The removal of barriers in the Common Market : how the French Customs and Excise department survived the upheaval

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Béatrice CAUSSE

Department head, French police complaints authority Customs and Excise department

Seminar Management of civil servants | Thursday June 17, 1999

In 1993, the Customs and Excise department was confronted with the aftermath of the removal of barriers within the European common market, a situation which radically called into question its mission and its traditional organisation. At that time, four thousand jobs were cut, three thousand people had to change jobs or to change their place of work. What were the practical methods necessary to implement this change with respect to the structural and the operational organisation ? How exactly were the changes carried out and how did the employees react to them ? The success of these reforms can be explained by several factors. These included a consensus view that the changes caused by the upheaval were inevitable; that the social dispositions associated with these changes were perfectly adapted; and that the Customs department behaved rather like a tribe.

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This session was published in issue n°22 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled Métamorphoses .

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