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The political economy of industrial modernisation in post-communist Central Europe.

Janovskaia, Alexandra (2010) The political economy of industrial modernisation in post-communist Central Europe. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Operationalising the conceptual framework of the Polanyian double-movement, this study explores the dynamics of economic liberalism and societal re-embedding in postcommunist Central Europe. Based on a case study of enterprise restructuring in four automotive plants in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, institutional changes associated with economic liberalism and enterprise modernisation are divided into three categories: i) the expansion of managerial authority, ii) the financialisation of enterprise performance and, finally iii) the de-contextualisation of managerial knowledge and the increased standardisation of work organisation. The study finds that in relation to these institutional changes, a number of value rationalities have been mobilised by the stakeholders to make sure that the three dimensions of enterprise activity - i) corporate governance and welfare provisions, ii) enterprise performance and, finally, iii) work organisation and skills - are not fully subsumed by the cost-benefit utilitarian logic. These three non-economic organising logics - (i) welfare protection of employees by the firm, (ii) valuation of industrial capabilities expressed in a 'productionist' attitude and (iii) valuation of skill autonomy and contextualised managerial knowledge - are translated into three mutual commitments between the firm and its employees, three value rationalities, whereby the firm functions i) as an authoritarian paternalist, ii) as a source of competitive industrial capabilities and iii) as a discretionary bureaucracy based on skill autonomy. The study finds that local stakeholders have not opposed new market-based institutions, yet they have displayed certain value rationalities that have constrained and moderated the expansion of economic liberalism. As a consequence, economic liberalism in post-communist Central Europe has evolved to a more complex enterprise organising logic that combines both instrumental and value rationality and thus exemplifies the inherently contradictory nature of modern capitalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations, Economics, Labor
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour Group

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