All posts by danaabdrasheva

Men vs Women

gender equity image

Gender equity is still one of the burning issues in education with its lopsided ratio of male and female. Grogan and Shakeshaft are the authors who tried to go deeper and understand the origin of men and women approach to leadership in academia. These authors claim that there is a different approach women use in leadership which causes are women’s soft character and motherhood feelings.

Historically, women’s development in society gives a clear understanding in the difference between men and women by dividing their domestic and social roles. Thus, women’s first and the most important role is motherhood. Due to this, their whole behavior and character is supposed to be soft and tender in comparison with men. In their study Grogan and Shakeshaft (2011) offer that women’s social role is reflected in their approach to leadership with mothering personality revealed in “attention to relationships, encouragement, protection, support” (p.84). Women tend to be demonstrating the same care to their employees accepting the latter as their own children. And this could also be proved by their attitude and choice of words while speaking of their work (p.84). However, claiming that men are such creatures ignorant to the opinions of others and caring only of their point of view is disputable and doubtful. Men are opposed by women where the latter are sensitive, caring and supporting while men are merely described as “despotic kings” interested in their own benefit. There was a period in history when women had to prove they also belonged to the society and could contribute in their own way. Although, women started to emphasize the gender difference themselves by avoiding “patriarchal” approach to leadership and changing the environment in their teams by involving everyone and making sure everyone was following the general trend within an organization (p.84). This is the period when women’s approach to leadership played its crucial role and women in charge were called the “change” as they pioneered in applying collegial model of management (p.87).

achieve-gender-equity-1

When talking of applicability of the whole gender issues to local environment in academia it needs to be emphasized that the question of gender equity is a mere phantom of watery surface because even if there are these certain different approaches to leadership a person has to demonstrate his/her professional skills, knowledge and ability to perform to his/her best without trying to cloak his/her inability to work professionally by these excruciating gender issues.

Grogan, M., Shakeshaft, C. (2011). Beyond gender? Women and educational leadership. Jossey-Bass leadership library in education, 83-100.

 

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Universities as employers

job satisfaction

At the beginning of the MSc program at NUGSE, we were all asked of our future plans and intentions to contribute into the development of higher education (HE) in Kazakhstan. This was one of the questions in our essays and interviews in the beginning of our studies. Although, most of us might not be aware of the working conditions in HE system. Additionally, there is no research on how satisfied the people in Kazakhstani academia are but the Times Higher Education (THE) has already launched their second research results on the Best University Workplace 2015. And the results are interesting.

THE survey

THE survey embraced 4174 University employees across the UK. THE team found out that academics feel overwhelmed with work in contrast with administrative staff mostly satisfied with their jobs. The number of academics counted less than administrative staff with the first group in 46% and the university related employees in 54%. This ratio is interesting and contrasting the initial university development with academics fulfilling the role of both administrators and faculty. This might be a sign of universities gradually turning into businesses where somehow teaching and research might become less in number and importance but marketing and management will be cutting edge tendencies. Another sign was unhappiness of the faculty because they indicated the feeling of being used which also means that their role is decreasing with the new business flavors prevailing within universities where management strategies are valued more than people. Unfortunately, universities underestimate the opinions of their employees and this might mean there is a lack of communication between university administration and faculty. Overall, this survey shows how universities succeed in acting as employers themselves (for more detailed information please see this). As Kazakhstan is only working at the development of its HE it would have been interesting to see how local universities fulfill the role of an employer.

A closer look into the struggles and rewards of the Kazakhstani university workplace reveals that the new hire must overcome a lengthy transition period. For instance, a recent graduate after several months of job hunt is luckily landing in a middle management position in one of big Kazakhstani institutions. Assuming the main hero is she as the prevailing majority of graduates are females this text goes with reference to her. Her first impressions will be jumping higher than her heels because she eventually could make her dream come true and she is now a head of the department. How proud is this. But then as time goes she now encounters so many challenges she has never thought before. First of all, she has to identify how the whole university system works because every university is filled with its own unique working scent (Bolman and Deal, 2013). Then, she is most likely be going and making contacts with other colleagues and this could happen in two ways: (a) formally – at the meetings; (b) informally – socializing with colleagues (having lunch together will also count). Making contacts will only help her understand who is who but a deeper analysis will make her think what people’s intrinsic interests and goals are. Another cornerstone of the newcomer is figuring out if there are any tensions in the team as she might have to avoid belonging to any “groups” at the first stage of her employment. By this I mean that when a new hire joins the team she might have amiss assumptions and this would play a bad trick with her because once she is associated with any group she might be taken as one of them no matter if she likes them or not. That’s why it is very important to keep a neutral position before she realizes who is who. Otherwise the system will simply throw her away without even giving her a chance to demonstrate her perfect skills and knowledge. Therefore, the final idea would be to work hard and never give anyone a chance to complain on her professional performance and skills.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2011). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.

Times Higher Education website. Retrieved from here