Personal Values and Proclaimed Values of the Education System: Results of Empirical Research in the Case of Croatia

Personal Values and Proclaimed Values of the Education System: Results of Empirical Research in the Case of Croatia

Niksa Alfirevic (University of Split, Croatia), Zlatko Nedelko (University of Maribor, Slovenia) and Vojko Potocan (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5837-8.ch008


The primary purpose of this chapter is to empirically analyze the relationships between the personal values of current students and the officially proclaimed values of education systems, based on the case of Croatia. To assess whether the declared values, which are intended to guide higher education, are accepted by students, a preliminary sample, consisting primarily of students from business schools in Croatia, is analyzed. The empirical findings show a high level of linear correlation among the variables, describing the students' values and the proclaimed values of the education system. Linear regression models, using gender, level of study, and scholarship status, show a causal relationship among the four dimensions of the proclaimed values and selected aspects of students' values. These findings can be used to rethink the potential contribution of students to the development of the Croatian education system, as well as to show possible directions of action for school leaders and policymakers.
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In this chapter, authors analyze the potential relationship between the students’ personal values and the officially proclaimed values of the educational system. This topic has been extensively studied from the perspective of the objectives and value conflicts in higher education (McPherson, 1983), which is, also, often used in the public and policy debate on the role and value of higher education (HE) in the society. This stream of literature leads toward many different types of studies, including the critical sociological studies of stakeholders’ power and interest, as well as subjugation of the less influential ones, within the realm of higher education (see, e.g., Smyth, 2017). Value-based analysis has been applied to the increasing competition and marketization of higher education (McKelvey & Holmén, 2009) and the structural changes of the individual roles, as well as the entire field of higher education and its market-based functioning (Ergül & Coşar, 2017). This issue is essential for the social responsibility of higher education institutions, as defined by its civic contribution (Ehrlich, 2000), stakeholder relationships (Jongbloed, Enders & Salerno, 2008) and solving the sustainability challenge (Nedelko, Potočan & Alfirević, 2017).

Value-based conflicts have been recognized as sources of (in)congruence in developing an academic identity and responding to the trend of academic managerialism (Winter, 2009). They are also discussed in the context of career issues for teaching faculty (Skelton, 2012), as well as in the analysis of value-free vs. ‘partisan’ orientation of education researchers (Greenbank, 2003) and their influence to education policy (Ball, 1997) and management of individual academic institutions (Ribeiro et al, 2016).

To sum up, despite the significant and recognized importance of personal values in business organizations (Brodbeck et al, 2000; Nordlund & Garvill, 2002), as well as in the non-profit and the public sector (Jelovec, Wan der Wal & Jelovec, 2011; Nedelko & Potočan, 2013), not much attention has been given to the proclaimed values of education, especially in East-Central Europe. Authors’ literature search has not revealed any existing studies, dealing with the interaction of students’ personal values with the values of the educational institutions and/or national educational systems, on either the theoretical or the empirical level. In addition, focus on students, as key stakeholders of educational institutions (Warwick, 2016), should provide useful information to the educational leaders and policy-makers. Therefore, the objective of this study is to discuss the potential implications of empirical value analysis for higher education institutions (HEIs), especially in small, “peripheral” European countries.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Educational System Values: Principles guiding the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of educational policies and practices, as stated in national policy documents.

Culture: The shared and learned psychological patterns and social interactions related to understanding and reacting to environmental stimuli.

Personal Value: A pattern of assigning importance and the most appropriate reaction to environmental stimuli, based on the construction of social value and its association with the (re)action itself.

Education System: Policy formulation and implementation framework, including resources and facilities, as well as the organization and administrative arrangements for (public) schooling at all levels of education: from kindergarten to higher education.

Schwarz Value Survey (SVS): A methodological approach, developed by Shalom H. Schwarz, for determining and classifying universal human values, their precedents, and causes, as well as their behavioral influence and other social consequences.

Attitudes: Someone’s perception regarding the objects and/or subject in his/her environment.

Stakeholders of an Educational Institution: All interested parties, either individuals or organizations, having a legitimate interest in the processes of an educational institution, as well as their inputs and outcomes.

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