Russian Management Style

As has been stated, management tends to be centralised and directive.

The boss – especially the big boss – is expected to issue direct instructions for subordinates to follow. Little consultation will be expected from people lower down the company hierarchy. Indeed too much consultation from a senior manager could be seen as a sign of weakness and lack of decisiveness.

Middle managers have little power over strategy or input in significant strategic decisions. The most powerful middle managers are the ones who have the most immediate entree to the decision-maker at the top of the organisation. There is little point in wasting time debating with middle managers who do not have an easy access to the top. The most significant reason for delay in reaching a decision in Russia is that the decision has not been put in front of the real decision-maker.

Delegation is usually in terms of managers giving precise instructions to subordinates who are expected to perform their allocated tasks with little or no discussion. Many westerners complain of a lack of initiative from local Russian staff, whilst Russian staff will often bemoan the lack of clear, unambiguous advice from expatriate managers.

It is also important to take age into consideration – younger managers, who have developed in the post-Soviet era, may be much more heavily influenced by western management theory than their older counterparts.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Russia

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

Russia is the world’s largest energy exporter which should mean that its economy is strong and that its people prosper. However, a combination of oil price volatility and the impact of economic sanctions put in place in response to perceived Russian military aggression have resulted in years of recession. This has left the country’s potential unfulfilled, as well as an infrastructure crying out for massive levels of investment

Russia does undoubtedly have massive potential. It has boundless natural resources, with a highly educated population who are aspirational and consumerist in nature. If Russia can regain its position as a mainstream player on the global political stage, then it is poised for a very bright future.

So, should you be thinking about doing business in Russia? That’s a difficult one to answer but our advice would be that there is a huge potential up-side in Russia but that before venturing into such a complex market it is essential to do considerable research and due diligence. This advice is sound for any new market but it is doubly applicable when doing business in Russia.
One area of business in Russia that needs research is around the cultural norms you will encounter within the Russian business community. They do things differently in Russia and you need to know what to expect. Who you know is vitally important in Russia but how you interact with key contacts is just as important. Don’t spend months cultivating the right people only to alienate them by doing the wrong thing or communicating in an inappropriate manner.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Russian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips