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Entrepreneurship in Russia: patterns and problems of its development in the post-Soviet period

Bain, Courtney (2007) Entrepreneurship in Russia: patterns and problems of its development in the post-Soviet period. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The development of a robust small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector has been widely seen as important to Russia’s socio-economic transformation. This has been clear from state policies and rhetoric that claim to support the development of entrepreneurship and publicly advocate its importance. Significantly however, this official support for the SME sector has been out of line with the patterns of entrepreneurial development on the ground. Entrepreneurs continue to face a host of obstacles in the spheres of legislation, tax, accessing credit, as well as administrative barriers; all of which have complicated the development of small and medium sized businesses. Given the direct role that individual entrepreneurs play in shaping the SME sector, an understanding of entrepreneurs themselves – their experiences, attitudes, values and beliefs – is required in order to understand the patterns and problems of entrepreneurial development. Yet notably, much of the existing literature has not attached a high degree of importance to the experiences of entrepreneurs in processes of development. This thesis addresses this gap in the literature by exploring the patterns and problems of entrepreneurial development from the perspective of entrepreneurs themselves. It asks the question: how have behaviour, attitudes, values and socio-cultural context impacted on the development of entrepreneurship? Qualitative ethnographic research methods were used to explore the experiences of entrepreneurs and their responses to the challenges of the Russian business environment in four regions of Russia: Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Tver’ and Kaluga. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with entrepreneurs as well as state officials and leaders of business associations. Involving a variety of individuals who have played a role in shaping the entrepreneurial process provided insight into the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values towards entrepreneurship. This thesis found that the relationships that entrepreneurs form with other entrepreneurs, as well as with state officials and leaders of business associations are instrumental to understanding the patterns of behaviour of entrepreneurs and how these, in turn, shape entrepreneurial processes. It also finds that informal practices such as blat and personal networks are integral strategies used by entrepreneurs to navigate the challenges of doing business in Russia. At the same time, this thesis concludes that these behaviours of entrepreneurs, which often occur in collusion with state officials and leaders of business associations, have subverted the integrity of the formal system and have contributed to a pattern of entrepreneurial development which has suffocated the potential and prosperity of the SME sector. The entrepreneurial process in Russia has thus been a complex mixture of successes and frustrations and the experiences of entrepreneurs are key to understanding this process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, SME sector, economic development, Russia, post-Soviet, blat, networks
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Kay, Dr. Rebecca and Cox, Prof. Terry
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Dr Courtney Bain
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-18
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:14
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/18

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