Local Communities and Post-Communist Transformation: Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia

By Simon Smith | Go to book overview

Conclusions

Our findings reveal a number of problems in the field of human resource management which clearly exist in both firms and which, given obliging external circumstances, could lead to a decline in the loyalty of employee to employer, to the destabilisation of pro-firm attitudes among employees, or to a reduction in professional reliability and an increase in turnover of qualified employees. Some 12 per cent of employees in Firm A and 17 per cent in Firm B were (definitely or possibly) considering a change of job at the time of the research in 2000, with 63 per cent in A and 46 per cent in B (definitely or probably) ruling out this option. One of the complicating factors, however, when considering the causes of the level of potential personnel turnover, is the differing level of unemployment within the districts where each firm is situated: Firm A lies in a district with about average unemployment of 9.5 per cent in 2000, 6 whereas the prospects for finding alternative work appeared to be better near Firm B, where unemployment was only 5.6 per cent.

The introduction of team work for manual workers does not resemble its text-book version in either firm. In some respects the measures introduced by their managements have had the opposite effect, limiting some of the key attributes of team work, such as greater independence in determining work content and job design, interdependence of workers' performance or opportunities to acquire new skills. Innovations in the organisation of work involving more complicated work patterns have seemingly influenced the relation of blue-collar workers to managers, co-workers and trade unions. The subdivision of the work collective into small work groups with greater autonomy has often led to greater solidarity both within the group and with management, but weakened ties to unions. Employees take care of their own needs and demands through their immediate bosses and have less recourse to their union organisation. Where good communication between management and workers is combined with a stable production programme and thus job stability, people have lower expectations of unions and feel less need to take part in their activities. Nevertheless it was possible to detect a certain improvement in employees' attitudes to unions in keeping with a generalised trend in Czech society during the late 1990s. As trade unions adapted to a democratic system and a market economy at national, sectoral and local levels, our findings, notwithstanding differences between the two firms, indicate a partial recovery in their relevance to employees' needs.


Notes
1
Our research was undertaken as part of the ongoing project, 'The Quality of Working Life in the Electronics Industry', which is coordinated by Shiraishi Tosimasa (Denki Rengo) and Ishikawa Akihiro (Chuo University Tokyo), and

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Local Communities and Post-Communist Transformation: Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Basees/Routledgecurzon Series on Russian and East European Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • 1 - Sociological Readings of Post-Communist Lifeworlds 1
  • Notes 13
  • Bibliography 14
  • 2 - Civil Society and Political Parties in the Czech Republic 19
  • Bibliography 39
  • 3 - Agents for Community Self-Determination? Experiences of Local Actors 41
  • Notes 85
  • Bibliography 89
  • 4 - The Slovak Union of Nature and Landscape Conservationists 92
  • Notes 103
  • 5 - Electronics Industry Workers in Slovakia 1995–2000 105
  • Notes 123
  • Bibliography 124
  • 6 - Case Studies from the Electronics Industry 126
  • Notes 141
  • 7 - The Czech Republic 1990–2000 143
  • Notes 158
  • Bibliography 159
  • 8 - Civic Potential as a Differentiating Factor in the Development of Local Communities 161
  • Bibliography 182
  • 9 - Group Strategies of Local Communities in Slovakia Facing Social Threats 184
  • Bibliography 205
  • 10 - The Narrativisation of Social Transformation 206
  • Notes 216
  • Bibliography 218
  • Index 221
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