Ethnic Differences in the Latvian Business Environment (completed 2004)

This was the first systematic social scientific study of the impact of ethnicity on business practices in Latvia. The project was co-financed by the Society Integration Fund Latvia (PHARE funding). The focus of the research project was the link between social values, norms and cultural representations within the everyday practice of collective decision making, negotiation and conflict management in Latvia’s private sector companies. The main finding of the project was that there is a remarkable similarity between Latvian speaking and Russian speaking business people in the way business is practiced in Latvia. However, there exists a strong perceptual gap supported mostly by Latvians (i.e. Latvians think Russians do things differently, whereas Russians do not see such a difference). This perceived gap seems to be maintained by social communication processes outside the business community. In other words, as long as constant reverberations of the issues of ethnic differences exist across society (through media and political activism), such a perceptual gap will exist among business people - which actually is not supported by any major or significant differences in actual business practices.

Report (in Latvian): PDF

The project was completed in 2004. For more information, please contact Roberts Kilis.