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Policy Analysis in France$
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Charlotte Halpern, Patrick Hassenteufel, and Philippe Zittoun

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447324218

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447324218.001.0001

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Management consultants as policy actors

Management consultants as policy actors

(p.175) Ten Management consultants as policy actors
Policy Analysis in France

Julie Gervais

Frédéric Pierru

Policy Press

Contributions to the topic of consultants and public policy in France are often unbalanced and consultants are typically analysed as a secondary subject of wider studies. Drawing on the sociology of elites, this chapter argues that their circulation between the private and the public spheres invites us to reconsider the so-called French resistance to private consultants, allegedly led by senior civil service, which artificially opposes two groups that are, in fact, in a sociological position of homology. It helps understanding how an hybrid elite of general government works hand in hand in the development and diffusion of NPM ideas within the French state. The chapter summarizes the main steps which contributed to consultants’ increasing deployment in French public policies and seeks to describe the type of services they aim to deliver, as well as what decision makers may consider as their “added-value”. It argues that a critical part of their growth relies on their legitimizing effects over change. By doing so, it highlights public policies’ specific temporality and logic, as well as the national variations at stake in terms of private consultants’ involvement and the extent to which they impact French public sector.

Keywords:   High civil servants, Consultants, State actors, Corporate sector, Sociology of elites, Public sector reforms, Elite circulation

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