Managing a path dependent state: Organizational and institutional development of economic geography in the Soviet Union (Nooa Nykänen)
Managing a path dependent state: Organizational and institutional development of economic geography in the Soviet Union
A permanent link to the dissertation: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8108-2
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Jyväskylä
Russia’s economic history contains highly path-dependent elements, which continue to manifest in contemporary structures and influence strategic options for future development. This dissertation analyzes the historical development of the economic geography of the Soviet Union as an important source of pathdependent elements. The study contains three individual articles, which focus on organizational mechanisms that shaped the institutional environment of Soviet decision-making and economic-geographical strategy during the 20th century. The articles utilize the concepts of institutional logics, organizational imprinting and path dependence in examining how organizational and institutional dynamics influenced, constrained and legitimized Soviet decisions and policies in the field of economic geography. The articles of this dissertation provide three key findings for the field of Soviet economic and business history. First, a prolonged rivalry of military, economic and regional logics in Soviet industrial location policy produced inconsistent strategic outcomes which contributed to structural problems in the spatial allocation of industries. Second, key characteristics of the Soviet industrial district template had imprinting effects on the localized organizational collective, which manifested persistently in subsequent economic geographical strategies due to exaptation and culturalcognitive influence mechanisms. Third, the Soviet districts of heavy industry experienced an organizational lock-in during the mid-20th century due to institutional constraints that impeded the ability of central decision-makers to initiate path-renewal processes and change mature industrial orientations through strategic interventions. Besides contributions to the context-specific field, the use of organizational concepts to study a state-managed non-market context makes a theoretical contribution by testing their validity in a non-conventional and understudied empirical setting. Overall, the study offers a historically cognizant perspective to explain why the Soviet economic geographical strategy initiated adverse and persistent outcome effects which continue to problematize economic development in post-Soviet Russia.
Keywords: Soviet Union, Russia, historical organization studies, economic geography, economic history, organizational institutionalism, Soviet economy