chapter  3
43 Pages

Contradictions and conflict unleashed: framing and contesting authority and enterprise restructuring

The post-Soviet transformation of larger enterprises was a story of variation and competition in creating new myths and narratives of the normal enterprise and pathways to the Promised Land. As hegemonic state power and Soviet ideology unraveled, managers and employees reshaped enterprises, begetting untold stories of reconfiguring principles and practices of structure and authority. The Sverdlov machine-tool firm and Svetlana electronics maintained structural integrity despite conflict, but were weakened. Structural changes at Kirovskii Zavod and Leningrad Metal Factory were less contentious; both firms survived. In 1993 Pozitron electronics fragmented into independent subdivisions. These firms had similar experiences: vague reform laws, financial crises, loss of East European clients, state as silent owner.2 Variation emerged from contingent remaking of internal relations and fundamental shifts in meaning and principles of organization: the source of sovereignty, from employee collective (kollektiv) to managers and owners; the nature of property and authority, from class-based social property to private property; and the logic of the enterprise as producer of physical goods and welfare to producer of profit.