Cultural Dimensions of Academic Organizations: A Pilot Research on Faculties of Economics and Administrative Sciences

Ferda Erdem, Fulya Erendag Sumer, Aylin Aktas Alan and Gozde Gul Baser****
*Prof. Dr., Akdeniz University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, TURKEY
**Instructor, Akdeniz University, Faculty of Communication, TURKEY
***Research Fellow, Akdeniz University, School of Tourism and Hotel Management, TURKEY
****PhD, Akdeniz University, Graduate School of Social Sciences, TURKEY

Problem Statement: Academic institutions have been feeling greater pressure of acting in conformity with universal values and education standards every passing day. However, the first step of an academic organization developing a vision and strategy to this end is its thorough understanding of present cultural properties. Hence, examining cultural properties of academic organizations by considering the perceptions of their faculty members as a dominant group must be given priority for the development of the research and student-training processes.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this paper is to determine cultural dimensions of academic organizations based on perceptions of the faculty members. The basic research question regards which cultural dimensions become apparent in academic organizations and of what they are composed.
Methods: In this research, qualitative and quantitative methods were used together. Researchers realized semi-structured interviews with the faculty members, first in their own organizations. Later, based on the interview notes, a questionnaire composed of a wide-item list towards academic organizations’ culture was developed. This questionnaire was applied to 200 faculty members working in faculties of economics and administrative sciences in six public universities. Basic cultural dimensions were determined and interpreted.
Findings and Results: Leading dimensions in culture of academic organizations according to perceptions of the faculty members were as follows: Management style-value consistency, changeability, motivation and communication. Management style is regarded important, especially in providing autonomy. It was determined that organizations’ initial missions and values didn’t completely overlap with their present applications and universal values. While motivation is perceived as an interactive phenomenon, change is perceived as a phenomenon that will be resisted. Also, it is observed that academic relationships in these organizations are continued within small groups.
Conclusion and Recommendations: This pilot research seeks to determine which cultural dimensions should be thoroughly assessed in academic organizations and which need to be analyzed in detail for the contextual conditions affecting the content of these dimensions. In order for strategic management to take interest in higher education in Turkish institutions in the last term, it is necessary for them to have data from these types of studies.
Keywords: Academic organizations, organizational culture, universities, faculty members, Turkey.