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La Educación
Número: (118) II
Año: 1994


This text employs a cultural framework and qualitative methodology to investigate and analyze the problems and challenges that confront one Latin American university. The intent of the article is twofold. The author first explicates how one might use a cultural framework and methodology of organizations to interpret post- secondary institutions in Latin America. The second goal is to suggest the implications of such a framework with regard to decision-making and strategy.

Accordingly, the paper has three parts. In part one the author explicates the terms of organizational culture and applies them to Latin American postsecondary institutions. A cultural framework relates to how an organization’s participants interpret five cultural components: (a) mission and ideology; (b) knowledge and power; (c) communication and language; (d) leadership and strategy; and (e) environment and constituencies. The author then discusses the strengths and weaknesses of a qualitative methodology and underscores the researcher’s role in the development of the data. Part two is a case study of one institution to highlight how one might analyze the activities of such an organization by using a cultural framework. The data for the text derives from interviews at the University of Panama during 1992. The article concludes in part three with a discussion of the implications of the framework. In particular, the text considers three challenges that confront post-secondary institutions—existential, intellectual and political—and relates these challenges to the cultural framework outlined in the article.