Dominant corporate agents and the power elite in France and Britain

Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, Robert Chia

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Corporate elites are not a new phenomenon. However, the ways in which significant agents gain ascendancy to positions of power vary across nations and cultures. This paper analyses the ascension of a small minority of corporate agents to positions of dominance and the subsequent accession of a select few to the power elite. Our theoretical position builds upon the writings of Pierre Bourdieu on power and domination. These constructs are elaborated and made tangible through a cross-national comparative study of dominant corporate agents in France and Britain. Our results demonstrate the extent to which power remains concentrated in the French and British corporate sectors; highlighting equally pronounced similarities and differences between the two countries. It is suggested that power elites function through governance networks to promote institutional and organizational goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-348
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Ascension and accession
  • Bourdieu
  • Dominant corporate agent
  • Elites
  • Power


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