LEGITIMACY, ENGAGEMENT AND THE CREATION OF SOCIAL CAPITAL IN THE LATE TRANSITION CZECH WORKPLACE
Previous research indicates that Czechs harbor considerable doubt about the honesty of their political and economic system. One response to this perceived dishonesty has been disengagement, to the extent possible, from their work and public life. Disengagement was, both before and after 1989, the potent weapon used by Czechs in their workplaces to covertly make their wishes known on the factory floor. This behavior has proven problematic for the managers of the 'new' private enterprises in the country. The tension between management and workers has resulted in the creation of complex interactions which can begin to be understood through an analysis of transactions in social capital. To accomplish this, this paper will examine two relatively successful companies in the Southern Moravian city of Brno during the period preceding the EU accession. Through field notes, interview and survey data gathered during more than a year of ethnographic fieldwork, this paper will accomplish three objectives. It will analyze the interplay in those companies of discourses of honesty with the twin goals of managerial legitimacy and worker engagement. It will document the process of negotiation which has resulted in the development of a new moral economy on the workfloor and the growth of powerful worker networks within the enterprise. Finally, it will present a theoretical framework to capture the process of social capital creation and expenditure which is the product of these processes.
B. Passmore, 9814 Braddock Road, Silver Spring, MD 20903, USA
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