Understanding strategy in Russian businesses
This document describes research undertaken to investigate strategic decision-making in Russian firms, and the nature of the competitive strategies adopted by Russian managers. Since published research in this area is sparse, a theory building approach has been used rather than one concentrating on hypothesis testing.\ud \ud The research has followed grounded theory methodology, using unstructured and semi structured interviews with Russian managers as the primary source of data. Since the Russian business landscape and Russian national culture have some unique characteristics, in order to set the research findings in context, interviews were also conducted with British managers working in similar industries to their Russian counterparts.\ud \ud The data were analysed using a free coding scheme which was generated and refined as individual interview transcripts were analysed. The intention behind this methodology was to allow theory to emerge from the data, rather than be forced into a preconceived theoretical framework.\ud \ud The findings indicate that there are significant characteristics of Russian strategic management practice which differ markedly from those found in British firms. In particular, Russian managers frequently adopt strategies which are designed to manipulate the competitive nature of their markets as opposed to the strategies which predominate in mature market based economies which tend to be designed to react to market conditions rather than change them.\ud \ud These differences chiefly arise from aspects of the Russian business environment which, despite 20 years of transition, continues to be dominated by large enterprises, often under the control of oligarchs and members of the powerful political ruling elite. However, aspects of Russian national culture also predispose managers to adopt manipulative strategies, and may well account for the prevalence of corruption which is seen by many as endemic in Russia.\ud \ud The document concludes by proposing a typology of Russian businesses, and by postulating that companies which work in countries exhibiting the same hypo-capitalist economic and cultural characteristics as Russia are likely to be predisposed to adopt competitive strategies which are mainly manipulative in nature.
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