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France, Hr Etiquette

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France, HR Etiquette
Gary Smith
MSA 604 Admin, Global & Multiculturalism 22272474
DR. Richard L. Hayes
August 9, 2015

France is a modern European state and a republic, the capital of France is Paris, and is one of the world's top five economies. France official language is French, and official currency is Euros. Breton and Alsatian languages, according to, are making a comeback. France is the largest country in the European Union, stretching from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Lowland France consists of four river basins, the Seine in the north, the Loire and the Garonne flowing westwards and the Rhône, which flows from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. France has an advanced industrial economy and an efficient farm sector. France has produced some of the continent's most influential writers and thinkers (, 2015).
Many of today’s French regions are in check with the provinces of pre-revolutionary France. These areas even share the same name. Other areas are different and include historic regions, such as Normandy. The 22 regions in Metropolitan France include Continental France and the island of Corsica. There are also five overseas regions. Each region has extensive posers in transportation, infrastructure, the economy, education and tourism. Each region works hard to maintain and develop their own identities. The French government plans to reduce the regions in 2016 from 22 to 13 as was adopted by the French Parliament (, 2015).
France is a multi-party constitutional democracy. The president of the Republic has an important political role. He chairs the meetings of the Council of Ministers, and retains overall responsibility in key areas of foreign affairs and defense. The day-to-day running of the country is in the hands of the prime minister. The president is elected by direct popular vote for a period of five years (Human Rights Report, 2015). The parliament consists of a National Assembly, directly elected every five years, and a Senate whose members are chosen by an electoral college. France has an advanced industrial economy and an efficient farm sector. Main activities include automobile manufacture, aerospace, information technology, electronics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and fashion. There have been many political scandals in France such as tax evasion and illicit political funding which has lowered the politicians’ reputations with the French (, 2015).
Most people associate French culture with Paris, the capital city, an epicenter of art, fashion, tourism and fine cuisine. France was, in the beginning, influenced by the Celtic and Gallo-Roman cultures and Germany. Later, France became known as the territory during the Iron Age and the Roman Era. France is largely composed of 22 regions, 96 counties, also called departments (, 2015).
The French are a very proud people and take offense to insults about their country. The French love romance and passion. In France, many of the residents still see the culture as chauvinistic even though women are beginning to play a bigger role in family and business too. There is an open attitude toward sex outside of marriage. As a reflection of the country’s secular nature, about one-half of the children born in France are born to unmarried couples (, 2015). Not only do the French love romance and passion but they also have a flair for style and sophistication. The French are proud of the public places because of the regal tone of them and they a big priority on equality (France, 2007). The consultant would need to examine his views about sexuality and women in the workplace to keep his views in check during a business meeting due to the increase of women in workplace and the openness of sexuality in the French culture. The consultant would need to examine his views on these things and to investigate the protocols and laws involving sexual harassment, orientation, etc. in the work environment.
The French government is one of 27 OECD countries that is decreasing their public employment levels. In France there are two types of government employees, civil service and other government employees. The civil service employee has the following characteristics of employment Civil Service Statue of 1984 and have life long tenure. The civil service employee is also ranked by their tenor. The longer at the job the more important they are in their department. The other government employees are contract workers which may only last a year. This fact is important when dealing with the French Government. (Human Resources Management Country Profile France,2012).
Wine and cheese are important in France’s culture as well and reflect regional differences. Not only are meals daily rituals but meals are also political. Also, meal portion sizes are small, so you will need several courses. The French have pride in their food and quality is more important than quantity. Good manners and table etiquette are also very important. (Etiquette, 2014). French are now rejecting foods that have been engineered or genetically altered. The midday meal had great importance at one time and is still the main meal in rural areas. However, some families choose to eat the largest meal at dinner. Breakfast is a light meal. Lunch and dinner usually have several courses. Children begin to drink wine in their early teens. Most meals are prepared by spouses or wives even if the wife works full-time. The traditional values of the French is an increasing stress for the working mother who has less time to prepare wholesome meals (France, 2007). The consultant would need to monitor his alcohol intake so that his judgement is not impaired so that he can make good, practical business decisions for his company.
Marriage rates and age in France are related to social class and region. Many regions are experiencing a decline in marriage and an increase in the age at marriage. Over one-half of the marriages in France are homosexual marriages. In France, there is a high level of religious homogamy with a rise in cohabitation of unmarried couples. Recent laws were passed to give legal status to cohabitating couples, including homosexual couples (, 2015). The consultant may need to examine his views closely on marriage, homosexual or heterosexual, and how it affects both sexes in the workplace. Women have a desire to grow and become financially independent while most men are already there. Age and ability to perform skills is important as well. The consultant would need to make sure that all workers are able to perform the job safely.
There is no official religion in France. One-half of the French identify themselves as Catholic, which is their primary religion. France is very secular and many French do not attend mass on a regular basis. Protestants are about 2 percent of the population while 3-4 percent are Muslims. Many churches are located in all French towns and most villages (, 2015).
Don’t put your hands in your lap at the table. The right way to sit is with both hands visible so that the client knows that you have respect for his culture (Ronin, 2013). Address others using “Monsieur” or “Madame”. This is a level of respect that is expected. Introduce yourself by first and last name. When you are talking with an individual, use the individual’s name while talking to them. Wear quality business attire every day. Learn French gestures and have your business cards in French on the other side. Avoid high pressure sales tactics. French people do not like to feel pressured. Be patient. Decisions take more than one meeting and someone at the top must have an extensive conversation with their partners. Expect probing questions and interruptions. The French interrupt because they have an expressed interest in your conversation. Take the interruptions as a positive sign and do the same back to them. After all, it is not rude in France. French managers shake hands twice a day with every other worker in the office. The French intellectualize at length as a way of probing for weaknesses in their counterparts. The French are formal in business, disliking the use of first names, removing coats, or discussing aspects of personal life. When dealing with the French, appear humble but sophisticated. Do not attempt to find common ground, because the French do not want to relate to you. Generally, the French don't care to know anything about you. As you are greeting and exchanging handshakes with the executive members of a French delegation, don't take the initiative in greeting the French CEO-wait for him to greet you. The French businessmen also like to hold meetings in restaurants because these areas are a little quieter for business conversation. The French do not talk about business during mealtime instead they like to spend their time talking to their counterparts and getting to know them personally (Etiquette, 2014).
Salad is consumed after the main meal because it is a palate cleanser and aids in digestion as well. The salad is consumed before the cheese or dessert has arrived to the table. Research the French cuisine before going to France so that you can differentiate between foods and which are served hot or cold. Another tip is bread is sacred in France so don’t ask for a bread plate. Bread is best consumed alongside your meal. Break off small pieces to put in your mouth as you eat. Don’t slice slabs of bread with a knife. One last thing, don’t expect the waiter to bring you the check until you asked for it (Ronin, 2013). The French don’t want to rush the customers, so they let the customers linger as long as they want since there is no rush to turn over tables. At the French Market, vendors frown on the customer picking up the produce. Also, be aware that the French have dogs/cats as pets and the pets are allowed to poop/pee anywhere. Be careful where you step since there is not a pooper scooper around. Also, when you walk in or out of a boutique, bakery, pharmacy or shop, you should always acknowledge the clerk. Skipping this will grant you poor service and may indeed ignite a haughty attitude from the clerk. In restaurants, do not ask for a doggie bag because this is a sign of disrespect to the cook (, 2015).
France does not provide 24/7 service or shopping especially in smaller towns. In the French society, they take work/life balance seriously and they do not care about profits. Many shops close from 12pm-2pm and many places are closed on Sundays and 10 public holidays. Be respectful of your time and know when and where to prepare for a meeting (Etiquette, 2014). A customary greeting between friends in France is to kiss both cheeks and an air kiss just beside will do. Even casual acquaintances, especially women, greet each other in this fashion. In this case, it is recommended to do whatever the French do and let the French take the lead (France, 2007). In business meetings, a brisk, light handshake is acceptable but do not use a firm handshake, you can make your French business associates feel inferior or overpowered by you (Ronin, 2013).
Don’t bring wine to a dinner party because this is very insulting to the French. The French think you are implying that they do not know the proper wine to serve at their own party. The French also lets the hostess do all the pouring and refilling of wine glasses to keep overindulgence to a minimum. French hostesses do not want chrysanthemums or carnations for a hostess gift either. Chrysanthemums are associated with death, funerals and cemeteries and carnations are associated with bad luck. So no flowers or wine for the hostess (Ronin, 2013). When you are going to eat in a restaurant, you should always order wine or water. The French frown upon soft drinks or any flavored drinks (France, 2007).
The government estimated the Muslim community to be between five and six million persons, consisting of immigrants from former French North African and sub-Saharan colonies and their descendants. Government observers and NGOs reported a number of anti-Muslim incidents during the year, including slurs against Muslims, attacks on mosques, and physical assaults. In its annual report on the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, released in April, the CNCDH maintained that 226 anti-Muslim acts took place in 2013 (Human Rights Report, 2015). Anti-Semantic incidents and violence’s increased during the summer due to public protests of Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip, government evictions from illegal Roma camps, overcrowded and unclean prisons and judicial system problems, such as prolonged pretrial detention and protracted investigations and trials. The French government prosecuted security forces and other officials involved in civil rights crimes (, 2015).
France has a value added tax or VAT and it is already included in the price you will see on the tag. This is not like the stores in the United States where you have to wait to get to the cash register to know the exact cost of the items. There are two main tax rates in France: the standard rate, 20% and the reduced rates, 10% or 5.5% (, 2015).
France is not a very sexually sensitive country. The French take more pride in their food, culture and religion. The French do get upset when you insult their country, whether it is the food or the loyalty. More women work now in France than ever before. Women are allowed to wear provocative clothing. Men are to dress in business attire while women can look like a centerfold. The consultant should study the laws and understand about sexual harassment in the workplace. He should never be left alone with the opposite sex at a business meeting. The meeting should be in a very public place.
France, like the United States, will not admit being at fault about anything. The consultant does not need to boast, pressure or think he is better than the French. The French businesses will force him to leave town. The consultant should act very down to earth, without conceit, non-prideful and being able to answer any questions honestly. The consultant should also be ready to project his findings about the company in a non-judgmental manner. This will improve relations with the French significantly. The consultant should not make jokes about the country’s laws or the people’s culture. Jokes are no laughing manner to France.
Do not talk politics to the businessmen. If they bring up a subject about politics, do not give your opinion. Do not mix business with pleasure. Make reservations when they are available and keep talk at a minimum during the lunch. Do not talk about your personal life. The French do not bring personal matters to a business meal. They eat and talk later. Be prepared to eat the whole meal. The French do not like it when you ask for a doggie bag because that is insulting to the cook.
The consultant should also respect all religious views especially if they are not his views. Do not attack a French businessman because of his religion. Do not ask him questions about church attendance. The consultant should examine his own views and be able to accept others for whatever religious belief they have. A good businessman is able to accept a person for who they are and move on to the deal.

References: (2015). Retrieved August 9, 2015, from
France - General Information. (2007). Retrieved August 9, 2015, from .
France 2014 Human Rights Report. (2015). Retrieved August 9, 2015, from .
Meeting etiquette. (2014). Retrieved August 9, 2015, from
Ronin, K. (2013, March 4). Ten tips on French business etiquette. Retrieved August 9, 2015, from
Human Resources Management Country Profile France. (2012, December 11). Retrieved August 10, 2015.

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