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Inga Jēkabsone and Biruta Sloka

Abstract

During the last three decades, social capital has gained prominence throughout the social sciences. The concepts has been analysed in various manners (from perspectives of economics, political sciences, sociology, anthropology etc.) providing wide range of theoretical conceptualizations. The aim of paper is to analyse the relation of social capital and possibility to improve the well-being of the municipality’s citizens using co-responsibility approach. In order to achieve the aim, the tasks are formulated as follows: 1) to review theoretical background for concept of social capital and subjective well-being, 2) to analyse the factors of social capital at local level, and 3) to use the results of conducted empirical research at Salaspils municipality in analysing the correlation of level of social capital and possibility to improve well-being implementing inclusive local management. Research methods used: Scientific literature studies, several stages of focus group discussions, statistical data analysis, SPIRAL methodology, scenario method. The main findings of the paper - there are evidences on relation of social capital and possibility to improve the well-being of the municipality’s citizens. In municipalities with sufficient level of social capital are good opportunities to use participatory techniques for achieving higher level of overall well-being. The paper consists of practical value how to mobilise the social capital of the municipality in order to ensure the inclusive management of the territory.

Open access

Sergejs Stacenko and Biruta Sloka

Abstract

The article will show major dimensions in the experience of EU Member States that could be shared with the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The framework of the study is the EU concept of trade unions in social dialogue and social partnership in the public sector. This study outlines the concept of social dialogue as a core element of industrial relations and will focus on industrial relations specifically in the public sector.

The authors have elaborated the approach to industrial relations and social dialogue taking into account comparative approach to definitions provided by international institutions such as ILO and OECD, as well as institutions in the EU and Latvia. Latvia is also a case study for Eastern Partnership countries as these countries and their trade unions are in a transition period from socialist structures to structures that possess liberal economies. Trade unions in these countries are members of the International Trade Union Confederation. The major transformation that trade unions underwent from being part of the socialist system and becoming an independent institution since Latvia regained independence in 1991 has been studied. The paper discusses the current developments related to the position of Latvian Free Trade Union Federation in the system of decision-making process related to the public administration management. Finally, the prospective role of trade unions in the EU and in Latvia is analysed and possible revitalisation of trade union is discussed. This approach could be applied to the Eastern Partners of the EU.

Open access

Glorija Sarkane and Biruta Sloka

Abstract

The world-wide competition of higher education programs makes education institutions to seek for most efficient ways to attract students. The presented academic research is devoted also to the issues on motives and influencing factors for the choice of study programs. The methods applied in the current paper are as follows: analysis of scientific publications, focus group discussions, surveys of possible future students. For the evaluation of different aspects of choice a scale of 1-10 was used. For the data analysis of the survey descriptive statistical analysis, cross tabulations and correlation analysis, as well as analysis of variance (ANOVA) and factor analysis were applied.

Open access

Jānis Kleperis, Biruta Sloka, Justs Dimants, Ilze Dimanta and Jānis Kleperis

Abstract

The analysis of the results of long-term air quality monitoring in Riga is presented, which shows that in city centre throughout the measurement time (2004-2014) according to the guidelines defined by the European Union directives and Latvian laws the limits of small particles PM10 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are exceeded. From the nature of appearance of pollution and from the research of morphology and composition of fine dust particles it was concluded that in the city centre where the monitoring was performed the main air pollutants are caused by internal combustion engine vehicles. The measures to reduce air pollution performed by two Action Programs (2004-2009; 2011-2015) of the City Council showed that there were only two possible ways to improve air quality in urban environment ‒ to decrease the number of traffic units and/or to decrease exhaust emissions from vehicles.

From the analysis of energy consumption and resources used for it the conclusion was drawn that Latvia is dependent on fossil fuel import, especially in traffic sector (99 %). A new trend has been observed in Latvia ‒ the type of cars is changing: the number of gasoline cars rapidly decreases and number of diesel cars is growing. Both fuels in exhaust gases of second-hand cars are giving high emissions of fine particles (soot) and nitrogen oxides as compared with new cars; 72 % of cars on the roads of Latvia are more than 13 years old. The switch to bio-diesel can improve Latvian statistics according to CO2 reduction target for 2020 but not the concentration of PM10 and NO2 on streets with dense traffic.

Therefore, to improve air quality in urban environment and simultaneously reduce the dependence of Latvia from fossil fuel import, a scenario is proposed for the changeover to zero-carbon technologies in transport and energy production. Hydrogen is analyzed from the point of view of availability of resources and commercialized technologies. The research of the public opinion was done because there is little awareness in society about hydrogen as energy carrier and simultaneously as fuel.

Open access

Tom Sander, Ieva Pūķe and Biruta Sloka

Abstract

The research investigates the question of the importance of mentioning the name of the employer in online and offline social networks. The exchange of information is an important part of social networks and social capital theory. Companies can use the networks of their employees to recruit new hires and to check habits and interests of likely new employees. To do that, the employee has to mention the name of the company in these social networks. The paper compares different real social networks used by family and friends and private and business social network sites (SNSs) as online social networks and compares the differences between men and women. The empirical research has been done by a survey. The survey data are analysed using the main indicators of descriptive statistics, frequency, t-test and cross tables. The results of the research reveal that real social networks are more accepted than virtual social networks. The difference in use of social networks between genders is confirmed.

Open access

Angelina Bekasova, Biruta Sloka and Tatjana Muravska

Abstract

The presented research aims to contribute to the conceptualisation of the nation-brand of Latvia with the purpose of stimulation of national export performance. The subject of the research is three aspects presumably challenging the branding of Latvia with reference to national export development. The investigated challenges are the barriers and opportunities for green-branding of Latvia; the absence of the generally accepted indication of the geographical identity of the Baltic region; and the contradictable popular image of Latvia as a cheap country. The research poses two research questions inquiring into the issues of nation-branding of Latvia currently being faced in the context of exports and possible measures to overcome them. The applied research methods are theoretical analysis of scientific literature and empirical analysis of the representation of Latvia on the official website of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and its comparison with the official websites of respective institutions in Lithuania and Estonia. The research observes the interconnection between the defined challenges, offers the perspective for the possible transformation of the challenges into nation-branding opportunities, and estimates the green brand of the country as a gateway for feasible solution for the defined challenges and for the stimulation of national exports. In addition, the research identifies further challenges the nation-branding of Latvia is currently facing for further discussion.

Open access

Ilze Buligina, Biruta Sloka, Ināra Kantāne and Anita Līce

Abstract

Introduction of work-based learning (WBL) in Latvia has required new approaches in decision making of different stakeholders. Experience from countries with long-standing WBL tradition has shown the numerous advantages but also the challenges this approach presents. One of these challenges is the need for new forms and mechanisms of cooperation among the key stakeholders – policy makers, public administrators, employers, educators and social partners. The current paper analyses the results of scientific research in this field, as well as uses the empirical results of two surveys performed by the authors: a survey of public sector experts and a survey of employers in Latvia. In order to obtain detailed results, the evaluations of respondents on multiple aspects analysed in the surveys were evaluation in the scale 1–10. The data of both surveys have been analysed by descriptive analysis, cross-tabulations and multivariate analysis – factor analysis. The results have indicated that the views of employers and social partners on the most of the key aspects of introduction and implementation of WBL are similar. However, a more profound analysis has to be performed in order to develop proposals or the most efficient approach to WBL.

Open access

Renata Walczak, Marlena Piekut, Magdalena Kludacz-Alessandri, Biruta Sloka, Ligita Šimanskiene and Tiiu Paas

Abstract

After joining the European Union in 2004, the post-communist countries have dramatically changed their structure of expenditure for medical services. The cause of this is legislative and ownership changes in the new economy. The study analyzed the expenditure on medical services in the European Union with a special focus on Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The European Union countries were divided into clusters using different methods, that is, Ward’s, Two Step and Centroid Clustering. In the paper, the structure and changes in health expenses were presented according to the types of expenditures over the years 2004-2015. Countries were assigned to clusters based on three variables: medical products, appliances and equipment, outpatient services and hospital services. Variables were considered as a percentage of household budget. In Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, there is a clear increase in the outpatient services spending compared to the hospital services expenditure.

Open access

Biruta Sloka, Ināra Kantāne, Ilze Buligina, Ginta Tora, Juris Dzelme, Regīna Buševica, Alise Buligina and Pēteris Tora

Abstract

Qualified, loyal and motivated employees are highly demanded by employers and business promoters. The paper deals with employers’ needs and expectations for qualified and loyal employees, and investigates cooperation of employers, educators and municipalities. The following methods were used: analysis of scientific publications; focus group discussions; surveys of employers, teaching staff, students and graduates of VEI. For survey data analysis descriptive statistical analysis, non-parametric statistical test of Kruskal-Wallis and factor analysis were applied. The main findings indicate that besides professional skills and competence, social competence, motivation to work and responsibility are requested as well.