Within international social thought the Russian sociological tradition has certain peculiarities inspired by its historical origins, its structural place in humanities generally, and its practical involvement in social transformation. It is also marked by its holistic perception of social phenomena and crises, state-society relations, crime and punishment, and personality. The backbone of such theoretical constructions is the ethical idea that intellectuals bear the legal, social and moral responsibility for social developments. Contrary to Western sociological theories this element of the Russian tradition changed the interpretation of many classical issues in sociology substantially, and determined the prevailing interest in the study of contradictions between static and dynamic forms of regulation, the circulation of social frames, positive law and justice (legal dualism), extra-legal forms of property relations, behaviour, and deviation. An effective reconstruction of these key positions of the Russian sociological thought is possible on the basis of cognitive theory—a new theoretical approach which emphasizes the role of psychological attitudes of individuals and social groups in the process of cognitive adaptation and purpose-oriented behaviour. All these aspects of the Russian sociological heritage have been largely neglected by scholars, although they are highly relevant for understanding the revolutionary transformations in the 20th century, as well as social experiments in the post-Soviet era.
National labour and management culture is one of the key factors that foster or hinder economic development in the context of globalization and the resulting division of labour in the global economy. Some commentators argue that Russian labour and management culture is incompatible with the challenge of fostering innovation-driven development. However, the existing empirical research on the creativity of Russian professionals provides, at best, very mixed support for such claims. This article re-investigates this issue from a critical perspective. The re-investigation is based on a review of existing studies about Russian labour and management culture and highlights some of the inconsistencies and contradictions. My analysis shows that Russian culture can constrain creativity, although several important reservations have to be made. While Russian workers tend to avoid responsibility and decision-making, Russian managers usually adopt an authoritarian style of management, which encourages their subordinates to be passive and exercise loyalty. However, this rather general and stereotypical perception overlooks certain specific circumstances, which may stimulate creativity among Russians. When isolated from a vertical authoritarian environment and placed within small independent working groups, Russians become quite innovative. It is also essential to provide supportive and engaging leadership to such teams, and convey clear objectives to team-members. Another important dimension is related to the timing of projects and workflow. Russians expend a lot of effort and enthusiasm in the short-term and can effectively meet project objectives if they do not require long-term investments. A possible solution to this problem could a cyclic work regime, with which employees could be protected from ‘burning out’ by reallocating their effort to other objectives. The article concludes with several hypotheses to be tested in future empirical studies.