Dr Ichak Kalderon Adizes on Soviet time problems businesses are facing in Kazakhstan06 october 2014, 15:55
Business in the post-Soviet space is dormant, a Tengrinews.kz journalist reports, citing Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes, one of the world's leading experts on improving the performance of business and government through fundamental change.
According to Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes, “a major barrier to genuine transformation of the post-soviet states is the Soviet legacy (…) firstly, the Soviet Union wasn’t a market economy, the nation relied on the central planning model, with the major focus being placed on industrial manufacturing, rather than on market mechanisms (…)”, he said.
“Here in Kazakhstan you send brightest students to study abroad. The state-run Bolashak bursary program to send the most gifted students to best foreign universities so that they could contribute to their homeland’s development later is a good tool. But their contribution is hampered by the second component inherited from the Soviet Union. This second component is ineffective corporate governance. President of a company comes to a business meeting and faces the so-called silence syndrome: he is the only one to speak, whereas all the others in the company are dormant”, he said.
According to him, Kazakhstan does have perfectly educated people eager to work. “It’s like sowing good seeds somewhere in tundra. It won’t be much of a surprise if many of those graduating from foreign universities will leave Kazakhstan sooner or later as they face scarce opportunities to apply their knowledge and expertise.
Kazakhstan does have well-educated brain force, but the question is if there is a favorable environment to have this knowledge put to use. The corporate culture should be changed. Executives should be changed to embrace changes" Dr. Adizes believes.
“There is a third downside of the Soviet legacy. There is a lack of effective managers (…) One of the ways to solve the problem is to import workforce. But how many of the imported managers will be truly effective? How many of them will be willing to teach others? It will take quite a long time for the system to start working. It may start working effectively in 3050, rather than by 2050 in line with the Strategy-2050 in place. We should rely on people inside companies to foster effective changes. We have launched a pilot project in Kazakhtelecom and we plan to show how it works”.
Dr. Adizes believes young people with a degree from foreign universities shouldn’t work under managers dating back to Soviet times. “(…) then after the old generation is retired, there will be a new generation of those ready for constant changes. Changes should be constant, they are not a one-time step”, he said.