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Liana Ștefan (West University of Timisoara), Ion Imbrescu (West University of Timisoara)
Cohedissent-Specific Behavior of University Unions to Increase Competitiveness
Journal of Intercultural Management, 2018, vol. 10, nr 3, s. 5-23, tab., bibliogr. 9 poz.
Szkolnictwo wyższe, Edukacja
Higher education, Education
JEL Classification: H52, I21, J51
The change of the political regime in Romania determined a real revolution in the activity of the trade unions which suddenly had to change their objectives and their working methods. These organisations were in a position to struggle for the status of universities and their professors in a society that considered that 3% of GDP for education is too much. Is possible to understand that trade unions acting instead of universities managers, but immediately after 1989, the rectors and their teams depended by the politicians in a way that they cannot ask more for the needs of universities, and these situations are comparable with ones manifested in other countries, like Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador (Haggard and Kaufmann, 1995). The social and professional involvement of university unions is now much more significant, and their role in the life of higher education institutions is becoming more and more imperative. Not only do they struggle for financial resources and real autonomy, but they also support the didactic and research activities of their members. They also try to prevent and stop the abuse of university leaders. This work aims to present the activity of the union of UniversitasTimisiensis (West University of Timisoara), the role it plays to increase the cohesion between its members and the cooperation with other university unions of Romania. We will also present some current and future solutions that can develop the competitiveness of our institution to make it more attractive not only for professors and researchers but also for students.
Methodology: In almost two decades we have observed that the role of education is treated differently in political declarations and public budgetary allocation. We tried to understand what the causes of these differences are, and we noticed that the formal voice of different union federations (there are four in the education field in Romania) is quite the same, but also there are some informal arrangements with governmental officials. Even in the higher education area, there are different aspects related to the goals of groups of universities (comprehensive, technical, medical) so the cohesion of different unions can be only apparent. We tried to investigate these aspects using quantitative research based on data supplied by Eurostat and National Institute of Statistics and about 15 interviews with different persons involved in the management of union organisations to see the characteristics of common patterns and also the specific differences.
Findings: We discovered that in the field of education there is a paradox of functionality of a system. All political parties sustain the idea of a consistent allocation of resources for education (there is a National Pact for Education signed by all parties in 2008 and assumed by all other parties that appeared after 2008), but in ten years the allocation was around 3% of GDP that represents only half of the agreement. The unions were forced to adopt different strategies in an unfriendly environment: they cooperated in most of the cases but, due to the lack of resources, they had to rally to the positions of the management of universities and that sometimes determined the dissent with other unions.
Value Added: It can be assumed that the unions can have an important role in education environment, even if they act in cohesion (most of the cases) and dissent (especially in case of improvement the position of the home university). The cohedissent (we try to underline the combination between the terms cohesion and dissent because it is almost impossible to have only cohesion in educational area) behaviour can represent a key factor to understanding the specificity of the role of university unions in improving the educational environment and insending more suggestive messages to the political parties.
Recommendations: The scientific research in universities is an essential aspect of higher education and the specific research within and between university unions can potentiate the activities of teachers and researchers. The cooperation between unions must be improved and the dissent must be used constructively. (original abstract)
Full text
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