Abstract: The Construction of Management History in Post-Communist Organizations

Anna Soulsby

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the tensions between memory and history in organizations—in particular, how historical actions and events within organizations (and the communities they are located within) can be utilized or manipulated by managers to justify their behavior and decisions. The process of the re-legitimization of management is an especially important and complex moral issue for the managers and owners of organizations in post-communist societies. The empirical basis for the paper is a longitudinal study of organizations conducted by the author since 1991 in Czech former state-owned enterprises. The focus of the research project has been to examine processes of change and the utilization of symbolic resources such as narratives by actors to legitimate actions and understand (and navigate) the challenges of the post-communist transition environment. This paper explores the experience of managers of a Czech company that entered into a joint venture with a German multinational company. In particular, the paper will consider the impact of the Czech-German historical relationship as it affected the development of the joint venture and process of organizational learning for the Czechs.