Cold Wars and Hot Issues (Management of Responsibilities)

33 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2003

See all articles by S.J. Magala

S.J. Magala

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Date Written: January 2001, 11


HRM research rarely focusses on ethical issues and on moral legacies embedded in employees' cultural software. Ignoring the latter can result in a failure to assess important criteria of strategic HRM policies, which should not stop at the factory door nor at the state borders. Recent HRM problems experienced in the post-communist countries are cases in point. Hidden injuries of cold war include not only the obsolete Russian nuclear submarines waiting for their radioactive spills to enter global food chains. Less visible, but equally dangerous is a moral and an ethical fallout of Stalinism and the failure to de-stalinize. Authoritarian mind-set prevents ex-Soviet citizens from discovering, developing and maintaining civic entrepreneurship. Might (of the state) becomes right (for an individual). Lack of civic entrepreneurship makes redefining collective identity and coming to terms with responsibilities difficult. The emergence of a symbolic cemetary of the Polish officers, prisoners of war murdered on Stalin's orders in 1940, allows us to trace a mechanism for making state violence transparent and for acknowledging collective responsibilities. Is there a lesson to be learned in managing a social learning process in spite of a learned irresponsibility of the "authoritarian personalities"? Can coming to terms with state-controlled genocide provide a starting point for a re-educational campaign and for a coaching of civic virtues? Can management of moral legacies and ethical responsibilities become part and parcel of a future HRM policy for a globally networked world?

Keywords: political trauma, ethical fallout, civil entrepreneurship, collective, social learning curve

JEL Classification: M, M10, L2, M12

Suggested Citation

Magala, Slawomir J., Cold Wars and Hot Issues (Management of Responsibilities) (January 2001, 11). Available at SSRN:

Slawomir J. Magala (Contact Author)

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam

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