On The Priority Of Social Systems In The Management Of Socio-Cultural Processes


The article deals with theoretical and applied issues related to the management processes in the social sector. While the studying the culture sector management considering its complexity and multidimensionality, it is suggested to present it as a process of mass communication. The structural elements of the management process are singled out, their interrelations are indicated. This study proves that this approach allows to analyze not only the external characteristics of the management process subjects’, but also internal intentions. The data of the single trend sociological survey in the culture sector conducted by the author in the Republic of Bashkortostan in 2001-2002 and 2016-2017 are presented here. Changes in the public opinion on the primacy level of the culture sector management are analyzed on the basis of the research results. The main change was related to the fact that at the beginning of the 21st century, the majority of respondents considered that cultural development issues should be resolved at the regional level (46%), while a fifth of the votes was given to the federal level. In the past decades, social, economic and political processes made their impact on the opinion of the population concerning the primacy of management’s influence on the culture sector: only less than a third part of the respondents prefer the regional level, and almost the half of them – the federal level (47%).

Keywords: Levels of managementmass communication processpublic opinionregional policysocial managementsphere of culture


The relevance of the management problems study in general and the management of the sociocultural sphere in particular is due to the need to know the nature and depth of changes in people’s ideas about managing the sphere of culture caused by transformational processes in society.

Problem Statement

The theory and practice of management in the problem field of managerial relations continue to exist in parallel worlds: management theory is actively working to increase management efficiency in various areas of the social system, identifying reserves for further progress along the path of improving the structure of the management subsystem, perceiving it as a “subject of management”; the managed subsystem is of interest to researchers primarily as a “control object,” which a priori should and will be controlled blindly obeying the will of the controlling subject. The result is more than sad: management decisions are developed, adopted, at the state level, many of them even receive the status of a law, however, neither the implementation of a decision nor the responsibility for non-execution often occurs at various levels of the managerial hierarchy or is partially implemented. The field of culture is no exception.

Research Questions

At all times, culture has been the focus of public intelligence; a more detailed analysis of the views on the phenomenon of culture has been carried out in our early publications (Sagitov, 2018). In the problematic area of ​​this article works of two directions are: culture as a social phenomenon and management of culture (the sphere of culture) in the framework of the state cultural policy. It should be noted that the second part - the sociological problems of managing the sphere of culture was much less fortunate. Even in works of a fundamental nature by world famous scientists (Tikhonov, 2007; Toshchenko, 2011), in textbooks on the sociology of management (Kravchenko & Tyurina, 2003), the analysis of sociological problems of managing the sphere of culture, the problems of correlating the assessment of the situation on the part of the “object” and “subject” management has not yet been given due attention.

The study of management problems in the social sphere is of particular interest from the point of view of understanding the essential aspects of management as a social phenomenon: firstly, management in this system “...cannot have rigidity, focus on quantitative indicators. It is rather a deep analysis of the state of spirituality, identifying trends and anticipating possible changes in the production of spiritual values​​” (Toshchenko, 1994, p. 484). Secondly, every person in society whether he wants it or not knows about it or does not know, participates in these processes and influences them, because “every social phenomenon or event is connected with others, there are no , absolutely separate unique or isolated phenomena, events” (Shtompka, 1996, p. 67). In connection with these problems, the macroeffects of microevents, as well as the opposite problem, the microeffects of macroevents, require careful and in-depth research (Atamanchuk, 1974). The third aspect relates to the attitude to the management process as a subjective-subject process, the antipode of the control method that is often used in practice on the principle of the unambiguous a priori advantage of the control subsystem over the managed one.

The subjective-subject approach to management in this case is not someone’s desire or the result of the theoretical construction of social reality. This is an objective necessity. Such an attitude to the management process is dictated by the current stage of development of society, in which “... management is not a one-sided impact of the managing social system on the managed, but the dialectical interaction between its subject and object, consisting of a variety of direct and reverse assosiations between them” (Nasibullin & Bikmetov, 2005, p. 65). In other words, a control object endowed with consciousness, possessing certain experience, a functioning purpose, also acts as a subject, since it has the qualities necessary for organizing management and self-management processes. We can say that the control subject controls the object only to the extent that the control object allows itself to be controlled (Yanitsky, 2000). Moreover, under certain conditions, the control object is capable of not only adjusting the managerial impact, but also begins to dictate its will to the “control subject”. We see examples at every step, on the one hand, the resolution of contradictions through the multi-colored revolutions taking place in the post-Soviet space; on the other hand, the product of the decomposition of these relations in the form of emitted “decay energy, which can exceed the energy of creation” (Castels, 2005, p. 5), the formation of “garbage culture” (Mol, 2008) in a variety of manifestations, in particular, “... when society influences the individual stronger than the individual influences on society, the degradation of culture begins ... demoralization of the society takes place” (Schweizer, 1993, p. 187).

We represent the management of the cultural sphere as a process of mass communication, which includes: a source of information, a communicator, products, a communication channel, a consumer, social and individual filters, and feedback. Managing the cultural sphere as a social process is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that is carried out continuously, and it is carried out not only directly in the field of culture, in view of the fact that “culture is a variety of unique and massive, variable and unchanging, rational and emotional” (Mol, 2008, p. 35).

Consumers of a large number of cultural products are all representatives of society. The impact on consumers is carried out by the communicator represented by the state and municipal authorities in the field of culture through communication channels, which are producers of cultural property. Moreover, in this case, communication channels, both in direct and in reverse are inanimate objects (a book, a picture, etc.) and animated participants (theater troupes, musical ensembles, teachers in children's music schools, etc.). Social and individual filters provide a difference in the structure of preferences of the communicator, the communication channel, the consumer, in the structure of their goals, objectives and priorities for the development of the industry, as well as opinions regarding the activities of each element of the communication process. One of the most important indicators of the effectiveness of decisions made by the communicator is feedback, which also has many forms of expression.

In the management of the cultural sphere of in terms of content, three aspects are distinguished: target, tactical and applied (Kolesnikova, Matetskaya, & Samygin, 2017). The target aspect involves the determination of the values ​​and ideological priorities of cultural management; tactical involves development of a program of action; applied involves the implementation of an action program developed on the basis of identified priorities. To some extent, especially with regard to Russian society, this approach echoes the classification of T. Parsons, according to which social systems are located at four levels of society (Parsons, 1968): the primary level (the level of direct interaction at the municipal level of individuals and various subcultures in sociocultural process), managerial level (level of management of the region’s cultural sphere), institutional level (level of state cultural policy), societal level (level of government social policy).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is due to the recognition of the urgent need for further deepening of knowledge, firstly, of the theoretical and methodological aspects of management; secondly, the intensification of the search for ways to improve the management mechanisms of complex processes in society at this stage of its development, taking into account the reflection of the state of affairs in the consciousness of social, social-professional groups of the population.

The research objectives arising from the goal are formulated from the understanding of the special importance of knowing the system of contradictions that exist in the cultural sphere management system:

  • contradictions between the natural and the social in managing the development of material and spiritual culture;

  • contradictions between the individual-personal, group and public in the management of the processes of production, distribution and consumption of material and spiritual goods between the “center” and “periphery” of socio-territorial systems in the social space, etc.

Research Methods

In 2001-2002 and in 2016-2017 longitudinal sociological studies of the problems of managing the development of the cultural sphere were carried out. In fact, we can talk about a single trend study, since the research program, methodology and tools were similar. It is this fact that allows us to analyze the issues under study in dynamics with minimal losses. In the course of sociological research, both in the first stage in 2001-2002 and in the second stage in 2016-2017 1200 people were interviewed.

In accordance with the purpose of the study, the general population was the population of Bashkortostan aged from 14 to 65 years. The starting point for the construction of the sample was the census data of the All-Russian population censuses of 2000 and 2010, respectively, as well as the Demographic Yearbook of the Republic of Bashkortostan.

In our study, for more efficient use of the procedure of territorial sampling, the following transformations (With this transformation, the degree of heterogeneity between the administrative-territorial regions increases, which is required by the theory of sampling, and, which is important for the territorial sampling; all administrative-territorial areas are transformed into natural geographical areas. Such a conversion reduces the standard error and reduces field survey costs.) of the administrative-territorial regions were carried out, after which a list of 1006 “selective” regions was obtained, which were correlated with 5 selected homogeneous strata formed mainly on the basis of geographical factors and the level of urbanization (see table 1 ).

Table 1 -
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The sample size for Ufa was determined by the following formula:

n = N Z 1 - α 2 2 σ 2 N Δ ä î ï 2 + Z 1 - α 2 2 σ 2 , ( * )


σ 2 - the variance of the characteristic for the sample, calculated during the pilot testing,

Δ ä î ï - the maximum permissible value of the sampling error, set based on the objectives of the study,

Z 1 - α 2 - confidence coefficient corresponding to confidence probability 1 - σ .

In the course of the pilot testing, the σ 2 = 0.26 variance was calculated. Based on the research objectives, the maximum permissible value of the sampling error was determined at 5%, the corresponding confidence coefficient was Z 1 - α 2 = 1.96 . Accordingly, the sample size was n = 399 . Given that the level of unattainability of respondents is at least about 15% of the total sample size, in order to reduce sampling error, the sample size in the city of Ufa was increased by 20% and amounted to 460 people.

Ufa, as a large metropolis, has a complex geographical location, stretches for more than 60 km from the southwest to the northeast, consists of 7 main regions, all of which significantly affect the choice of sampling method. The first step in the sample was to divide the territory of the city into qualitatively uniform and equally sized figures, with the aim of compiling a list of areas obtained as a result of dividing (765).

The second stage is the direct selection of sites using stratification and proportional distribution. During stratification, the territory of the city was divided into three strata. As stratification factors were taken: types of residential buildings (private, multi-storey), as well as in terms of remoteness from the central part of the city; the central part and commune of residence of the city, in terms of their prestige; peripheral areas - the industrial zone of the city. The target volume of the sample was determined in 21 plots (7 plots in each stratum), which in principle corresponds to Student distribution known for mathematical statistics for small samples (5 <n <30). Using a random number generator, random sampling was performed inside each layer. The sample size within each layer was calculated in proportion to the size of the general population by administrative-territorial regions within the city.

The third stage is a sample of households and respondents. A quasi-random systematic sampling with a sampling step of 5 was used to select households within the “sample squares”. The interviewer had to visit every fifth private house or apartment inside the “sample square” while the interviewers were not allowed to make any kind of replacement of dwellings or households.

II-stratum: the sampling procedure had the same steps as the sampling in Ufa. A qualitatively different composition of the general population (more homogeneous in comparison with the capital), as well as the difference in the number of residents, almost 10 times made small adjustments in the calculation of the sample. The sample size for this stratum was 160 units. The type and quality of a residential building was highlighted as a stratification indicator. As a result, 2 strata formed i.e. areas of dilapidated housing (barracks type and separate private houses without amenities) and landscaped areas with developed infrastructure with houses and apartments “with all amenities”. The survey was conducted in 5 sample districts of 32 respondents per “square”.

III and IV strata : the sample size for the third stratum was 170 households, and for the fourth sample, 50 households. The sampling in the third and fourth strata (small towns and urban settlements) was carried out according to the same scheme:

Stage 1 - a list of all city streets was compiled, from which either 6 streets for small towns or 2 streets for urban settlements were randomly selected;

Stage 2 - selection of households within the selected streets by means of route sampling in increments of 10 or 3. The interviewer should interview the respondent in every tenth or seventh household.

V-stratum : the sample size was 360 respondents. The sample consisted of two stages of selection:

Stage 1 - household selection in each locality: two streets were selected (if the locality consisted of a single street, the survey was conducted on it);

Stage 2 - selection of respondents. In the selected streets, every third households were selected by route sampling (the selection step is 3), however, in households, all individuals included in the quota were selected. The quota task was calculated in advance based on existing statistical information by region. The quota characteristics were gender, age and nationality.

Thus, the sampling of the population of Bashkortostan was based on the territorial principle; in its design, both the geographical location of the republic’s subjects and the qualitative composition of the living population played an important role. The total sample size in each study is 1,200 respondents, of which 480 were in Ufa. The sample included 23 settlements, including 5 cities, 2 urban settlements and 16 villages.

The statistical error in RB and separately in Ufa does not exceed 5%. All actions of the interviewer on the selection of households were tightly regulated and monitored. The route assignment for interviewers indicated the name of the street; number of the house with which the route began; household selection step; sample size along the route, as well as the household selection pattern of the respondent.


One of the main issues, as noted above, was the study of the opinion of the population about what level is primary in managing the sphere of culture. The perception of people about this is of fundamental importance for managing the sphere of culture, since most of the problems associated with production, distribution and consumption in the spiritual field accumulate at the bottom of the social pyramid, and resources are accumulated at the top. At the same time, we emphasize that the socio-economic and socio-political processes that have taken place in recent decades have left a special imprint on the opinion of the population on the issue of the superiority of managerial influence on the cultural sphere: in public opinion, the managerial level has lost the institutional level.

Research data of 2001-2002 evidence that at that stage, almost half of the respondents (46%) believed that issues of cultural development should be addressed to a greater extent at the regional level; 21% - at the federal level; 18% at the local (village) level; 15% at the municipal (district, city) level.

The differences in the responses by gender were significant: if women were in second place at the local level, then for men it was federal, with 25%.

The study showed that age, marital status, and place of residence do not significantly affect the respondents’ point of view. The determination of the primacy in decision-making on issues related to the development of the cultural sphere also depended on the social status of respondents: the higher the social status (middle manager, senior manager) is the greater the proportion of respondents who believe that cultural development should be addressed at the regional level.

Nationality significantly affects the opinions of respondents on this issue. The analysis of the results shows that among the representatives of the three main ethnic groups living in the territory of Bashkortostan, the respondents gave primacy in resolving issues of the development of culture and art to regional government bodies, then federal, and close the local and district (city) levels. But while among the Bashkir and Tatar population more than 50% of the respondents gave the answer “regional,” among Russians this indicator was equal to 37%. It is interesting that among representatives of other nationalities a little more than a quarter of the respondents - 27% believed that issues of cultural development should be addressed at the regional level. Most of them - 32% - in first place in 2001-2002 set the local level, which can be explained by the fact that at the local level it is easier to satisfy the spiritual needs of representatives of peoples living compactly in any territory.

Research results of 2016-2017 showed that at present the point of view of the population has changed dramatically. 47.5% of respondents give priority in addressing the development of the sphere of culture to the federal level and 30% to the regional and less than a quarter to the sum of the municipal and the village.

  • It should be noted that only the marital status of the respondents does not show any dependence on the opinion at what level cultural management issues should be addressed, with the exception of the category that have never been married, which prefer the federal level with an indicator of 56%, which exceeds the average by almost 20 percent. We associate this with the fact that most of the representatives of this group are young people who are not fully familiar with the federal and regional laws on objects of jurisdiction, probably believing that everything is decided “upstairs”. In addition, young people are more developed in communicating with “gadgets” and in ways of obtaining information. And choosing the “federal” option, they can focus on achievements in the cultural life of Moscow, where, of course, first of all, the latest information technologies are introduced into the cultural sphere, such as the creation of electronic libraries of virtual expositions, exhibitions and concerts, etc. (Figure 01 ).

Figure 1: Population opinion on the management in the sphere of culture
Population opinion on the management in the sphere of culture
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An analysis of answers to this question depending on the presence of children can also serve as a definite confirmation of our hypothesis: in families with no children the proportion of those who chose the “federal” answer significantly exceeds the respondents with children - 56% versus 45%, respectively (and most of them are unmarried people).

In contrast to the research results of 2001-2002, the data of 2016-2017 show that the place of residence began to have a certain significance in the choice of answers by the respondents: almost a third of the villagers preferred the primary level, while among the city residents there were no more than 19%. Moreover, if urban residents rank in the order of “institutional level - managerial – primary”, then the villagers have a different sequence of “institutional - primary – managerial”. It can be assumed that rural residents identify management decisions with the municipal or local authorities due to the fact that in the cities of the republic, and especially in Ufa, there are a large number of cultural and art institutions of republican subordination.

Differences depending on the gender of the respondents also became more noticeable. So, among men, the proportion of those who chose the federal level was more than half, while among women it is 43%. Moreover, as in the first study the male half of the population in last place has the preferences of the municipal level, the female population retained municipal level at the second place. Thus trends repeat the only thing is that the republican and federal decision-making levels have switched places, in favor of the federal one.

A certain repetition of trends is also visible in the analysis of the level of education of the population. In the studies of the 2001-2002, there was a fairly clear dependence of the answers to this question on the level of education: the higher the level of education is, the greater the difference between those who believe that the development of culture should be addressed at the regional and federal levels. Repeated studies showed that the lower the education is, the greater the number of people is who choose the primary level of decision-making (from 17.1% in people with higher education, to 49% in people with secondary education). It seems that the legal literacy of the respondents and the understanding of the processes of budget formation at various levels play a role here.


1. The changes described above are a reflection of the processes taking place in practice in Russian society, where in recent years many issues, and not only in the cultural and spiritual sphere have been “raised” to the federal level. The decline in the regional level is not surprising. Indeed, most financial resources are in the center, and, consequently, there are much more levers of governance at the institutional level. In addition, if the cultural policy in the Russian Federation was given almost completely to the level of the regions at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, then an active position is being traced, for example, in raising wages of industry workers to 100% in the region, and in developing programs support (including with federal funding) for the film industry, professional art, library and clubs.

What can we say about the municipal level of government, which has a large area of ​​responsibility in accordance with the current legislation, without having in accordance with the current legislation, a financial base. Even today an old tradition continues when the vital forces of lower socio-territorial communities are “drained” in favor of higher ones, and life problems are “reset” from the level of higher ones to the level of lower ones. Of course, the centralization of management of the cultural sphere, a trend whose significance goes beyond industry significance and has far-reaching social consequences.

2. And consumers of cultural products and communicators often do not take into account that culture, as a self-regulating sphere of public life, has its own development of logic and internal intentions inherent only to it. In this regard, the management of the cultural sphere will be productive as long as it does not impede the internal self-realization of cultural life. It should be noted that on the one hand as the authors note, “... in each country, due to the traditions of cultural and political life, a certain character and style of state regulation in the field of culture is characteristic of this society” (Tulchinsky, 2001, p. 41) regulation is necessary in these processes, because the opposite can lead to a situation in society that will lead to a situation of complete atrophy, prostration and neglect of the historical past and the majority opinion on the part of “mankurts” (Toshchenko, 2015). At the same time, according to Markin (2018) the analysis of political and managerial practices in our country shows:

They mainly have a narrow economic direction, moreover, there is an inertial understanding of the proposed project, insufficient social understanding of its goals, objectives, and the challenge of spatial development, both internal and external character ... the main goal is economic growth. It’s not the quality of life that has faded into the background, which has become a semi-automatic consequence of this economic growth, and not even the development of human capital but economic growth (p. 31).

Osipov (2012) notes that: Scientific, technical, economic progress is not automatically accompanied by social, socio-political, spiritual progress, but on the contrary a high level of material and technical well-being in society can be accompanied by moral losses, an increase in social deviations, risks and threats . These threats are directly related to the social behavior of people pursuing their interests and goals. (p. 6)

We can argue that the sphere of culture can be controlled, but only based on a subjective-subject approach, when the dialogue is established between the communicator, the communication channel and the consumer. When “pointing from above”, blind following the “pop” demands of the majority, constant experiments when working with the material, understandable to the narrow grouping of the “chosen ones” will not predominate in this process.

3. The process of “mass communication” cannot be identified with the one-way process of influence “communicator - communication channel – consumer” it is necessary to consider the relationship of the communicator, communication channel and consumer as an interaction of equal parties. Of course, this approach brings some problems in the complexity, amorphism of the consumer himself, the diversity of communication channels, as well as in the hidden (implicit) nature of the consumer’s response to cultural values, as well as in the hidden nature of the consequences and results of the consumer’s activities, both for channel, and for the communicator. However, with this approach, it is possible to identify management problems with the greatest accuracy by establishing which particular element is the “weak link” in the given process of mass communication, and which is the most effective and what needs to be done to eliminate negative phenomena and improve positive results. Considering the management of cultural sphere as mass communication, we give to communicative connections a special place in the management system, expressing our solidarity with the existing point of view that the transformation of the science of management into intensive and effective management activity “... implies a sharp increase in the share of communicative links, without which it is impossible the process of developing new ideas” (Silvestrov, 1998, p. 72).


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Sagitov, S., & Nasibullin, R. (2020). On The Priority Of Social Systems In The Management Of Socio-Cultural Processes. In & I. Murzina (Ed.), Humanistic Practice in Education in a Postmodern Age, vol 93. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 827-837). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.11.85