A Generation Y Russian Entrepreneur: Cultural Factors in the Managerial System of an Innovative Firm – A Case Study of Aqualines

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Natalia Guilluy-Sulikashvili


The concepts of particularism and hierarchical distance are used to study a Russian enterprise, Aqualines, headed by a Generation Y Russian entrepreneur. Two major questions are addressed: what is the nature and impact of particularism on a Generation Y entrepreneur and how is a Generation Y entrepreneur influenced by historical hierarchical relationship? Using a qualitative case study methodology, semi structured interviews were conducted and thematic analysis of interviews applied. Findings show that these two issues are strongly connected to power: the power of hierarchical relationships and the power of networks, both determined by Russia’s historical context. These two cultural dimensions have an impact on the managerial and strategic choices of an entrepreneur and force him to adapt to his environment. This adaptation is complex, partly due to corruption, an unavoidable phenomenon which permeates the everyday life of Russian entrepreneurs, however an exchange of services between people (also known, as “blat”) is still acceptable. Generation Y business people support the idea of participatory management but they have to juggle this vision of management with traditional values, most notably seen through paternalism, emotional attachment to the hierarchy and traditional forms of behaviour rooted in people’s minds.


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