This paper tries to complement the purely quantitative approach of pay out policies by providing a qualitative description of dividend and share repurchase policies in France. Through a field study with 12 French decision-makers, it helps to understand explanatory elements of pay out policies. Our study provides evidence that pay out decision is the result of a consensus between various elements: financial capacity of the firm, external influences, and shareholding pressure. The paper supports elements from the literature: influence of financial variables, signal function of pay out and smoothing of dividend policy. It introduces new elements that may lead to interesting questioning: existence of pay out culture in firms, influence of managers' characteristics or competitors' behavior. And at last, it questions the share repurchase role of pay out, the role of taxes in pay out decisions and underlines majority shareholders' great influence.