9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN17 Industrial Relations, Labour Market Institutions and Employment

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Employment Conditions: Trends and Challenges II Building AA, Auditorio Afonso de Barros

Labour Relations in Russian Business Organisations

The paper is going to present some results of the research project ?Human Resource Man-agement in Russian Business Organisations: Realities, Problems, Perspectives? carried out in 2007-2008 in State University ? Higher School of Economics, Moscow. The fieldwork included 80 in-depth interviews with workers and professionals in 4 business organisations in 2007 and survey conducted on 80 private sector enterprises and organisations representing 19 sectors of economy in 9 Russian regions in 2008. The survey sample included 2550 respondents (workers, professionals, managers, and HRM specialists).
The analysis of labour relations in Russian business organisations was focused along three dimensions:
1). Achievement versus non-achievement criteria of personnel recruitment, remuneration and promotion. We revealed sharp contradictions between high formal level of education of em-ployees and low value of professionalism, qualification and improving professional skills in Rus-sian organisations. Another finding is that ?good? workplaces imply ?clannish? types of social or-ganisation, high importance of kinship, social networks and informal ways of job placement.
2). Humanistic versus instrumental orientation towards employees. We found that vast ma-jority of Russian business organisations are sharply divided into two sectors: 1) ?paternalistic? (low salaries combined with moderate working load, job security, work-based benefits, and good working conditions), and 2) ?exploitative? (medium and high salaries that imply workers? vulne-rability, 46-hour and longer workweek, short or no yearly vacations, black salaries, bad working conditions).
3). Authoritarianism versus democratism. Organisation is a micro model of the society, and our study provides empirical evidence of high level of authoritarianism in Russian business or-ganisations. Both workers and professionals, with rare exception, are excluded from decision making is their organisations, demonstrate high rates of acceptance of situations of bulling, supe-rior?s personal sympathies, worker?s loyalty and obedience as criteria of remuneration and pro-motion. Workers? bargaining power and their protest potential remains very low. ?Formal? par-ticipation such as memberships in trade unions does not really contribute to involving workers into decision making. We found that loyalty and obedience combined with ?workaholism? is ob-ligatory condition for career promotion in Russian business organisations.