Journal for the History of Public Administration / Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsgeschichte
Methodologies, tools, and contexts
Pedro Encarnação, Sylvie Ray-Kaeser and Nicole Bianquin
Aida Alvinius, Alicia Ohlsson and Gerry Larsson
Numerous societal change processes such as globalization, professionalization and social and technical acceleration have challenged military organizations. The aims of this study were to (1) gain a deeper understanding of coping strategies used by the military leaders at the strategic level to manage everyday organizational demands and (2) relate these strategies to multidisciplinary models of organizational challenges. Owing to an insufficiently developed base of research, an inductive approach was used. Interviews were performed with 23 Swedish brigadier generals and colonels. Five coping strategies were found for handling the negative organizational aspects: repair work, catching up, reproducing, using formal and informal strategies and managing loyalties. The theoretical concepts of narcissistic, anorectic and greedy organizations were used as a framework when interpreting the inductively generated coping strategies. It was suggested that the specific connection found between individual-level coping strategies and theoretically framed organizational challenges is new. The results of this study are discussed theoretically and may be valuable in educational settings when evaluating the working conditions and performance of high-level officers.
The Case of Finland
Hanwei Li and Pirkko Pitkänen
This study examines the integration experiences of mainland Chinese tertiary-level students in Finland, a non-Anglophone country. The article identifies four conceptual domains of integration – academic, social, economic and cultural – as central to the students’ integration processes. Data for analysing the Chinese students’ integration experiences were collected through semi-structured interviews (n = 30), and the research findings showed that both English and the host language Finnish mediated the Chinese students’ integration into the host academic and social environments. Although the students initially faced challenges in their studies and daily lives, many of them managed to establish meaningful cross-cultural social contact and overcame cultural differences and language barriers to integrate into the new academic environment. The findings suggest that the maintenance of transnational ties and co-national networks can facilitate Chinese international student integration abroad, through promotion of meaningful cross-cultural contacts that contribute to the host society.
Declining fertility and rising life expectancy combined with migration are changing the demographic landscape of the MENA. Earlier high fertility will ensure a growing population in the next 20-30 years. Family structure is also changing: families are becoming smaller and increasingly nuclear, rather than extended. The region has to manage a young age structure and a gradual ageing of the population but with a potential weakening of the traditional inter-generational support based on family, it also faces a widely varying and heterogeneous resource base and socio-economic structure across the different countries. To maintain and improve inter-generational support within family and society in the MENA countries with large populations (such as Iran and Egypt) the most important challenges are poverty and vulnerability, unemployment, and development of long-term plans for an ageing population. These are inter-connected objectives since reducing poverty and increasing current employment could provide individuals and families with some resources to save and accumulate for old age. States in the region should put redistributive social policies in the areas of health, education and housing at the heart of a strategy of supporting family budgets and resources to assist them in their inter-generational care, but should also set up care and pension schemes to provide societal inter- generational support.
Is religion simply a part of culture? Can religious diversity be managed as a subset of intercultural diversity? This article explores intercultural dialogue and its relationship to “religion’ in the policies, documents and debates of the European Community. The argument is advanced that religious realities and concerns are misconstrued when religion is subsumed into culture. Religion needs to be historically and conceptually rethought and that for cultural and religious diversities to be skillfully managed in the interests of social solidarity and positive intercommunal relations both need to be addressed discretely and in tandem.