Entre français et anglais : une entreprise se met en scène

Philippe d’Iribarne, Langage et Société, n° 129, septembre 2009: 101–118.

Two reference versions of a company’s Principles of Action, one French and one American, are strictly matched. They affirm the same values and often employ the same words. Yet, on closer examination, a good many differences appear. And these owe nothing to chance. The text does not simply make mention of values. It also deals with them in concrete terms and describes the relationships that the Group wishes to establish with its customers, its shareholders and its employees. It describes the behaviours that the Group as an entity wishes to comply with and those expected from its employees. By entering into concrete realities, the text cannot sidestep the different understandings of what makes for good relationships between a company and those involved in its actions. And these conceptions are linked to broader visions, American on one side and French on the other, of what living together means.

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