Autocracy and centralised decision-making are synonymous with the Soviet system in many people’s eyes and this approach can certainly be seen to be manifested within large Russian business organisations.
Russian companies tend to be driven by one strong central figure who will make strategic decisions with little or no consultation with anyone other than a handful of close trusted advisors. (Indeed this centralised decision-making process can be most clearly seen in the approach of recent Russian presidents.)
Therefore, when dealing with potential clients or joint-venture partners in Russia, it is absolutely essential to make sure that the right person is being dealt with. Western companies, who attempt to interface at inappropriate levels within an organisation, waste massive amounts of time and resource. Nowhere is the advice, ‘Go straight to the top’ more pertinent.
The headlong rush from communism to capitalism has made people into entrepreneurs and centralised decision-making enables organisations to grab an opportunity when it arises. Thus, as in most developing economies, companies tend to have a short-term view of business activities and it is imperative that any potential partner can see the short-term benefits of collaboration.