Doing Business in Not-So-Open Societies
nov 07
November 07.
16:30 - 18:00
CEU Business School, Room 101
Frankel Leó 30-34.
Budapest 1023
Doing Business in Not-So-Open Societies
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For 25 years, CEU Business School has been the forum for scholars and practitioners of managerial professionalism and entrepreneurship in post-socialist economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). As an integral part of Central European University, the School has also been deeply committed to promoting values and ideals of the Open Society. These two roles of the School – helping managers and entrepreneurs succeed in the “world as it is” and championing a progressive change in the region's market environment – will come to a stark contrast in an intellectually provocative “Doing Business in Not-So-Open Societies” workshop, to be held on November 7, 2014 as part of Business School’s 25th Anniversary celebration.

The workshop is anchored on the research of CEU Business School’s professors Yusaf Akbar and Maciej Kisilowski on what is known in the literature as "nonmarket strategies". This body of thought challenges commonly taught approaches to strategy, which associates business success primarily with organizational efficiency and product/service innovation. By contrast, nonmarket strategy scholars argue that important path to sustainable competitive advantage also lie in leveraging social and political forces that surround businesses rather than purely focusing on market context.

Based on years of teaching, consulting, and recent systematic field work in post-socialist markets from Czech Republic to Chechnya, Professor Akbar and Professor Kisilowski now point out that nonmarket strategies are at the very center of business decision-making of managers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in the region and beyond. While in Western economies, nonmarket approach can be viewed as at best an addition to the main focus of business strategy, the findings of Akbar and Kisilowski’s research suggest that, for Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia managers, successful execution of nonmarket strategy may be fundamental. Doing business in the still not-so-open post-socialist societies may be primarily about navigating an intricate and probably opaque net of social and political forces and relationships.

The November 7th workshop will introduce the audience to the core of Professor Akbar and Professor Kisilowski’s findings, featuring original testimonials by anonymous managers from Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia. These cases will then set the stage for a revealing discussion that will especially address two interrelated questions:

  • Does the importance of nonmarket factors force business practitioners and scholars in Central/Eastern Europe and Central Asia and emerging markets more generally to develop and execute an alternative set of approaches to business strategy?
  • How should an institution committed to the pursuit of values of the Open Society respond to the not-so-open business reality highlighted by Akbar and Kisilowski’s research?


Workshop Agenda

16.30 - 16.45

Doing Business in Not-So-Open Societies:
Towards a New Directions of Strategic Management?

Welcome remarks by Professor Mel Horwitch (Dean of CEU Business School)

16.45 - 17.15

Introduction and presentation of the empirical research

Professor Yusaf Akbar & Professor Maciej Kisilowski (CEU Business School)

17.15 - 17.35


Professor Tazeeb Rajwani (Cranfield University School of Management)

Mr Zoltán Kovács (International Spokesperson of the Hungarian Government)

17.35 - 18.00

Q&A Discussion

Moderator: Professor Mel Horwitch (Dean, CEU Business School) 


  • "I have been recently nominated as the Regional IT Manager for West Africa at Unilever. My CEU Business School education has been a key differentiator during an otherwise very competitive recruitment process. I would like to thank all my great peers of the 2013-14 cohort and the wonderful faculty at the B-School for the valuable learning experience I had during my time in BP."

    Moussa Moumouni

    MSc in IT Management class of 2014

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