The privatization of France Telecom (FT) in 1997 led to the implementation of a profit-oriented financialization strategy. An unforgiving work environment was developed, which has unsettled many employees. Between February 2008 and October 2011, 69 employees took their own life. Many left notes blaming management for having privileged the interests of shareholders over those of employees. Through interviews with employees and professional practitioners associated with FT, we reveal that employees strongly resented the company’s use of financialization policies to maximize shareholder value. Pursuit of such policies led to the de-institutionalization of socially prescribed norms that were applied commonly in Continental European workplaces. Feelings of anomie, disgrace, futility and isolation ensued among employees. This case highlights an important effect of a modern corporation’s adoption of financialization policies. It points to the need to improve workplace sensitivities and the ethical dispositions of companies and their managers.
- Social partnership