ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS VIEWS OF INDIVIDUAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES IN TURKISH PRIMARY SCHOOLS KÜRŞAD YILMAZ ALI BALCI - PDF

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ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS VIEWS OF INDIVIDUAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES IN TURKISH PRIMARY SCHOOLS KÜRŞAD YILMAZ ALI BALCI ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate the views of primary school

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ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS VIEWS OF INDIVIDUAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES IN TURKISH PRIMARY SCHOOLS KÜRŞAD YILMAZ ALI BALCI ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate the views of primary school administrators and teachers on individual and organizational values in primary schools in Turkey. Survey data were gathered using the Value Scale wherein primary school administrators and teachers were asked to rank order individual and organizational values. Findings suggested similarities between the views of primary school administrators and teachers both on individual and organizational values. Both the primary school administrators and teachers ranked highest fairness as an individual value and respect for people as an organizational value. For administrators, money was the lowest ranked individual item and religious devotion was the lowest organizational value, whereas religious devotion both as an individual and organizational value was ranked the lowest in the list by teachers. INTRODUCTION In the early 1960s, Greenfield (1961) noted concern with the status of values in educational administration. Yet, the majority of theories in educational administration and leadership have ignored the importance of values in schools. More recently, studies have increasingly pointed out the importance of values in school administration (Bates, 2001) and the particularly crucial role values play in educational organizations (Strike, 1993). Although previous studies emphasized administrators instrumental activity and technical satisfaction with activities, researchers have suggested that values motivate school administrators and such cultural foundations were vital (Bates, 2001). These critiques question the basic assumptions of a positivist paradigm in the social sciences and educational administration (English, 1992, 1997, 2003; Foster, 1986). A common concern of critics is that studies in educational administration increasingly emphasize that organizations are inseparable from social culture. Such emphasis is prevalent in the studies on organizational culture (Bates, 1992; Chikudate, 1991; Hofstede, 1991, 1993, 1998; Schein, 1991, 1993, 1996) and such studies argue that organizations are not independent of values. Values are perceived as instrumental in creating humane workplaces. There is a relationship between effective management, culture, and values (Bryying & Trollestad, 2000). As Hofstede (1980) stated, without understanding the culture of followers, communicating leadership and administrative skills would not be effective. VALUES AND THEIR IMPORTANCE Several studies have developed a greater understanding of values and their role in social dynamics. Sharp (1928) conducted one of the earliest recorded studies on values (Aydın, 2003). Sharp (1928, as cited in Aydin, 2003) considered values artifacts of emotion and attitudes that might socially be observed everywhere. Rokeach (1968, 1973, 1979), an American social psychologist, was the first author to consider values in a social dimension and relate them to attitudes and behavior in that framework. Rokeach (1968, 1973, 1979) illustrated that every value was based on a single belief and every attitude on a group of beliefs. Allport also conducted research on values (Allport 1968; Allport & Vernon, 1931; Allport, Vernon, & Lindzey, 1960). According to Allport (1968), values are the meanings perceived in relation to ego. Schwartz (1994) conducted studies to determine the content of values and suggested value categories (internal and external values) that since have been used in experimental studies. In this sense, values constitute an indispensable part of human life as social preferences of individuals relate to value systems that are acquired over time (Goodman, 1967). Values influence attitudes, principles and the value of things grown out of personality. People integrate their values with individual points of view to determine their priorities (Hostetter, 2003). Values help individuals in creating thoughts, professional opinions, and support for their attitudes and dispositions (Everard, 1995). Educational Planning 26 Thus, being aware of people s value systems not only gives information about them, but also provides some information on their social culture (national culture) and cultural differences. Values exist not only at an individual level but also at an organizational level, and they are a crucial part of organizational existence. Individual values influence individual and organizational behavior. Several researchers have pointed out to this causal relationship (Kotey & Meredith, 1997; Meglino & Ravlin, 1998; Posner & Munson, 1979; Sikula, 1971). In these studies, individual values as an independent variable influenced individual and organizational behavior. Values are crucial in understanding individual and organizational behavior. Value differences are largely the cause of many conflicts (Lamberton & Minor, 1995). They are also functional in that they bind components of social systems (Katz & Kahn, 1966). VALUES IN SCHOOLS AND EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION Values, as an element of culture, are at the core of situations concerning people at an individual level or in social and organizational life. Values are like motors that orient the lives of individuals. Values are at the core of the education as well (Everard, 1995). Values have prominence in school life, as in other organizational lives. At the same time, values have an important place in the educational process (Şişman & Turan, 2004). In this sense, educational institutions have been seen as the most effective tools to maintain or change the values system of individuals or the society. The values in a school are closely relevant to many subjects like decision-making, recruitment, reward and punishment, performance evaluation, personal relations, communication, cooperation, leadership, conflict etc. (Şişman & Turan, 2004). According to Sergiovanni (1992), schools are value-laden communities and moral leadership should perform the management of these communities. Given the role schools play in shaping and translating the values of a given society, school managers must be good values managers as well (Çelik, 2004). As Evans (2000) stated, the leaders or managers who do not have strong values and motivation to inspire the school community engage in passive leadership. Yet, even in this context, cultural values undoubtedly are considered, due to their existence in all elements of school. Thus, educational administration is closely related to values. Values influence administrators decisions and behaviors inside or outside of the organization (Çelik, 1999; Dawis, 1991). According to Begley (1996; 1999) and others (Akbaba-Altun, 2003; Çelik, 1999; Dawis, 1991; Frankel, Schechtman, & Koenigs, 2006; Richmon, 2004), research is needed on the nature and the function of values in education administration. Although there is robust support in the literature on the primacy of values in social and organizational life, there has been little or no attempt to determine what those values are. Although the scope and content of studies on values in Turkey (Akbaba-Altun, 2004; Erçetin, 2000; Güngör, 1998; Karaman-Kepenekci, 2004; Kıncal & Işık, 2005; Kuçuradi, 1998) and in the world (Allport, 1968; Allport & Vernon, 1931; Allport et al., 1960; Rokeach, 1968, 1973; Trusted 1998) differ, there has been little research to determine views school administrators and teachers hold on individual and organizational values. This study focused on views school administrators and teachers in Turkish primary schools hold on individual and organizational values. Measuring organizational values in schools and individual values of teachers are essential to understand daily managerial functioning. Whether there is a congruence or divergence on values between administrators and teachers will indicate the extent of common values as well as the strength of school culture (Pang, 1998). THE AIM OF THE RESEARCH The aim of this study is to determine views of administrators and teachers on individual values and organizational values in primary schools in Turkey. The following questions guided this study. 1. What are the school administrators and teachers views on individual values? 2. What are the school administrators and teachers views on organizational values in school? RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The Turkish Education System provides education to approximately 19.4 million students in over 56, 000 schools with 680,000 teachers and administrators. Of these, approximately 11 million students, 27 Vol. 18, No. 1 35, 000 schools and school administrators and 403, 000 teachers comprise the state primary school system (Ministry of National Education, [MoNE] 2007). The study population includes public primary school administrators and teachers in city centers throughout Turkey. A multi-stage sampling method was used to create the study sample. Two main criteria were used to select the sample of the study. First, the geographical regions and provinces of schools were determined. There are seven geographical regions in Turkey. The provinces in those regions were categorized by level of development using Socio Economic Status (SES) data by the Turkish State Planning Organization (2004), as underdeveloped, developing and developed provinces. The study provinces in each region and were then selected through random sampling to reflect a range of development across the country. The resultant sample included 712 teachers and 407 school administrators from 21 different provinces. The researcher developed a Value Scale. Values were defined in words or phrases. The instrument was first pilot tested in a group of 150 teachers. An exploratory factor analysis (principal components) was carried out in order to establish the construct validity of the instrument. Cronbach Alphas were calculated to test the reliability of the instrument. Based on the factor analyses, the scale had two dimensions. The first scale was on individual values and the second was on organizational values. Twenty-nine values for each dimension were tested. The results indicated that the 29 items loaded high on one factor and the factor loadings ranged from.30 to.71. Thirty four percent of the variance was explained by only one factor, the dimension of individual value. The Cronbach Alpha value for the 29 items comprising this dimension was.89. The results of the second factor indicated that 29 items load high on one factor and the factor loadings ranges from.30 to.82. Forty eight percent of the variance was explained by only one factor, the dimension of organizational value. The Cronbach Alpha value for the 29 items comprising this dimension was.94. The participants were asked to rank the values in the instrument from 1 to 5 based on the priority they assign to that value. They were invited to consider the importance of those values in terms of their principles and how important the value is in shaping their own lives and life in schools. Respondents were asked to mark 1 for the values they thought were contrary to my principles and 5 for the value statements that were very important for me. Finally, they were expected to rank order all values in a given dimension. Educational Studies Support Program of the Research and Development Office of the Ministry of National Education (EARGED) assisted with the data collection. EARGED provided services like copying the instrument, forwarding the instruments to schools and collecting the completed instruments from schools nationwide. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, means and standard deviations were used to analyze the data. RESULTS The views of school administrators and teachers presented in the study on individual values are listed in table 1. Educational Planning 28 Table 1. School Administrator and Teacher Views on Individual Values Individual Values Administrators n X ss Rank order Teachers n X ss Rank order 1. Openness Fairness Independency Commitment Achievement Rationality Diligence Democracy Religious Devotion Honesty Equality Self-sacrifice Respect for people Cooperation Benevolence Secularism Having authority Self-control Self-respect Money Loyalty Responsibility Objectiveness Frugality Harmony Creativity Solidarity Competence Satisfaction NOTE: Values listed in the first five rank orders by the participants are bold and in italics, whereas those in the last five rank order are presented in italics. The highest five rankings of individual values given by the primary school administrators were respectively fairness ( X = 4.91), honesty ( X = 4.90), respect for people ( X = 4.89), diligence ( X = 4.86) and responsibility ( X = 4.85). The lowest five rankings of individual values given by the 29 Vol. 18, No. 1 school administrators were money ( X = 3.29), religious devotion ( X = 3.39), commitment ( X = 3.88), having authority ( X = 4.06) and frugality ( X = 4.31). As table 1 indicates, the highest five individual values the primary school teachers rank ordered were respectively fairness ( X = 4.94), honesty ( X = 4.93), respect for people ( X = 4.91), equality ( X = 4.86) and responsibility ( X = 4.85), whereas those ranked last were religious devotion ( X = 3.34), money ( X = 3.49), having authority ( X = 3.98), commitment ( X = 3.99) and frugality ( X = 4.23). Table 2 presents the views of the school administrators and the teachers on organizational values in primary schools. Educational Planning 30 Table 2. School Administrator and Teacher Views on Organizational Values Organizational Values n Administrators Teachers ss Rank n ss Rank X order X order 1. Openness Fairness Independency Commitment Achievement Rationality Diligence Democracy Religious Devotion Honesty Equality Self-sacrifice Respect for people Cooperation Benevolence Secularism Having authority Self-control Self-respect Money Loyalty Responsibility Objectiveness Frugality Harmony Creativity Solidarity Competence Satisfaction NOTE: Values listed in the first five rank orders by the participants are presented in bold and in italics, whereas those in the last five rank order are presented in italics. As shown in the table 2, the top five organizational values as ranked by the primary school administrators were respect for people ( X = 4,88), honesty ( X = 4.81), fairness ( X = 4.82), equality ( X = 4.81) and objectiveness ( X = 4.81), respectively. As shown in table 2, the five organizational values the school administrators listed last were religious devotion ( X = 3.06), money 31 Vol. 18, No. 1 ( X = 3.55), having authority ( X = 4.25), commitment ( X = 4.28) and frugality ( X = 4.44). As shown in table 2, the highest ranked organizational values as ranked by the primary school teachers were respect for people ( X = 4.78), democracy ( X = 4.78), honesty ( X = 4.77), fairness ( X = 4.81) and diligence ( X = 4.75), respectively. As reported in table 2, organizational values the teachers ranked lowest were; religious devotion ( X = 2.98), money ( X = 3.62), commitment ( X = 4.15), authority ( X = 4.18) and frugality ( X = 4.68). DISCUSSION The findings of the study indicated that individual values of primary school administrators and teachers were similar. They mostly focused on fairness, honesty, and respect for people, equality, and responsibility. The only difference between the two groups of respondents was that the primary school administrators put diligence in the 4th rank order, whereas teachers ranked equality 4 th. The rank order of the other values did not differ for administrators and teachers. This order might indicate that school administrators and teachers attribute more importance to relation-oriented values (fairness, honesty, respect for people, equality, responsibility etc.). Güngör (1998) claims that the highest ranking or the top value of a person in a value list may be considered as his/her basic value. Theoretically, if one is asked to rank order a list of values, the top ranking value is the most influential one in his or her life. Other values are a means of individual psychological and social happiness and peace. Therefore, the basic individual value for school administrators and the teachers was fairness. This may suggest that such an attitude indicates that fairness and equality were dominant in their own lives. One may also suggest that both administrators and teachers attach much more importance to relation-oriented values. Individual values of the teachers and the school administrators in the last rank of their value ranking are the same. These values were money, religious devotion, commitment, having authority and frugality. However, money was the lowest-ranking item for school administrators, whereas religious devotion was the lowest-ranking value for teachers. These findings support the findings of other studies that had similar results (Aydın, 2003; Bacanlı, 1999; Erçetin, 2000; Kuşdil & Kağıtçıbaşı, 2000). Finding religious devotion as the lowest-ranking item might be a result of training and the professional socialization process in a secular educational system. Although dedication is one of the most distinctive cultural features of the Turkish society (Özen, 1996), it was the final item on the individual value lists both for school administrators and teachers. Researchers have found that Turkish culture emphasizes commitment to internal the group. Turkish culture ensures social order mostly through hierarchical roles (Hofstede, 1980; Schwartz, 1994; Smith, Dugan, & Trompenaars, 1996). The reason for the differences in findings regarding these values between previous studies and the current study might be social changes that have occurred in the past decade. Because of social changes and the influence of globalization and liberal economic policies, values like commitment, trust, and dedication might have given way to other individualistic values. The values like commitment to internal group and family, two of the most distinctive features of the Turkish society, might have been less emphasized. In societies where values such as commitment and family have been worn out, people often face problems like violence in family and schools, individuals might resort to violence and use of drugs. Turkish society has traditionally been characterized by density, lack of competition, and lack of entrepreneurship, many Turks perceive work as an obligation and may lower work performance as a result (Tezcan, 1995). Diligence and responsibility were two of the values emphasized by both the school administrators and the teachers. As a result, one might surmise there have been recent changes in Turkish society and culture. The findings are not as surprising when one considers that individuals have to take responsibility and work harder than before in a society that is constantly changing. Values such as diligence and responsibility are desirable values for societies and organizations. The basic organizational value in primary schools for the administrators and teachers was respect for Educational Planning 32 people, whereas religious devotion was the lowest ranking among the values. Thus, one may conclude that the school administrators and the teachers attribute the utmost importance to respect for individuals in organizations. School administrators and teachers perceive respect for others as the basic value for school organizations and religious devotion as the lowest ranking. The results might suggest that individuals whose basic individual values were fairness might also perceive it as the basic organizational value. These individuals attribute more importance to relation-oriented values at both individual and organizational levels. Finding religious devotion as the lowest-ranking item is expected, given a secular educational system attaches little or no importance to religious values. While the finding concerning the religious devo
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