Cultural defferences at work between France and England :
Despite the geographical proximity of the two countries, cultural differences at work are numerous. Here is a list of the main differences that I have seen during my internship :
Firstly, as an intern I found a strong difference in this status. In France , a trainee is a burden for the company. Trainees keep doing secondary tasks and it is approximately the only thing they can do. Here in England, a student is considered as a true employee of the company . They realize tasks which are essential and can easily give advices and participate to the strategical decisions of the company .
Regarding to the office world in general, the most visible differences are ( in my opinion) the working methods , relations with the hierarchy and contracts.
For working methods, the difference is simple and not necessarily troublesome . Unlike the French system , a British director is not only gives you a task to do and the result to be achieved , he also tells you which method to use to succeed. A French worker will be disturbed by the " lack of freedom " in the working method but he will also be pleasantly surprised by this sense of knowledge sharing developed between colleagues in UK companies.
As regards to the relationship with the hierarchy , it will also be disturbing for a French worker. In England, the relationship with your hierarchy is much more "friendly" . Indeed, it will not be necessarily very well interpreted if you miss to ask to your supervisor how was his weekend and if he feel good. You will agree that for French is not necessarily instinctive.
In terms of contracts with partners, the English system is much more cool! French people have the reputation of being difficult in the eyes of English. A contract is for one year and may continue for life if nobody complains . In addition , methods of drafts of a contract and agreement between the parties are much less regulated. A simple exchange of documents by email is sufficient.
PS: (I've even seen people take a pictures of contracts with a phone to send it to a supplier for his agreement...)
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