A Cross-Cultural and Institutional Approach
Edited by Kate Hutchings and Kavoos Mohannak
Chapter 3: Survival by Subversion in Former Socialist Economies: Tacit Knowledge Exchange at the Workplace
Gerhard Fink, Nigel Holden and Maren Lehmann INTRODUCTION In the socialist era following the Second World War, there were, despite prevailing perceptions to the contrary, marked differences in general governance and even quality of life among the countries of East and Central Europe as well as the Soviet Union itself. Poland was unique in being a ‘supercharged Catholic country’ (Davies, 1986, p. 11). In no socialist country s was there a ruling family comparable to the Ceauçescu’s in Romania (Gallagher, 1995), whilst Tito’s Yugoslavia was a communist system pragmatically designed to neutralise the dominance of two key national groups, that is Serbs and Croats (Glenny, 1992). The Soviet Union itself was a centralised Eurasian empire, in which Russian national consciousness embed communism with ‘a demotic quality, a defensiveness, and an earthboundedness which still have strong echoes today’ (Hosking, 1992, p.17). For all these dramatic disparities bequeathed by history, all the communist countries were run by totalitarian parties and implemented a highly centralised system of economic management. There was nowhere the state apparatus could not reach (Deletant, 1995). Our chapter is premised on the assumption that all citizens of socialist countries – whether Czechs, Poles, Russians or Kazakhs – led lives in full consciousness of the implacably intrusive nature of the state. It is this general experience, that is past but not forgotten, to which we apply the understandings of knowledge management (KM). But more than that: our approach helps us to explain why KM in today’s post-socialist countries is not straightforward...
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