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Perceptions of Higher Education Reforms in Russia: the Role of Institutions and Social Capital

Perceptions of Higher Education Reforms in Russia: the Role of Institutions and Social Capital

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 8 (no. 2),

Recent reforms of higher education in Russia are aimed at boosting the quality and efficiency of the educational process. Nevertheless, in most cases, implemented institutional and organizational innovations do not work properly. Calculative technologies and various ratings, which are widespread today, opened up the opportunities for regular managerial interventions. These interventions are not neutral. In Russian higher education, the mania for measurement resulted in a deficit of trust and rampant bureaucracy. Historically, the system of higher education has been based on specific values and institutions. Academic freedom and autonomy are extremely important for the members of the academic community, and these values cannot be eliminated. Implemented reforms destroy old institutions and organizational structures. However, new institutions, being inconsistent with present working rules and practices, are not able to replace the old ones. Such inconsistency can result in inefficiency. Social capital plays a crucial role for development and growth in the field of higher education. The structure of social capital in the field embraces three components: trust, social engagement and social integration. These elements must be taken into account when implementing educational reforms. The higher the employees are motivated and experience personal growth, the more they feel embedded in their job. We have analyzed the discourses of the key actors within the universities of Rostov Region. The discourse analysis shows that bureaucracy, constant institutional and organizational changes and the reduction of academic freedom are perceived as significant factors that influence labor productivity, organizational efficiency and the quality of educational services in the field of higher education.

Keywords: higher education; institutional change; social capital; bureaucracy; trust; institutional economics.

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