Economie Information, Entreprise and Collective Relations: A French Review
In France, the economic information is the latest subject and it is worth trying to scrutinize its meaning, especially at the level of industrial organizations. This owing to the fact that the business concern plays a leading part of the social system of our times, just at the data on the enterprises center on the general economic information of which they become one of the paramount axes.
Needs for economic information vary in terms of the size of the organizations : to be big a business must prevail upon particular abilities to connect and to analyze, in short to decipher. Yet can things be seen from a spatial angle, the border separating the big business from the small ones being seeked after where prevails or not the interest granted to things which do not go beyond the near future, or the regional concern, every economic agent needing to reach its own dominant horizon, the big enterprise carrying business on very wide horizons ? Connexions between the size of business and the legal framework of industrial relations in France are brought afterwords into limelight not without having stated explicity how closely united the technical information stands to the economic information.
The latter one being comprehended in a different angle by documentarians, mass-media specialists and firms' economists, it was necessary at first to vanish lacks of clarity about the notions of information and documentation -— about the concept of information science related to them, — to modify its traditional and dychotomical approach into terms of communication and to emphasize its importance for business administration.
Hereafter are treated the standards of information depending on the various classifications of writers : quantitative and qualitative, economic, technical, account-able and statistical, administrative and managerial, macroeconomic and microeconomic information. The economic information of general welfare and its diffusion inside the firm are detailed at lenght, specially with the idea of information policy in the firm — related to formal, informal and institutional sub-systems — of the information transmission, of the information heads, of the information sources and of the adjustment of mass-media in the firm.
Can economic information be a means of relation between protagonists of economic, social and political life in a country like France ? Is its nature in such a state that approaches and concepts of various partners seem to vary intensely ; its nature itself causing opposit interpretations ? Upon preparing the works for the Economic Information Board of the 6th Flan of Social and Economic Development (1971-1975) two views of the concept itself of economic information were seen spreading : a minor one with a tighter and more directly utilitarian idea of the economic information, whose essential objective would increase at an earliest pace the efficiency of our economic system so that it may grow faster, and a major one with a wider scope and considering it as an essential segment of the culture of every citizen. What puts in mind the actual matter now under discussion in France about the differences between the recurrent education and the permanent one.
Economic information and participation, economic democracy and plurality of information sources — at the level of the firm as of the information office guar-anteed by the State — neutrality and objectivity of the information are dealt with hereafter so to reach the ever existing puzzle in France, e.g. the economic secret and the retention of information more particularly at firm's level.
Among the institutions of representations of personnel, the works council takes a peculiar part in diffusing the economic information. Its members are restricted to professional secrecy on matters related to manufacturing processes, and bound by a discretion duty on secret data given to them by the chief of staff. But is it always metter and objectively confidential ? So what means objectivity ? The gravity of these restraints bearing on social dialogue becomes prominent, originates an excess of interpretations and entails a conflict of opinions. The assignments of plant commettees in the economic field are also treated as well as the various union proposals for the constitution of group committees or at the level of holding. So the economic information appears as an important factor of the industrial relations systems.
Dans cet article, l'auteur tente de cerner la signification de l'information économique particulièrement au niveau des organisations industrielles.