Increasing globalization has changed our societies to knowledge-based societies and confronted higher education systems with new challenges. Russia is an important actor in the international arena and is actively involved in these processes. The integration processes affected Higher education institution. The Russian system of higher education is facing an important challenge: fall in occupational prestige of universities lecturers. Despite the considerable researches on professional culture and human capital, there remains a lack of understanding as to how professional culture is connected with human capital. Our study seeks to fill this gap. The major research objectives were to clarify different types of Russian younger generation lecturers’ professional culture, if so, how they affect their human capital. The investigation has revealed the essential characteristics of the professional culture of younger generation lecturers and found out three types of their professional culture. The study has fixed the predominance of negative trends in the professional culture of younger generation lecturers in contemporary Russia, which hinder the development of their human capital. There is a trend of outflow younger generation lecturers (after successfully defending hi \ her doctoral thesis) in the more lucrative sectors of the economy. In contemporary Russia solving problems of development and formation of younger generation lecturers’ professional culture and the reproduction of their human capital is associated with the reform of the higher education system as well as solution of the fundamental problem - enhance the prestige of the Teaching Profession and its status in the Russian society.
Keywords: Human capitalprofessional cultureyounger generation lecturersreproduction
Since the signing of the Bologna Convention by Russia, there is a process of rethinking the social significance of younger generation lecturer’s professional group and their professional culture. Increasing globalization has changed our societies to knowledge-based societies and confronted higher education systems with new challenges (Hargreaves, 1994; Schofer & Meyer, 2005). Russia is an important actor in the international arena and it actively involved in these processes. The integration processes affected institute of Higher education. Implementation of the Bologna Declaration has to promote the formation of a common European educational space (Neave, 2003). All countries face at least three key challenges in the field of higher education. They include: increasing the value of education (knowledge) and skilled personnel; reforms in the system of higher education and university management, the creation of a unified educational space. The Russian system of higher education is facing more challenges: first of all, fall in occupational prestige of universities lectures and professors and secondly, reducing the level of professional culture of younger generation lectures. Meanwhile, younger generation lectures‘ professional culture is the main element of their human capital.
In the last forty years an increasing interest in the concept of professional culture has been observed in professional publications of various scientific disciplines. Quite frequently this subject is investigated in the field of psychology and pedagogic with the majority of publication being of a theoretical nature. These works are mainly devoted to such a professional culture problem as professional behaviour (actions and acts) that is ”Professional culture as an element of a personality model of a specialist with a higher education and considers it to be characterized by three main points: 1) knowledge of the properties of the product and the consumer's request; 2) The ability to predict the consequences of their actions by the specialist; 3) Responsibility for their actions” (Kochetov, 1975). Meanwhile professional culture also can be defined from the perspective of sociology. The definitions of professional culture tend to vary, being too wide and often (because of their scope) too general. To the best of our knowledge, in modern social science, professional culture is considered in several aspects: as an important part of a common culture, as it includes a set of norms, values, skills and knowledge that are able to determine patterns of a person's professional activity (Ball, & Cohen, 1993; Mattingly, 1975; Little, 1993; Little, 1999); as the interaction between the worker \ specialist and the professional environment on the basis of the higher examples of labor activity presented in it (Grunt & Eliseeva, 2015); as one of the components of the labor culture and it expresses the degree of the person mastering of the achievements of scientific and technical progress. A number of researches are devoted to the study of the school teachers’ professional culture. The authors examine the professional culture of teachers as norms, values, practices, and modes of interaction that are shared by teachers and administrators, including, among other things, shared goals, the nature of relationships with colleagues, and opportunities for teachers to visit each other’s classrooms and talk about their teaching work (Johnson, 2004; Kardos, Johnson, Peske, Kauffman, & Liu 2001; McLaughlin, & Talbert, 2001). Kardos and his colleagues (2001) has noted the distinction between organizational culture and professional culture: Professional culture refers to the workplace culture experienced by the professionals (teachers, administrators, and specialists) at the school rather than the entire organizational culture (or school culture), which would also include students. Other researchers have studied professional communities that support teacher learning. Such professional communities, which may be composed of subgroups of teachers in a given school, exhibit many of the features associated with effective professional cultures (Grossman, 2000; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001).
Although the concept of professional culture has already been studied rather extensively; however, to the best of our knowledge, the issue of young generation lecturers’ professional culture in Russian higher education remain to be revealed.
As we have already mentioned above, younger generation lectures professional culture is the main element of their human capital. Human Capital theory has been proposed by Schultz (1961) and developed extensively by Becker (1994). Becker has explained in his publication titled “Human Capital: A theoretical and empirical Analysis to special reference to education” that Human Capital Theory has been developed in the sixties due to the realization that the growth of physical capital has only small part of growth in the growth of income. Relatively, the emergence of education and skill straining in military technology has also played an important part in the discovery of this theory.
The past three decades, multiple streams of research have examined the productivity of workers and specialists and their strategies to form employee human capital. One stream of research has focused on human capital development and skills upgrading as effective mechanisms for ensuring efficient utilization of employees (Hayek, Thomas, Novicevic, & Montalvo, 2016). Another contribution is the effect of institutional and social pressures on human resource practices (Chiang & Birtch, 2010; Hayek et al., 2016; Thomas, 2007) and formation of human capital. Meanwhile, the search of new resources for improving the quality of human capital in different professional groups reveals a great potential of professional culture. Professional culture as an element of human capital of such an important professional group as university professors and young generation lecturers is a promising new research area that is almost unexplored. They are actively involved in the human capital reproduction in other social groups – youth (students). Therefore, the development and preservation of university young generation lecturers’ human capital is a key issue for both university management and the state. Professional culture in the structure of university young generation lecturers’ human capital has the following functions:
integrates this social group by consolidating its representatives’ present human capital and the capital of different generations of university professors ( integrative function);
determines the age structure of the community by regulating the quality of the human capital age characteristics (regulative function);
regulates the activities of this group on the base of house rules (normative function);
forms professional values and knowledge as the basis of human capital (valuable function);
creates the orientation for human capital development towards the new or the traditional (human capital either acquires new qualities or reproduces its old parameters) (creativity function).
We believe that professional culture plays a crucial role in their professional activities (compared to other professional groups) and forms their human capital as well as helps them to become professionals. Therefore, the purpose of the present work was to analyse this issue in detail.
In modern Russia, a paradoxical situation has developed: with all the need and importance of higher education, we see a decline in the prestige of the scholastic profession, which is caused by a decrease in the prestige of the institution of education in society, inadequate training of teachers \ lectures and a very low level of lectures’ \ professors’ well-being in higher education. In the dynamically changing social conditions, people's life orientations are transformed, the meaning and values change, the professional structure of society and the hierarchy of social desirability also changed. As a result, the profession of a high school lectures \ professors has unexpectedly found itself on the periphery of social interests and has lost its status as one of the most prestigious in the society and decently paid job. Today, ever fewer graduates of higher educational institutions state their willingness to work at the university after graduation. This process is accompanied by the same changes in the academic staff: its natural aging, the outflow of the most dynamic and qualified lectures to other, more prestigious industries and fields of activity. In this regard, fewer graduates of higher education institutions remain true to the desire to link their further life with teaching activities. All this is reflected quite brightly, both, on the general position of the profession of the teacher in modern Russia, and on his \her professional culture as the main element of his \ her human capital. Under these conditions professional culture in the structure of university young generation lecturers’ human capital does not fulfill its functions.
Thus, in this study we will try to find out the types of the young generation lecturer’s professional culture and its role in the reproduction of lecturers’ human capital.
Proceeding from the understanding of professional culture as the main element of young generation lecturers’ human capital we investigated the following questions:
1. What are the types of young generation lecturers’ professional culture?
2. What ate the important features of young generation lecturers’ professional culture?
3. What is the role of professional culture in the reproduction of young generation lecturers’ human capital?
4. What is the dominant young generation lecturers’ professional culture in Russian higher education?
Purpose of the Study
In the modern world there is a growing need for young generation lecturers’ with a high level of professional competence and professional culture. One of the most urgent issues of Russian higher education is the lack of motivated young generation lecturers to work at the universities. Unfortunately, not the best students of higher educational institutions express a desire to engage in teaching activities. This is one of the contradictions of the educational process at the university: between the need to have young lecturers who are striving to form their professional culture and their human capital and the lack of not only their desire to form, it, but the lack of their work at the university in general. Our research is devoted to studying the different types of young generation lecturers’ professional culture and it is focused on solving urgent issues dealing with it shaping
The methodological basis of the study is:
• System approach (it allows us to reveal the phenomenon of professional culture, to determine its place in the system of culture as a whole and to consider the interrelations between its elements).
• Axiological approach (it allows to reveal the value component of professional culture of young teachers of higher education).
• Structural-functional approach (with the help of the structural-functional paradigm we considered the structure of professional culture). This approach also revealed the functions and dysfunctions of the young generation lecturers’ professional culture in the structure of their human capital.
The research methodology combined both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The primary data was collected using questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Five hundred respondents – Russian younger generation lecturers, were questioned on the basis of quota sampling in the city of Yekaterinburg. Depths interviews with 10 experts were conducted in order to identify key issues of respondents in the formation of their professional culture.
To analyze the professional culture of young generation lecturers we chose the method of cluster analysis. It has made it possible to identify the essential characteristics and features of the young generation lecturers’ professional culture in terms of the availability (internalization of professional norms – values by them and role behaviour in the profession) helped to consider the variety of manifestations of professional culture of young university teachers in modern conditions; reproduce and describe some of its dimensions
Cluster analysis, applied on the basis of internalized professional values-norms of respondents and the role of their behaviour, made it possible to identify three groups of young generation lecturers and their professional cultures.
Our research has shown that 43.0% of the respondents entered cluster 1 (we called it "Scouts"). This cluster is represented by a younger age group of the respondents (22-25 years) with years of teaching from 1 to 3 years .
The study has revealed several qualitative indicators that characterize this type of the younger generation lecturers’ professional culture. The representatives of this group are characterized by an orientation towards values such as promptness in obeying, sociability and discipline. They also think about their self-development. Meanwhile, some of them (20.0%) are not sure whether they continue to teach at the university or not. In our opinion, it is easy to interpret such set of professional values by the fact that young generation lecturers who have only been engaged in their professional activity and are forced to "integrate into a professional group", mastering various new roles, prefer to listen more to their older colleagues than to independently take any solutions. Young lecturers in the younger age group are leery of a rootless feeling and mostly follow the strategy of " obedience to authority". 45. 0% of the respondents notes this fact.
Our research has shown that the majority of the young generation lecturers of this professional group (about 60.0%) are engaged in their activity without interest, enthusiasm both in interaction with colleagues and in interaction with students or awareness of the possible consequences. Thus, professional culture in the structure of university young generation lecturers’ human capital does not fulfill the following functions: integrative, normative and valuable functions. It means that the young generation lecturers’ professional culture does not contribute to reproduction of their capital.
The group of the respondents aged between 26 and 30 years experienced in teaching 4 and 5 years is divided into two clusters. Cluster 2 is the "Transitional" type. This cluster is represented by 33.8% of the respondents. For this group of the respondents promptness in obeying is one of the important characteristics, but to a much lesser degree than for the younger group of the respondents (33.0%). Professionalism (60.0%) and orientation towards respect of students (65.0%), as well as mutual respect of colleagues (70.0%) are the most significant professional values for the representatives of this cluster. In this group, we should pay attention to the gradually increasing confidence of young generation lecturers in themselves thanks to the gain in experience.
Our research has fixed that representatives of this group are more determined to gain public esteem with students and lecturers’ colleagues rather than just interaction with them:
It should be noted that young lecturers of this cluster more internalized professional values - norms in comparison with the representatives of the first cluster. However, if we compare the representatives of this cluster with the representatives of the following cluster, among them there are more young lecturers who doubt the choice of their profession (30.0%) and there are more lecturers who is dissatisfied with their professional activities
The study has stated that for 30.0% of them the dissertation is a further step in their career which has nothing to do with teaching. As we have seen, this is the most vulnerable and unstable type, requiring the most intensive attention from the university staff.. Thus, 30.0% of the respondents have not yet decided whether they continue to be in the profession or not, that negatively affects their professional culture as well as the reproduction of their human capital.
Cluster 3 is represented by young generation lecturers who we called "Professional Activists" (23/0%). . The study has revealed that between the first two and the last clusters of the young generation lecturers’ professional culture there are more differences in a number of parameters. The given cluster really expresses the young lecturers’ orientation towards creativity and self-development as important professional values. Professionalism is much more important for them than for the representatives of the clusters described above. They seek to expand their competence, their colleagues’ respect is more important for them. About 50.0% noted it. The study has identified their orientation towards self-actualization in professional activity.
Thus, the representatives of the third cluster can be considered as already more highly educated specialists. Promptness in obeying is not that important for the as for the representatives of the first two clusters, in contrast to this they are focused on the constant increase of professional knowledge and the use of creativity in professional activity.
Our survey has elucidated that the majority of the representatives of this cluster (about 70.0%) has internalized professional norms, and values and they are integrated into the profession, which is an important indicator of their professional culture. The professional culture in the structure of university young generation lecturers’ human capital fulfills all the functions and contributes to their human capital.
The given clusters of young generation lecturers’ professional culture has determined their essential characteristics and features in terms of the availability (internalization of professional norms – values by the lecturers and role of their behaviour in the profession) and considered the variety of manifestations of professional culture of young university lecturers in modern conditions; reproduce and describe some of its dimensions.
The research has fixed that the young generation lecturers most often show two types of professional culture: the first type (the most multiple) - "scouts" and the next one - "transitional type".
The study has elucidated the new trend in the development of young generation lecturers’ professional culture (weak integration into the social and professional group, lack of creativity and professionalism among a significant part of lecturers, etc.). About 30.0% of the young generation lecturers have not yet decided whether they should stay in the profession or not. About 70.0% of the respondents do not even try to create their professional culture. The professional culture in the structure of their human capital do not fulfill all the functions and do not contributes to their human capital.
The study has revealed that the predominant component of young generation lecturers’ professional culture is a knowledge component (above the valuable and normative ones). They try to improve professional knowledge, meanwhile, they do not internalize professional norms and values.
It should be noted that in contemporary Russia solving problems of development and formation of younger generation lecturers’ professional culture, the reproduction of their human capital is associated with the reform of the higher education system as well as solution of the fundamental problem - enhance the prestige of the Teaching Profession and its status in the Russian society.
The authors of the article would like to thank the administration of the Yekaterinburg Universities for the opportunity to conduct a sociological study.
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15 August 2019
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Educational strategies,teacher education, educational policy, organization of education, management of education, teacher training
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Antonova, N., Merenkov, A., & Grunt*, E. ,. (2019). Russian Younger Generation Lecturers’ Professional Culture In Reproduction Of Their Human Capital. In E. Soare, & C. Langa (Eds.), Education Facing Contemporary World Issues, vol 67. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1729-1736). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.08.03.212