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Investing in electrical manufacturing in France: reinforcing or Americanising the existing structures? A long-term perspective

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French businessmen, contrary to some judgements made recently, were not hostile to American methods and techniques. They borrowed steadily from Uncle Sam. If we go by the electrical manufacturing example, structural handicaps and the will to resist German domination incited France to import technology instead of undertaking its own research before Second World War. After 1945, many observed that the French became suspicious about Americans. However, neither the private nor the public sector went along with this attitude. Both borrowed organisational structures and technology from the United States. Electricite de France even pushed the big French electrical manufacturers to become familiar with American technology. Meanwhile, household appliance producers put into practice various marketing techniques developed by the Americans. But before 1960, these marketing techniques could not create a mass consumption market in France. Proper infrastructure and an extended market were necessary prerequisites. It is only from the 1960s that the catching up of the French became impressive. At that time, Americanisation tended to be generated more and more by the French themselves.
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Keywords: 20th century; Americanisation; France; electrical manufacturing; multinational firms

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Canada

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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