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Cadres into Managers: Structural Changes of East German Economic Elites before and after Reunification

Heinrich Best
Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung
Vol. 30, No. 2 (112), Unternehmer und Manager im Sozialismus / Entrepreneurs and Managers in Socialism (2005), pp. 6-24
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20762032
Page Count: 19
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Cadres into Managers: Structural Changes of East German Economic Elites before and after Reunification
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Abstract

In East-Germany, the processes of democratic transition and market transformation took a form that was particular and distinctive from other post-communist countries: Nowhere else was the transfer of institutions of market economy, the elimination of the old regime, and the inclusion into the frameworks of supra national markets so sudden and so radical than in the former GDR. Our paper explores the formation of entrepreneurs and of the higher echelons of management in the manufacturing industry after unification from a long term perspective. Particular emphasis is given to the starting configuration of East-Germany's transition to an open market economy, and to the "afterlife" of the GDR's economic elite after unification. It can be shown that some of the structural and attitudinal differences between East and West-German economic elites can be attributed to GDR inheritance, whereas other differences have emerged as an adaptation to East-Germany's subordinate status in the German economic system. Other developments can be seen to have resulted in a convergence between Western and Eastern parts of Germany. The paper is based on survey data and processed-produced data gathered by the DFG funded Collaborative Research Programme: "Social Developments after Structural Change. Discontinuity, Tradition, and the Formation of Structures (SFB 580)".

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