Critical Management Research in Eastern Europe: Managing the Transition

By Mihaela Kelemen; Monika Kostera | Go to book overview
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11
Cross-Cultural Comparison
between Hungarians and
Expatriates
Henriett Primecz

Introduction

The past decade has brought with it fundamental economic and political changes in Central and Eastern Europe. These countries opened up their doors to foreign investments. My study is about a green field investment. Generally speaking, we know how difficult the collaboration between newcomer Western owners and local employees is, because of the two totally different mind setups: market vs. planned economy.

My story is however different. It starts immediately after 1990, when Hungary encouraged foreign investors to bring capital into the country. This, in theory, should have been easier than a process of privatization with foreign capital, as the new investor did not have to fight the ineffective production of existing companies as well as and the we-know-it-better-we-lived-here-in-the-last-forty-years attitude of the local staff. The green field investment recruited young professionals, mainly freshly graduated, enthusiastic young people, who spoke good English. In the beginning, the company paid better salaries than any other companies in the area, so it could afford to employ only the best people; thus, not only office employees, but also production workers 1 were well educated.

The company offered better working conditions than others; and the possibility to travel abroad, to embark on training and, in general, a great deal of educational support. One could start as a production worker (semi-skilled), and end as a production engineer or an HR specialist with an MBA degree in this plant. Above all, Hungarians felt that something new started and something better was going on in Hungary, as they participated in building up a company, which was different

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Critical Management Research in Eastern Europe: Managing the Transition
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