Sabine Kropp, Katharina Bluhm (both FU Berlin), Claudius Wagemann (University of Frankfurt)
News from Sep 11, 2017
Although research on modern authoritarianism and hybrid regimes is progressively differentiating, there are few studies that provide insight into how these regimes deal with concrete policy issues. This is particularly true of Russia, a ‘typical case’ of new authoritarian and hybrid regimes. Recent studies show that the Russian state regularly uses resources of companies and civil society actors to solve specific policy problems. While a growing share of literature is devoted to the role of Russian civil society in such governance patterns, the role of companies is less well researched. (Semi-)state and private enterprises are however of particular interest because they have more resources than civil society actors and are often active on international markets. They figure therefore centrally in the planned project.
One arena in which interactions between companies and state actors take place, and to some extent also involves NGOs, are the corporate social responsibility activities (CSR) of large companies in Russia. Though in the strict sense CSR involves a voluntary commitment, which is also always emphasized by Russian business associations, from the outset CSR has also been used by the state as an instrument to integrate companies into the restored power vertical and to commit them to state programs. This applies especially to the regional level, where administrations are burdened with a variety of social policy and development tasks but without sufficient tax revenues. The aim is to explain why companies, state actors and NGOs participate in CSR, what more-or-less institutionalized variants of governance result from their interactions, and how these are linked to vertical instruments of state control. CSR is therefore an example to study patterns of governance in new authoritarian and hybrid regimes.
The project is at the interface of political science and economic sociology. Theoretically, the meta-governance perspective is supplemented by approaches of resource dependency and exchange. Thereby, the project investigates various sectors and regions. Starting point are qualitative case studies of 21 plants of large companies in the oil and gas industry, metallurgy and trade in three selected regions (Volgograd, Tyumen, Kemerovo). A ‘qualitative comparative analysis’ (QCA) builds on the comparative case-study design in order to elaborate configurations and invariance. The project design thus also provides additional methodological value.