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.
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This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Russia only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.