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    Research Work!

    I am doing MBA from Pakistan. To get the degree we have to submit a research (PHD level) on the topic of our interest. Now I am very much confused because none of the other universities in Pakistan have the requirement of Research work in MBA. We are facing a lot of difficulties regarding researches in the Management field.

    My problem statement/hypothesis is
    Managing cultural diversity at the workplace effectively can increase efficiency of the organization

    Now there is very little research done on this topic, neither can I find anything in the HR books on this topic.

    I have consulted a few online libraries as well, but I was hoping if I could get some help from this discussion board as well.



    there are tons of articles on this topic. You may want to look for Human resources related think tanks and association as well as sourtces like american management association.

    Let me look around a bit and get some more specifics for you.

    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.



      one more thing. do check that this relates to your major or area of emphasis. e.g. if you are focusing more on general mgmt or HR, otherwise if you are in marketing, finance or op mgmt etc you may find topics that are better suited to your particular area of emphasis and can thus be considered as a good knowledge base.

      The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


        well i work in periodicals department looks like i can help

        what are u looking for ...articles most likely .... alright i have done research under the databases that our library provides... i got more than 50 articles that might be helpful ...u wont be able to access it from any other pc besides on campus... so in pakistan forget it

        hmcq...dont delete it..let the poor girl take them

        here are few

        The end of managed care
        JAMA; Chicago; May 23/May 30, 2001; James C Robinson;

        Source (subtitle):
        The Journal of the American Medical Association
        Start Page:
        Subject Terms:
        Managed care
        Social conditions & trends
        Health care industry

        After a turbulent decade of trial and error, the managed care experiment can be
        characterized as an economic success but a political failure. The strategy of giving with
        one hand while taking away with the other, of offering comprehensive benefits while
        restricting access through utilization review, has infuriated everyone involved.

        Full Text:
        Copyright American Medical Association May 23/May 30, 2001

        Managed care embodies an effort by employers, the insurance industry, and some elements of the
        medical profession to establish priorities and decide who gets what from the health care system. After a
        turbulent decade of trial and error, that experiment can be characterized as an economic success but a
        political failure. The strategy of giving with one hand while taking away with the other, of offering
        comprehensive benefits while restricting access through utilization review, has infuriated everyone involved.
        The protagonists of managed care now are in full retreat, broadening physician panels, removing
        restrictions, and reverting to fee-for-service payment. Governmental entities are avoiding politically volatile
        initiatives to balance limited resources and unlimited expectations. By default, if not by design, the
        consumer is emerging as the locus of priority setting in health care. The shift to consumerism is driven by
        a widespread skepticism of governmental, corporate, and professional dominance; unprecedented
        economic prosperity that reduces social tolerance for interference with individual autonomy; and the
        Internet technology revolution, which broadens access to information and facilitates the mass
        customization of insurance and delivery.
        JAMA. 2001;285:2622-2628

        THE UNITED STATES FACES AN ACcelerating demand for medical services due to new
        quality-- enhancing but cost-increasing drugs and devices, an ever-broadening social definition of
        health, and an ever more informed and assertive consumer. Despite unprecedented prosperity, the
        nation lacks the economic resources to finance all services that would provide some benefit to some
        patient. The setting of social priorities and balancing of competing claims is imperative. The
        fundamental question concerns where and by whom these difficult decisions will be made. Five
        candidates present themselves: government, employers, insurers, physicians, and consumers. Each
        has serious limitations as arbitrator of who should get what, yet of necessity one must be assigned
        the role.

        Most industrialized nations rely on public sector institutions to allocate scarce resources through a
        combination of capacity limits and price controls, but the United States appears no closer to
        embracing this approach today than in the past. The indelible political lesson of the past decade has
        been that initiatives to control health care costs lose votes, while initiatives that increase costs,,
        through expansions of coverage, benefits, and access, win votes. During the same decade,
        employers, insurers, and some physician organizations developed managed care as a private sector
        alternative to governmental regulation. The managed care system has achieved considerable
        economic success but has proven itself a cultural and political failure, unleashing a reaction against
        narrow physician panels, "gatekeeping," utilization review, and capitation. Employers, insurers, and
        physician organizations now are renouncing managed care functions and seeking new missions as
        entities that inform, structure, and support consumer choice.

        This article examines the retreat of employers, insurers, and physicians and the emergence of the
        consumer as the central decision maker in US health care. A consumer-centered health care system
        will have incomplete information on quality, inadequate spreading of insurance risk, and insufficient
        financial subsidies for the poor. Some observers thus argue that the resurgence of health care
        inflation, coupled with an economic recession, will bring the public and the private sectors back into
        the central role they now abandon. But the transition to health care consumerism builds on deeper
        social trends, including the widespread distrust of big government and big business, the increasing
        diversity in health-related attitudes and preferences, and the emergence of Internet technology as a
        source of information, entropy, and accelerating change.


        Employers entered into the financing of health benefits by historical accident and remained to
        purchase employee loyalty with pretax dollars! When confronted with the explosion in insurance
        premiums, they shifted their contracts and herded their employees into managed care. This strategy
        achieved short-term gains, with an unprecedented slowdown in cost inflation during the 1990s,2 but
        has caused deep damage to the workplace social compact. Although economists maintain that
        employer contributions to health insurance would have been added to wages and salaries,3
        employees view insurance contributions as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, cash
        compensation. The advantages produced by managed care, in the form of lower medical inflation,
        were perceived as accruing to employers, while the disadvantages, in the form of restricted access,
        accrued to employees. Employers now purchase ever less employee satisfaction at an ever-growing
        price and face a threatening wave of litigation if corporate benefit programs, as well as the insurance
        firms that administer them, are judged liable for the adverse health consequences of cost-- cutting

        A tight labor market promotes caution and impedes initiative among corporate health benefit
        managers, but the trend in attitudes is clear. Employers are retreating from managed care constraints
        while simultaneously restricting coverage and benefits. Enrollment is shifting from tightly managed
        health maintenance organization (HMO) products to lightly managed alternatives, and even HMOs
        are relaxing gatekeeper, utilization review, and other hallmark functions under pressure from their
        customers. Employees are being asked to pay a greater share of the health insurance premium, with
        the consequent rise in the number of individuals who are offered but decline employment-based
        coverage.4 The increase in co-payments and benefit exclusions was muffled by the imperative to
        retain employees, but many firms are waiting for a loosening of labor market conditions to increase
        cost-sharing and reduce benefits.

        More important than any shortterm restructuring of premiums or copayments is the change from a
        paternalistic corporate culture to one that defines itself as supporting rather than restricting employee
        choice. This shift has been most visible in the evolution from defined benefit to defined contribution
        pension plans, where most private corporations now contribute a specified monthly sum to
        tax-favored retirement accounts that are controlled by individual employees rather than by the firm.5
        The advent of Internet technology has accelerated a move toward the contracting of human
        resources functions to other companies, consistent with the business mantra to focus on core
        competencies and outsource everything else. Investment analysts and human resource managers
        now are abuzz with discussions on how and when, rather than whether, to apply similar principles to
        health insurance benefits.6-8 While many employers remain committed to funding health insurance,
        as they remain committed to funding pensions, the trend is to offer information, options, and partial
        financial support, but to otherwise get out of the decision-making position in health care.


        The managed care industry is the confluence of several distinct sectors, including commercial
        indemnity carriers, prepaid group practices, and the BlueCross/BlueShield plans. Years of mergers
        and acquisitions have churned these once distinct entities into large and diversified conglomerates
        that offer multiple products across multiple states to multiple customer segments.9 Some embraced
        the role of managing care, accepting a predefined capitation budget for a predefined enrollee
        population and establishing criteria for allocating resources and evaluating medical necessity. Plans
        that could not develop physician networks, negotiate prices, and review utilization either sold out or
        lost market share to those that could. For a moment it seemed that insurer-based managed care was
        the US route to establishing priorities and balancing trade-- offs in health care.

        The market success of managed care, measured most commonly through the rising enrollment in
        HMO products, ultimately proved to be its undoing. Once the consumer and physician backlash
        against managed care began, it quickly swirled into an unstoppable political tornado, reaching its
        peak perhaps in the recent presidential campaign, during which one candidate accused his opponent
        of herding elderly persons into private HMOs while the other countered that his opponent was
        herding them into public HMOs. The fundamental flaw of managed care, in retrospect, was that it
        sought to navigate the tensions between limited resources and unlimited expectations without
        explaining exactly how it was so doing. Enrollees were offered comprehensive benefit coverage with
        only minimal co-payments, which they interpreted as a promise of unrestrained access to all relevant
        services. Managed care proposed to control costs behind the scenes, through volume price
        discounts from physicians, gatekeeper restraints on specialty consultations, drug formularies, prior
        authorization of tests and admissions, and retrospective denial of payment for unnecessary services.'
        Consumers experienced managed care's cost-control strategy in the form of barriers to access,
        administrative complexity, and the well-articulated frustration of their caregivers. Controlling health
        care costs behind the scenes is difficult even in the most propitious circumstances; it became volatile
        in the context of reports of excessive profits, bureaucratic hassle, and exorbitant executive earnings.

        Proponents of managed care may win some of the legislative and judicial battles, but clearly they
        have lost the war. The largest firms in the health insurance industry, and especially the
        investor-owned corporations, have lost the will to fight against US popular culture and political
        institutions. Investment analysts are downgrading stocks of firms that persist with narrow networks
        and capitation, while promoting stocks of those that offer the broadest panels with the least
        utilization review.11-13 They note that the core function of an insurance firm is to predict cost trends
        and establish premiums accordingly, not to accept the prices offered by purchasers and seek to hold
        expenditures beneath those limits. In the short run, health plans are outrunning costs by raising
        premiums. In the long run, they are hoping to redefine themselves as entities that structure and
        support choices for individuals, offering information on coverage and quality, Web-enabled decision
        support tools, and actuarially fair prices for each choice." Heretofore, managed care organizations
        rarely have managed care but mostly have managed costs. Henceforth, they will not even manage
        costs but only analyze, explain, and pass those costs on to the consumer.


        Historically, physicians and hospitals have served as social agents for the increase in health care
        expenditures, adding capacity, technology, and services in pursuit of higher incomes and better
        clinical outcomes. During the past decade, a variety of medical groups, hospital systems, and
        physician-- hospital entities emerged with a goal of managing the cost as well as the quality of care.
        15,16 They have combined primary, specialty, hospital, and ancillary services; have been paid
        through global or professional services capitation; and have been delegated authority for managed
        care functions, such as credentialing, utilization review, and claims processing. Many have
        interpreted themselves as the natural locus for clinical and financial responsibility, in marked contrast
        with governmental, employer, or insurance entities.

        Some physician and hospital organizations have gained prominent positions in their local
        communities, but many others have foundered under the difficulties inherent in governing complex
        organizations and managing capitation payment. Attempts to expand patient volume through price
        cutting pulled revenues below costs; the conversion of self-employed physicians into salaried
        employees undermined productivity; the amalgamation of primary, specialty, and institutional
        physicians stimulated factionalism; the mix of professional, administrative, and community cultures
        enfeebled governance. The once rising tide of integrated health care now is ebbing; as medical
        groups retrench, the physician practice management firms are declaring bankruptcy, and physician--
        hospital organizations are breaking into their component pieces. 17,18 Physician organizations
        are retreating from global capitation to partial capitation, case rates, or fee-for-service; are
        renouncing or losing authority for utilization review and claims processing; and are quietly
        abandoning the rhetoric of disintermediating the health insurance plans.19

        No one can predict the future organizational and payment structures for physicians and hospitals, but
        it appears probable that the structures will lie on some point intermediate between vertical integration
        and global capitation, on the one hand, and solo practice and fee-for-service, on the other. The key
        point for current purposes is that most physicians and hospitals no longer aspire to the dual role of
        agent for society and for the individual patient, for managing costs as well as quality. Physicians
        want to be on the side of their patients, advocating for more resources and better quality, rather than
        taking on the social responsibility for comparing costs and benefits in a complex and volatile


        Enthusiasm in political circles for disciplining the health care system has waxed and waned over the
        years, but now is at nadir. Control over health care costs requires I or more of 3 equally unattractive
        initiatives. Elected politicians and their administrative appointees must impose limits on the
        professional, institutional, and technological capacity of the delivery system, limits on the prices paid
        to physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical manufacturers, or limits on which specific services
        physicians can offer to which specific patients. Each of these strategies requires saying no to socially
        influential interests.

        The first strategy would require explicit reductions in how many medical specialists are trained, how
        many inpatient facilities are authorized, and how many clinical devices are diffused into the
        community. A sustained underfunding of operating expenses could achieve this goal over time, albeit
        in a very unattractive manner, but no meaningful short-term victories against costs are to be
        expected, and the political backlash against a deteriorating infrastructure likely would reverse the

        The second public sector approach to cost control, a direct attack on physician fees, hospital
        payments, and drug prices, could achieve short-term political support if the targeted groups first
        were demonized through media exposes, fraud investigations, and liberal use of the presidential bully
        pulpit. But the economic beneficiaries of cost-control initiatives are quiescent while the opponents
        are passionate in their own defense. Physicians will argue that quality of care is threatened and that
        the best and brightest young people are avoiding the profession; hospitals will argue that jobs and
        community institutions are at stake; drug and device manufacturers will argue that the pace of
        innovation is slackening.

        The third strategy, setting priorities and queuing for particular patients and services, is a relatively
        common practice in some nations and has been subject to experiments in the United States.20,22
        But without a doubt, this is the least attractive strategy for politicians and regulators facing voters
        who want to have their cake and eat it too, who consider as their birthright the unlimited access to
        services without payment of the requisite taxes.

        The risk-averse governmental strategy now is bipartisan and beyond real debate. When budgetary
        surpluses are available, the public sector expands coverage, benefits, research subsidies, physician
        payments, and patients' rights. When budgetary deficits loom, the public sector defends itself by
        cutting payments to physicians; the voting public is reassured that no sacrifices on its part will be
        necessary. In neither the fat nor the lean years does the government place itself at the center of a
        discussion over which services are appropriate for which patients, what constitutes adequate quality
        at what price, and who should get less so that others can get more.


        The health care system is becoming increasingly consumer driven, not by design but by default.
        Some group must decide who gets what from a limited pool of economic resources. The United
        States has experimented with professional, governmental, and, most recently, corporate mechanisms
        for allocating resources and apparently found none to its liking. The proximate cause of the shift to
        consumerism is the widespread backlash against managed care's instruments of cost control,
        including integrated delivery systems, capitation, and utilization review. This backlash, however, is
        merely the tip of an iceberg of hostility toward any entity that would substitute its own priorities for
        those of the individual citizen. The new culture of health care consumerism is the volatile confluence
        of 3 central features of US society: a deeply rooted political culture, an extended period of
        economic prosperity, and the phenomenal growth of Internet technology.


        The uproar over managed care will not be mollified by half-hearted compromises over specialty
        access and dispute resolution. It builds on long-standing traditions of individual autonomy and
        skepticism with respect to professional, governmental, and corporate dominance in health care.
        Historical resistance to professional authority, quieted during the middle decades of the last century,
        reemerged during the 1960s as part of the wider questioning of the role of institutions. Its
        manifestations include the women's health movement, the surge of complementary medicine, the
        application of antitrust law to medicine, the doctrine of informed consent, the explosion of
        malpractice litigation, and the erosion of the traditional physician-patient relationship.22-25 The
        contemporary flood of health-related information from the Internet, direct-to-- consumer
        pharmaceutical advertising, and the proliferation of patient support groups is hastening the
        displacement of the physician as the principal source of decision-making authority in health care.

        Employees place a high value on employment-based health insurance and protest every effort by
        employers to cut coverage or benefits. The inexorable trend in the contemporary economy,
        however, is toward a more transient and less paternalistic employment relationship. Firms are
        interested in structuring compensation packages to reward performance and strengthen incentives,
        as evidenced most graphically in the replacement of traditional pension programs with
        employer-subsidized but employee-managed individual retirement accounts. The culture of business
        today is one of focusing on core competencies while exiting from peripheral activities, such as
        defining benefit packages, physician networks, and appropriate care. For the past decade
        employers have outsourced health care cost control to the managed care industry, and they felt
        lucky that these contractual agents stood between them and their angry employees. Now, as the
        insurers decline the role of buffering employers from employees, firms are looking for a new
        approach. Some seek to use their leverage to identify the best physicians and practices but are loath
        to force employees to act in their own best interest. Rather, the trend is toward providing data,
        decision-support tools, and financial subsidies that permit employees to make better choices for

        Popular attitudes toward governmental control over health care have moved in tandem with attitudes
        concerning the governmental role more broadly, but the resistance toward public sector dominance
        has never lain far beneath the surface. Subsidy programs, such as Medicare, enjoy universal
        popularity but only as long as the administrative agencies refrain from visible incursions into and
        restrictions of individual choices. The politically viable range of cost-control measures available to
        public programs has been limited to cutbacks in payments to physicians rather than limits on the
        demand for clinical services. The failure of former President Clinton's Health Security Act, despite
        polls suggesting wide support for extension of insurance coverage, provides eloquent testimony to
        the liabilities of any proposal that may be characterized as a governmental takeover of individual
        decisionmaking authority.26 Politicians of both parties have learned the lesson well and now restrict
        themselves to always-- popular promises to extend coverage, enrich benefits, and ensure access.
        None even whispers that public resources are limited, that budget surpluses cannot be spent twice,
        and that costs cannot be controlled indefinitely by cutting payments to physicians, hospitals, and drug


        Economic prosperity provides the personal incomes and governmental budget surpluses to support
        more and better health care. But good times heighten rather than attenuate the strains between the
        demand and supply for services due to their effect on expectations and the social definition of health
        and health care. United States citizens increasingly believe they have a right to unrestricted access to
        ever more convenient, personalized, and high-- quality services. Needless to say, the benefits of the
        economic expansion have been unevenly distributed and many citizens feel thankful for those health
        care services they can obtain. The recent economic downturn will have little immediate impact on the
        wave of legislation, regulation, and litigation that attack every cost-reducing instrument in the
        managed care toolkit.

        Business cycle fluctuations will not reverse the overall trend toward an ever more demanding and
        impatient patient population. Whereas once health care and health insurance were understood as
        activities related to acute injuries and illnesses, they have expanded to include preventive and mental
        health services, long-term care, complementary medicine, and, more broadly, the ability to maintain
        psychological, social, spiritual, and sexual performance far into the golden years. The revolution of
        rising expectations, coupled with the elastic definition of health, accentuates the sentiment that health
        care is a matter of satisfying diverse individual preferences rather than providing a one-size-fits-all
        solution to collective needs. Information, decision support, and subsidies are welcomed; channeling,
        prior authorizations, and retrospective denials are not.


        Internet technology enhances and amplifies the cultural changes unleashed by prosperity,
        individualism, and rising social expectations. Each of the 4 key Internet health sectors, including
        content, commerce, connectivity, and care, accelerates the move away from managed care and
        toward a health care system based on individual choice. The core of the Internet is the rapid,
        costless, and increasingly universal dissemination of text, graphic, and audio content on a scale
        heretofore inconceivable. Despite the economic problems facing the content-oriented "e-- health"
        companies, actual use of the Internet continues to grow at an exponential rate, with health and health
        care being among the most common subjects searched. The most radical feature of the Internet
        medium, however, is the opportunity it provides for users to interact with information distributors
        and with each other, thereby opening new channels of peer communication and community. Use of
        the Internet is particularly intense for individuals newly diagnosed with serious ailments and for those
        experiencing chronic disease." Patients increasingly arrive in their physicians offices armed with
        printouts, citations, etiological theories, referral requests, and suggested interventions. Most
        important, the Internet stokes the culture of individual choice, the sentiment that each person is
        responsible for managing his or her own health, relying on physicians as a valuable, but by no
        means unique, source of information and advice.

        As insurance benefit packages incorporate more consumer cost sharing while offering partial
        coverage of a broader range of physicians, the individual patient will take on an ever more important
        role as direct purchaser of health care services. The rise of consumer as purchaser will be
        accelerated by any shift among employers toward "defined contribution"programs and of Medicare
        toward a choice framework modeled on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (as
        advocated by President Bushy). The Internet commerce sector packages information with products
        in a way usually not available in the offline sector, including rich search and comparison shopping
        prior to purchase and extended information on use, servicing, and related products after purchase.
        The connectivity sector spawned by the Internet, including electronic links between employers,
        insurance plans, pharmacies, hospitals, and, eventually, physician offices, will enable consumers to
        track the administrative and clinical dimensions of their care in a manner that could not be done
        previously. Consumers will be able to check administrative matters, such as eligibility, benefits,
        coinsurance limits; search for and switch among plans and physicians; read up on others' evaluations
        of quality; and make their own contribution to quality monitoring by reporting experiences with
        individual physicians, hospitals, and health plans.


        The enhanced role for consumers not only offers numerous benefits, but also presents severe
        potential difficulties to the health care system. An ideal system presumably would allocate
        decision-making rights and responsibilities among government, employers, insurers, and physicians,
        as well as consumers, with the latter entrusted with those decisions for which they are adequately
        informed and supported. But the headlong retreat of the public and private sectors from the
        thankless job of controlling costs is delegating to the consumer a very broad array of tasks for which
        many are not prepared. The rising informational, cultural, financial, and political challenges are by
        no means limited to consumerism and plague both managed care and highly regulated health
        systems. Nevertheless, they will contribute new forms of dissatisfaction and ultimately instigate new
        forms of social backlash.

        Four problems will plague a consumer-driven health care system. First, despite the widespread
        dissemination of information, consumers will face significant obstacles in understanding the quality
        and even the true price of health insurance and health care services. Variations in utilization, cost,
        and outcomes challenge the analytic capabilities of governmental, corporate, insurer, and physician
        organizations and are daunting for even the most sophisticated and Internet-enabled consumer.
        Second, consumers vary enormously in their financial, cognitive, and cultural preparedness to
        navigate the complex health care system. The new paradigm fits most comfortably the educated,
        assertive, and prosperous and least comfortably the impoverished, meek, and poorly educated.
        Third, the consumer era will complicate the pooling of insurance risk between consistently healthy
        citizens and those who are chronically ill. Risk-adjusted subsidies by government and employers can
        foster risk-spreading, but the requisite actuarial methods are only embryonic. Finally, the emerging
        era will make transparent and render difficult the redistribution of income from rich to poor that
        otherwise results from the collective purchasing and administration of health insurance. The
        proliferation of insurance products and physician networks likely will accentuate the contemporary
        allocation of care based on ability to pay, partially mitigated through tax exemptions and refundable
        tax credits.


        Managed care embodies an effort by employers, insurers, and some physician organizations to
        establish priorities, balance competing goals, and decide who should get what from the US health
        care system. After a turbulent decade of trial and error, that experiment can be characterized as a
        partial economic success and total political failure. The strategy of giving with one hand while taking
        away with the other, of offering consumers 'comprehensive benefits while restricting access through
        utilization review, obfuscates the workings of the system, undermines trust between patients and
        physicians, and has infuriated everyone involved.

        The protagonists of the managed care system now are in full retreat, broadening panels, removing
        restrictions, reverting to fee-for-service, and generally getting out from between consumers and the
        services they want to consume. The retreat from managed care promotes access but also removes
        the brakes on health care cost inflation. The individual consumer and patient is the last candidate for
        the difficult but necessary role of balancing resources and expectations. Lest the prediction of a
        consumer-driven future seem unrealistic, it is worth reviewing briefly the roles desired by physicians,
        insurers, employers, and government in the brave new world after managed care.

        The natural role of the physician is as the agent of the patient, offering information, advice, service,
        and support. Physicians want to advocate for more social resources to be devoted to health care,
        not for a balancing of their individual patients' needs with the other economic priorities of the nation.
        Bedside cost-benefit analysis does not come easily to the individual physician any more than
        population-based care based on incomplete clinical and actuarial data comes easily to the physician
        organization. After the contemporary period of retrenchment has passed, medical groups are likely
        to reemerge as mechanisms that permit physicians to share administrative services, on-call
        responsibilities, information technology, and disease management initiatives. But it is unlikely that
        they will again shoulder the burden of financial responsibility for populations of restive, assertive, and
        choice-oriented consumers.

        The natural role of the insurer is to pool risks, predict cost trends, and set premiums accordingly.
        Insurers lack the clinical skills and the ethical authority to distinguish the experimental from the
        accepted therapy, the appropriate from the inappropriate procedure, the qualified from the
        unqualified physician, or the patient who is truly ill from the worried well. Health insurers cannot
        control the major epidemiological, technological, and cultural sources of health care utilization any
        more than property and casualty insurers can control the major causes of fire, theft, and collision.
        Health plans will continue to play significant roles as entities that design, price, and market insurance
        products that consumers are willing to buy. But never again will they succumb to the bait-and-switch
        gambit used by government and employers, who exhorted them to control health care costs and then
        vilified them for using the marketplace mechanisms that were at their disposal. After a decade of
        confusion, insurers finally have identified their true customer, the individual consumer. Though
        subsidized by governmental programs and employment fringe benefits, the consumer is the ultimate
        locus of price-sensitive and quality-conscious choice. Insurers want to stop frustrating and start
        facilitating those choices.

        The natural role of the employer is to manufacture automobiles, distribute newspapers, and sell
        coffee. Their central role in the financing and design of the health care system developed through a
        combination of historical accidents, tax loopholes, and the paternalism of a passing era of lifetime
        employment. No one today would design a health insurance system that places industrialists,
        entrepreneurs, and convenience store owners in charge of adjudicating health benefits on behalf of
        employees. Most large and many small employers will continue to subsidize health insurance for their

        Group insurance offers administrative efficiencies, risk-spreading opportunities, and volume
        discounts on a scale never to be matched by individual patients shopping alone in the complex health
        care market. But employers will no longer seek to control the costs of fringe benefits by herding
        employees into health plans they disdain, to physicians they distrust, or to procedures they dislike.
        Information and incentives will replace paternalism and control as the primary instruments of
        corporate health benefits policy.

        The natural role for the government in a democracy is to do what the people want rather than what
        the people could, would, or should want. Casual empiricism and harsh political reality suggest that
        the people of this nation want the government to finance care for the poor, underwrite research and
        training, limit fraud and abuse, facilitate standards for quality measurement, ensure technology
        compatibility, and protect data confidentiality, but otherwise not dictate who gets what and from
        whom. The American people want to direct their own health care, with clinical advice from their
        physicians, financial subsidy from employers and public programs, information from the Internet and
        offline sources, and the support of their families and friends. Public health insurance initiatives will
        expand to the extent private initiatives contract, but the likelihood of a national, uniform,
        one-size-fits-all program becomes more remote with each passing year. The centralization of finance
        and authority would concentrate on Washington, DC, all the tensions between limited resources and
        unlimited expectations that today are diffused among multiple targets. While predictions in politics
        are as risky as in economics, the public sector strategy appears similar to its private sector
        counterpart, supporting and subsidizing rather than controlling and channeling the idiosyncratic
        choices of individual citizens.

        The natural role for the consumer in a market economy is to make informed, price-sensitive choices
        based on personal preferences and subject to individual budgetary constraints. This paradigm is
        poorly matched to the special features of health care. Individual patients often lack the information
        and willpower to shop effectively across the array of physicians and procedures. Differences in
        health and wealth require insurance mechanisms that spread actuarial risk across the population and
        foster cross-subsidies from rich to poor. A purely consumer-driven health care system would be
        grossly inefficient as well as grotesquely inequitable. Government, employers, insurers, and
        physicians will continue to influence health care decision making to a much greater extent that they
        do in most other economic sectors. But the attempt by public and private sector entities to allocate
        limited resources has proven itself incompatible with US cultural proclivities and institutional
        structures. The consumer era in health care is emerging due to the rejection of governmental,
        corporate, and professional dominance rather than due to a judicious evaluation of the alternative.

        British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once remarked that Americans could be counted on to do
        the right thing, after having exhausted the alternatives. If the right thing for health care is defined as an
        approach without potential problems of equity, efficiency, and clinical quality, then consumerism
        fails the test. Of course, all other candidates for setting priorities and managing care, including
        government, employers, insurers, and physicians, also fail the test. But if the right thing is defined as
        the approach most compatible with the nation's social culture and political institutions, the candidate
        that remains standing after other contestants are vanquished, then consumerism is not only the likely
        but indeed the right thing for US health care.

        Funding/Support: This research was supported by the California Health Care Foundation, Oakland.


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        [Author note]
        Author Affiliation: School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.
        Corresponding Author and Reprints: James C. Robinson, PhD, School of Public Health, University of
        California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 (e-mail: [email protected]).

        Employee spirituality in the workplace: A cross-cultural view for the
        management of spiritual employees
        Journal of Management Education; Thousand Oaks; Oct 2000; Jeffrey S Lewis; Gary D Geroy;

        Start Page:
        Subject Terms:
        Work environment
        Cross cultural studies
        Business education

        The workplace is evolving to reflect the diversity within society. Reflected within society
        are numerous spiritual beliefs and practices that are ingrained in the cultures. The
        cultural mix reflects not only ethnic diversity but also a diversity of spiritual beliefs and
        behaviors that influence workplace roles.

        Full Text:
        Copyright Sage Publications, Inc. Oct 2000

        The United States' workplace is evolving to reflect the diversity within its society. Reflected within
        the society are numerous spiritual beliefs and practices that are ingrained in the cultures. Employees
        have always brought their spiritual beliefs to work but most have been required to suppress any
        spiritual expression. Recent trends including the valuing of diversity; a tolerance for spiritual beliefs;
        an integration of Asian, Central American, and South American immigrants causing a more culturally
        diverse workforce; and the introduction of political correctness have influenced increased spiritual
        expression on the job. The cultural mix reflects not only ethnic diversity but also a diversity of
        beliefs and behaviors that influence workplace roles. Employees have started manifesting spiritual
        beliefs and practices at work, which has contributed to a more diverse workplace.

        The Management ChallengeIncreasing Workplace Diversity

        As a result of the recent debate surrounding the articulation of spiritual practices in the work
        environment, managers face a real challenge (Hopkins, 1997; Mitroff & Denton, 1999). Are
        managers to give license to a holistic personal expression, or are boundaries to be erected that result
        in a "spirit-free" zone? Many workers desire opportunities for spiritual expression in the workplace
        but are hesitant because of fears of offending peers and management (Mitroff &. Denton, 1999).
        The challenge has recently become greater as a result of the incorporation of integrated workgroups
        that have increased employee interaction. Immigrants working in the United States are frequently
        reporting that their American employers do not understand or respect their spiritual beliefs or
        religious practices (Blank & Slipp, 1994). Another aspect of the challenge is related to a cultural
        norm that makes discussion of religion or spirituality, like politics and sex, taboo in the workplace.
        In summary, managers face a challenge as a result of a freer expression of spirituality in the
        workplace (Mitroff & Denton, 1999).

        Increased diversity gives rise to the same issues caused by commonly accepted diversity issues
        such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and generational differences. Because of issue
        similarity, spirituality in the workplace can be treated as a cross-cultural issue. Although much is
        written about the management of employee diversity, most of the literature does not embrace the
        concept of defining spirituality as a diversity issue. Current diversity management textbooks
        identify diversity categories such as:

        Work between men and women (Blank & Slipp, 1994; Carr-Ruffino, 1996; Gentile, 1994;
        Hopkins, 1997; Kossek & Lobel, 1996)

        Characteristics of African American employees (Blank & Slipp, 1994; CarrRuffino, 1996; Hopkins,
        1997; Kossek & Lobel, 1996)

        Characteristics of Asian employees (Blank & Slipp, 1994; Carr-Ruffino,1996; Harris & Moran,
        1996; Hopkins, 1997; Kossek & Lobel, 1996)

        Characteristics of Hispanic/Latino employees (Blank & Slipp, 1994; Carr-Ruffino, 1996; Harris &
        Moran, 1996; Hopkins, 1997; Kossek & Lobel, 1996)

        Issues surrounding sexual orientation and/or homosexual employees (Arredondo, 1996; Blank &
        Slipp, 1994; Carr-Ruffino, 1996; Hopkins, 1997; Kossek & Lobel, 1996)

        Issues surrounding physically challenged employees (Arredondo, 1996; Blank & Slipp, 1994;
        Carr-Ruffino, 1996; Hopkins, 1997; Kossek & Lobel, 1996)

        Issues surrounding obese employees (Carr-Ruffino, 1996)

        AIDS in the workplace (Gentile, 1994)

        Issues surrounding age differences between employees (Arredondo, 1996; Blank & Slipp, 1994;
        Gentile, 1994; Hopkins, 1997)

        Employees with families and/or working families (Arredondo, 1996; Gentile, 1994; Kossek &
        Lobel, 1996)

        After examining a number of textbooks, only one author identifies spirituality as a major diversity
        category (Hopkins, 1997). Authors frequently discuss the fact that specific ethnicities have unique
        spiritual or religious beliefs, but an examination of how the spirituality may manifest in the workplace
        seems to be avoided.

        As illustrated in the previous list of diversity categories, the issues associated with the management
        of diversity have expanded. We have recently seen the issues of sexual orientation, obesity, and
        working parents emerge as workplace diversity categories. It is possible that employee spirituality
        will become the next commonly accepted diversity issue. We acknowledge that a deep theoretical
        discussion is needed before spirituality is embraced by the academic community as a top-level
        diversity issue on par with gender, race, and sexual orientation. As the discussion proceeds, some
        management educators may choose to treat employee spirituality as a cross-cultural issue. We
        suggest that the complexities of management of diversity within the integrated constructs are not
        dissimilar to managing cross-cultural differences. This article provides an introductory framework
        for those educators to incorporate the management of employee spirituality into the curriculum.


        The issue of employee spirituality presents instances of incongruent value systems that must be
        integrated by managers into a performance gestalt. To prepare managers to effectively manage a
        diverse workforce, managers in training should be made aware of the challenges they will certainly
        face as they interact with their employees. Three discussion points have been provided for your
        consideration as a management educator. We believe that the use of these discussion points,
        models, and themes will prepare better managers.

        Spirituality Defined

        Although we recognize that spirituality can and should be more broadly defined, we chose to use the
        following definition. Spirituality is the inner experience of the individual when he or she senses a
        beyond, especially as evidenced by the effect of this experience on his or her behavior when he or
        she actively attempts to harmonize his or her life with the beyond (Clark, 1958). Some spiritual
        beliefs and practices are founded in religion and others are unconnected to any religious doctrine or
        organization. A discussion regarding the similarities and differences between the constructs of
        spirituality and religion is occurring in many disciplines including management, counseling,
        philosophy, and psychiatry (Burke, Hackney, Hudson, & Miranti, 1999; Mitroff & Denton, 1999;
        Nicholls, 1996). Regardless of making a distinction between spirituality and religion, the discussion
        of this article encompasses both spirituality and religion and focuses on the manifestation of spiritual
        or religious beliefs and practices in the workplace. Some employees practice a spirituality or religion
        that is devoid of interaction with a higher spiritual being or interaction with other spiritual beings. In
        contrast, most religions and spiritual practices are framed by the influence of belief in spiritual entities
        or beings. The entity may be a higher spiritual power known as God or the Great Spirit. Spiritual
        entities also encompass good and evil spirits; some examples include the Christian belief in angels
        and demons or the Hmong' belief in ancestral spirits and dabs (Fadiman, 1997). Some employees
        believe that spirits or ghosts inhabit the buildings where they work. At an extreme, some may believe
        that evil spirits possess their managers and coworkers. The primary issue emerging is related to the
        manifestation of spiritual beliefs in the workplace. An employee may be very spiritual or very
        religious but have no outward expressions in the workplace. Others may have no spiritual or
        religious beliefs or practices but are active in manifesting a strong antispiritual or antireligious agenda
        in the workplace. Because of the broad continuum of spiritual beliefs and practices, managers must
        be able to answer the question, How should managers deal with employees who practice or
        manifest any spiritual or religious behaviors in the workplace?

        Discussion Point 1


        The initial step in introducing mangers to the issues of spirituality in the workplace involves
        communicating the basic demographic data related to the American society. A poll released by the
        Gallup News Service found that 9 out of 10 Americans claim to engage in prayer, and 3 out of 4
        Americans say they pray on a daily basis (Poloma & Gallup, 1991). Prayer is commonly defined as
        a communication process with God or a spiritual being. In addition, in 1998, the Pew Research
        Center reported research findings that stated, "71% of Americans say that they never doubt the
        existence of God," which was up 11 % from the same poll taken in 1987 (Pew Research, 1998). A
        third information source states that 94% of Americans believe in God or a Universal Spirit (The
        Gallup Report, 1987). A basic normal distribution curve can be used to represent the degree of
        spiritual belief within our society (see Figure 1). Most Americans have a medium or moderate level
        of spiritual belief and practice. Smaller populations exist of people who have no spiritual beliefs or a
        high level of spiritual belief. In addition to the normal distribution curve, we have also included a
        challenge curve that will be discussed later (represented by the dotted line).


        Figure 1 contains four primary components: level of spiritual belief, occurrences within the
        workforce, place within the dominant culture, and the level of managerial challenge. The use of a
        normal curve to illustrate cultural constructs is supported by other cross-cultural researchers
        (Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, 1998).

        The level of spiritual belief (bottom x-axis) illustrates the continuum of beliefs that is represented in
        the typical American workplace. The none-low category identifies those employees who do not
        believe in a spiritual realm or who have a low level of belief that has no associated practices. As
        illustrated in Figure 1, the none-low group is relatively rare within the workforce. This group
        corresponds to a minority position within the dominant American culture (top x-axis). Examples of
        philosophies or cultures associated with a none-low level of belief are atheism and agnosticism.

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        Enlarge 400%

        Figure 1:

        The medium level of belief identifies the dominant culture present within the workforce. As stated
        earlier, approximately 71% of adults have some level of spiritual belief that is acted upon to some
        degree (Pew Research, 1998). Examples of philosophies or cultures associated with a medium level
        of spiritual belief are Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Evangelical Christianity, Protestant Christianity,
        and moderate New Agers. This group represents the majority group within the culture.
        Medium-level employees are common within the workforce.

        The third group on the continuum is identified as having a high level of spiritual belief. The group can
        be considered as being a minority when compared with the norm or dominant culture. Examples of
        philosophies or cultures associated with a high level of spiritual beliefs are Hmong immigrants, Native
        Americans, religious zealots, and the hyperspiritual. There are also many individuals unconnected
        with any philosophy or culture who would classify themselves as being highly spiritual. Examples
        include, but are not limited to, psychics, persons having near-death experiences, persons who share
        "out-of body" experiences, or persons who place significant attention to their own spiritual growth.

        Continuum Discussion Table

        In an attempt to expose management students to the continuum of spiritual beliefs and practices,
        Table 1 can be used in discussions of workplace diversity and cross-cultural management. The
        table builds on the spiritual belief continuum and provides examples of characteristics, philosophies
        and cultures, and possible workplace effects. It is important to note that the examples are not
        intended to stereotype any person or group. There are degrees of diversity within any culture,
        belief, or philosophy.


        In addition to the normal curve representing the levels of spiritual belief, Figure 1 also illustrates a
        challenge curve. The second curve illustrates the degree of challenge managers may face based on
        employee spiritual belief. The curve begins in the none-low spiritual belief group indicating a
        mid-high level of challenge. The challenge decreases for managers as they manage employees within
        the dominant middle-level group. As managers interact with employees from the high level of
        spiritual belief, the challenge curve spikes into the high-challenge area. The challenge is a result of
        cross-cultural management issues including intraorganizational communication and the occurrences
        of manifested behaviors that fall outside the behaviors associated with the dominant culture. The
        following discussion point elaborates on the cross-cultural management challenges.

        Discussion Point 2

        The primary challenge that managers will face is the result of interactions between the three cultural
        groups: none-low, medium, and high (see Figure 2). As employees from different cultural groups
        interact in the course of the workday, cultural incidents will occur (Sorb, 1990). Cultural incidents
        will also arise from the diverse beliefs and practices represented within each of the cultural groups.
        The interaction that takes place is similar to cross-cultural interactions in which expatriates venture
        into a foreign territory. The natives of the territory (i.e., employees from the dominant spiritual culture
        with a medium level of spiritual belief) are challenged to interact with people from a different spiritual
        culture. Likewise, the expatriates encounter difficulties as a result of experiencing life in a place that
        is controlled by a culture unlike their own. These challenges can be clearly illustrated using Sorti's
        model of cross-cultural interaction (see Figure 3).

        Enlarge 200%
        Enlarge 400%

        TABLE 1

        Sorti's model can be used to help managers respond correctly when cultural incidents occur.
        Managers must be trained to expect incidents that will cause reactions among employees and
        reactions within themselves. The training should also encompass communication skills, negotiating
        skills, and interpersonal skills.

        Cultural Incidents

        There are two primary types of incidents that are associated with Sorti's model, Type I incidents and
        Type II incidents. Type I incidents are those interactions in which actions taken by the dominant
        culture cause the minority cultures to have an adverse reaction. Type II incidents are those
        interactions in which actions taken by the minority culture cause the dominant culture to have an
        adverse reaction. It is also possible that minority cultures will interact, which may also result in a
        conflict. We have added a third type of incident, Type III, to encompass the interaction between
        minority groups. Examples of the incidents are found in Table 2.

        Enlarge 200%
        Enlarge 400%

        Figure 2:

        Managing Cross- Cultural Incidences

        According to Sorti ( 1990), the first step in managing cross-cultural incidences is to avoid the
        choice to withdraw. Withdrawal or avoidance is always the easiest choice to make but is rarely the
        choice with the best results. Once the actions and reactions occur, the parties must become aware
        of the incident. It is possible that the perpetrator of the incident has no awareness of the resulting
        reaction. Managers must develop a climate of open communications within their organizations so
        their employees have the skills to discuss and resolve the incidences that arise. It is common for
        organizations that are composed of distinct cultural groups to also need significant levels of
        understanding and knowledge (Sorti, 1990). For example, a manufacturing company may have a
        dominant group of middle-level employees and a strong group of high-level employees such as
        Hmong immigrants. It is inevitable that numerous cultural incidents will occur until a significant level
        of understanding is developed between the two groups. The understanding will develop through
        cultural education, communication training, and experience.

        Two cases are suggested for educators to facilitate course discussions. Both are found in Hopkins's
        (1997) book Ethical Dimensions of Diversity. The first case is titled "Religious Warfare at Jones
        Consulting." This case examines conflicts arising from differences in employee spiritual beliefs and
        practices in the workplace. The second case is titled "Joe Foster's Rules:' This case involves a
        situation where an employee makes a significant decision on the basis of a religious belief that greatly
        affects a subordinate employee. Both cases help facilitate discussion of manifested behaviors based
        in employee spirituality.

        Enlarge 200%
        Enlarge 400%

        Figure 3:

        Discussion Point 3


        In addition to having the ability to mediate and oversee interactions among employees, managers
        need to have an adequate level of self- awareness. Managers will experience an increased level of
        effectiveness as they identify and understand their own beliefs and biases toward spirituality.
        Management educators can facilitate an impactive discussion using Neal's ( 1997) Guidelines for
        Teaching From a Spiritual Perspective adapted to Guidelines for Managing From a Spiritual
        Perspective. Neal's guidelines were intended to help management educators incorporate spirituality
        into the curriculum. Upon further reflection, discussion, and experience, we believe that Neal's
        guidelines can be expounded and used as a model for managers in spiritually diverse organizations.
        The following five points are the adapted Guidelines for Managing From a Spiritual Perspective
        (Neal, 1997).

        Enlarge 200%
        Enlarge 400%

        TABLE 2

        1. Know thyself - Where do you personally fit in the continuum? does the Continuum model
        represent your beliefs? How have your spiritual beliefs changed in the past few years? Do you see
        yourself changing in the future?

        2. Act with authenticity and congruency - Managers should not be chameleon-like. You should
        make your spiritual beliefs known in an appropriate way to be fair to your coworkers and
        subordinates. Others have a right to know your perspective and biases.

        3. Respect and honor the beliefs of others - Respect and honor begin with an awareness and
        understanding of where coworkers and subordinates fit on the continmuum. If cultural instances
        occur, managers should take the initiative to "seek first to understand, then be understood" (Covey,
        1989). In addition, managers must be able to honor even without understanding because ther will
        asways be beliefs and behaviors that will not be understood (Sorti, 1990).

        4. Be as trusting as you can be - Managers should give their coworkers and employees the benefit
        of the doubt. Spiritual beliefs and practices are not intended to reduce organizational effectiveness
        and efficiency, although they may at times. Some managers may view spiritual beliefs as optional,
        but to some employees, spiritual belief is as deeply grained as ethnicity.

        5. Maintain a spiritual practice - If you have spiritual beliefs, use the experience of interacting with
        others from different spiritual cultures to grow professionally and personally. If you are antispiritual,
        interacting with people who have spiritual beliefs can facilitate interpersonal communication growth,
        increase tolerance, and can solidify or challenge your beliefs about spirituality.

        Implications for Managemant Educators

        In summary, management educators have the opportunity to incorporate a discussion of employee
        spirituality into the management curriculum. We believe there are six possible entry points to initiate
        the spirituality issue: cross-cultural management, workplace diversity, leadership, team
        management, organizational culture, and human resource development. Our suggestion involves
        using the topic of employee spirituality to enrich the discussion of diversity at multiple levels. As we
        have incorporated the discussion points and models into our undergraduate- and graduate-level
        classes, the discussion has been lively and the students have appreciated the exposure to the spiritual
        facet of diversity. Our students have recognized that spirituality does contribute to diversity and
        have appreciated the opportunity to discuss the associated challenges. Many students have been
        appreciative of the new management tools and strategies they have received resulting from the
        discussion. There have also been students who do not believe there should be any expression of
        spirituality in the workplace. The multiplicity of views related to spirituality always ensures a lively
        and productive discussion.

        The main crux of this discussion returns to the question we presented earlier. How should managers
        deal with employees who manifest spiritual or religious behaviors in the workplace? As with many
        issues, the decision will be based on the culture and leadership values of the specific organization.
        Regardless of the specific situation, few would disagree with the notion that the workplace is
        becoming more diverse and managers must be prepared to interact with a wide continuum of diverse
        people. Because of this, we strongly encourage management educators to enable their students with
        the tools necessary to manage within the spiritual continuum.


        1. References to the Hmong culture are made throughout the article to provide an example of a group of
        highly spiritual people. Other examples could be used, but the challenges of interacting with the strong
        spiritual beliefs and manifested practices associated with the Hmong are well documented in current
        literature (Cart-Ruffino, 1996; Fadiman, 1997). Fadiman's (1997) book The Spirit Catches You and You
        Fall Down, provides and excellent example of the cross-cultural challenges associated with a spiritually
        active culture.


        Arredondo, P ( 1996). Successful diversity management initiatives: A blue print for planning and
        implementation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
        Blank, R., & Slipp, S. (1994). Voices of diversity. New York: Amacom.
        Burke, M. T., Hackney, H., Hudson, P., & Miranti, J. ( 1999). Spirituality, religion, and CACREP curriculum
        standards. Journal of Counseling and Development, 77(3), 251-257. Cart-Ruffino, N. (1996). Managing
        diversity: People skills for a multicultural workplace.
        Cincinnati, OH: Thompson Executive Press.
        Clark, W. H. (1958). The psychology of religion. New York: Macmillan.
        Covey, S. R. (1989). The seven habits of highly effective people. New York: Simon & Schuster. Fadiman, A.
        (1997). The spirit catches you and you fall down. New York: Noonday.
        Gallup Organization. (1987). The Gallup Report No. 259. April. Princeton, Nl: Gallup Organization.
        Gentile, M. C. ( 1994). Differences that work (Harvard business review book). Boston, MA Harris, P. R., &
        Moran, R. T. (1996). Managing cultural differences, leadership strategies for a new world of business (4th
        ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.

        Hopkins, W. E. (1997). Ethical dimensions of diversity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
        Kossek, E. E., & Lobel, 5. A. (1996). Managing diversity, HR strategies for transforming the workforce.
        Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
        Mitroff, I. L, & Denton, E. A. (1999, summer). A study of spirituality in the workplace. Sloan Management
        Review, 40(4), 83-92.
        Neal, J. ( 1997). Spirituality in management education: A guide to resources. Journal ofManagement
        Education, 21(1), 121-139.
        Nicholls, W. ( 1996). Saints and fanatics: The problematic connection between religion and spirituality.
        Judaism, 45(4), 446-458.
        Pew Research. (1998). Individualism still strong Pew values update: American social beliefs 1997-1987
        [Online]. Available: http:l/
        Poloma, M. M., 8c Gallup, G., Jr. (1991). Varieties of prayer Dallas, TX: Trinity. Sorti, C. (1990). The art of
        crossing cultures. Yarmouth, MA: Intercultural Press. Trompenaars, F, & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998).
        Riding the waves of culture: Understanding
        cultural diversity in global business. New York: McGraw-Hill.

        [Author note]
        Jeffrey S. Lewis
        Gary D. Geroy
        Colorado State University

        [Author note]
        Authors' Note: Address correspondence to Jeffrey S. Lewis, Colorado State University, College of Business,
        Fort Collins, CO 80523; phone: (970) 490-5585; fax: (970) 472-6295; e-mail: [email protected].

        3Action research, the state and legitimation in Brunei Darussalam
        Asia - Pacific Journal of Teacher Education; Abingdon; Jul 2000; John R Minnis;

        Start Page:
        Subject Terms:
        Teacher education
        Education policy
        Professional development
        Geographic Names:

        The introduction of postgraduate programs at the Institute of Education, Universiti
        Brunei Darussalam indicates that educational research will play a central role in teacher
        education. Minnis argues that rather than improve educational practice as envisioned by
        constructivists, action research may be used by the state to legitimize existing
        education policies.

        Full Text:
        Copyright Carfax Publishing Company Jul 2000

        ABSTRACT The introduction of postgraduate programmes at the Institute of Education, Universiti Brunei
        Darussalam indicates that educational research will play a central role in teacher education. While there is
        widespread agreement on the appropriateness of action research, little consideration has been given to the
        degree to which it is compatible with cultural and political expectations of the teacher's role. This paper
        argues that rather than improve educational practice as envisioned by constructivists, action research may
        be used by the state to legitimize existing educational policies. Since schools are a major socialization
        agency in this small, Malay-Islamic state, it will be difficult for teachers to modify their traditional teaching
        and problem-solving strategies, let alone question educational policies. The paper suggests that when
        interpreted within a broader political framework, action research is likely to be appropriated by the state to
        delimit research and legitimize existing policies and social arrangements of the school, thereby
        strengthening the status quo.


        Teacher training has been a high priority of the Brunei State ever since independence from Britain in
        1984 when educational expansion became an integral dimension of Brunei's development thrust
        (Cheong & Nuttman, 1995). The Institute of Education housed in the Universiti Brunei Darussalam,
        the country's only university, offers programmes at certificate, degree and postgraduate levels, thus
        providing students with different routes into primary and secondary teaching.

        Since independence, substantial investments in education have continued unabated with the result
        that enrolment has been all but universalized at the primary level, while secondary and tertiary ratios
        continue to steadily increase (Seventh National Development Plan 1996-2000, 1996, pp.
        147-150). Recently, postgraduate programmes leading to the M.Ed. have been established. The
        newly formed Centre for Applied Research in Education signals a shift toward research grounded in
        classroom management, administrative and pedagogical processes that privileges practice over

        In particular, `action research' has found favour with teacher educators across disciplines and
        specialty areas. It features significantly in the taught courses, schoolbased projects and practicums
        leading to the M.Ed. in Educational Management. (External Examiner's Report, 1998). Despite
        ready acceptance of action research as a methodological tool, there has been little formal debate on
        its relative merits within the context of Brunei culture/values. This constitutes a puzzling oversight
        given recent concerns expressed in the literature vis-a-vis the knowledge transfer process.

        Various writers (Crossley, 1992; Crossley & Vulliamy, 1997; Ilon, 1997) have drawn attention to
        the increasing number of educators involved in consultancies in the developing world without training
        in cross-cultural education or relevant experience of the local culture. Leach (1994) has questioned
        the role expatriates play in the knowledge transfer process, arguing that the administrative culture of
        host institutions often conflicts with projects designed on Western concepts of organization and
        management. In her judgement, `the transfer of knowledge has to be seen as a culture-bound
        process that will likely be unsuccessful if the values implicit in the expertise being offered are
        incompatible with those prevailing in the receiving culture' (p. 229).

        Focusing on classroom practices in developing countries, Thomas (1997) has called for a
        `culture-sensitive' pedagogy wherein the day-to-day behaviour patterns at home and in the school
        are integrated with curricula and teaching methods to develop a pedagogy that is culturally grounded
        and therefore more relevant to students' understanding. Other analysts argue that Western education
        constructs need to be `filtered' through the local culture if they are to be successfully adapted. This
        point is underscored in O'Donogue's (1994) critique of the manner in which `reflective practice' was
        imposed on teacher education programmes in Papua New Guinea with disastrous results. In a
        similar vein, Phillips (1997) writes of the hazards involved in `policy borrowing' from one country to
        another. He warns of the danger inherent in `borrowing strategy without borrowing either the tactics
        or the contextual changes needed to make a strategy effective' (p. 289).

        Further to the concerns expressed by Phillips, there are politically and culturally imposed
        expectations about teachers' work in Brunei that must be taken into account in the `borrowing'
        process. Teacher educators, many of whom are expatriates, may be indifferent toward or know
        nothing about such expectations. The important feature of these limits or constraints is that they are
        not likely to be explicitly stated, but rather, implicitly understood by school personnel as part of a
        broader cultural understanding of the purpose of education.

        For example, many expatriate academics are unaware of the fact that, as a MalayIslamic monarchy,
        Brunei culture and history suggests that all social institutions are very clearly directed at reinforcing
        the dominant values and beliefs of the wider culture in which they are embedded (Blunt, 1988;
        Brown, 1970, 1976). In the monarchical system, which has been in place for over 500 years, power
        is concentrated in the hands of the Sultan, members of his family, close advisors and confidants. This
        in itself is not hard to discern. However, political consensus is constructed and enforced by dominant
        groups who, in turn, control or have the capacity to control all socializing institutions, such as the
        media and the schools. For the most part, all social institutions in Brunei, except perhaps the more
        private sphere of family and kin, come under the control of powerful actors in the socio-political
        system. Moreover, Brunei's small size and relatively insignificant geo-strategic position in Southeast
        Asia allows the state to minimize the ability of alternative world views to gain an audience or
        establish legitimacy (Dao, 1996).

        Within this stable and highly constrained political environment, it is not likely that action research or
        academic inquiry in general can be allowed to seriously question deeply ingrained hegemonic
        structures, beliefs and values. It is plausible, then, to think of action research in a different way, not
        as a politically neutral device that inevitably leads to an improvement in educational practice, but
        rather as a state-sanctioned means by which existing educational policy can be legitimized. Within
        Brunei's patrimonial system of decision-making, high priority is placed on ensuring that education
        policy and practices are geared to serving Malay-Islamic values. This is why it is near impossible for
        any teacher, all of whom are civil servants, to question educational policy and practice in the way a
        teacher might in a more politically open society. Further, as studies on Brunei culture indicate, the
        character waits and personal dispositions of the Brunei Malays do not mesh well with those
        associated with Western versions of the `action researcher' (Mulder, 1996; King, 1994).

        Against this background, the paper argues that the intent and meaning of action research is
        essentially incompatible with Brunei's authoritarian and hegemonic values. This does not necessarily
        mean that action research is without value as a teaching strategy. However, given heavy teaching
        loads emanating from the pressure to produce more teachers, teacher educators will need to balance
        the amount of time, energy and follow-up spent on action research with its probable acceptance and
        ultimate utility in the Brunei classroom. Opening up a discussion around educational research in the
        context of Brunei culture and political values is the first purpose of the paper. The second purpose is
        to deepen our understanding of how research in authoritarian states can be appropriated by state
        actors to serve legitimation needs.

        Action Research: limits and capabilities

        Action research is part of a constructivist approach to teaching and learning. In this approach,
        teachers and students are thought of as a community of learners in the process of constructing
        knowledge and bringing about change. The teacher is depicted as a facilitator of learning rather than
        a dispenser of knowledge. Teacher education programmes based on constructivist principles tend to
        emphasize teaching for understanding (Tatto, 1997, p. 219).

        Further, teachers are encouraged to see their pupils as makers of meaning; research and reflection
        are necessary precursors to changing traditional conceptions of the teaching role, the learning role,
        subject matter and pedagogy (Canella & ReifF, 1994). Action research is thought to contribute to
        teacher autonomy, research acumen and the ability of the teacher to solve pedagogical and
        organizational problems. Researchable problems are grounded in the empirical/practical
        circumstances of the school or classroom, which are then investigated in order to generate evidence
        on which action can be taken. In this manner, the teacher's role can thus be transformed into
        something more than a mere transmitter of knowledge. `Practice' becomes privileged over theory.
        The idea that practice, as depicted in the technical-rational view of teaching, consists merely of a
        melange of skills to be applied to the solution of problems inherent in practice is rejected by action
        researchers (Gilroy, 1993).

        Armed with new insights and strategies gained from research and reflection, the teacher can then
        concentrate on solving classroom-related problems. For most advocates, action research has
        multiple goals, many that go far beyond the confines of the classroom (Altrichter et al., 1993; Atweh
        et al., 1998; Elliott, 1991; Hollingsworth, 1997; Noffke & Stevenson, 1995). Certain analysts take
        a more radical stance, interpreting action research as a democratic, participatory process wherein
        the goal is to unmask sources of inequality and oppression. It is thought that the teacher has a moral
        duty to promote understanding of the causes and consequences of inequality and to encourage
        broad-based participation in determining the education agenda. The radical perspective links the
        teacher to larger political processes outside the school (e.g. Elliott, 1991; Kemmis, 1990).

        In summary, action researchers lament the gap between traditional research and classroom practice,
        judging the application of knowledge acquired through the social sciences, psychology and
        philosophy to educational problems as inadequate, if not alien, inappropriate and subversive. If it is
        to be efficacious and authentic, educational knowledge must consist, it is argued, not primarily in the
        application of general principles derived from the disciplines to educational problems, but in the
        generation and explication of tacit knowledge, particularly the `know-how' which is the peculiar
        property of the practitioner who engages particular problems. It is the view of the action research
        tradition that educational knowledge, as opposed to knowledge about education, has its genesis
        within the working life of the professional who is `on the spot', as it were.

        However, implicit in much of the action research discourse is a rationalist and utilitarian ethos
        requiring an affirmation in the form of `what works best for the teacher is therefore good'. In other
        words, the affirmation of effectiveness must rest on appropriate research findings. Action research is
        seen as an efficient and economical way to achieve this. A contradiction immediately arises. On the
        one hand, action research is touted as a teacher's best friend, as liberator, as the road to newfound
        professionalism. It is the antithesis of what every action researcher despises-the technical-rational or
        `banking' approach to education-which depicts the teacher as a mere transmitter of a
        pre-established facts and theories. And yet, for both action researchers and technical-rationalists,
        `practice' is depicted in basically the same manner-as that element that comes between `input' and
        `output', as a set of techniques, the `core technology' for managing `throughput'. Neither
        perspective views education or the teacher's role as a particularly complex, dynamic or
        unpredictable process of ongoing construction. Because action research privileges practice over
        theory, it cannot help but reflect a utilitarian view of knowledge. If this interpretation is accurate, then
        does it not follow that `action' taken by the teacher can at best provide technical solutions to
        classroom problems? Even if such changes are made and can be linked to efficiency gains in
        student learning or achievement, can such gains be reasonably expected to alter the larger
        production process?

        Further, there are signs that the shift to market-based models of education have eroded the
        professional status of teachers (Taylor et al., 1997). Teaching is now seen more as an occupation
        than a profession and teachers' freedom and autonomy has been curtailed. Given this development,
        a gap exists between the vision of the constructivists and the dominant neo-classical, market-driven
        view of education. This gap has been globally recognized by some as a crisis in teacher education
        accompanied by calls for reform, but there appears to have been little change over the past three
        decades in the way teachers are educated.

        In a review of 310 studies of teacher education since 1980 in the United States, Anderson (1997)
        finds few changes in the structure of teacher education. The predominant orientation continues to be
        the technical-rational approach reinforcing transmission learning models. Anderson concludes, `over
        the last 15 years there have been few innovations in teaching and learning' (p. 214). Tatto (1997)
        reports that there has been little progress in applying constructivist approaches to teacher education
        in the United States. Tatto examined 53 empirical studies of teacher education and found that only
        14 incorporated elements of constructivist theory, and only three reported programme experiences
        that were deliberately planned as constructivist. The rest followed more conventional conceptions of
        teacher education.

        The emphasis on the role of markets in education (Taylor et al., 1997; Marginson, 1993) continues
        to dominate educational policy and practice, imposing a rational, output-oriented, plan-based and
        management-led view of schooling. `Managing for results' best encapsulates the essence of such
        trends in education in many Western countries (Vandenberghe, 1999). The potential of
        constructivism as a guiding philosophy in Western education appears to be inhibited by these trends.
        If so, and if constructivist principles have proven to be ineffective elsewhere, it is even more puzzling
        why Brunei educators are so keen on implanting such constructs in Brunei. Given Brunei's stated aim
        of diversifying the economy, the more important need is to bring about a closer correspondence
        between the education sector and the skill/knowledge requirements of the workplace (Minnis,
        1997). This entails significant reforms in pedagogy, curriculum and corresponding modifications in
        workplace training policies. And yet action research carried out in the schools ignores these issues,
        concentrating instead on trival administrative and management problems.

        Paradoxically, action research carried out by M.Ed. candidates suggests that researchers construe
        educational practice very much like a production process (External Examiners Report, 1998).
        Studies are narrowly conceived, concentrating mainly on classroom order and school efficiency
        issues. In line with government policy, all researchers must gain permission from the Ministry of
        Education before entering any school. Perhaps the bureaucratic penchant for order and authority
        explains the preponderance of studies on classroom order and management, while issues pertaining
        to gender, equity, and educational policy are ignored. The responsibilities of school administrators
        are stressed and depicted in very traditional terms with an emphasis on leadership style. Issues such
        as organizational and pedagogical effectiveness that lies at the heart of much constructivist discourse
        in the West is nowhere to be found in Brunei action research. It appears that in Brunei educational
        policies and practices are taken as given by action researchers.

        The upshot of this narrowly focused approach to research is that when teachers are allowed so little
        responsibility beyond clearly defined boundaries, formal exhortations to autonomy and participation
        only serve to mystify the whole educational process. If allowed to continue in Brunei, action research
        may have the effect of condemning both teacher educators and postgraduate students to a myopic,
        particularistic view of knowledge that is nothing more than the sum total of personal accounts of
        particular settings. Hoyle's (1994) comments underscore the dangers inherent in privileging practice
        over theory:

        If teachers criticize the theory to which they have been exposed as irrelevant to practice, they are
        denying themselves one of the traditional characteristics of a profession. If teaching is no more than
        an experience-based skill with a limited set of precepts, the occupation is indistinguishable from the
        crafts of, say, plumbing or motor mechanics. (p. 6094)

        In their haste to make researchers out of teachers, teacher educators have failed to consider not only
        Brunei culture, but sociological and political theory which encourages reflection on the interactive
        relationship between schools, culture and the polity. The embeddedness of schooling within wider
        social dynamics and power relationships means that context is relational, dynamic and interactive
        such that schools and schooling are influenced by, but also influence and support, the cultural and
        political structures of the society in which they are embedded.

        Finally, and very briefly, we have some reservations about the value of action research vis-a-vis
        educational policy. What is missing from the action research literature is any recognition that the
        culture and politics of a school have a role to play in understanding not only why certain problems
        exist, but in communicating the `knowledge' gained from such research to significant `others'. This
        raises an equally important question of whether lessons from one school can ever be applied, more
        or less straightforwardly, to another. There is an analogous debate in the literature on organizational
        management, and the conclusion there is that corporate organizations are so radically different in
        their culture, politics and strategic position that recipes for success cannot simply be transferred from
        one organization to another (Kay, 1997).

        Research for Action or Action Research for Legitimizing the State?

        It is interesting that many of the action research projects undertaken by M.Ed. candidates closely
        conform to the definition of legitimatory research put forward by Keeves (1994, p. 3370), i.e. `a
        process involving the compilation of new knowledge that will strengthen social institutions and
        validate institutionalized knowledge'. Keeves (1994) cites a number of defining features of
        legitimatory research applied to education that serve to strengthen existing power relations in society:

        (a) the problem to be investigated arises from existing policies and practices within an educational

        (b) the major aim of the research is to maintain the existing structure of an educational organization,
        and the continuance of its existing policies and;

        (c) legitimatory research is generally conducted by people with competence in research who are
        employed by the educational organization, so that the organization maintains control over the
        investigation and the dissemination of results;

        (d) the focus of the research is on the operation of the organization, on the activities of the people
        within it, or on the characteristics of those who seek entry into the organization;

        (e) the release of the findings of the research is controlled by senior administrators to occur at a time
        to optimize the impact that the findings may have on the legitimization of a particular position, policy
        or practice;

        (f) frequently, legitimatory research is conducted under the guise of an evaluation study, since the
        need for evaluation is widely acknowledged on the grounds of accountability, yet what is being
        sought is information to sustain the program or policy in its existing form. (p. 3368)

        In Brunei, the selection of research topics, where and under what conditions the research is
        conducted and the dissemination of results is closely monitored by the Ministry of Education. Thus
        Keeves' description is an apt characterization of what actually happens in Brunei. The choice of
        topics and method of inquiry is restricted to research on `safe' subjects. Quantitative rather than
        qualitative methods and cross-sectional rather than longitudinal designs are preferred. The need to
        maintain strict control of research and the flow of knowledge is further reflected in the state's
        stringent censorship laws and vigorous attempts to curtail the movement and activities of foreign
        reporters and journalists (see Behar, 1999).

        State surveillance and control of the production and dissemination of knowledge is in keeping with
        Brunei's patrimonial and autocratic decision-making processes (Gunn, 1993). As the purveyors of
        educational research, Ministry of Education officials in Brunei must be cognizant of any form of
        knowledge production if for no other reason than, as civil servants, they are obligated by virtue of
        their patrimonial ties to the governing elite to contain and minimize any threat new information
        presents to the political status quo (Braighlinn, 1992).

        In the wake of oil wealth and the creation of a welfare state, the tasks of the Brunei government
        have become more specialized, complex and elaborate. As a result, the relations between the
        monarch and his subjects tend to be filtered through a huge network of bureaucrats (Bill &
        Springborg, 1994, p. 152). Social research, which is judged to be more politically sensitive than
        scientific or technical research, is closely monitored by an army of government bureaucrats and must
        be seen to support or confirm prevailing policies and ideologies. Because the schools are critical
        agencies of socialization, the state is very sensitive about research on any facet of education, but is
        particularly touchy about investigations in the areas of policy, funding, educational processes and
        outcomes. While there is ample anecdotal evidence indicating that schools are not run very
        effectively and that student achievement is lower than it should be, research is not encouraged, for
        example, on how school effectiveness may be negatively affected by poor policy-making or lack of
        adequate funding. Instead, there is encouragement of research on what teachers might do to curb
        vandalism or absenteeism, or how administrators might improve their ability to enforce school rules.
        But research that questions larger issues of policy or policy-making is taboo since it may undermine
        the validity and thus the legitimacy of such policy.

        Teaching and Teacher Education in the Render Economy

        Public indifference to education is not unique to Brunei but seems to be characteristic of render
        economies. In these economies based on oil rents, there is no nexus between production and income
        distribution since revenues accrue directly to the state not through any production process but from
        oil taxes that come from outside the country (Gunn, 1993, p. 114; Noreng, 1997). Local
        consumption patterns become geared to the use of imported commodities. The implication for
        education is that there are no strong links between the proceeds of production, effort and incentive.
        The cradle-tograve welfare state based on oil rents owes little, if anything, to the productivity of its
        citizens (Amuzegar, 1999). This is why student motivation is so problematic and why teachers find it
        easier to follow prescribed ways of teaching and assessment.

        The gap between the economy and education is nowhere more starkly drawn than in the
        technical-vocational area. Despite the priority placed on technical-vocational education, many
        graduates chose not to work in commercial or industrial enterprises. Out of a total of 4838
        graduates since 1985, only 1372 are presently working in private and public jobs for which they
        have been trained. Each year, Brunei produces on average a total of 400 graduates in various
        technical-vocational fields, but only 35% have permanent jobs (Othman & Clark, 1998, p. 1). A
        Brunei public servant is reported to have said, `without the active participation of locally trained
        citizens, the nation will not be able to realize its vision to become a service, trade or tourism hub in
        the regions' (p. 1 ) .

        Indifferent public attitudes toward work and education are derived from the `render mentality' and
        are passed on from one affluent generation to the next. Over time, this results in a break in the
        work-reward causation-where reward or wealth is not related to work and risk-taking (Beblawi,
        1987; Colclough, 1995; Gunn, 1993). From a teaching-learning perspective, there can be little
        external motivation to learn. Education and training privileges form over content. This means that
        learners are rewarded for formal compliance with modest performance requirements rather than for
        demonstrating operational mastery of skills/knowledge deemed economically and socially useful. In
        such a milieu, teachers can hardly be expected to embrace such notions as action research and
        reflective practice unless there is some very good reason to do so (Minnis, 1997).

        Because teaching and learning are essentially devalued in this environment, education policy and
        teachers' work are heavily oriented toward the effective socialization of youth into Malay-Islamic
        values. For example, Yong (1998) found that students admitted to teacher education programmes at
        the Universiti are not amongst the most qualified or talented. In an earlier study, Yong (1995)
        discovered that teacher trainees are overwhelmingly motivated by materialistic concerns. Yong
        argued that until such time as remuneration for teachers improved, the number of talented students
        entering teaching and the subsequent quality of teaching would remain low. But it is questionable,
        given the low status of education and learning, that higher remuneration will result in better teaching.
        More highly qualified students are admitted to the Faculties of Science, Management and Social
        Science. Graduates of these more prestigious faculties will be employed in the public sector
        providing employment that pays higher salaries and guarantees better benefits than teaching.

        It is clear that the Brunei state desires its most intellectually able students to become public sector
        managers and bureaucrats, and its least able students to become teachers. Thus the state, through its
        capacity to socially engineer the selection and training of teachers, appears to have implemented
        policies that effectively place the least academically qualified and motivated people in schools.
        Such policies fly in the face of attempts to `professionalize' pre-service teachers and can only
        frustrate attempts by teacher educators to turn them into action researchers.

        Gender Concerns

        In addition to the issues raised above, an unavoidable cultural factor that impacts the training of
        teachers is the way in which the society is divided along gender lines. Over 80% of the Brunei
        teaching force consists of females, not because females make better teachers than males, but
        because teaching, and other occupations like nursing, have been designated by the state as a
        legitimate `female' occupations. Gender distinctions are quite marked in Brunei as one might expect
        in any Islamic country. While there is some gender `border crossing', from an early age, starting in
        the home and reinforced in the schools and religious institutions, females are expected to conform
        and obey those in authority, most of whom are male.

        Male-female relationships are personal and particularistic, morally and ethically bounded by
        Malay-Islamic values indicative of clearly defined gender roles. Therefore, social acceptance of
        these roles sets upper limits on the extent to which young female pre-service teachers, for example,
        could be expected to successfully engage in selfreflection or critical inquiry without violating gender
        distinctions, social expectations and principles of group solidarity and cohesion. In Brunei, females
        have long since learned that discretion is the better part of valour.

        Furthermore, ethnographic evidence confirms that Brunei has remained a highly collectivist culture
        where conforming to the group is more valued than demonstrating personal initiative or ambition
        (King, 1994). Despite high levels of affluence and consumption, social roles are still defined in kin
        terms; one's place in society is based on an elaborate ranking system. Political, economic, ritual and
        other kinds of obligations are superimposed on each other in a single idiom. This strengthens all of
        them: one cannot ignore one's kin of obligations, for instance, without imperilling their relationships.
        The price of such strengthening is that all spheres of life become rigid, and innovation, technical or
        otherwise, is rendered that much harder (Maxwell, 1996; Mulder, 1996).

        Relevant to the potential and possibilities of action research is the degree to which Brunei
        pre-service teachers will be willing to break with these cultural expectations and commit themselves
        to a process of interrogating their own values and examining discrepancies between these values and
        educational practice. The rigid Brunei ranking system, unaltered for centuries, is a powerful
        underlying factor. It consists of a vertical dimension, reflecting varying degrees of inferiority and
        superiority and of power distance (the tendency to acquiesce to one's socially defined superior). In
        one of the few studies of its kind in Brunei, Blunt (1988) found that Brunei workers typically do not
        question those in authority and, in fact, prefer to keep a certain distance between one's self and
        one's superior. They eschew leadership roles and prefer not to take initiative unless directed by a
        superior to do so.

        Therefore, to assume that through action research and/or reflection a Brunei female teacher can be
        transformed into an `active maker of meaning' (see Butler, 1992, 1996; Hendry, 1996), a `political
        actor' (Reid et al., 1998) or `change agent' (Anderson et al., 1994; Cannella & Reiff, 1994) is to
        defy gender distinctions and role expectations.

        Given this cultural profile, female teachers may be more inclined to demonstrate a strong personal
        need to find their rightful place in the school organization, rather than question the basic
        presuppositions of their role. They will likely accept the school organization in a manner that not
        only conforms to their `gendered' place in society, but also brings with it respect, status and a sense
        of oneness with the larger social structure (Minnis, 1999). Thus the adoption of a formalistic,
        teacher-led style of instruction is quite in keeping with traditional Malay-Islamic pedagogical

        Education or Indoctrination?

        Advocates of action research in Brunei also appear to be unaware of the powerful indoctrinating
        effect of Islamic education on young Bruneians which is taught not only in the official school
        curriculum but also in special religious schools. Students are exposed to extensive religious
        instruction from primary school and beyond, including mandatory instruction at the undergraduate
        level in the Universiti.

        The upshot of such powerful and sustained socialization is that obedience and deference becomes
        habit-forming; that is, obedience becomes `natural', part and parcel of everyday life. Thus to
        re-socialize the pre-service teacher, for example, into thinking that they have the freedom to explore,
        initiate and do research may be interpreted by them as an attack on their integrity. How might our
        ideal-typical teacher respond to an increase in freedom? Initial reaction might range from outright
        hostility to passive acceptance. If the protective shield of authority is taken away, the result may not
        be ready acceptance of new ideas or a desire to engage in risk-taking behaviour. Instead, the result
        may be confusion or, worse yet, inertia, in which case the teacher may keep on behaving as if she
        were strictly controlled (see Steutel, 1991).

        Teacher educators in Brunei, especially expatriates, have not examined the possible long-term
        psychological impact of indoctrination on their students. Of course from the Muslim perspective,
        students are not being indoctrinated, but simply taught how to be good Muslims. However, if one
        accepts the dual proposition that state hegemony and preservation of Malay-Islamic ideology are
        contingent on the effective socialization of youth through the schooling process, then the classroom
        teacher has little choice but to conform accordingly. To maintain the system in its present form would
        seem essential to state stability and hegemonic control. This is why traditional pedagogy buttressed
        by countless hours of formal religious instruction works against reflective inquiry. The present
        educational system, in which instruction is oriented toward public examinations, is very efficient at
        leading students to correct answers and approved ways of learning leading to the passing of tests.

        Unlike the Western-trained teacher, Brunei teachers are not correspondingly concerned that
        students arrive at answers on the basis of critically assessing alternative answers or theories
        (Ducharme, 1994). Regardless of the cultural context, extensive religious training, emphasizing rote
        and memorization, is hardly conducive to reflective thinking. Thus teacher educators in Brunei should
        not deny the possibility that if beliefs are held non-evidentially, that is, held without regard to
        evidence relevant to its rational assessment, and held in such a way that it is impervious to negative
        or contrary evidence, then the belief is an indoctrinated one (Steutel, 1991). This is the essence of
        religious training. The pre-service teacher is therefore ill prepared to accommodate constructivist
        teaching principles in a way that challenges their preconceptions and understandings of knowledge,
        schooling and teaching.


        Presently, the problem facing advocates of action research in Brunei is that there is little political
        space in which to experiment, innovate, or to otherwise engage in a serious examination of the larger
        social and political system. In such a controlled climate, it is improbable that educational researchers
        will venture into the utopian, critical and evaluative forms of educational discourse characteristic of
        educational research in more open societies. It will be very difficult for action research to take root
        in Brunei soil. Those who continue to promote action research must keep in mind that cultural and
        socio-political imperatives are of fundamental significance in determining approaches to education in
        Islamic nations. It is the cultural-religious and political setting that keeps policies in place and
        provides resistance to the implantation of ideas from other systems.

        We close this essay with reference to the views of educational philosopher Paddy Walsh (1992). He
        interprets philosophy and critical theory as examples of utopian discourse and suggests that such
        discourses `locate education within a framework of ideal scenarios which can further one's quest for
        coherence' (p. 143). Walsh maintains that if educational researchers are not allowed to explore the
        utopian and evaluative forms of discourse, then `they will have failed to evaluate education from the
        broadest possible perspective' (p. 143). Utopian discourse that focuses squarely on the ends of
        education ought to be disembedded from the immediate practical context of education in order to
        present an overall perspective on matters of value and notions of the `good society'.

        Unfortunately for educational researchers in Brunei, the state has already defined what the `good
        society' should look like. This is why it makes little sense to regard action research as sufficient to
        meet the requirements of change for the better in education, for there can be no conception of `the
        better' without utopian and evaluative discourse.


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        [Author note]
        JOHN R. MINNIS, Universiti Brunei Darussalam

        [Author note]
        Correspondence: John Minnis, Box 4414, The Pas, Manitoba R9A 1R2, Canada.

        man those articles are i am hoping that u will get them before hmcq deletes them or admin ....

        i hope these helped... if u need more info... pm me i will give u my email address and lets see how do u do on your thesis...

        interesting topic in btw..

        Life became all Gray! But NOW i have decided to paint it all over again.

        I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat


          Hmmm why would I delete the post? Have I ever deleted your post

          PS: i hope what you have posted would not be considered copyright infringement. You could email the lady directly too you know...

          Originally posted by nia_khan:

          hmcq...dont delete it..let the poor girl take them



            like i have mentioned..that its a data base provided by university... and people from differnt colleges do come there...since its one of the biggest research place in queens
            Life became all Gray! But NOW i have decided to paint it all over again.

            I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat


              Salams,Thanks nia ... you're the best..

              I will read it all and sure will PM you....

              well I have to search for the literature and apply it in the organization ie., Formalized internship with research...

              Fraudz: I am doing Specialization in general management. so HRM is just a part of it.



                Originally posted by Clementine:
                I am doing Specialization in general management.
                specialze and general mgmt is kinda funny soundin ya? I wont say its an oxymoron, but there is something dodgy about it.

                its kinda like I am specialized as a generalist, hmmm

                The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                  Originally posted by Fraudz:
                  specialze and general mgmt is kinda funny soundin ya? I wont say its an oxymoron, but there is something dodgy about it.

                  its kinda like I am specialized as a generalist, hmmm

                  Can't say anything, you can ask my university about the policies and programs they are offering....

                  I am just a student there.



                    I know other unis do the same thing. I am just bustin ya chops. so where are u at LUMS, IBA, Greenwich?
                    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                      Well, Pakistani system..

                      I am studying in Islamabad.


                        let me know if u need more info

                        no problem
                        Life became all Gray! But NOW i have decided to paint it all over again.

                        I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat