Ranking hierarchy and administrative hierarchy

Ranking and relegation of middle managers in the French civil service during their training
By Olivier Quéré

During their one-year training in the Instituts régionaux d’administration (Regional Administration Institutes, IRA), the attachés are ranked three times: at the entrance examination, in an intermediary ranking, and in the final ranking. This article sheds light on the organization and practical effects of the ranking process in a civil service college. It shows that the ranking system encourages trainees to conform to the orders that middle managers give to future civil servants. Thus, the ranking selects, underlines, and transforms the students’ social capacity to answer to this mandate, thanks to a double mechanism of a fear of relegation and a containment of skills. Finally, the study of rankings brings to light the promotion of figures that stand out to middle management, as well as the subtle movements at play in the social aspect of the administrative hierarchy.


  • State
  • ranking
  • school of public service
  • hierarchy
  • civil service
  • socialization
  • middle managers
  • social mobility
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info