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Air France (A): resistance to change at Air france: Bernard Attali's experience

Author: Manzoni, Jean-François ; Barsoux, Jean-LouisINSEAD Area: Accounting and ControlPublisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD European Centre for Executive Development (CEDEP) 1997.Language: EnglishDescription: 28 p.Type of document: INSEAD CaseAbstract: This case looks at Bernard Attali's five year spell as the chairman of Air France. A very bright, energetic and ambitious leader, his appointment in 1988 is initially perceived as a "breath of fresh air". His growth oriented strategy is undermined by the advent of the Gulf war and recession. He responds with a series of ineffective stringency programs and ends up being perceived as a supreme ruler who jumps to solutions and creates his own resistance to changePedagogical Objectives: The case illustrates a number of themes including the limitations of a "strong" (one-dimensional) vision, the need to gain credibility, the importance of strategy implementation (not just formulation), and the need for leaders to propose "gain" to offset the "pain" of transformation. The case also highlights aspects of French business culture: French leadership selection, the profile and competencies of such leaders, the specificities of union relations in the French public sector, and the relationship between French nationalised companies and the state.
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The case illustrates a number of themes including the limitations of a "strong" (one-dimensional) vision, the need to gain credibility, the importance of strategy implementation (not just formulation), and the need for leaders to propose "gain" to offset the "pain" of transformation. The case also highlights aspects of French business culture: French leadership selection, the profile and competencies of such leaders, the specificities of union relations in the French public sector, and the relationship between French nationalised companies and the state.

This case looks at Bernard Attali's five year spell as the chairman of Air France. A very bright, energetic and ambitious leader, his appointment in 1988 is initially perceived as a "breath of fresh air". His growth oriented strategy is undermined by the advent of the Gulf war and recession. He responds with a series of ineffective stringency programs and ends up being perceived as a supreme ruler who jumps to solutions and creates his own resistance to change

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