Institutional transformation and enterprise change in an emergent capitalist economy: The case of Hungary

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The collapse of state socialism in Eastern Europe has transformed many of the institutions governing state enterprises and was expected to lead to radical changes in enterprise structures and practices. This was especially so where ownership had changed. However, just as new constitutions do not create liberal democracies overnight, so too the withdrawal of the state from direct control over the economy and privatization does not automatically generate dramatic enterprise transformations. This study of 27 Hungarian enterprises in the early 1990s shows that products and the markets served changed remarkably little, and the employment and organizational changes that have taken place in most enterprises have been less radical than might be expected. Ownership changes have not always led to major shifts in control, nor have private owners implemented sharply different policies from state controllers. The highly fluid institutional environment limited the commitment to, and capacity for, major strategic changes in most substantial Hungarian enterprises. Where changes have occurred, they have been most significant in: (a) state enterprises that are in severe financial difficulties, and (b) companies controlled by foreign firms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-280
Number of pages21
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • East Europe
  • Enterprise change
  • Institutional change
  • Ownership and control


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