 1995. "Alternative disciplinary mechanisms in different corporate systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-34, January.
    2. Alexandre, Herve & Charreaux, Gerard, 2004. "Efficiency of French privatizations: a dynamic vision," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 467-494, June.
    3. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "Value Maximization, Stakeholder Theory, and the Corporate Objective Function," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 32-42.
    4. Michael C. Jensen, 2010. "The Modern Industrial Revolution, Exit, and the Failure of Internal Control Systems," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(1), pages 43-58.
    5. Erik Berglöf, 1997. "Reforming corporate governance: redirecting the European agenda," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(24), pages 91-123, April.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:30728046 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Lazonick, William & O'Sullivan, Mary, 1997. "Finance and industrial development. Part I: the United States and the United Kingdom," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 7-29, April.
    8. Gérard Charreaux & Philippe Desbrières, 2001. "Corporate Governance: Stakeholder Value Versus Shareholder Value," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 5(2), pages 107-128, June.
    9. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
    10. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    11. Peter Wirtz, 2001. "Financial Policy, Managerial Discretion and Corporate Governance : The Example of Usinor," Post-Print halshs-00749637, HAL.
    12. Gérard Charreaux & Peter Wirtz, 2007. "Corporate Governance in France," Working Papers CREGO 1070201, Université de Bourgogne - CREGO EA7317 Centre de recherches en gestion des organisations.
    13. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-783, June.
    14. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, April.
    15. Garvey, Gerald T. & Swan, Peter L., 1994. "The economics of corporate governance: Beyond the Marshallian firm," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 139-174, August.
    16. Hall, Peter A. & Soskice, David (ed.), 2001. "Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247752, June.
    17. repec:hrv:faseco:30747162 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Michel Albouy & Alain Schatt, 2004. "Les prises de contrôle par les actionnaires contestataires:le cas André," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 7(2), pages 33-65, June.
    19. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6090 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Dore, Ronald & Lazonick, William & O'Sullivan, Mary, 1999. "Varieties of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(4), pages 102-120, Winter.
    21. Castanias, Richard P. & Helfat, Constance E., 1992. "Managerial and windfall rents in the market for corporate control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 153-184, July.
    22. Douglass C. North, 1993. "Five Propositions about Institutional Change," Economic History 9309001, EconWPA.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yumiko Miwa & Peter Wirtz & Mitsuru Mizuno & Mohamed Khenissi, 2016. "Professional Asset Managers and the Evolution of Corporate Governance in France and Japan: Lessons from a Questionnaire Survey," Post-Print hal-01337466, HAL.

    More about this item


    Corporate Governance; Financial Policy; Institutional Change; Mental Patterns.;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dij:wpfarg:1040701. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Angèle RENAUD). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.