This paper seeks to provide an invited response to the Michailova/Jormanainen paper (CPoIB, Vol. 7 No. 3).
The author adopts a subjective approach to respond to the Michailova/Jormanainen paper and challenge/develop further some of the authors' findings.
The author: suggests that a striking capacity for improvisation applied to virtually every human activity in the USSR; agrees with Michailova and Jormanainen that the Soviet Union's knowledge legacy is a far more important resource for Western firms than is usually appreciated, but believes it is very difficult for the latter to use this resource “in a more nuanced manner”; posits that Russia is learning a new language both literally and metaphorically; and concludes that Russians prefer asymmetrical relationships with the West.
There is a need for more research into Soviet history and even earlier periods of Russian history to explain contemporary Russian management and the Russian style of interaction with foreign business partners.
Foreign firms dealing with Russia must learn to live with asymmetry in their relationships with Russian business partners; knowing sharing operates in a zone of severe terminological and attitudinal mismatches.
Historical approach; use of Russian language sources, including Tolstoy; first reference in English‐language management literature of Russia's first Handbook of Knowledge Management.
Holden, N.J. (2011), "“Not with the mind alone”: A critique of “Knowledge transfer between Russian and Western firms: whose absorptive capacity is in question?” by Snejina Michailova and Irina Jormanainen", critical perspectives on international business, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 350-356. https://doi.org/10.1108/17422041111180782
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