Title in original language: Ján Pálka a Tomáš Baťa – dve podnikateľské filozofie, ich zdroje a výsledky
Author: Roman Holec
Title in English: Ján Pálka and Tomáš Baťa – two business philosophies, their origins and outcomes
Journal: Česko-slovenská historická ročenka 23, 2, 2021, pp. 11-26
Abstract: The study explores the original business philosophies of two prominent individuals who are often associated. Although they were both involved in leather processing, their environments were characterized by different cultures, traditions and opportunities. However, the major differences in the outcomes of their activities were driven, above all, by the business methods they applied. Jan Pálka, based in Liptovský Svätý Mikuláš, was drawing on various socio-philosophical and utopian sources and relied on idealistic principles. He strove to incentivize his workers to increase production efficiency by sharing the ownership of his factory and its profits. By contrast, Jan Baťa was inspired by the American experience and the ideological impulses of Italian fascism. He gradually introduced the principle of profit participation at his factory in Zlín. His affordable products, made possible by lower production costs, won him a wide range of new customers. He had a direct link to his customers thanks to having his own outlets and was forced to continuously improve due to competition, which was much fiercer in Zlín than in Liptovský Svätý Mikuláš. Baťa became a world-class manufacturer thanks to pragmatically implementing a system of planned production and lifelong employee education, running self-managed workshops as independent economic units, finding a balance between individualism and collectivism, introducing special worker incentives and a wage scheme, and pursuing extensive social policy. On the other hand, Pálka, with his entrepreneurial religion, failed to overcome the mental limitations of small-scale production. He went bankrupt and was, along with his theoretical model, relegated to the role of an admired visionary.
Keywords: Tomáš Baťa and his corporation, Ján Pálka, business philosophy, types of mass production, employment policy, utopias and entrepreneurship