BEYOND THE HARMONIZATION OF THE EUROPEAN PHD EDUCATION: REPORTING ON A NORWEGIAN-RUSSIAN EXPERIMENT AIMING AT HANDLING DIFFERENCES IN RESEARCH TRADITIONS IN BUSINESS STUDIES
Since 1999, when the ideas of the Bologna Declaration were gradually adopted one-by-one by different European countries, the considerable success has been achieved in unifying education across borders on the Bachelor and Master levels. However, the same degree of harmonization has not yet been achieved in the doctoral studies. One apparent challenge for this is considerable differences in research traditions and regulations between some European countries. In this sense, there is a need for better understanding of how harmonization processes work in different countries. This is especially important in terms of how established cultural and research traditions can shape the process by which the ideas found in the Bologna Declaration and Lisbon convention are translated into national regulation and implemented in practice of academic institutions.
This paper addresses two issues. Firstly, building on the previous comparative research on doctoral training regulation in Norway and Russia, this paper aims at demonstrating how the similar ideas of the Bologna Declaration and Lisbon convention have been translated differently into changing national regulations in these two countries. We explain different outcomes in terms of how changing regulation processes have been embedded in and shaped by cultural and research traditions in the two countries. The paper shows how the harmonization initiatives on the level of ministries and agencies may be the driver for the reinforcement of previous traditions and therefore affect the reform outcomes in rather unexpected direction.
Secondly, we argue how the harmonization of researcher education would benefit from mere harmonization efforts tired out in the context of international cooperation on the level of academic institutions rather than the level of regulation. We report on ideas and some preliminary results from a practical experiment (2011-2015) where one Norwegian and six Russian universities try to find ways to unify and harmonize between themselves components of PhD training in the field of business studies.
Our research demonstrates that harmonization of PhD education will require a chain of translations, both official (by ministries) but also unofficial (by educational institutions experimenting with different models). The challenge is how to make those unofficial academic experiments count at the political level and how to institutionalize the results in the changing national regulations.