Chapter 18: Cultural Mythology and Global Leadership in Russia
Stanislav V. Shekshnia, Sheila M. Puffer and Daniel J. McCarthy INTRODUCTION Almost a quarter of a century ago, the first author of this chapter entered a Moscow food store to start his first real job as an assistant manager. His memories of that six-month stint had virtually disappeared except for one story told to him on his first day. A middle-aged worker said that every new manager would hear it on the first day in the store. The anecdote was about a bright, young woman who became the general manager of a prestigious store very early in her career. One morning, an older worker knocked on her office door and asked for a glass of vodka to cure his hangover. Outraged by such an inappropriate request, the manager sent him off. Two hours later, he was back with the same plea: ‘Give me a drink or I will die.’ The answer was quick: ‘If someone like you dies, the rest of us will be relieved.’ One hour later, she called for the man to unload a truck, and when he did not answer she went down to confront him. He was sitting still at a table and did not respond. Angrily, the manager shook the worker’s shoulder and realized that he was dead. The next day, she resigned and never again worked in food stores, one of the most attractive occupations in a hungry Soviet Union. Even for a 19year-old, the story’s message was clear – workers and alcohol were things...
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