4th Workshop on Business History in Central and Eastern Europe 

Call for papers: Firms, Wars, and Ethics in the Business History of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia 

Place: Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice 

Date: October 21-22, 2022 

Organizers: Ulf Brunnbauer (Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), Regensburg), Valentina Fava (Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia), Alfred Reckendrees (Copenhagen Business School), Thomasz Olejniczak (Kozminski University, Warsaw), Volodymyr Kulikov (The Ukrainian Catholic University).

The workshop series is supported by the European Business History Association.

For this 4th Workshop on Business History in Central and Eastern Europe, the organizers invite scholars, including Ph.D. students of any relevant discipline to submit paper proposals on a broad range of topics related to business actors & corporate behavior in (and after) armed conflicts during the 20th century. 

The workshop will particularly draw on historical research on the two World Wars and their aftermaths to provide tentative answers to several questions evoked by the Russia-Ukraine war of 2022. 

The aim is to explore the relationship between business and geopolitics from a long-term historical perspective focusing on the economic and social consequences of the war, including (de)globalization processes. 

On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, causing thousands of deaths among civilians, colossal damage in the infrastructure, and forcing over 10 million people to leave their homes. In response, democratic states have demonstrated unprecedented unity and imposed extensive economic sanctions on Russia. The combination of military conflict, economic warfare, and humanitarian crisis has had an enormous impact on the economic environment, including the disruption of global supply chains, commodity price shock, increased market volatility, and making the world’s economic development, already hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, even more unpredictable. 

As a result, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected both the multinational companies as well as the domestic firms operating in Central-Eastern Europe. Within just a few weeks, companies running in CEE faced challenges rarely dealt with at business schools. Companies face ethical dilemmas and feel strong pressure from their shareholders and stakeholders, forcing them to make decisions that go well beyond usual business thinking and strategizing. Thousands of companies have decided to divest, withdraw, or scale down their operations in Russia. In contrast, others justify their decision to stay with their responsibility towards their employees in Russia and their unwillingness to deprive Russia’s population of essential goods such as food and medical supplies. The events unfolding in the last weeks in Ukraine and CEE have presented business historians with serious questions: 

The role of business in military conflicts and post-war development.

What are the various roles firms play in armed conflicts? 

How is the role of companies decided in conflicts? 

How and why can some companies benefit from war while others suffer disruption and destruction in their production and distribution networks? 

Why do some companies embrace the role of humanitarian actors providing welfare and assistance, while others that of political actors using their activities to build bridges for peace? 

Which role can business enterprises play in post-war development? 

How fast do companies return to the countries affected by war, and how do their previous decisions impact the post-war future? 

How does organizational resilience manifest itself in the aftermath of war? 

What can we learn from the experience of the First and the Second World Wars? 

Business ethics vs. unethical corporate behavior.

What does (business) history teach us about ethical behavior in times of war? 

How does public pressure affect corporate behavior and reputation? 

To what extent can ethical leadership and corporate social responsibility contribute to solving the humanitarian crisis? 

How do firms/managers decide what they perceive (un)ethical? 

Who are the main actors in this process? 

Corporate lessons from uncomfortable pasts.

Most historians do not embrace the naïve view of “learning from history” as history does not repeat itself. However, is there something that we can learn from corporate entanglement in wars and corporate strategies after armed conflicts? 

Are there implications after the war for companies operating in belligerent countries who perceive their activities as neutral? 

What are the advantages of staying or leaving for firms trying to rebuild their business abroad after a war? 

What role, if any, does corporate memory and corporal forgetting play in facilitating conflicts? 

Who decides and who should decide what to remember and forget, especially in the case of uncomfortable or dark heritage? 

We invite fellow scholars to discuss corporate behavior during past wars and humanitarian crises to contribute to our understanding of the Russia-Ukraine war and its possible consequences for business in Central and Eastern Europe from a historical perspective. The workshop is aimed to engage in a debate about the behavior of business actors and to understand whether and how firms’ behavior during and after wars has changed over time and across regions. The call is open to all topics that fit the general scope of the workshop. Although our focus is Central Eastern Europe, we welcome studies concerning other regions if they contribute to deepening our understanding of the topic. 

To apply, please, send an abstract of 500 words presenting the subject, the conceptual framework, the analytical approach, and the controversial issue(s) to tackle within the discussion, along with a maximum two-page-long CV by April 28, 2022, to Valentina Fava valentina.fava@unive.it

Papers for presentation will be selected following a peer-review procedure. The format of the workshops is designed to support a comprehensive discussion on selected topics. We welcome both panel proposals dealing with conceptual and methodological questions and brief contributions. 

Participants are invited to submit a written paper (not exceeding 6,000 words) three weeks before the workshop. We will distribute these texts among the workshop participants prior to the workshop. 

The organizers are currently applying to foundations for financial support to cover the costs of workshop participants. Colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe will be prioritized.

JBE SI: Business Ethics in the Post-Communist Societies of Central and Eastern Europe

Journal of Business Ethics

Special Issue Call for Papers: “Business Ethics in the Post-Communist Societies of Central and Eastern Europe”

Submission Deadline for Full Papers: Friday 1 November 2019

Guest Editors
Anna Soulsby, Nottingham University Business School, U.K.
Email: anna.soulsby@nottingham.ac.uk

Anna Remišová, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
Email: anna.remisova@fm.uniba.sk

Thomas Steger, University of Regensburg, Germany.
Email: thomas.steger@wiwi.uni-regensburg.de

Introduction to the Special Issue Call for Papers
This call for papers, which follows on from the last special issue on post-communist societies (Brown, McCabe and Primeaux, 2003) will focus on the developments in ethical standards in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe as over thirty years has elapsed since the demise of the Soviet Bloc. Despite some common institutional features the societies of Central and Eastern Europe have had very different experiences (Hardy, 2014; Myant and Drahokoupil, 2010; 2011) with uneven developments across the region since the collapse of communism. In this special issue we invite papers that explore business ethics situated within the context of the challenges that face these still transforming societies. The post-communist societies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have experienced radical changes since the collapse of communism. A particular issue for these societies has been the development of new political and economic institutions to meet the requirements of modern European market democracies. An important part of this process was the move to develop these societies to conform to the norms of the European Union leading to eventual accession (with exception of the former Eastern Germany) in the 2000s. Managers of organisations have had to respond to the fast changes in their markets, the privatisation of former state-owned enterprises (Filatotchev, Starkey and Wright, 1994; Gray, 1996), the rolling back of the state, the development competition with new companies (Smallbone and Welter, 2001), the impact of foreign direct investment and the effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Managers have also had to respond to the challenge of the re-legitimisation of management as an activity in post-communist society where managers were viewed as part of the repressive state bureaucracy (Bohata, 1997).

We are interested in theoretical and empirical research on that investigates managerial and organisational responses to these challenges. Papers might consider, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:

  • The influence of privatisation and post-privatisation strategies on management behaviour and ethics
  • Leadership, misconduct and unethical behaviour by managers and owners of companies
  • Corporate governance and transparency and corruption
  • The development of local and national government institutions after the collapse of the Soviet Bloc and their influence on managers and organisations
  • Spill-over effects and the influence of joint-ventures and multi-multinationals on the development of managerial practices and ethics
  • The development of professional ethical standards in CEE and management education programmes
  • The effects of the historical legacy of societal tolerance of corruption and unethical behaviour
  • Comparative studies of managerial behaviour across the CEE region

Submission Process and Deadline
Authors should refer to the Journal of Business Ethics website for instructions on submitting a paper and for more information about the journal: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/applied+ethics/journal/10551.

Submission of papers to the special issue is required through Editorial Manager at: http://www.editorialmanager.com/busi/.
Upon submission, please indicate that your submission is to this Special Issue.
Any questions about potential topics and papers should be directed to the guest editors of the special issue.

The deadline for submission of full papers is Friday 1 November 2019.

Paper Development Workshop
There will be a paper development workshop organised at the University of Regensburg, 11- 12 July 2019. Please email thomas.steger@wiwi.uni-regensburg.de with your paper by 27 May 2019. Please note that attendance at the workshop is not a requirement for submission to the special issue.

Bohata, M. (1997). Business Ethics in Central and Eastern Europe with Special Focus on the Czech Republic. Journal of Business Ethics, 15: 1571–1577.
Brown, W. S; McCabe, D. and Primeaux, P. (2003). Business Ethics in Transitional Economies, Introduction. Journal of Business Ethics, 47, 4: 295-297.
Filatotchev, I.; Starkey, K. and Wright, M. (1994). The Ethical Challenge of Management Buy-Outs as a Form of Privatisation in Central and Eastern Europe. Journal of Business Ethics, 13, 7: 523-534.
Gray, C. (1996). In Search of Owners: Privatization and Corporate Governance in Transition Economies. The World Bank Research Observer, 11, 2: 179-97.
Hardy, J. (2014). Transformation and Crisis in Central and Eastern Europe: A Combined and Uneven Development Perspective. Capital & Class, 38, 1:143–155.
Myant, M. and Drahokoupil, J. (2010). Transition Economies: Political Economy in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, N.J.
Myant, M and Drahokoupil, J. (2012). International Integration, Varieties of Capitalism and Resilience to Crisis in Transition Economies. Europe-Asia Studies, 64, 1: 1-33.
Smallbone, D. and Welter, F. (2001). The Distinctiveness of Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies. Small Business Economics, 16, 4: 249–262.