London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

The missing culture of cooperation in Hungary: The business environment

Author(s) Szarvas, H. & Fülöp, M.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2011  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World  
Age group -  
The business context is a complex combination of competitive and cooperative relationships among the different players. The goal of our research was to examine what happens with cooperation in this competitive context, since the existence of the cooperation culture tells a lot about democratic attitudes of people. Several studies show that there is no well developed cooperative culture in Hungary and it is assumed that this can be an obstructive factor in the operability of a community. We chose the business world and business people since in this field where the competition is perhaps the strongest in the society investigating the presence of cooperation and its integration with competition could be really characteristic and telling. Analysis was based on data of 202 business people in Hungary, 69% of them were men, 31% woman, the average age was 43 years. According to their occupation they were mostly entrepreneurs and directors of a company (70%). The in-depth interviews were transcribed and content analyzed. Our respondents characterized the relationship between cooperation and competition in different ways: being mutually exclusive, cooperation as a competitive strategy (both positive and negative forms of it) and cooperative competition. A gap was found between the beliefs on the presence of cooperation and the actual practice of everyday business life. In those cases when the respondents were asked about their perception of cooperation among business people in Hungary the majority answered that it is missing. However, when it came to their everyday business practices it turned out that they cooperate with each other at several levels. Keywords: cooperation, competition, cooperative competition, business life, trust, citizenship

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   Page last updated 09 March 2011