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Adaptive behavior and institutions: examining the organization of higher education in Russia

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 10-01-2017
TERRA ECONOMICUS. 2016.  Т. 14. № 4. С. 119-141. 
The process of institutional change is going very rapidly in the field of higher education. Government reforms have been implemented within a short period of time. Universities tend to be bigger and more expensive, that is why external governmental pressure, as well as the number of regulatory mechanisms, increases. The atmosphere in higher education organizations has become more strained. Therefore, actors who are involved in the educational process, mainly lecturers and students, have to adapt their behaviors to complicated and constantly changing rules. The paper aims to identify adaptive behavioral patterns of actors involved in the higher educational process. Institutional economics and qualitative research methodology are addressed as the conceptual framework which is intended to contribute to the understanding of the adaptation mechanisms in the field of higher education. We have conducted and analyzed fifty in-depth interviews with the key actors within the universities of Rostov Region (Southern Federal District, Russia). Unfortunately, the implemented reforms are usually perceived as badly prepared, poorly negotiated and incompatible with present working rules and prescribed values. It has been found out that lecturers try to mitigate the effects of the new orders through obedience and opportunistic behavior. Meanwhile, the majority of students tend to adopt the changes. Active engagement of the representatives of communities from higher education through public discussions is suggested as necessary to the reform success.
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