Regional Industrial Cultures and Entrepreneurship in a Centralized Country: The Case of France
France is a medium-sized country with traditions rooted in political centralization. In view of this background, can different regional industrial cultures exist there? If they do exist, it may also be questioned if, over the course of time, the dominant French culture identified with the values of Parisian intellectuals has overwhelmed the unique character of regional business identities. Answers to these questions are not easy, and we do not presume to address them completely. Rather, we intend first to describe the essential elements of France's centralizing cultural context, and then to examine selected regions as these influence business behavior through distinctive historical and cultural values and traditions.
The centralized traditions of the country acknowledge a wide diversity of regional cultures. This diversity of regional environments, in turn, remains interwoven in the economic behaviors, management styles, and values of specific firms. This chapter will explore the dialectic relationship between regional industrial cultures and France's centralized, dominant cultural context. Finally, we speculate on issues related to regional cultures, industrial behavior, and the countrys' mainstream culture. This essay is admittedly a pioneering one which seeks to initiate further research rather than prove or defend particular positions.
In comparison to its European counterparts, France has an extremely strong tradition of political, administrative, and social centralization. This tradition developed in part from France's political history and