The article reconstructs the organizational and technical narratives in the history of the Škoda Auto Plant in Mladá Boleslav (Czechoslovakia) and of the Volga Automobile Factory in Tolyatti (Soviet Union), in the years between the construction and modernization of their plants in the 1960s and the fall of the Communist regimes. These narratives accompanied the key strategic steps of implementing new product and process technologies. The research demonstrates that the trajectories of the two manufacturers were not the same under these regimes, despite the similarities in their macroeconomic and political systems (planned economy, state socialism) and the structural homogeneity of socialist enterprises. The roots of these diverging paths can be traced back to the different interpretations that experts have given to foreign technology and managerial knowledge in motor vehicle manufacturing since the 1920s. The automobile industry was highly symbolic for both socialist modernization and national identity. Original research was conducted between 2009 and 2018 in company archives and national state archives in the Czech Republic, Italy and Russia. The primary sources examined include the Archivio Storico Fiat, based in Turin, in addition to records from the funds USSR, COMAU, Agnelli, Fiat Allis, Pedrana, and Škoda Auto of the Škoda Historical Archives based in Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic. Material was also gathered in the Russian State Archive of the Economy in Moscow. In the Czech Republic, records from the Prime Minister’s Office and the State Central Archives in Prague were also examined for the years 1954-1959 and 1960-1990. In addition to archival research, the article makes use of semi-structured interviews conducted with Fiat managers and experts who had taken part in Fiat missions to the USSR.

A tale of two socialist enterprises: production and decision-making at Škoda Auto and AvtoVAZ, 1960-1980

Fava Valentina
2021

Abstract

The article reconstructs the organizational and technical narratives in the history of the Škoda Auto Plant in Mladá Boleslav (Czechoslovakia) and of the Volga Automobile Factory in Tolyatti (Soviet Union), in the years between the construction and modernization of their plants in the 1960s and the fall of the Communist regimes. These narratives accompanied the key strategic steps of implementing new product and process technologies. The research demonstrates that the trajectories of the two manufacturers were not the same under these regimes, despite the similarities in their macroeconomic and political systems (planned economy, state socialism) and the structural homogeneity of socialist enterprises. The roots of these diverging paths can be traced back to the different interpretations that experts have given to foreign technology and managerial knowledge in motor vehicle manufacturing since the 1920s. The automobile industry was highly symbolic for both socialist modernization and national identity. Original research was conducted between 2009 and 2018 in company archives and national state archives in the Czech Republic, Italy and Russia. The primary sources examined include the Archivio Storico Fiat, based in Turin, in addition to records from the funds USSR, COMAU, Agnelli, Fiat Allis, Pedrana, and Škoda Auto of the Škoda Historical Archives based in Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic. Material was also gathered in the Russian State Archive of the Economy in Moscow. In the Czech Republic, records from the Prime Minister’s Office and the State Central Archives in Prague were also examined for the years 1954-1959 and 1960-1990. In addition to archival research, the article makes use of semi-structured interviews conducted with Fiat managers and experts who had taken part in Fiat missions to the USSR.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3752516
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