Current Research Projects

The Internationalization of Russian Firms

(Dr. Carl F. Fey, SSERU and Institute of International Business at Stockholm School of Economics; Natalia Kurchakova, SSERU; Amar K.J.R. Nayak, Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar, India; and Chagqui Wu, Peking University)

Many Russian firms have expanded significantly in Russia in recent years. However, few Russian firms have started to work actively in other countries. We expect that in the coming years more and more Russian firms are going to start working more actively in other countries and are convinced that this is an important step for Russian firms to take for Russian firms to further improve their performance and for Russia as a country to further improve its economic situation. This research project is led by Dr. Carl Fey, Associate Dean of Research of Stockholm School of Economics Russia and is part of the Strategic Competitiveness of Russia Project which is lead by Michael Dimitriev who is a senior economic advisor to German Gref. The project has the aim of presenting policy changes for the Russian government which can make it easier for Russian firms to internationalize and to explain best practice in internationalization to Russian firms. Comparisons can often be very informative. As a result, in this project we will study some of the firms from Russia, China, and India which have been most successful in starting to work in other countries. We hope to develop an understanding of how these firms have managed to successfully internationalize and what has helped and hindered their progress. For example, we are interested to know if there are actions that the Russian government or other organizations can take to make it easier for Russian firms to start working abroad. Likewise, we are interested in what strategies and management practices firms have found useful to facilitate successful internationalization.

Organizational Culture and Effectiveness: A Comparison of Russia and China

(Carl F. Fey, SSERU and Institute of International Business at Stockholm School of Economics; Katherine Xin, China Europe International Business School; Sergey Morgulis-Yakushev, SSERU and John Farley, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University)

This project will create culture specific models of effective organizational cultures for Russia and China and compare these models. A culture-specific questionnaire to measure of organizational culture will be inductively developed based on input from 120 firms. Multiple responses will be obtained from over 200 firms in each country. In China, the study will be a time-series study. Mini case studies will also be conducted with about 15 firms in each country with an aim to providing practical insights to assist in implementing the study’s findings. This project offers interesting benchmarking opportunities for firms. For more information contact

The Affect of Host Country on MNC Knowledge Network Design, Use, and Performance:
A Multi-Level Approach Integrating Local Context, Social Capital, and Absorptive Capacity

(Robin Teigland, Stockholm School of Economics; Carl Fey, SSERU and Institute of International Business at SSE; Molly Wasko, Florida State University)

Multinational organizations create sustainable competitive advantage based on their ability to develop organizational capabilities by effectively integrating knowledge dispersed throughout their global subsidiaries. However, in order for a multinational’s subsidiaries to effectively compete in their local environments, each subsidiary is also under pressure to adopt local practices specific to its local environment, such as the national culture and legal systems. Thus, multinationals are faced with a multitude of different and possibly conflicting institutional pressures. We conceptualize a multinational as a network of subsidiaries, where units succeed or fail based on how well the inter-unit network supports the exchange of knowledge and the intra-unit network facilitates the integration of new knowledge. We also consider the role that external knowledge sources vs. internal knowledge sources play in providing needed knowledge for the firm and how this differs from country to country. Therefore, we take a multi-level, multi-theoretical approach to investigate knowledge exchange and subsidiary performance.

This project aims to tie together national, inter-unit, and intra-unit dynamics by focusing on knowledge integration through social networks within the setting of a multinational firm. In particular, we will investigate the relationships between a subsidiary’s local context, the subsidiary’s position in the multinational’s inter-unit network, the structural characteristics of the subsidiary’s intra-unit network, and subsidiary performance. A central research question which this project seeks to investigate is the role that internal and external knowledge sourcing play in an MNC and the extent that different types of knowledge networks are more effective in different countries. Another important question which this project seeks to answer is the extent that networks with different characteristics are more effective in different countries due to cultural and institutional differences between countries.

Such a study can make several important contributions. First, this research will empirically examine the influence of local institutions and host country national culture on a multinational’s social network. Second, this research will clarify how various patterns of subsidiary knowledge integration are related to subsidiary performance in complex knowledge environments. Third, the research will show the balance between internal and external knowledge sourcing in an MNC and which type of knowledge sourcing varies more by host country. Fourth, this research will show the extent that absorptive capacity of an organization varies depending on knowledge type and source. Finally, this research makes possible more precise theoretical models of how multinationals may design their organizations and their knowledge management activities to support knowledge integration and the creation of new knowledge to enhance subsidiary performance.

The Key Commandments of Doing Business in Russia

(Carl F. Fey, SSERU and Institute of International Business at Stockholm School of Economics; and Stanislav Shekshnia, Siberian Coal Energy Company and INSEAD)

This project aims to develop the key commandments which foreign firms should follow to be successful in doing business in Russia. The study is based on interviews with senior managers from 30 firms operating in Russia and also benefits from the authors significant experience as senior executives, consultants, researchers, and trainers in Russia for more than 15 years. The project aims to produce a practitioner-based article which illustrates each of the commandments with vivid examples from foreign firms which have been successful in Russia. The central message of the article is that today Russia offers excellent business opportunities for firms who understand how to do business there. The Russian economy has stabilized and has grown at an average rate of 7.5% for the last five years. The status of the current Russian economy combined with Russia’s significant natural resources, a population of 145 million people, and underdeveloped markets in some areas presents significant opportunities for undertaking business in Russia as long as companies use skillfully designed business models coupled with appropriate management styles. Russia, however, is a risky place for those who do not understand the secrets of doing business successfully there. Thus, the project will present key commandments that can enable foreign firms to be successful in Russia and to avoid risks of trial-and-error learning experienced by many of their predecessors.

Effective Entrepreneurial Leadership

(Carl F. Fey, SSERU and Institute of International Business at Stockholm School of Economics; and Stanislav Shekshnia, Siberian Coal Energy Company and INSEAD)

While there has been much research on leadership and a growing amount of research on entrepreneurship, there is very little work covering the intersection of both of these topics. However, developing a through understanding of what competencies entrepreneurial leaders need to possess to facilitate success is the focus of this project and of great importance. This information can help entrepreneurs understand what leadership competencies they need to possess to be effective leaders and help governments and business schools understand what training programs which develop entrepreneurial leaders should focus on.

How Transferrable is Human Resource Management Theory and Practice: A Comparison of Which HRM Systems are Most Effective in Russia, USA, Finland, and China

(Carl F. Fey, SSERU and Institute of International Business at Stockholm School of Economics; Hyeon Jeong Park; Cornell University; and Ingmar Bjorkman, Swedish School of Economics in Finland and INSEAD, Sergey Morgulis-Yakushev, SSERU, Marina Libo, SSERU)

The use of human resources as a source of competitive advantage has led to increased interest in the field of strategic human resource management (SHRM). Because firm performance stands out as a major organizational goal, much of the recent SHRM research has been directed at understanding the relationship between human resource practices and firm performance. However while empirical research has shown that HR practices are at least weakly related to firm performance, little attention has been paid to exploring the processes through which this impact takes place. Among other goals, this project aims to understand the processes by which HRM practices influence firm performance. Further, this project examines how generalizable these relationships are by testing the relationships on a data base developed from questionnaires from 100 subsidiaries of MNCs operating in USA, Russia, China, and Finland (approximately 400 subsidiaries in total). The MNCs are from USA, Sweden, Germany, and Japan. This project offers interesting benchmarking opportunities for firms. For more information contact

Effective Human Resource Management for Virtual Employees in Russia

(Marina Iskhakova, Natalia Kourchakova, Zest Leadership, and Carl F. Fey, SSERU and IIB at SSE)

Stockholm School of Economics Russia is conducting an innovative project focusing on effective telework in Russia. Telework is work conducted by an employee not physically based at the company’s office using modern telecommunication technologies (eMail, telephone, etc.). Teleworking is becoming increasingly popular due to busy schedules, increasing importance of family, rising office prices, and the increasingly global nature of business. However, little is known about teleworking. This project, aims to provide state of the art knowledge to facilitate consulting to help companies use teleworking as effectively as possible. The study, which will involve over 50 companies using teleworking in Russia will include both a qualitative part based on questionnaires and case studies. Results will be compared to effective models of human resource management derived from a study of traditional employees at over 100 companies in Russia.

Managing Change from Entrepreneurial to Professionally-Managed Firms in Russia

(Carl F. Fey, SSERU and IIB at SSE and Thea Mills, SSERU)

This project investigates how firms can successfully transform from entrepreneurial organizations to professionally-managed firms. This is a transformation process which many firms are going through now in Russia. The study is based on case studies of firms which the researchers have followed for five years. The study aims to develop strategies to ease such transitions, which are often difficult, for firms in the future.