Adaptation of managers and specialists in the conditions of the Arctic region

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Abstract


The article explores the training system for managers and specialists as an element of the infrastructure of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation (AZRF) and the necessary precondition for its successful functioning. Special aspects of the work of specialists in the Arctic region are analyzed, related to severe climatic, environment, and production conditions, underdevelopment of communication, infrastructure and logistics and high socio-psychological and emotional load. The structure and content of the work of specialists and production managers’ efforts are revealed as the basis of curricula and programs for their preparation, retraining and advanced training. The examples of modern methodological developments that allow improving the educational process are given. The article cites as an example the experience of specific educational institutions in which managers of the various levels were inculcated with the special professional management skills and at the same time they were provided with the knowledge of a specialist in a particular industry. There is a critics of management of the existing training system and advanced training of managers, expressed in the unfounded unificationtion of economic universities and the termination of economic specialties at universities, in the framework of which professional managers were trained. The liquidation of the unique management school of Saint Petersburg State University of Engineering and Economics and the сlosing of the economic specialization at Murmansk State Technical University have been pointed as an example.


Full Text

A specific feature of the Arctic labor market is the chronic outflow of population. For example, as of January 1, 2017, the population of the Murmansk Region was 757.6 thousand people, while the outflow in 2016 reached 4.5 thousand people, and 1000 people in 2017. The situation is the same in other regions: the population of Magadan Region decreased from 550 to 150 thousand people; Arkhangelsk Region – from 1,550 to 1,150 thousand people, Komi – from 1,250 to 850 thousand people, Yakutia – from 1,100 to 950 thousand people, Chukotka – from 150 to 50 thousand people, Kamchatka – from 500 to 300 thousand people. And such dynamics, according to the regional government, will continue in the near future [6]. This trend poses a challenge to the leadership of the Arctic regions to create the necessary conditions for the retention of managers and specialists, on the one hand, and targeted training at universities.

Currently, there are about thirty universities in the system of specialists and managers training for the needs of the Arctic, of which only five are located in the Arctic region. Despite the fact that the number of students is about 61 thousand people, their specialization and quality of education does not fully meet the requirements of modern production [10]. The largest universities in the north of the Arctic that provide actual training of specialists for the Arctic region are the following: The Northern Arctic Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov (NArFU), Murmansk Arctic State University (MASU), Murmansk State Technical University (MSTU).  At the same time, the existing regional system of training of managers and specialists does not provide the level of knowledge and skills that allow for effective management of enterprises and organizations. This has determined the increased attention to the problem of training, retraining and advanced training of managers and specialists. It should be taken into account that the directions, principles, forms and methods of education of such a specific contingent are fully determined by the existing paradigm of economic development in the country and in the Arctic region [2]. As modern tools to integrate the efforts of teachers of various universities, we can note the network technologies, which have already spread in a number of universities, as well as technological platforms that allow combining the efforts of scientific and educational organizations to develop modern teaching methods.

The lack of special professional management training often leads to mistakes in the development strategy of higher education in the region. A good example of such an unjustified decision is the prepared merger order between MSTU and MASU, which has given rise to a great deal of criticism and debate about its underdevelopment.

This order did not take into account the fact that such merger is hindered by a number of federal regulations, starting with the Regulation of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation approved by the Government of the Russian Federation, where the list of functions of the department does not include the provision of uniforms, meals and sailing practice as it is for students of Rosrybolovstvo. If such a function is given to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, another regulation prohibiting duplication of functions of state agencies will be violated. The Civil Code should also be taken into account, which does not provide for the reorganization of a legal entity in the form of changes in the jurisdiction. In addition, the Federal Law "On Education" allows for a decision to reorganize or close down an educational organization only on the basis of a positive opinion of the commission on the evaluation of the consequences [1].

The decision to close the Faculty of Economics and Management at MSTU, which provided training for highly qualified specialists and managers in the Arctic region, should also be recognized as a mistake. The Council for awarding degrees of Candidate and Doctor of Economics, which was functioning at MSTU, performed an important role of training of scientific and pedagogical staff, which was needed by the Kola Scientific Center of RAS.

The abovementioned mistakes in the management of science and higher education in the region testify to the underestimation of the role of managers in the creation of an effective management system and insufficient consideration of the specifics of managerial work. There is a long discussion in the specialized literature on whether a manufacturing manager should be a specialist in the industry in which he or she operates or not.  It is very common to think that a professional manager does not care what industry to work in, because the principles, methods and technologies of management are common to any object of management. Other specialists express confidence that the manager must have a deep knowledge of the specifics of the industry, having passed all the steps in the hierarchy of the management pyramid [7]. The optimal balance of managerial and special knowledge in the content of a manager's work was established empirically and in this regard it is important to analyze the historical experience of training managerial personnel, as our country has gone through a rather contradictory path in this area, not always benefiting from mistakes and failures.

An equally dangerous consequence caused by modern Russian managers who ignore the most important principle of management related to the rational delegation of managerial functions. Their efforts to solve all the issues at the highest level of management have led to the practice of "manual management", when even the first leaders of the state try to solve all the issues independently and personally, from strategically important for the state to operational issues that are the responsibility of the lower level managers [2].  A situation occurs when at the lower levels of government no one takes responsibility waiting for the command from above, and the upper level due to overload can not anticipate or respond to external threats in a timely manner [11].

In this regard, the figure of a future manager, well educated, intellectual and creative, with analytical thinking skills and ready for compromises, is also of interest. A number of sources provide a list of attributes that such a manager should possess [15, 16]. In June 2008, the research center of the SuperJob.ru portal conducted an expert survey among 100 directors of enterprises in order to find out the main qualities of a top manager. Respondents were asked an open-ended question: “Please name three main qualities of a real top manager” [14].

According to the survey, the main qualities of top managers were professionalism, competence and intelligence (22%, 18% and 16% of respondents accordingly). A real top manager, in their opinion, must be able to "clearly and precisely define the tasks and organize the work to solve them", "apply their knowledge in practice", as well as have an analytical mind and a broad-based knowledge. A commitment and strategic thinking were noted by 16% of respondents. The importance of such qualities as responsibility and vigour was pointed out by 15% of respondents. Ability to convince, i.e. presence of leadership qualities, is considered necessary for a top manager by 12% of respondents. In the opinion of 11% of respondents, productive work in the position of a top manager is impossible without the presence of such a quality as resistance to stress overload.

Thus, it can be concluded that there are a number of fundamental problems in the training of professional managers in the Arctic Zones of the Russian Federation (AZRF) associated with the existing system of formation of a managers' reserve, focused on strict following the specific principles of teamwork, which clearly contradict the classical principles of scientific management, accepted around the world.  Similar problems are also faced by the system of training of managers and specialists for the AZRF, which also is faced with the specific conditions of the northern territories: the desire of young people to leave the region, ignoring the interests of employers, the lack of calculations of scientifically-based need for staff of specialists and managers, weaknesses in the scientific-methodological, material, information and staff support of the educational process in the universities of the Arctic region. Taking these weaknesses into account and eliminating them will make it possible to increase the efficiency of the system of staff training, retraining and professional development in the AZRF.

About the authors

Victor F. Bogachev

FIC Kola Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: vic-bogachev@mail.ru

Russian Federation, Apatity, Murmansk region

Nikolay P. Veretennikov

FIC Kola Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Email: nveretennikov@mail.ru

Russian Federation, Apatity, Murmansk region

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