Weber, Marx, and work values: Evidence from transition economies

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Are work values a cause (Weber) or consequence (Marx) of the economic environment? The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 provides a unique opportunity to investigate this link. Using data collected from an employee survey conducted in over 340 workplaces in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, we investigate generational differences in adherence to the Protestant work ethic (PWE). Our results indicate that Marx was 'right' about the link between work values and economic environment. That is, despite economic and cultural differences emerging during the transformation process, in all three countries, participating workers born after 1981 adhere more strongly to PWE than workers born before 1977. Moreover, the estimate magnitudes are very similar across these economically and culturally diverse countries. More generally, PWE adherence is stronger among participating workers with an internal locus of control and among supervisors. PWE adherence also tends to be stronger among participants with high relative earnings, as well as among those working in organizations that reward hard work with the chance to develop new skills or learn new things. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.




Linz, S. J., & Chu, Y. W. L. (2013). Weber, Marx, and work values: Evidence from transition economies. Economic Systems, 37(3), 431–448.

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