Russia's Transition to a Market Economy: Learning about Business

Czinkota, Michael R.
December 1997
Journal of International Marketing;1997, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p73
Academic Journal
Russia's business leaders and employees find themselves in a new environment of competition, efficiency, and innovation, without the training and skills to adjust to these new realities. A field study investigated the business education needs in Russia. Four focus group sessions were conducted and interviews were held with 68 individuals. Distinct attitudes held by Russians toward business learning were national pride, anger with the seeming disrespect of outsiders for indigenous accomplishments, and a fear of the unknown, coupled with suspicion toward new practices. There was concern about the lack of relevance of the education offered, and about the linkage between knowledge, learning, and actual change, and the longevity of such change. A rank order of business education priorities identified issues requiring learning and areas in need of behavioral change. Marketing, strategic planning, international business, and business law were the four key learning issues while problem solving, decision making, customer orientation, team building and communications abilities were rated highest in terms of the need for behavioral change. Overall, many similarities between Russian and Western managers were found. However, Russian managers approach problems in a different fashion, need to be taught in different ways, and have different expectations of learning content. In order to be accepted and useful, business education efforts must consider the specifics of the Russian situation and focus both on the teaching of knowledge and skills as well as on the change of attitudes and behavior.


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