2013–2014 was a stage of organizational transformation of the Russian postal system, which caused disruption of the organizational structure and doubling of its operational elements. This article begins by exploring the resulting situation of ambiguity and uncertainty caused by this disruption. Under these conditions, according to K. Weick, the sensemaking process should play an essential role in organizational performance. This research project aims to identify the structural features of the Russian postal system during the reorganization stage, as well as at defining the meanings which employees gave to ongoing changes. The data was collected through participant observation from the position of Moscow Central Office postal employee from June 2013 to September 2014; fourteen interviews of employees and document analysis were conducted as well. Information was recorded in field notes and diary and analyzed with open and axial coding according to the procedures of grounded theory. The main findings presented in this article are the disruption of structure and the following complexities in its functional performance and the coexistence of two organizational images between more experienced workers affected by organizational change and the newcomer employees with brand new ideas. Employees’ perception of the Russian postal system is presented as simultaneously government and commercial, profitable and detrimental, typical and specific organization. These dual images can cause difficulties both in employees’ communication and organizational performance.
At the enterprises integrated into structure of multinational corporations, high-quality changes of the labor relations are observed. How traditional trade union' practices adapt to policy and actions of the new owner? What problems are generated by this interaction? How priorities and forms of trade-union organization work are changing? The author offers answers to these questions, analyzing Samara Metallurgical Plant experience.
This book by Jonathan Morduch and Rachel Schneider allows us to be immersed in the life of American families and to discover the most hidden area of family life— financial well-being. Reading this book, it is possible to find out how household income is formed, how money is spent, how savings are made, what kind of debt practices are applied and, most importantly, what problems and decision-making processes Americans have to face on this difficult path. The authors compare the financial path of the study participants to a rocky road, and their lives to a struggle in a world of uncertainty. The researchers show that the main problem for people in the US is not low income but instability, which leads to the fact that families live far from the normal financial patterns for almost half the year. The results show how far American families are from the predictions of Franco Modigliani’s lifecycle model and how misunderstood they remain by the main programs of social support which are mainly built around long-term plans and specific goals such as retirement savings, while families need short-term assistance—to live to the next month. The research topic is, of course, extremely urgent, and its implementation deserves recognition in the methodological field of research into the financial behavior of families. This is an example of financial ethnography, which is embodied in the book and can bring each reader closer to understanding how real families live on another continent and what problems they have to face.
The book by Zsuzsa Berend is based on a decade-long ethnography of writing behavior of a "self-selected group of amazing women", www.surromomsonline.com users (the SMO’ers). This is not the first, but probably the longest study of American surrogacy and the social dynamics of online discussions, so I'm sure it will become a "must read" for researchers of different fields. The patterns of the discussions initiated by the SMO’ers were connected to parenting and motherhood, work and relationships, contract and money, goods and gifts, which were always the concepts of interest for both economic anthropology and economic sociology. Surrogate mothers and childless couples, who entered into their dialogue without mediators (or, to be precise, via the Internet), were trying to negotiate moral meanings of these concepts in the context of market rationality and to develop a win/win project aiming to bring a new life into the world. Berend who was analyzing their rhetorical efforts by using grounded theory package tried to answer a wider question "is it possible to reconcile morality with markets?". Although she brought some theoretical concepts (in particular, from the field of economic sociology) in her analysis, she also stayed very close to her informants’ explanations of their reality. As a result and in my opinion, Berend found her answer to this question in the ‘native concept’ of “real altruism” redefining the meaning of reciprocity and the balance of ‘given’ and ‘received’.
In a risk society, healthism, medicalization, and the expansion of the market for bottled water all contribute to the disciplinary self-management of drinking water consumption. Such changes align with the predictions of classical sociologists like Weber and Simmel that the phenomenon of rationalization would extend to all spheres of society, including everyday life. Based on qualitative research data on drinking water consumption in Moscow, this study assesses how such trends are manifested in contemporary Russian society.
The study demonstrates an increasing emphasis on managing thirst. In certain social contexts (including sports, weight loss, and pregnancy), the habitualization of socially constructed norms of water consumption has transformed these into an internal need. The mechanisms of control and calculative behavior are manifested in both the conscious attempts and unconscious measuring tactics developed by Muscovites to increase the volume of water being drunk . Ordinary people who are anxious about the safety of drinking water seek institutional support from the state, advertisements for bottled water, and expert knowledge of various kinds. Because the quality of drinking water is perceived to be an existential issue, the lack of certainty around this issue sometimes gives rise to irrational beliefs. The researchers were especially surprised to find references to “life-giving” or “dead” water in the narratives of respondents with a university education, including some with medical degrees.
The objective of the paper is to reveal сross-country and gender differences in values and the actualization of three achievement motives across the world: namely, high earnings, career growth and interesting work. Achievement motivation contributes to improving the quality of work and thus contributes to both the growth of the welfare of the worker and the economic growth of the country. In previous studies, it was shown that the achievement motives are more widespread among men, and it is easier for men to put these motives into practice. At the same time, it is expected that in countries with high levels of individualism, GDP per capita and gender equality, women would show more interest toward work and thus have more desire to achieve. In our work, we have tested this hypothesis. The International Social Survey Program (2015) serves as a dataset, and the sample includes the employees. Multi-level logistic regression analysis showed that the motives for high income and career growth are more important for men, while the motive of interesting work is of higher significance for women. However, interesting work is more important for women in almost all countries, whereas higher importance of income and career motivation for men is observed only in some countries. At the same time, the motives for high income and a good career are more attractive to men than women, and there was no gender difference in the realization of the motive for interesting work. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, the gender gap, both in the importance of high income and career growth and in the success of their realization turned out to be higher in countries with high levels of individualism, GDP per capita and gender equality than in less wealthy countries with opposite characteristics. Thus, higher rates of individualism, economic well-being and gender equality do not necessarily lead to the like-mindedness of men and women in achievement motives and the equality of their opportunities in the labor market.
Today is still little known about regional inequality in education in Russia. In this article, we, on the one hand, analyze regional differences in educational resources in their association with regions’ socio-economic characteristics. On the other hand, we estimate relationship of regions’ socio-economic characteristics and educational resources with the proportion of students remaining in high school as well as with the average results of the Unified State Exam (end of high school test) in two compulsory subjects - Russian and math. We test theories of effectively maintained inequality and maximally maintained inequality with the use of data of Russia regions that we retrieve in open sources – publications of Rosstat, federal and regional education agencies. To estimate the relationship we use correlation and regression analysis. Our results show that more urbanized regions with higher level of human capital and GRP are usually characterized by the higher level of school expenditures, more experienced teachers, and higher chances for students to study at the advanced level. The same time, the level of urbanization and human capital is positively related to the proportion of students that choose academic trajectory after finishing secondary school. Finally, the results of the Unified State Exam are also positively associated with access to educational resources. In both subjects, the average test score is higher in the regions with higher proportion of students in lyceums/gymnasiums and in schools with advanced study of the subjects. In Russian, the exam results are also related to the proportion of students remaining in high school. In general, regional inequality in access to educational resources overlaps with socio-economic differences which produces a situation of double loss or double advantage. Bigger access to better educational resources in regions with higher human capital supports effectively maintained inequality theory. The same time the fact that less proportion of students choose academic trajectory after grade 9 in regions with less human capital could be an evidence of maximally maintained inequality. The article could be interesting to readers whose study relates to problems of education inequality and education policy.
Despite the 20 years of economic transformation from the redistributive system (razdatok) to the market, the Russian modern housing policy has returned to the large-scale introduction of departmental and public housing and municipal mortgage (at reduced rate) for government employees. It resulted from the mechanism of market-razdatok equilibrium. In the course of historical changes in Russia it came through three institutional cycles. At structured phases of these cycles the razdatok turns out to be in the front while at the transformation stages a quasi market is formed. Both models generate significant outcomes but then face a crisis. This impasse is usually resolved by mutual replacement of these models. The new housing policy should synthesize market and redistributive (razdatok) mechanisms as indicated by the experience of welfare states' formation in the developed countries.