Case Study Report POU Samobor

Development of case study


The interview was held at Pučko otvoreno učilište Samobor, on Thursday 12 September 2019 at 10am.

The interviewer was Tamara Vojvoda.

The interviewees:

  • a secretary
  • a teacher (pedagogue)
  • the principal
  • the head of education

The selection was done in cooperation with the head of education – Itana Bukovac who proposed people from her organisation which would be the most suitable for attending the interview session. The criteria were previously set – minimal number of interviews: 2 teachers, 1 manager, 1 supportive noneducational staff.

The interviewed people have broad understanding of diversities (even they do not have experience with migrant groups). They had encountered different people of all age groups, educational background and physical or mental difficulties which they successfully handled and incorporated into their education programmes.

Description of the organisation


Institutional framework


Pučko otvoreno učilište Samobor (Samobor Public Open University) is a public institution for continuous education, culture and informing.

The University performs its activity according to the following laws: Zakon o pučkim otvorenim učilištima (NN 54/97, 5/98, 109/99, 139/10) , Zakon o obrazovanju odraslih (NN 17/07,107/07,24/10), Zakon o odgoju i obrazovanju u osnovnoj i srednjoj školi NN 87/08, 86/09, 92/10, 105/10, 90/11, 5/12, 16/12, 86/12, 186/12., Zakon o ustanovama (NN 6/93,29/97,47/99,35/08, Zakon o muzejima NN142/98, 65/09, and the other accompanying Regulations. The University performs its activity according to the law, the founding act, the Statute and other general acts.

The main activities of the University are: adult education, basic adult education, secondary adult education, secondary and vocational education programs, lower education programs, retraining programs, instruction in playing musical instruments, dance lessons outside the regular education system, organizing music seminars for children, youth and adults, teaching children, young people and adults foreign languages, information literacy for children, youth and adults, realizing and promoting multicultural, national and intercultural values, organizing and promoting all forms of cultural and artistic creativity, arranging theatre, music, entertainment, film and other cultural and artistic programs of our own production or in cooperation with other institutions, organizing cultural and artistic amateurism, gallery and exhibition activity, newspaper and publishing activities, screening movies, organizing fairs and exhibitions, rental of sound recorders, video projectors, videos, musical 126 instruments, scenery, costumes, videotapes, records and other materials, production and sale of works of art, books, audio and video materials and other teaching aids in connection with the registered activity, providing photocopying and space rental services, advertising, providing catering services (preparation and / or serving drinks and beverages) to attendees and visitors and other activities.

Mission statement:

The mission of POU Samobor as a public institution for lifelong education, culture and informing is to affirm Samobor as a centre of cultural and educational programs through its activities.

Respecting the tradition of Samobor openness to new challenges and cultural expressions, the mission of the Public Open University is to create new values in all artistic fields and to popularize cultural products and cultural creativity in the local community, region and beyond, and to promote positive lifestyles.

The mission of the POU is, through lifelong education programs, working to raise general knowledge of the community in the area of current knowledge and skills in the present time, to support the general progress of our community towards the new challenges of the modern world and the world of humane values.

The general goals of POU Samobor are:

  1. Development of cultural activities: Upgrading existing programs and developing new artistic programs that will attract additional audiences, especially young people.
  2. Development of educational activity: Participation in the process of raising the level of education and competences of both the individual and the community.
  3. Developing and strengthening the organisation: Developing human resources, but also the presence of cultural and educational programs in the daily life of the community.

Organisation structure:

POU Samobor has been founded by the City of Samobor.

Samobor Open University is a public institution for permanent education, culture and information. The School carries out its activity according to the following laws: Law on Public Open Colleges, Adult Education Act, Law on education in primary and secondary schools OG ,Law on Institutions, Law on Museums and the accompanying Regulations. The College performs its activity according to the law, the founding act, the Statute and other general acts of the college.

Bodies of POU Samobor are:

  • Governing Council
  • The Director
  • Expert Council
  • The expert body is made up of managers of departments or centers, as follows:
    • Education department,
    • Culture department,
    • Common affairs department and the
    • Youth centre.

The University has 15 employees and around 30 external professionals who give lessons and work in the education process, none with a migration background.

Samobor Open University organizes over 500 different cultural events every year, including:

  • classical music concerts, especially the renowned classical music festival “Samoborska glazbena jesen”
  • theatre plays for children under the program “Dječji svijet nedjeljom u pet”
  • adult theatre performances
  • amateur theatre: “PAX” groups and younger “PAXići” group
  • cinema, including programs for festive film premieres, summer cinema, on-the-go cinemas, “Teenoteka” teen cinemas, film workshops and free movie screenings for children “Filmko”
  • exhibitions within the Prica Gallery
  • multimedia events such as the Love Poetry Festival Vrazova Ljubica
  • youth programs at the Bunker Youth Centre

Within the framework of information activities, the University organizes lectures on various topics such as ecology, health, child-raising, social topics, etc., under the title Civic Tuesday (“Građanski utorak”). Adult education is another very important area of the University activity, within which a whole range of training programs in the fields of agriculture, tourism, management, sales and personal services, as well as further education and retraining are present.

At POU Samobor there are also a few programs for children, such as Code programming workshops, a Little comics school and a dance workshop within the Modern Dance Studio. the Project department (Head of Department / Project coordinator, Expert associate for projects), the International cooperation department (Head of Department, Expert associate), the Crafts department (Head of Department, Expert associate).

Institutional in the migrant society


There are no migrants present at the moment in the area of City of Samobor, so the institution still does not have too many experiences working with those groups.

Human Resource Management


There is certain attention for diversity. The staff does not have to deal with major diversities. As they state, the diversities present at the University are not so notable that they would affect dealing with students in a so different way. In other words, they treat every student equally no matter of the diversities he/she might have compared to other more homogenous groups.

There are no migrants present in the area so there is not much attention for diversity considering this specific group.



There are no special connections or networking with migrant organisations. The staff agrees that the migrant organisations should be more connected with them in order to guide these groups and point them towards the opportunities of achieving education, cultural support and relevant information. Making connections with migrant organisations could be a major recommendation to make the next step.



There are no data/details about the cultural background of the educational staff. Everyone who teaches, teaches regardless of their cultural background. However, there are no migrants in the educational staff.

Personal Impressions of interviewed people


Positive Negative

The Institution

“Diversity” in the institution

The values that the POU Samobor promotes:

  • individual approach, respect for personality
  • innovation in access to programs
  • flexibility for users and visitors
  • equality of all groups and respect for human rights

There is nothing negative.

The diverse people mingle, they break taboos with their diversity.

Interest in “Diversity”

“It is our institution the one that should be deal with promoting diversity, doing lectures, workshops on diversity – that’s why we are founded.”

Human Resources

Inclusion is a part of the institution- e.g. having the visually impaired person as a part of the staff as an equal member.

Inside the organisation there is a person for the protection of dignity that is defined by law.


Migrants do not cope with our system – an association is needed that can direct them (thinking of migrants from Albania and similar countries as well).

There is not enough human or monetary resources for working with diversity inside or outside of our organisation.

The physical aspects of access to the facility could be improved by providing access to people in the wheelchair to the Gallery on the 1st floor of the facility by installing an elevator.

Other important diversity categories

Apart from ethnicity and cultural background – which are the topics of the project institution found also important:

  • Disability – mental, physical
  • Beneficiaries of Probation – Social Work in an Institution

The Educational Process

Diversity in the educational process

Samobor Public Open University is a carrier of cultural events in Samobor, and it also pays great attention to programs of further and lifelong education.

  • Samobor Open University organizes over 500 different cultural events every year
  • Within the framework of information activities, the University organizes lectures on various topics such as ecology, health, child-raising, social topics, etc…

POU Samobor strives to respond to the needs of every individual for education that will produce employability, and to strengthen, raise awareness and encourage a new, active citizen of both Samobor and Croatia and the whole world. The individual is the active ingredient in the community. By developing an individual, a community develops, making every individual important. His needs are important to him, but to all of us. Because if we say that individual is not important to us, then soon the whole community will not be important to us.

  • Equality – of all social groups in access to educational content
  • Innovation – a curriculum that opens up entirely new job opportunities or extra earnings
The most relevant obstacles to attend courses successfully:

  • Language
  • Cultural differences
  • Ours and their ignorance (not knowing how to approach and deal with differences – ours in relation to them and theirs compared to us)

Challenges for trainer

  • Language
  • Educational background
  • Cultural differences
  • Effectiveness of education attendance, successfully managing learning outcomes
  • Prejudices
  • Fear- lack of experience in dealing with diversity
  • Intercultural competences
  • No instructions regarding the education of migrants

Commitment with mission statement and diversity policy


Tolerant collective (staff)

The diversity will be more realised and recognised when the organisation and its people encounter differences/diversities greater than those they have had the opportunity to deal with so far (i.e. by having migrant groups etc.).

What should be changed?


  • Connection with the support systems
  • Sharing and exchange of experiences, internally as well as externally
  • Increasing number of people, increasing financial resources
  • Cinema – having different (diverse) movies, movies from other cultures (other as in other than American based movies)
  • Through Culture – American culture is closing diversity – non profitable movies of other cultures; people are used to watch movies of American production
  • Insufficient resources (human and financial)

What should not be changed?


The culture of the University where everyone is welcome.

Analysis, interpretations


The language regarding diversity within the organisation


Pou Samobor is open up towards people to build trust and rapport. They have positive attitude and positive body language and use emotion to communicate their objectives.

The culture of the institution is to promote equal opportunities, so employees are guided through interaction with each other without the rulebook governing it.

The data on participants who are required to be collected by law are recorded. With the introduction of GDPR, this volume of data has been reduced in some parts. Everything is in Croatian language, as well as the web page. However, the good thing is that the staff, external teachers and leadership is multilingual.

When they first encounter with “diversity” they have not worked with before, the first step is to talk individually with the person. Then when the education start they discuss with the whole group the topic of diversity related to that person. If a translator or assistant is needed they provided it, but they also 130 direct the attention of the teacher to be more open and accept the person and the assistant as well. The goal is acceptance, and the feel that everyone in this process does not have to cope with everything on their own.

The visibility of the organisation (mission document, vision diversity) is sufficient. Also in terms of the use of means of communication that can and may be a little more international in terms of language. The focus is on Europe and is of the opinion that international languages (English) are necessary. This should be reflected in the vision of the organisation and incumbent staff should be trained to focus internationally/European.

Significant differences in the way people are looking at and thinking about the diversity in the organisation


Interviewed persons are passionately about doing work that helps others. They value teamwork, and they’re always willing to pitch in or stay late if someone is behind on an important deadline. This has led to a culture of trust, friendliness, and mutual respect within the team.

Generally, they consider that the differences are not so notable (too mild) to cause change of behaviour. In other words, they treat every employee and student equally no matter of the diversities he/she might have compared to other more homogenous groups.

They look at diversity as something that happens at the moment of confronting a person- “You do not know that you have a problem / prejudice until you really confront with such groups (migrant groups primarily).” They are aware that they have successfully dealt with such situations so far, but that the differences are becoming more and more specific and that they need experience and change.

Perspective of personal identity and relationship


As a collective, they believe that cultural norms play a large part in interpersonal relationships at work, but they do not take behavioural norms of society for granted and reflect on reactions, preferences, and feelings, allowing them to deviate from central tendencies in Croatian society. On the other hand they expect (based on their previous experience) from people who grow up in a certain culture, to adopt on their (Croatian) culture if they live here.

Interviewed persons also consider that the whole culture in Croatian is American-oriented to the extent that their customs are introduced, and we systematically refuse to accept other cultures and get to know them – even though they are the cultures of people who actually live in the same local community. Taught by experience, “most people” do not experience other cultures, and thus closes the window on the diversity and diversity of life.

“When you get the impact of only one culture, when someone come from another culture, you are in shock, and that’s also reasonable”. They are very tolerant as individuals and collective, but they are also aware that they will only get to know their limits of tolerance when someone “different” appears. Someone they haven’t had the opportunity to meet / work with.

According to organisation’s workplace values people in organisation understand one another, everyone does the right things for the right reasons, and this common purpose and understanding helps people build great working relationships. Values alignment helps the organisation as a whole to achieve its core mission.

Arrangements and power relations


By implementing educational programs POU Samobor cooperate with many institutions and institutes, but it faces a common problem of non-diversity organisation in terms of migrants: not enough disagreement. When homogeneous leadership teams engage in group thinking, “they do not consider the outside perspective” and therefore create blind spots that will later lead them to problems.

They think that situation would be better if for example a team leader will have a team of 10 peoplethen he would develop and could know better in which direction to develop in terms of diversity. When increasing number of employees for the purpose of working with differences, interviewed persons requested verbal certification from leadership to get answer on such subject.

POU Samobor is aware of the fact that migrants are in their environment and they are trying to find associations / systems that will send migrants to them. But, as mentioned- there is no instructions regarding the education of migrants from the state, government, local government and self-government units or from the organisations dealing with migrants.

POU Samobor would gladly (for which there is actually a legal norm, but it was never implemented) have an INFO desk which would be a kind of bridge in providing information, forwarding, referring people, which would certainly help migrants (to be easier to connect / integrate). The INFO desk is in the Adult Education Act, but it is not funded and, accordingly, no one is employed in the whole story.

Motives and motivations to work on diversity policy in the organisation


  • Easier access to financial investment – special equipment is needed (access for people with disabilities, e.g. a lift in a building).
  • Organisational and financial requirements
  • Introducing new programs – opens new opportunities
  • Enriching yourself by learning about the differences, characteristics of other people
  • Upgrading existing programs and developing programs that will attract additional audiences, especially young people and migrants
  • Participation in the process of raising the level of education and intercultural competences of both the individual and the community
  • Developing human resources

Possible benefits for the learners


People in the POU Samobor believe that you are what you do, and they base your worth accordingly. They value performance, no matter who you are.

So, understanding that that non-acceptance of general trends and changes in the world means lag for the whole community, POU Samobor strive for the student to find the shortest path to a stable job. Jobs that will not depend on technological change in some distant eastern countries, which does not depend on the lability market, now the whole, Europe. That is why their students take practical training in companies that can later be their permanent partners in the business.

In the transfer of knowledge, they strive to find the middle ground between the adaptation of the individual and the students and the high quality of knowledge enrolled in the curricula. Their educators and expert associates are excellent experts in working with adult learners; and they want to give the learners as much lasting knowledge as possible, with awareness of the fact that the level of knowledge received is individual.

Stage of the organisation


7. intercultural organisation
6. intercultural diversity management
5. cross-cultural HRM policy
4. inflow of migrant workers
3. intercultural service management
2. service to migrants
1. monocultural organization

Scroll over then names of the stages to get a definition of them

  1. My organisation has migrants among its clients.
  2. In my organization an intercultural training has been done aimed at improving sales to migrants.
  3. My organisation has a policy aimed at improving sales or services to migrants.
  4. My organisation employs (a) migrant worker(s).
  5. My organisation has a policy aimed at the influx of migrant workers.
  6. In my organisation there has been an intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership.
  7. My organisation has an intercultural personnel policy.
  8. In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of diversity policy.
  9. In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of general quality policy with regard to sales/service provision and personnel.

POU Samobor is a monocultural organisation which has the ambition to be a multicultural organisation in terms of:

  • reflecting the contributions and interests of different cultural and social groups in their mission, operations and provision of the product or service
  • members who come from different cultural and social groups and are part of all levels within the organisation, especially in those areas where decisions that shape the organisation are made (equitable distribution of power)
  • including support for efforts to broaden the concept of multiculturalism

Based on 7 Stages Model POU Samobor is at Stage 1 – The organisation has no customers with a migration background and there are no employees with a migration background either. Currently, the organisation does not focus on diversity policy. Nor is it its core business. It does anticipate the influx of Albanians, for example. But this is minimal.

The assumption is that the situation in the POA Samobor will change rapidly, and the next step will be the need for intercultural policy and/or intercultural training opportunities to improve this service is gradually emerging within the organisation in this “next” stage. A plan how to realises this will be necessary.

Intercultural competence is fundamental to uphold employee satisfaction, maintain retention rates, and improve financial results.

With increased contact of personnel and customers/students from diverse cultural backgrounds, there is a growing demand for businesses to understand and manage the diverse values, perceptions, business worldviews and behaviour of corporations, staff, and its customers. Intercultural communication and management is an interdisciplinary human resources field concerned with facilitating communication, management and effective interaction of personnel and students.

Change and consequences


What is change here actually?

Change is active communication with the environment; where POU is an active factor in the growth and development of the individual and society as a whole through lifelong learning.

A culture of learning, adapting, turning to the future rather than the past is something that should begin to change in all social structures. To fight for the development of our society, that is, for human and his advancement in an increasingly inhumane world, means to fight for a more humane, meaningful world.

What does it mean for the education process?

Change is knowledge transfer within multicultural classrooms through inclusive learning. The need for education of persons of migrant background that will emerge at POU Samobor requires teachers to develop in the form of enhancing intercultural competence in order to extend their role not only to the teaching of the profession, but to be able to participate in the whole integration process of the mentioned groups in the best possible way.

In addition, adult learners are known to have higher expectations than the way they are taught. They come with different experiences, often with great knowledge and perhaps much more mature than those who teach them. Traditional didactic methods are no longer sufficient, but new methods and teaching methods that have proven to be the best in adult education need to be learned.

The most important thing is to use those techniques and strategies that take into account the experience and expertise (knowledge) of an adult student / migrant / asylum seeker / minority group member. Interactive teaching methods of teaching aim to improve the quality of learning and teaching and to foster excellence in education through the development and adoption of modern teaching methods that would encourage the creativity and innovation of students / learners.

To create a multicultural classroom, it is necessary in this direction to identify specific teaching, behavioural and approaches skills that facilitate learning in the context of culturally diverse educational groups; as this will create an inclusive learning environment that removes barriers among students. The methods adopted and the use of the tools will increase tolerance in the groups of students and, based on the developed intercultural competence, create space for inclusive learning of culturally different educational groups in the goal of integrating them.

What does it mean for the management?

Change is to broaden mind through multicultural immersion to have an objective outlook which doesn’t favour one cultural approach over another.

Change is allowing more creativity and flexibility towards same goals, intentions and outcomes for improving working relationships, productivity, job satisfaction and creative potential.

What does it mean for the staff?

The change is to open opportunities to experiment, try out new talents and skills, approach tasks differently, and increase capacity.

“We all have prejudice” they said, but the change will happen if we are open and although we may not be educated we must want to approach diversity.

What does it mean for the learners?

Change is readiness for lifelong learning and awareness of the positive impact of lifelong learning on career development and employability.

Change for learners is:

  • opportunity to seek lifelong learning
  • gain or restore confidence in learning and education
  • inclusion
  • optimism and faith

Change is a moment when student, coming to the program overloaded with a negative view of their capabilities and burdened with the limitations of burdensome reality, reveals the great possibilities of development that open up to him.

What does it means for the organisation?

Change is a transfer process from the “TRADITION OF OPENNESS” to the “TRADITION OF OPENNESS TO CHANGE”.



Professionalism in diversity management can be developed equally across departments towards developing multicultural organisation by:

  • creating more inclusive mission
  • shared decision-making
  • more flexible structure/roles · information wide access, including setting up an info desk
  • openly confront discrimination
  • dialogue across diverse groups
  • org. learning
  • shared/rotating leadership
  • adapting or creating services and technology for new populations

Recommendations for 3 levels (management, educational department/teachers, administration):

  1. Management
    • establish connection with the support systems – an association (JRS, Red Cross) that can direct migrants to them
    • develop a support system for new users (migrants) and intercultural personnel policy
    • initiate education to write and implement EU projects as well as employing people through projects
    • withdraw funds at the Zagreb County level to recruit new people (greater capacity that can develop professionalism and make diversity management rules)
    • do intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership and for exchanging viewpoints
    • develop cross-sectoral programs and financing systems (Info-desk)
    • networking (institutions and associations on projects; education system, employers and other supportive institutions)
    • promote examples of employee initiatives and innovations
    • adapting human resources policy, particularly the division and equality of responsibilities; make teamleader responsible for the composition and the diversity of the team
    • special equipment is needed (access for people with disabilities, e.g. a lift in a building).
  2. Educational department/educators
    • development of new programs and implementation of project interventions that meet the needs of a wide variety of groups
    • sharing and exchange of experiences (K1 staff Mobility)
    • use teaching methods that combine the traditional teaching method with the non-traditional in order to help students gain competencies and facilitate easier access to information. These include training the trainees to solve problems, discover, innovate and teach learning as the foundation of lifelong learning
  3. Staff
    • educate employees to write EU projects
    • create web page in English


What is the right approach for this way of changing?


The right approach based on the colour model of De Caluwe & Vermaak is a mixture towards a Blueprint and a greenprint approach where change and learning are the same thing, a rational plan in combination with the learning & development process.

The Blueprint approach is a rational process bases on a strong plan , supported by management and staff. The idea is think first and then act according to plan. Probably you also wil need support from experts in the field and project managers.

The greenprint approach is a believe that organisations develop when people develop. Only when they see new things and can handle them, behaviour will change.

This means that the green change leader (organisation/individuals/management/educators) puts people in learning situations. People hold up a mirror to each other, experiment and find out what works. Training and coaching play a role, but learning at and on the job as well.

Change agents focus here on helping others discover the limits of their competences and to learn more effective ways of acting. The process is characterized by setting up learning situations, preferably in groups as these allow people to give and receive feedback as well as to experiment together. Whenever possible, learning is co-created with participants who strengthen their learning abilities in the process, and facilitators help those involved to become facilitators in their own right.

Commitment with Management and Staff


The foreseen process of change requires a well-considered plan, strongly supported by the management. The management needs to take the initiative and facilitates head of departments, team coordinators and staff to implement the necessary steps to realise the plan.

Generally it is important that the plan is based upon:

  • creation of a workplace culture that is rich with information
  • encouraging curiosity and experimentation
  • serious career development opportunities
  • handling dynamic development boundaries

We propose as main concrete points of the plan:

  • To endorse migrant organisations in collaboration and in directing people to POU
  • To break the monopoly of American culture and replace it with more information on European cultures
  • Deconstructing the American culture as a gathering place of diverse migratory cultures
  • Improving the facilities for disabled people
  • Share decision-making in the organisation
  • Integrate diversity in all educational and cultural programmes
  • Transform culture in a more multicultural European culture

Lack of financial resources should not be an excuse to do nothing. The process of change can be started without financial resources and for new measures there are possibilities for crowdfunding as well as European subsidies.

The management has to learn to manage differences effectively and engage in new and more equitable power relations and to create settings for learning by using organisation development interventions, allowing people to become more aware and more competent on their job.

The staff has to be “open-minded and adaptable to new situations and people from different countries and curious to learn about how different cultures communicate, live, and work together”. One thinks of an introduction of an information desk, a sort of help and info desk professionally supervised in order to better manage the flow of information. Teachers are asked to train themselves and to work more and more with new teaching methods that are not embedded according to traditional patterns. Working on new programmes is also required. Aimed at new learners as groups. New skills are required. Especially when it comes to international/European work to raise additional funds (third money flows), an internal change process is needed.

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