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Cadres and managers : changing patterns of recruitment of economic leaders in a planned economy

Kader und Manager : Rekrutierungsmuster von Wirtschaftsführern in einer Planwirtschaft im Wandel
[journal article]

Lengyel, György

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Abstract 'Diese Abhandlung untersucht die Selektionskriterien für Führungskräfte in der ungarischen und einigen anderen osteuropäischen Planwirtschaften. Sie untersucht den Zusammenhang dieser Kriterien mit Bildung und Karriereverläufen von Kadern und Managern. Die Veränderungen werden als 'Kadrifizierung' und Professionalisierung interpretiert. Es wird gezeigt, dass sich die 'reziproken' Beziehungen zwischen politischer Loyalität und Fachwissen in den Dekaden des Sozialismus leicht zugunsten des Fachwissens verschoben haben. Neben der Balance zwischen Loyalität und Kompetenz unterlagen die Auswahlkriterien, die in der Personalpolitik eine wichtige Rolle spielten auch anderen teilweise dramatischen Veränderungen. Ziel der Untersuchung ist es zu zeigen, dass trotz der grundlegenden Ähnlichkeiten sozialistischer Industrialisierungsprozesse, erhebliche Unterschiede zwischen den osteuropäischen Gesellschaften besonders in Bezug auf die Geschwindigkeit des Kaderwandels und der Bedeutung der 'Bildungsvoraussetzungen' der Wirtschaftseliten bestanden haben. Im Zuge der ökonomischen Reform Ungarns hat der Grad an Professionalisierung zugenommen, obwohl der Anteil der Parteimitglieder weiterhin extrem hoch blieb. Erst mit dem Beginn der Systemtransition nahm die Bedeutung von Parteizugehörigkeit ab während Netzwerke zunehmend eine wichtige Rolle in der Selektion der Eliten spielten.' (Autorenreferat)

'This paper is about the criteria of selection of leaders of the Hungarian - and some other East European - planned economies. It deals with the connections of these criteria with education and career patterns. It interprets the changes in terms of professionalization and cadrification. It argues that because this processes are interwoven the emphasis between loyalty and education (or to put it in the immanent terminology of personnel policy: among the categories of political responsibility, professional knowledge and the skills of leadership) has been slightly altered during the decades of state socialism. But behind the balance of loyalty and competence those social variables which were seriously taken into account in the personnel policy have been changed frequently and sometimes dramatically. It is intended to disclose that despite the basic similarities of socialist industrialization there were differences among the Eastern European societies, concerning the pace of cadre changes and the social-educational composition of the economic elites. It also suggests that one has to distinguish two levels of economic leadership from the very beginning of nationalization. In the light of empirical evidence the criteria of recruitment in the case of the planners-controllers and in the case of the enterprise managers were different. According to the Hungarian experiences the economic reform supported the process of professionalization, although the proportion of party members remained extremely high. With the systemic changes party membership lost and networks gained importance in the selection of the elite. Despite the importance of the subject literature on leaders in planned economies is rather scanty. A greater part of articles are managerial studies, while empirical contributions mainly survey the political elites rather than the leaders involved in the economic control sphere and at the helm of enterprises, a layer which is more difficult to reconstruct empirically. It is a specific feature of research on Hungarian leaders to use case studies or interviews. These methods, though most suitable for exploring the attitudes and interests of leader, mark out the boundaries of analysis as well. The data and information in the following represent mostly the Hungarian, and partly the Soviet, Polish and Czechoslovakian developments.' (author's abstract)
Keywords job history; education; cadre; career; manager; membership; party; personnel policy; planned economy; professionalization; recruitment; transformation; Hungary; economic reform; post-socialist country; economic elite
Classification Sociology of Work, Industrial Sociology, Industrial Relations
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 25-49
Journal Historical Social Research, 30 (2005) 2
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
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