Governance of economic transitions: a case study of Ukraine

Andrey Sergeyev (Cybernetics and System Thinking Centre, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)
Alfredo Moscardini (Cybernetics and System Thinking Centre, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 1 January 2006



Ukraine has had to change in ten years from a strong centrally controlled communist economy to a market economy. It has not been successful. The purpose of this paper is to explain this failure from the complexity management point of view.


This paper takes a cybernetic view of the attempts at Governance in Ukraine over its transition period. To diagnose the problem a novel approach based on the Viable Systems Methodology of Stafford Beer is used.


Serious structural flaws are identified in the organisation of governance at the national level and it is shown how these inadequacies induced the formation of mutant abnormal strategies at the level of economic agents.

Practical implications

Presents credible explanations of phenomena such as barter, corruption, growth of overdue debts and the existence of incentives (other than profit maximizing ones) which drive the behaviour of firms.


There are many explanations of the same phenomena in contemporary economic literature but our explanations are based purely on an analysis of the complexity management tasks performed at each level of recursion: from a government to a firm. Moreover, the paper shows that the structural specificity of a system shapes the behavioural patterns of each systemic element, would it be a government body or a firm's management. Therefore, the notion of structural determinism allows one to state that structure defines the dynamics of any systemic change.



Sergeyev, A. and Moscardini, A. (2006), "Governance of economic transitions: a case study of Ukraine", Kybernetes, Vol. 35 No. 1/2, pp. 90-107.

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