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The Faculty of Social Sciences is one of the most multidisciplinary faculties in the HSE. It is the product of uniting the faculties of sociology, applied political science, psychology and public administration, which are now schools, and a series of laboratories, research centers and institutes. This kind of synthesis of education and research in the sphere of social sciences is a standard part of global best practice for a modern research university.
We train researchers, analysts and practitioners of sociology, political science, psychology and management, and specialists in education, demographics, public policy and civil society. Our primary strategy in teaching bachelors, masters and doctorate courses is to prepare students to meet global demands and requirements as successful professionals.
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On November 20-24, Salvatore Zappala, Associate Professor of Organizational Change and Development, University of Bologna, School of Psychology, is visiting HSE Moscow as part of the programme of cooperation between HSE and the University of Bologna. Professor Zappala and Evgeniya Kravchenko, Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology of the Faculty of Social Sciences, shared their expectations of the visit with HSE News Service.
Professor Zappala specializes in the study of organizational processes. He notes that he has always been interested in group processes and the relationship between organizational aspects and team processes and performance. Recently he has been studying inter-organizational cooperation, the collaboration between entrepreneurs belonging to different small companies, who try to realize something that they can pursue only by combining their efforts with other entrepreneurs. Professor Zappala is also interested in the effect of the organizational climate, particularly the organizational service climate, and in employees work engagement and service performance. 'For instance, I recently studied the relationship between the attention and care that social service employees dedicate to their customers (e.g. elder people, or individuals with physical disabilities) and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, I’ve studied innovation, but not in the sense of the research and development, or patentable innovation, but the small (or big) ideas that employees suggest in order to solve and improve team and organizational effectiveness.’
Evgeniya Kravchenko and Professor Zappala have conducted joint research into the branches of some Italian companies in Russia. They studied the work efficiency of Russian and Italian employees in such organisations. The results have been published in several articles. Now, Professor Zappala plans to discuss further cooperation with the School of Psychology and to offer to continue this project.
‘The goal is that by continuing this study, and comparing the effects of organizational processes on employees’ performance in international companies,’ notes Professor Zappala. ‘I’ll be moving towards more longitudinal studies. The overall aim is to provide more consistent evidence of the impact of innovation, climate, or collaboration, on individual, team and organizational performance.’
Evgeniya Kravchenko spoke about the lectures of her Italian colleague: ‘The Professor will continue last year's lectures as part of the academic mobility programme. Last year, he delivered two lectures on organizational changes to students of Master's programme in Applied Social Psychology and of ‘Industrial and Organizational Psychology’ track of our undergraduate programme in Psychology. This year, two lectures connected with our research are planned, where we will focus on leadership, the role of leader and assessing the effectiveness of team work.’
In addition, Professor Zappala and representatives of the Faculty of Social Sciences will discuss further cooperation between two universities, including student exchanges, since psychology student haven’t taken part in such programmes yet.
As Professor Zappala adds, his goal is to better understand the educational system here and to meet and talk with HSE students. ‘In addition, I’m looking forward to connecting and possibly establishing research collaboration with local scholars and HSE professors, and to discussing the possibility of some joint research projects, Following this, after some experience together, and some joint publications, I’ll be looking, in the near future, to apply for some international (European and/or Russian) research grants.’