Self-perceived Occupational Prestige among Romanian Teaching Staff: Organisational Explicative Factors

Valeriu FRUNZARU, Diana-Luiza DUMITRIU

Abstract


Most studies discuss occupational prestige by stressing out the macro-social aspects related to specific social stratification models. This paper aims to address the impact of organizational aspects on how teachers perceive the prestige of their occupational group, moving the focus on the micro-social context of their daily activity. The way teaching staff evaluate the social prestige of their profession fulfils normative and motivational functions and is, hence, reflected in how they actually perform their professional roles, serving both explicative and prospective purposes. In trying to identify the main factors that can explain the self-perceived level of occupational prestige among educators and teachers, we conducted a national level study among Romanian teachers (N=2165) from preschool to high school educational stages. Within the explicative model (R²=0.38), we were able to group the factors in three main categories: material conditions, bureaucratic and relational aspects. The findings reveal that teachers’ involvement in bureaucratic activities such as elaborating different reports, as well as a lower level of satisfaction regarding the relation they have with students, parents and representatives of the school's management end up decreasing the self-perceived occupational prestige. Our study lays emphasis on the fact that organizational factors influence teachers' selfperceived prestige and, thus, can affect the overall quality of the educational act. Therefore, to improve this, a greater involvement of national and local authorities in providing better material conditions in schools, in supporting the debureaucratization of the educational system and re-evaluating the role of teacher-student-parent communication triad is needed.

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