Stamping La Poste. An illustration of the Influence of Societal Effects on Strategic Change


– The aim of this paper is to explain how the globalisation of services can be limited or enhanced by societal effects.

– This analysis is based on a single case study. The authors use a qualitative and longitudinal approach, with in?depth interviews and archives collected during a six?year period of participant observation inside the firm.

– The authors argue that societal dimensions are at play in the evolution of services activities, and that their influence is especially strong in ex?public services monopolies. They illustrate the limits of strategic change due to the specific dynamics of societal effects. The authors first look at the evolution of strategic fit before and after multiple changes in La Poste. They then identify different types of reactions at local level. They conclude by insisting on the enduring influence of social patterns and traditions on the adoption of new technologies and modes of organisation.

Research limitations/implications
– The main limitation of this research is that a more thorough comparison with other European national leaders in postal services would have helped strengthen this analysis.

Practical implications
– A first practical implication for services firms is that societal changes should be greatly considered in their globalisation process and that societal changes are often underestimated. Another practical implication is that a globalisation of services process must certainly be situated at a global level based on national and local specificities built in time.

– While comparative studies on international management have often focused on the different modes of organisation depending on culture and institutions, the impact of globalisation on services have been left relatively under?explored. This paper takes the example of the service industry to show that cultural reasons are not sufficient to explain why the internationalisation of services may encounter difficulties. Other factors such as societal effect should be included.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
Journal of Strategy and Management