These are our results of the CASE-study!
We have found that Swedish management is characterized by ambitiousness, a will to work hard, perceptiveness and humbleness towards the employees (a manager doesn’t claim to be right all the time just because he/she is the manager) and a great deal of trust. Tasks are often delegated and the workers are not supervised very much while working. This way of working is probably possible because to an employee, it is important to like one’s work and work place; then one will be motivated to work and make money for oneself.
We believe that this has to do with Swedish employees only working for themselves and not for the entire company. We live in an individualistic culture and often switch work places. Therefore, we don’t see a company as a family, since we will probably not spend the rest of our lives there anyway, which seems to be more common in a collectivistic culture as the Russian. We think Swedes in general like working on their own and to do one thing at a time. Perhaps this comes from how our society has developed since the 1800s industrialization. Sweden used to be a rustic society; big families lived together at a farm and helped each other out with harvesting and so on. However, with the industrialization came the factories, the big cities evolved and one could make a living on their own.
Russian management on the other hand, is characterized by a collectivistic way of thinking, behaving and working. Our Russian colleagues believe that this could have to do with their history; in Soviet time managers always made the decisions and initiatives from individual workers were “crushed”. As we understand it, in Russia you work more for the sake of your company than for yourself only, and the company is almost like a family. A manager is more likely to employ a friend or a relative, whom he/she knows well, than an unfamiliar person with the appropriate skills. This way, perhaps it is harder to get the specific work that one is interested in, which could lead to less individual motivation among the employees.
Russian organizations are not, as the Swedish, characterized by flatness, but by hierarchy. The manager listens to the employees but always makes the decision that he/she finds the best. It is clear who the leader is. According to our Russian colleagues from Khabarovsk, Russians are polychronic; they are able to work with several different things at the same time – multi-tasking! They describe the typical manager as hardworking, obstinate and aim-oriented. On the other hand, they confirm our interpretation of “the Russian bear” as Russians working hard in intervals, but rest in between (a characteristic which we have read about in “Understanding the bear”, a text that the Russians however claim to be out of date). Still, they confirm what it says: “We leave all our job for the last moment then successfully do it and rest till the next critical situation :)” – hardworking every now and then, eh? 😉
As you see, we have had much help from our answers sothank you very much!
Jonas, Jenny, Pernilla and Nastaran