chapter  4
34 Pages

Innovation and confusion: logics, practices, and strategies of sales

Fate was unkind to St. Petersburg electronics firm Neutron. This firm produced tuners and ceramic components, mostly for Soviet-style televisions and military goods-both collapsing markets. An assis tant director there noted that his firm sup plied a tele vision assembler in Belarus. Managers continued this relationship, even though it was not profitable. The price spike in raw materials forced Neutron to raise prices; in response, the client reduced their pur chases. Rising transportation costs, foreign competition, tariffs, taxes, cus toms delays, and delayed shipments and payments across borders aggravated production and finance for both, driving purchase orders down even more-but not ending the exchange relationship. There was an alternative: Neutron could sell to a local Petersburg television producer whose supplier was in Belarus. A Neutron assistant director claimed managers at both firms discussed benefits of trading with each other, but the idea went nowhere: as Neutron slowly died, “old thinking dies hard.”1