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Future as an Intellectual Technology in the Soviet Union:

From Centralised Planning to Reflexive Management

This article examines the ways in which future as a dimension of goal-oriented behaviour was used to organise and legitimise informal practices of management and planning in the Soviet Union. This study introduces hitherto unexplored history of reflexive management under the authoritarian regime focusing on the work of the Russian philosopher and management guru Georgii Shchedrovitskii. Drawing on the cybernetic notion of teleology, which posited reflexive goal-setting as a key condition of control, Shchedrovitskii taught Soviet managers to formulate their own goals, thus contributing to the erosion of the Communist Party’s monopoly of goal-setting. Furthermore, through the means of organisational-business games this new teleology not only transformed bureaucratic administrations into informal collectives, but also provided informality with an unprecedented legitimacy, emancipatory in the Soviet context, but highly ambiguous in post-Soviet era.

Cahiers du monde Russe, 56 / 1 (2015)

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cold war europe

“Internal Transfer of Cybernetics and Informality in the Soviet Union: The Case of Lithuania”.

Autio-Sarasmo, S. & Miklossy, K.(eds) Reassessing Cold War Europe. London & New York: Routledge, 2011, pp.119-137.



LHS 16

“When Formal Organisations Meet Informal Relations in Soviet Lithuania: Action Nets, Networks and Boundary Objects in the Construction of the Lithuanian Sea Museum”.

Lithuanian Historical Studies 15 (2011): pp. 107-134.

Full text available here.