A Study of the Relationship between Type of Organizational Structure of University and Departmental Social Capital with Students' Academic Satisfaction at Shiraz University


Department of Educational Management and Planning, Shiraz University, Iran


The University's mission, in addition to teaching, conducting research and giving service to the academic community, is to help improve the all-round develop‌ment of students (Astin, 1993). Collecting information on students’ academic satisfaction, which is mentioned to be as an outcome (Austin, 1993 b Sanders and Chan, 1996) or a designed tool for improving the quality of students' expe‌riences (Aldridge and Rowley, 1998) is one of the proceedings that assist the universities to perform this mission well. Providing Students' satisfaction as the most important stakeholders of the university is subject to providing an appropriate context, including an extensive network of positive relationships and partnerships between educational stakeholders. This can be called social capital. Social capital is a set of existing norms, networks and social trust at the university system, which leads to the satisfaction of students with different aspects of education by facilitating cooperation between departments and reducing transaction costs. However, realization of students’ expectations and development of social capital within the organization, particularly universities, are influenced by a number of factors, among which organizational hindering and enabling structures are the most important ones. If the organizational structure is hindering, not only will it destroy the social capital, but it result in distrust among members toward one another and reduction of their satisfaction as well. Thus, the concept of organizational structure and social capital and the presence of a kind of co- finalization between the two variables, a climate coupled with trust, cooperation, sincerity, and responsibility all provide a proper context in order to obtain the academic satisfaction of students. In this study, we attempted to investigate the relationship between these three variables in terms of a structural equation model. The following assumptions were thus made:
1) There is a significant relationship between the type of organizational structure and students’ academic satisfaction.
2) There is a significant relationship between departments’ social capital and students’ academic satisfaction.
3) There is a significant relationship between the type of organizational structure and departments’ social capital with the academic satisfaction of students.

Materials & Methods
The research method in this study was relational- descriptive. The population of the study consisted of the entire academic departments of Shiraz University, of which 5 groups were selected randomly. Faculty members (50 participants) and senior undergraduate students (167 participants) answered to our questionnaires, which were divided into three groups: university’s types of organizational structure questionnaire (Torkzadeh & Mohtaram, 2012), the departments’ social capital questionnaire (Torkzadeh & Mohtaram, 2013) and students’ academic satisfaction scale (Torkzadeh, 2007). In order to assess the validity and reliability of each dimension of the questionnaires, item analysis and Cronbach's Alpha were used and the results showed their high reliability and validity. The multiple regression method was used to evaluate the research hypotheses, using LISREL software.

Discussion of Results & conclusions
Through the investigation of the relationship between university’s types of organizational structure with students’ academic satisfaction, it was concluded that organizational structure type is a significant predictor of students' satisfaction. According to this finding, an enabling structure has a positive and significant relationship with students’ academic satisfaction (01/0≥ P و 42/0 = β).. The results of this study are in line with the findings of Shorts (1994 b), Kara (2004) and Kayzr and Saymsyk (2005), emphasizing that there is a significant and positive correlation between an enabling organizational structure and increase in students' level of academic satisfaction. If the structure of the university will be enabling due to its emphasis on flexible and dynamic rules and procedures, in addition to the promotion of confidence, motivation and loyalty of people (teachers) to the system (the university) will follow. It also helps create a favorable environment to increase students’ academic satisfaction (Michael et al, 1988) and reduce the sense of alienation in the educational environment (Jackson and Skooler, 1985). Moreover, at this stage of the analysis, the results showed that hindering organizational structure was also negatively correlated with students’ academic satisfaction. This result was consistent with the results of Hoy and Suitland (2001) and Hoy and Miskle’s (2008) investigations that there is a negative relationship between organizational hindering structures and students’ academic satisfaction.
Possible explanations for such results include: hindering organizational features such as rigid and unchanging laws, punishing mistakes, the presence of an atmosphere of mistrust, etc. Considering the relationship between social capital of departments and students’ academic satisfaction, the obtained results indicate that social capital of departments is a significant and negative predictor of students’ academic satisfaction. There is a negative significant relationship between social capital of departments with students’ academic satisfaction. The result of this part of research was inconsistent with Coleman’s (1990 b) that there is a positive relationship between increasing levels of social capital in educational environments and enhancing learners' academic achievement. This finding means that the social capital of the departments of this research territory have internal positive and external negative functions.
In this regard, we can say that professors have a homogeneous group membership in social networks and strongly support each other, although it is possible for them to have the benefits and positive effects, it will cause negative consequences and costs for people outside the network including students. During the study of concurrent relationship among the type of university’s structure and students’ academic satisfaction with the social capital of departments, it was concluded that the structure of the university and departments’ social capital are simultaneously significant predictors of students' academic satisfaction. Thus, there is a positive relationship between enabling organizational structure and students' academic satisfaction and there is a negative and significant relationship between hindering organizational structure and departments’ social capital, with students' academic satisfaction.
Finally we can say that, although in this study it was concluded that organizational structure varieties and social capital alone have significant predictive power for students’ academic satisfaction, reduction of the predictive power of organizational structure types and social capital coincide with one another, which is an evidence of the obvious impact of the organizational structure quality, especially the enabling organizational structure, on the nature and quality of departments’ social capital and vice versa. Hence, with regard to the serious responsibility of universities and university departments for achieving educational and research goals, it is worthwhile that managers and educational practitioners change the conditions and atmosphere of the university in such a way that it could be as a ground to promote students’ academic satisfaction.


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