What Does Culture of Higher Education Mean for Teacher Candidates?: Turkish Sample

What Does Culture of Higher Education Mean for Teacher Candidates?: Turkish Sample

Belgin Arslan-Cansever (Ege University, Turkey) and Gamze Bilir Seyhan (Ege University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1913-3.ch036
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When a university is considered as an organization, the meaning of culture to students should be investigated to have knowledge of its organizational culture. In this qualitative study, it is aimed to examine university students' perceptions of higher education culture via metaphors. Participants were 230 primary school teacher candidates enrolled in Faculty of Education, Ege University in Turkey. Researchers prepared a form to use as data gathering tool including the prompt “Higher education culture is like ... because ...”. In the study, the 5 common metaphors generated by four grades and these metaphors were freedom, youth, library, sea, and sun. Moreover, all participants generated 101 original metaphors. At the end of the analysis, metaphors were grouped into seven different categories; information environment, shaping the future, pathfinder, free, perpetual adapting itself, multi-cultural, exciting. To conclude, it could be said that most of teacher candidates have a positive perception about higher education.
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Culture is a multidimensional concept. When literature about culture is analyzed, it can be stated that definitions related culture have differed (Kongar, 1972; Ouchi, 1980; Selznick, 1957). According to definitions, culture provides individual to adopt and shape values of their own society, and affects individuals’ behavior through enculturation. Individuals gather due to various reasons and they constitute the organizations. The organizations consist of individuals’ different identities revealing their behaviors. In this context, organizational culture ensure to understand how behaviors are formed, and influence organizational performance. Deal and Kennedy (1982) stated that the construction of a strong culture is focus point of high organizational performance. The concept of organizational culture has been approached by Selznick in 1957, by viewing organizations as institutions (Hoy, 1990). Furthermore, in an organization, culture impresses behavioral regulation of organization by comprising of premise, belief, and values (Deal & Peterson, 1991). According to another definition, organizational culture is systems, ceremonies and myths; besides, these three components associate with values and beliefs of organization for its individuals (Ouchi, 1980). Organizational culture is consisted of these dimensions; cognitions, values, the symbolic, differentiation, fragmentation, emotions, the unconscious, contracts, patterns of interaction and relationships, defining traits or characteristics (Şahin, 2004).

The elements of organizational culture were stated by Schein (1985). These elements are as follows, (a) apparent behavioral orderliness of organizational interaction, (b) norms developing in groups, (c) organization’s dominant values, (d) organization’s philosophy, (e) rules for harmony in group, (f) organization’s climate through physical environment and interactions of individuals. Schein (1985) indicated that these six elements represent the organizational culture, on the other hand any of them is not the core of the culture. Another point, emphasized by Schein (1990) is that group assumptions shared and get used by individuals in an organization are the most significant basis of organizational culture.

In community, one of the organizations is educational institutions such as, schools, and higher education institutions. As Hoy (1990) indicated that Waller (1932) studied the place of values, rituals, rites and ceremonies in school. On the other hand, studies related to culture in education and educational institutions became widespread after 1980 (Hoy, 1990). Culture in education is considered as a way of providing a greater learning for students (Oches, 2001). Moreover, Deal indicated that successful schools have a strong culture (Deal, 1985). It can be indicated that for an effective education, culture should be considered by all members in education. Brunner (1996) stated that the core of school culture is school itself. On the other hand, Brunner’s this statement should not be implied that school is considered in isolation. On the contrary, organizational culture in educational institutions could be affected by cultural norms of the country and formal educational systems for organization and administration of schooling (Hallinger & Leithwood, 1996).

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