Following our general overview of the evolution of the context within which companies and their managements operate and our presentation of the situation of a cross-section of companies, this chapter seeks to identify common themes which underline the evolution of companies in Hungary we have studied. Compared to the present, the period of socialism, as we have explained in earlier chapters, was betokened by a general uniformity and relative stasis in the organization of the economy and of enterprises. In view of the nature of the overall political system this is hardly surprising. The economy (and its constituent enterprises) had to conform, even if only approximately, to an overriding model of economic organization. As a consequence uniformity was a general characteristic of the former system of economic management. Even considering the divergence of reality in Hungary from the model, particularly from the late 1960s with the New Economic Mechanism and the expansion of the legal (and illegal) second economy in the 1970s and 1980s, on balance the Hungarian system had much in common with the socialist model of the economy. Consequently Hungarian companies, up to the end of the 1980s, were more similar to companies in other member countries of COMECON than to comparable companies in Western Europe or North America.
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