Employment and social relations in the post-soviet workplace: trust and control in Russian management

Book chapter


Morrison, C. 2011. Employment and social relations in the post-soviet workplace: trust and control in Russian management. in: Yasin, E. (ed.) 11th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development Moscow High School of Economics.
Chapter titleEmployment and social relations in the post-soviet workplace: trust and control in Russian management
AuthorsMorrison, C.
Abstract

This paper intends to explore changes occurred to employment relations in Russia in the last decade, in order to understand how agents in production will react to the crisis. The paper focuses on issues of trust and control in management. The dominant narrative maintains that post-socialist industrial relations have been marked by strong continuity with the soviet past due to institutional legacies. On the basis of both secondary and case-study research the paper will investigate social relations in the workplace in order to understand whether the experience of work has fundamentally changed for agents. The main thrust of the article is that institutions of industrial relations have remained unchallenged but terms and conditions of employment have not; this have exacerbated contradictions in the labour process but not generated change because of the peculiar nature of social relations in production. Institutionalism like transition theories, lacking theoretical space for contradictions in their model, fails to recognise both the constraints and challenges the latter pose to agency [Aslund, 1995; Schwartz, G. Et al., 2007].
Our study of the Russian enterprise as a social organisation has identified two distinct but interrelated set of relations, namely owner-manager relationship, the managerial process [Armstrong, 1984, 1989, 1991; Willmott 1997] , and the labour process proper [Knights et al., 1990; Thompson et al, 2000]. This paper focuses on the former. Critical accounts of the managerial process in the ‘West’ suggest that managers sustain a trustful relationship with owners by developing control strategies for their subordinates Armstrong, 1984]. The employment of soviet managerial tactics achieves social control but generates strained and ultimately mistrustful relationship with superiors [Ticktin, 1992]. Evidence from case studies indicates how failure in restructuring perpetuates this ‘economy of mistrust’ based on administrative controls and petty tutelage. To the contrary, in cases where restructuring has been achieved, managerial co-operation with owners and tighter control over workers are present.

Book title11th International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development
EditorsYasin, E.
PublisherHigh School of Economics
Place of publicationMoscow
ISBN
Hardcover978-5-7598-0860-2
Publication dates
Print14 Feb 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited20 May 2015
Output statusPublished
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Web address (URL)http://www.hse.ru/data/2011/08/08/1268227908/conf2.pdf
LanguageEnglish
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