Logo Universität Regensburg
Dr. Peter Wegenschimmel

Dr. Peter Wegenschimmel

University of Kassel Archives


Doctoral Project

Staatlichkeit und Industrie im post-sozialistischen Europa: Der Einfluss der staatlichen Hand auf die Organisationsgeschichte zweier Werften in Transformation  abgeschlossen

State Agency and Industry in Post-Socialist Europe: On the Visible Hand in the Organizational History of Two Shipyards during Transformation  completed

A state-owned enterprise in neoliberal Eastern Europe, nationalization of major industrial sites after the experience of socialism, return to forms of self-administration after twenty years? The project "State Agency and Industry in Post-Socialist Europe" presents a picture of the post-transformative industry of Croatia and Poland characterized by paradoxes, path dependencies and subversive workers' protests. The instrumentalization of the public stake could be described as a kind of counterrevolution during the market transformations in Central and Southeastern Europe. Despite decentralization and self-administration gestures during the transformations the formerly socialist states sticked to their interventionist, almost promethean tradition by establishing capitalism "from the top" (Ekiert, 2003). The consequence was a privatization process, which was badly negotiated with the workers, on the one hand, and the continued existence of state governance within the large-scale industrial enterprises on the other. The project investigates the institutionalization of new forms of state agency in the industry as the reverse, epiphenomenon and premise of neoliberal hegemony (Ther, 2015) and as a phenomenon of simultaneity of the non-simultaneous (von Puttkamer, 2012).

The really existing transformations have contributed to the destabilization of publicly governed economic organizations as well as to their reinstitutionalization. The case of Croatia, in particular, illustrates this ambivalent expansion of state-economic actors during the first phase of privatization, which began with the adoption of the Act on the Transformation of Social Enterprises. With this law, a self-management economy became a market economy. In fact, in connection with the establishment of an ownership economy eighty percent of the companies’ assets were allocated to the state, which was described as "delayed privatization" (Dobias et al., 2000: p. 97). Like the Yugoslav transformation of the 1980s with its austerity policy (Musić, 2016), the transformations around 1990 implied a movement in the direction of centralization and nationalization (Woodward, 1995). In Poland, the Act on the Financial Management of State Enterprises, which was issued by Treasury Secretary Leszek Balcerowicz, actually constituted a "primacy of the economy" (Ther, 2015: p. 25), which for the first time made financial control, doubts about soft budget constraints (Kornai, 1979, 1980), and thus insolvency executable. A factual criticism of the economic state as such, however, was not necessarily linked to it. Thus, both in Poland and Croatia, the state institutionalized itself as a business owner – an institution which was said to be provisional during its initial introduction (Wegenschimmel, 2016).

Please also see an overview of his project in the Graduate School's 2017 Annual Report.

Positions, Assignments and Memberships

Curriculum Vitae

Peter Wegenschimmel studied Slavic Studies/Philosophy in Berlin and Cracow. He graduated with a Master's degree at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences in Warsaw, which was funded by the German National Academic Foundation. His postgraduate studies are in Labour and Social Law in Wrocław. At the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, he participatied in the "Regional Project on Labour Relations and Social Dialogue for Central Eastern and Southeast Europe". Since April 2016 he has been working as a junior researcher at the IOS exploring labour relations in the Uljanik (Croatia) and Gdynia (Poland) shipyards since the 1980s. His main areas of research are labour relations in Central and Eastern Europe and (post-)socialist business history in the disciplines of economic and business history, historical social science, industrial sociology and critical labour studies.


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

With Piotr Filipkowski: Kontrnarracja perspektywy oddolnej: Program badań transformacji przemysłu stoczniowego [Against the Grain: A research program on the transformation of the ship building industry from below]. In: Konrad Knoch / Jakub Kufel / Wojciech Polak / Przemysław Ruchlewski / Magdalena Staręga / Andrzej Trzeciak (eds.): Historia Stoczni Gdańskiej [History of the Gdańsk shipyard], Gdańsk 2018, 551–566.

Was ist ein Unternehmen – und wenn ja wie viele? Eine Organisationsgeschichte unternehmerischer Grenzverschiebungen. In: Arbeits- und Industriesoziologische Studien 1/2018, 25-37.

Pogranicze jako arena regionalnych stosunków przemysłowych: Ewolucja Międzyregionalnej Rady Związkowej Łaba–Nysa. In: Zbigniew Kurcz (Hg.): Polskie pogranicza w procesie przemian, Wrocław 2017, 335-345.

Strategie eksternalizacji ryzyka w zatrudnianiu pracowników migrujących z Ukrainy. In: Polityka Społeczna, 5 (506), 2016, 34-39.

Public Enterprises in Poland: Institutionalizing a Provisional Model. In: Mirosław Geise et al. (Hgg.): Transformacja gospodarcza w Polsce, Bydgoszcz 2016, 285-292.

Mechanizmy prekaryzujące w zatrudnianiu ukraińskich pracowników w Polsce. In: Humanizacja Pracy, 2 (284), 2016, 33-48.


Various reviews in "Polish-Studies. Interdisciplinary Scholarly information and international communication"

Further Publications

With Sona Veverková: Annual review of labour relations and social dialogue: Czech Republic 2015. In: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Bratislava (Regional Project on Labour Relations and Social Dialogue for Central Eastern and Southeast Europe), March 2016.

Annual review of labour relations and social dialogue: regional abstract for Southeast Europe 2015. In: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Bratislava (Regional Project on Labour Relations and Social Dialogue for Central Eastern and Southeast Europe), April 2016.

Annual review of labour relations and social dialogue: regional abstract for Central Eastern Europe 2015. In: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Bratislava (Regional Project on Labour Relations and Social Dialogue for Central Eastern and Southeast Europe), April 2016.

Presentations (selected)


"Becoming a Black Box: Deindustrialisierung als endogener Faktor in der Unternehmenstransformation". (Konferenz "Nach dem industriellen (Alb-)Traum: Erfahrungen, Erinnerungen und Erwartungen der (De-)Industrialisierung in Südosteuropa im Vergleich", Reşiţa).

Zus. mit P. Filipkowski: "Does anybody know production? The Shipyard from Engineers’ Perspective". (Internationaler Workshop "Shipyards as Transforming Workplaces: Methods of Grasping Shop-Floor Experiences "from Below", Gdynia).

Zus. mit H. Hodges: "Restructuration, Reorganization, Transformation: The Existential Crisis of Enterprises in State Socialism". (Konferenz "Workers beyond Socialist Glorification and Post-Socialist Disavowal: New Perspectives on Eastern European Labour", Wien).

"Staatsbetriebe nach dem Sozialismus". (Vortrag im Forum Willy Brandt, Berlin).

Zus. mit U. Brunnbauer und A. Hodges: "Transformations from Below: Shipyards and Labour Relations in the Uljanik and Gdynia Shipyards since the 1980s". (Vortrag im Rahmen von TRANSWORK am Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku, Zagreb).

Zus. mit U. Brunnbauer und A. Hodges: "Shipbuilding during Transformation in East and Southeast Europe: The Cases of Uljanik and Gdynia". (Vortrag am Fakultet strojarstva i brodogradnje, Zagreb).

"Den Staat ins Boot holen: Organisationshistorische Perspektive auf die Transformationen der polnischen Schiffbauindustrie". (Kolloquium des Deutschen Historischen Instituts, Warschau).


"Socialist Bargaining: The Power Resource Approach in Socialist Economies" (Symposium "Workers of the World: Exploring Global Perspectives on Labour from the 1950s to the Present" des Soziologischen Forschungsinstituts Göttingen an der Georg-August-Universität, Juni 2017).

"Counter-Revolutions during Post-Socialist Transformations: Insights Provided by an Organization-Based Approach" (Workshop "Institutional Change in Political Economies and Varieties of Methods in Social Science Research on Postcommunism" der Graduiertenschule für Ost- und Südosteuropastudien und des Instituts für Soziologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Mai 2017).


Zus. mit P. Filipkowski: "Perspektywa oddolna w badaniu historycznym – oczekiwania i rozczarowania" (Konferenz "Historia stoczni gdańskiej", Gdańsk, November 2016).

"Transformacja stosunków przemysłowych w stoczni gdyńskiej" (XVI Ogólnopolski Zjazd Socjologiczny "Solidarność w czasach nieufności", Gdańsk, September 2016).

"Labour Relations after Tito: A Questionnaire for an Industrial Case Study under Transformation", (Doktorska Radionica "Jugoslavenski socijalizam: sličnosti i posebnosti" der Sveučilište Jurja Dobrile u Puli Filozofski fakultet, Odsjek za povijest & Centar za kulturološka i povijesna istraživanja socijalizma, August 2016).

"The Impact of Transition on the Legitimization of Workers' Self-Management from a Comparative Perspective" (Konferenz "Falling Behind and Catching Up: Southeast Europe and East Central Europe in Comparison" des Wiener Instituts für Internationale Wirtschaftsvergleiche (wiiw) und des Instituts für Osteuropäische Geschichte (IOG) der Universität Wien, Juni 2016).

"Inklusion-Exklusion der Sozialpartner: Institutionalisierung gewerkschaftlicher Kooperation in deutsch-polnischen Grenzräumen" (Vierte Internationale Tagung "Polnische Grenzräume im Wandlungsprozess" der Universität Breslau, des Zentrums für Interdisziplinäre Polenstudien der Europa-Universität Viadrina und des Willy Brandt Zentrums für Deutschland- und Europastudien, Mai 2016).


"Puppen – billige Arbeitskräfte?" (Akademie des IFK Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, August 2015).

"Gesellschaft – unmarked space zeitgenössischer Poesie" (Kosmos-Workshop "POESIE DER (A-)SOZIALITÄT: Mitteleuropäische Dichtung nach dem Ende des Literaturzentrismus" der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, März 2015).

"Dramaturgische Raumstrategien – Junggesellenmaschinen" (Vortrag am Institut für Raum- & Designstrategien der Kunstuniversität Linz, März 2015).