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Post Offices of Europe 18th – 21st Century

A Comparative History


Edited By Muriel Le Roux and Sébastien Richez

The cursus publicus, established by the Roman Empire to connect all its conquered territories, may be considered to be the ancestor of all modern post offices. Therefore, mail service networks are part of an organization, dating from Antiquity, which is common to the entire European community.
From the 18 th century onwards, the French mail service network may be divided into three successive phases. First, the consolidation of the transportation system that was being set up. Second, the development of the system’s ability to deal with increasing traffic (through broader human resources). Thirdly, the diversification of its operations and the development of its technical modernisation.
What was the situation in other European countries? Are there similarities and differences in how their networks were set up and organized? Finally, how did European Post Offices cooperate with each other in spite of their differences?
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The Strengthening of Competitiveness on the Agenda.French Corporations over the Last 25 Years: Patrick Fridenson



That I shall be doing here is reviewing the major changes that companies in France have undertaken over the last 25 years. The implications of such changes need to be measured. I shall not be looking here at what is incumbent on the State or the local or regional public authorities. Similarly, the influence of the European Economic Community will not be explored as such. Last of all, I shall not be exploring industrial relations, demographic and social changes or cultural developments.1 My thesis is that a great many managers, executives, office staff and workers, under the supervision of the corporations’ owners, have carried through a huge variety of changes within the company or in partnership with other firms2 or within networks. It is a point of view that goes counter to the arguments we often hear put forward on the economic decline of France.

We do need, however, right from the outset, to look at the conditions that have made such changes possible, since the second half of the 1970s, a period dominated by the two oil crises and the difficult process of adaptation that followed. We will first of all make a distinction between international factors and those which are specific to France.

Internationally speaking, the competition facing French companies has increased considerably. The deepening of European integration, the successive enlargements of Europe, the creation of the European Union and lastly the implementation of the single currency have all played...

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