Since the breakdown of the socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, with their planned economies and lack of entrepreneurial freedom, a dramatic development of free markets and competitive enterprises in an extremely turbulent economic environment has been observed. One of these countries, Poland, can be regarded as a laboratory for scientific research on macroeconomic transformation and managerial change. Poland not only spearheaded the process of economic democratization and liberation, but in 1989, immediately after the political turnaround, it also became a preferred target market for concentrated investment by foreign enterprises. One prominent example, which is a focus of our research, is Beiersdorf-Lechia in Poznan, which produces and distributes the Nivea Creme brand in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries. The many facets of the process of developing a market-oriented strategy, structure and culture reveal the enormous challenges of managing change in a transforming society.
Although there is a rapidly growing body of work on the macroeconomic transformation processes in Central and Eastern Europe, less has been written about the managerial challenges and problems of changing state-owned conglomerates into highly responsive, consumer-oriented, lean-structured private enterprises. Those managers of Western companies who were sent to the region were like astronauts venturing into unknown space. Most were unable to speak the language or understand the customs and culture of the countries in question. Furthermore they had to develop their own situation-related solutions as prior experience of similar change management processes did not exist.
The aim of this book is to fill the knowledge gap in this area by analyzing the complex transition of production-centred, highly diversified, vertically integrated conglomerates into thriving consumer-oriented private enterprises. One of the main findings of our in-depth analysis of the change process is that standard theories, models and recommendations for change management have to be reformulated. Many important facets of the change process are often underestimated or neglected, including the need for speedy action, the pressing demand for appropriate capital investment, the problem of inappropriately trained human resources, the resolution of conflicts of interest and the struggle between old and new holders of authority, all of which require a flexible, situation-dependent, management leadership style.
About the Editors
Heinz-Jurgen Stuting is General Manager of Beiersdorf-Lechia SA Poznan, Poland.
Wolfgang Dorow holds the Chair for Strategic Management and Organizational Behaviour, European University Viadrina, Germany.
Frank Claasen is Project Manager Consumer Systems at Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany.
Susanne Blazejewski is Assistant Professor in Strategic Management and Organizational Behavior, European University Viadrina, Germany.