The New Russian Business Leaders

The New Russian Business Leaders

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Konstantin Korotov and Elisabeth Florent-Treacy

Based on extensive interviews with the pioneers of Russian business and the authors’ own experiences, this perceptive new book attempts to decipher the enigma of Russia’s new generation of business leaders. The authors present six in-depth case studies focusing on companies of vastly differing sizes, ranging from a newly-privatized operation, and the creation and organization of an oligarch’s empire, to several entrepreneurial start-ups in different service industries. The case studies document the changes and developments that have occurred in Russia since the privatization era of the 1990s, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging business leadership orientations.

Chapter 1: The Anarchist Within

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Konstantin Korotov and Elisabeth Florent-Treacy

Subjects: business and management, business leadership


I don’t know if it is the character of the Russian people that has created such dictators, or if the dictators themselves have given this character to the nation. Baron Sigismund Von Harberstein, ambassador of Emperor Frederick III to Russia When Stalin says dance, a wise man dances. Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Soviet Union (1953–1964) We cannot understand the way Russians deal with organizations, or approach a discussion of their leadership style, without first looking at a number of salient aspects of Russian culture and character. In addition, if we want to make suggestions for change in leadership style and organizational practices, we need to explore Russian character and how it is shaped by contextual forces, and developmental and historical realities. Because Russian organizational practices are strongly influenced by Russian culture, we must take a preliminary detour into salient aspects of the Russian context. As we move into an increasingly global economy, the need to become familiar with executive behavior in different cultures will grow ever more crucial, for two reasons: • Managing people across cultures and in multicultural teams will be a primary challenge in the twenty-first century. Given the importance of global business, cross-cultural understanding is becoming a prerequisite to ensuring the effectiveness of multicultural teams. Future global leaders must adapt to the particularities of many regions and national cultures while at the same time meeting the expectations of followers in those different cultures. • The identification of salient leadership values,...

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