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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The French are Liars! (Part 2)

Pascal Baudry, in his recent book, "Francais et Americains: l'autre rive" (French and Americans: the other side), a book that discusses French and American culture and seems to be quite popular in France, discusses the difference in French and American attitudes towards contracts.
For Americans, "after the contract is signed, generally after a careful legal examination, it is destined to be applied, and each of the parties will follow it....in the French case, a first difference: that which has been announced is not what will happen...In effect, when they sign, the French don't truly have the intention of respecting the contract." [my translation] "Lorsque le contrat est sign, gnralement aprs un examen juridique attentif, il est destin tre appliqu, et chacune des parties sy emploiera...Dans le cadre franais, une premire diffrence : ex post, ce nest pas ce qui avait t annonc qui sest produit....En effet, quand il a sign, le Franais navait pas vraiment lintention de respecter le contrat." [p. 95.]
In other words, the French see a business relationship as something that is continually up for re-negotiation, contract or no. Baudry quotes an American as saying, "When you sign [a contract] with the Germans, it's over. When you sign with the French, it begins."

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