Institutional theory and the policy problem of vocational education and training and its development: the Egyptian case

PhD thesis


Soliman, S. 2011. Institutional theory and the policy problem of vocational education and training and its development: the Egyptian case. PhD thesis Middlesex University Business School
TypePhD thesis
TitleInstitutional theory and the policy problem of vocational education and training and its development: the Egyptian case
AuthorsSoliman, S.
Abstract

This thesis extends analysis of the policy problem of Egyptian Vocational Education and Training (VET) beyond the current supply/demand mismatch perspective and into a broader institutional analytic framework. It critically deploys concepts from Whitley‘s institutional framework (1999) and Wood and Frynas‘ (2006) Segmented Business Systems (SBS) archetype to the problem, complementing them with historical and political dimensions. These illustrate the continuities and discontinuities in key institutional features and relationships influencing VET since the military coup in the 1950s and through subsequent paradigm shifts. The institutional analysis illustrates that VET is embedded in a set of incoherent institutional arrangements that have constrained systemic development. Further, they have not supported development towards Western models suggested by international organisations. These have had limited effect.
A key institutional relationship for VET; state-employer-union cooperation, is currently being developed by the ILO through its Social Dialogue Project (ILO SDP). This could, if effectively realised, enhance institutional actors‘ participation in VET and hence its effectiveness. This proposition is examined through empirical investigation of institutional actors‘ (i) mutual perceptions of state-employer-union cooperation and contributions to VET; and (ii) their perceptions of the ILO SDP and the ways in which it has influenced VET. These responses are verified on an enterprise level through two cases in the tourism sector. The investigation took place in three phases from July 2008 to April 2010 in Egypt, Switzerland and the UK, through triangulated data collection: documentation, 60 interviews, 2 focus groups and observation.
The findings have theoretical and practical implications. On a theoretical level, the proposition that Egypt largely corresponds to the SBS archetype is confirmed. Suggestions for modifying Whitley‘s institutional framework include (i) a better integration of historical and political dimensions; and (ii) the inclusion of international organisations as a key institutional influence on state relations with social actors in developing countries. Practical conclusions confirm the ineffective levels of state-employer-union cooperation and contributions to VET. ILO attempts to develop these relationships through social dialogue were perceived to be largely ineffective by institutional actors. The ILO SDP has been constrained by institutional incoherencies which are difficult to change in the short- to medium term. Some positive experiences of effective state-employer-union cooperation and employer-employee interdependence were reported on regional and enterprise levels. These could possibly be expanded on by the ILO SDP as a bottom-up approach to enhancing social dialogue. Finally, the 2011 events could offer new institutional opportunities for enhanced representation of social actors in socio-economic matters which could possibly lead to their effective cooperation in VET and its development; an area which could be pursued in future research.

LanguageEnglish
Department nameBusiness School
File
Institution nameMiddlesex University
PublisherMiddlesex University Research Repository
Publication dates
Print18 May 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited18 May 2012
CompletedAug 2011
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/83q61

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