Organisational adaptation in an integrating Europe : the case of French asset management industry, 1984-1999
This thesis contributes to institutional theories about European business systems through the analysis of one case study: the French asset management industry in the period 1984-1999. It asks how firms in a given business system adapt to changes in their economic and societal environment. The thesis declines the usual focus on issues of convergence and divergence, and suggests investigating organisational adaptation as a key dynamic process within business systems, and it develops a theoretical framework for this purpose. It presents the French model of asset management in the mid-1980s and contrasts it with the Anglo-Saxon model. It then shows that by 1999 French firms had for the most part adopted the dominant patterns of the Anglo-Saxon model. It then explains that if companies can stimulate the constitution of a new organisational field operating with different rules and institutional arrangements, they can depart from the dominant patterns and behaviours of their national environment. In this process, such institutional agents as regulators, professionals, market leaders and consultants, and such calculation tools as performance measurement, benchmark, rating and invitations to tender play a key part in establishing the new rules. Instead of focusing on convergence or on persisting diversities among national business systems, the thesis suggests further investigating the constitution of trans-national entities.