|Discuss a case using free reflections
or using the attached model
or using the following form
|Høysletten municipality, Technical Division: Draw an organizational chart|
The technical division in Høysletten Municipality is a busy place, and time to take a little extra break seldom occurs. "Our director defines what's important, how we are supposed to do things and which tasks are the most pressing", says an official in charge.|
The director is task-oriented. He has become something of a permanent fixture in the technical division, having worked there for 30 years. He keeps work and private life strictly separate. He never initiates social activities in the work place, and takes no interest in Christmas parties or other celebrations.
There's a destructive turnover in the divison. Older staff and office personnel get compenastory time off for the overtime hours. However, they are increasingly dissatisfied as young and ambitious engineers, who are paid for overtime work, only stay a short time with the department. Those that remain spend quite a lot of their working hours training the newcomers.
There are few part-time positions; the director prefers a full-time staff. This is one of the factors that make young female engineers resign once they decide to establsih a family.
Other employees are more stable, as it is difficult to find new jobs, and they have become a tightly knit group over the years. They cooperate in the work place and also get together in their free time.
Everyone has clearly defined tasks, the division of labour having been set by the director. When at work, work! No extra breaks are allowed. The director is in control. The technical equipment is always in order, and everything's in stock in the storerooms at any given time. Delegated tasks are regularly controlled by the director, and the division seems to be running smoothly.
1. Based on your organisational understanding, discuss the culture in the technical division, and possible consequences for the efficiency. Prioritize your view(s).
2. Prior to organisational development comes a survey (diagnosis or present situation) to pinpoint strong and weak points in an organisation, both internally and with respect to external relations. Give an overview over the kind of problems such a survey may uncover.
|Sunnyside nursing home: Draw an organizatioenal chart|
Sunnyside nursing home consists of three wards: the senile dementia ward, the nursing ward and the short-term nursing ward. Each ward has approx. 30 patients, two nurses and seven assistant nurses. Two ergonomists and physiotherapists are responsible for all three wards. The institution also employs a housekeeper; three cleaners, three kitchen staff and two who are responsible for the laundry. The administrative staff comprises three persons. In all, 43 persons are employed in Sunnyside, including the leader Ms Svendsen and deputy leader, Ms Eriksen. Some assistant nurse posts are filled with temporary staff. They carry much of the work. Many of the employees have been working in Sunnyside for 15 - 20 years.
A source of frustration that has built up over the years is the disparity/imbalance between services rendered by the staff and the services required by the residents, in addition to the nursing staff's own demands as employees. Work in the institution is undetermined and unstructured, and not stimulating, neither for the staff nor for the patients. There is little room for professional development.
The leader, Ms Svendsen, has learned through literature and reports that the re-organisation of nursing services according to "the principle of primary health care" has rendered good results. Such organisation means that the nursing staff is in contact with a limited number of personnel for as long time as possible, thus performing better integrated tasks, and the residents receive care of a more individual and personal nature. However, the system has to be locally adapted.
The workforce situation in Sunnyside calls for a modified system of primary health care. A system of partly autonomous groups with full responsibility for a number of residents on a 24-hour basis is being planned.
The deputy leader applauds the principle of primary health care, and is enthusiatic with regard to the implementation process. She knows that new ventures will always be met with resistance from some people, and that it is best to avoid frustration and scepticism during the implementation period.
1) Which elements do you think will have a positive effect on the innovation process, and what are the pitfalls? Prioritize and argue! 2) Diverse techniques and methods for problem solution are applied in organisational analysis and processes of change. Name some, and choose one that you elaborate and discuss with a view to its applicability
|Strategies and measures/means: Draw an organizational chart|
Peter Festervoll, the IT manager in Lavsletten municipality, is not happy. "I don't agree with the way the municipality has organised and developed its IT." Equipment, software and suppliers are not coordinated. Software is still purchased from the same suppliers, although experience with their services has been negative, and the employees find the software unsuitable.|
Allocation of economic resources is not based on means tests. Only one employee has Internet access, an incomprehensible decision for the others. The municipality has no definite competence plans.
"The municipality could have saved a lot if I had full responsibility for the IT strategy. As IT manager I am placed under the personnel manager. My position would have been more effective in the administrative department" says Peter Festervoll.
The personnel manager does not see any problem with the present organisation, and cannot see any gains in moving the position to the administration department.
Because organisational development implies a collaborative effort between two parties; the organisational and the consultant, the diagnostic phase will be characterised by mutual "testing" of their organisational understanding. This means that the consultant not only seeks, but also gives information on the various ways to look at the problem, the importance of regarding it as a question of interaction. At the centre lies the need to reach a common understanding of the complexity of the problem, and thus also realistic expectations towards the results of an organisational development can render". (Fischer & Sortland, 2001, p.152)|
|Resistance against change: Draw an organizational chart|
In section X of the Health and Social Welfare department in a Norwegian municipality, the employees have agreed that computer equipment worth millions will be left unused. The new technology was meant to increase efficiency at work. The health director's action is a violation of the system of agreements, says a spokesman for the employees. The director dismisses the criticism and points out that the computer equipment had been purchased in other departments without the direct involvement of employees.|
Other departments in the municipality have found the same equipment satisfactory, and you are called in as a consultant to help find the reason behind the opposition in section X.
|Sunsplash nursing home and day care centre: Draw an organizational chart|
Sunsplash nursing home has been rehabilitated and expanded with a day care centre (with a staff of 11) and a residential unit for the elderly (6 employees). The idea is that the staff in the residential unit can get help from the nursing home staff if and when necessary. The day care centre, organised directly under a director, also employs its own physiotherapist, ergonomist and chiropodist. They are in the centre two days per week and attend to residents in the nursing home and in the residential unit, as well as to patients in the day care centre when needed.|
The nursing home and the residential unit employ a senior nursing officer jointly. She is in charge of the kitchen, which serves all three units. The institution has been run traditionally, and formal meetings have been rare. Work in the institution is not goal-oriented and the patients/residents are understimulated to a large extent.
The staff in the nursing home is unstable. They are often on sick leave, and many quit after a short periode of time. The problem has increased after the residential unit opened. The nursing home staff feels neglected, while too much focus is on the residential unit. They also complain that the other units are better served by the physiotherapist, ergonomist and chiropodist.
The head of the kitchen unit has voiced complaints over too much food being returned from the day care centre, as well as receiving extra orders at too short notice from the other units. It is difficult to control the kitchen's budget under such circumstances. The delivery schedule in the day care centre differs from the other units, and thus reduces efficiency. The head of the kitchen wants the senior nursing officer to discuss the problem and possible solutions with the director.
The relationship between the director and the senior nursing officer has deteriorated after the nursing officer brought back new ideas on patient rehabilitation from a course she had been attending. The municipality has granted money for a project to study the work situation in the institution. The board cannot agree on an organisational model or who should head the project. The difference in opinion is so big that they need to call in external help.
(Figure 2: Organisational structure Busch, Tor and J.O.Vanebo (ed). Oslo, Tano, 1990
|Lavsletten municipality: Draw an organizational chart|
Lavsletten, a medium-sized municipality, has invited all leaders and employees to a two-day seminar on modernisation of the municipal activities. As an external consultant, you are invited to the second day of the seminar to introduce a prospective organisational development plan. The feasibility study carried out by the internal consultant has been sent to you in advance. From the documents you have selected a number of statements and impressions around the situation in the municipality:|
|The agent of change (the consultant): Draw an organizational chart|
You have been engaged as change agent in a municipality administration with 4 divisions. After two years on the job you have fairly good overview of the production of services in the municipality. One of the divisions has introduced a routine of complete casework procedure, the other three are planning to follow suit. But, the picture is marked by inconvenient routines in all for divisions. Internal administration and problem solving are taking up too much time. Disclaiming responsibility is also a daily routine: "Don't ask me, that's not part of my job". Your preliminary impressions include the following:|
The administration manager and the four division managers have met to discuss the establishment of a citizen's service office where the public can get advice and information on the spot. They know that the neighbouring municipality has practised this since 1992. In a citizen's service office, professional competence is better utilised and the time spent on casework is reduced. Which municipal services that are to be moved to a service office is not yet settled.
You know that your municipality, in spite of chaotic circumstances, does not waste resources. You also know that the present situation has to be improved before a public service office can be established, and you have to convince the management. They have invited you to a meeting where you will present your suggestions for improvement. In this meeting, you plan to discuss a method or a combination of methods you think will be useful to clear up the mess.
Background: One year has passed since Saudana municipality exposed its nursing home operations to competition. Home care services are still run by the municipality. The following are statements from a user survey carried out after a private enterprise took over the institutions.|
"Those in the home care service don't have time to sit down and talk when they visit, but I doubt whether it will be any better when in private hands." (Lene, 71)
I don't know what a private takeover will entail, but I am impressed with the municipal service." (Ivar, 79)
The user survey shows that the municipality, the operators, the employees and the users are satisfied with the way the nursing homes are run.
"I like it here, and the staff is wonderful. I can't say that private operations has reduced the quality of the services" (Anne-Lise, 80). "The staff takes really good care of my mum. They take her for trips to town and to the park. The most important thing is that the medical services are good." (Eirin, 45).
"We are user-oriented and respond to feedback both from residents and relatives. Assistant nurses are given full responsibility, from A to Z, four to three patients at a time. When the employees don't have leaders who tell them what to do all the time, they work more efficiently and with no reduction in quality. Representatives from the municipality make regular unannounced control visits to check that the new operators are running the nursing homes in accordance with the contract," says one manager.
Based on these experiences the municipality is now planning to expose more of its services to competition. In the eyes of the employees, the municipal politicians are gambling when they are building future plans on what is clearly insufficient grounds. There is considerable opposition among the employees, especially among those in the support services. The public sector should be able to run municipal services just as well as the private sector.
"We are sceptical towards private operators. Our workplace is secure under municipal wings. We need time to sit down and talk to our users. Maybe Mrs Olsen is more in need of personal care instead of having her house cleaned? Perhaps we need some sort of competition, internally or externally. Our monopoly has become institutional and we have only limited knowledge of new developments", says Sigrid, assistant nurse and union representative.
|Efficiency plans on the desk: Draw an organizational chart|
S. Eie has a degree in organisation and management, and has practised in the private sector. He is newly employed as a division manager of the central administration in Lavsletten municipality. S. Eie is efficient and eager to do a god job. He is eager to succeed as he takes on his new position.|
The situation offers a good many challenges that he looks forward to dealing with. He immediately notices a muddled role distribution when it comes to the tasks in the division, slack budget management/control and a lack of clear-cut administrative routines and objectives.
The employees complain about a lack of space, outdated computer equipment and little support when the computers don' work. Caretaker services are also problematic.
S.Eie has a number of efficiency plans on his desk. But his ideas on improved budget management and new budgetary routines, and overall improved efficiency are met with hostility and frustration. "His only concern is better management systems, and he has his own ideas about productivity. He spends too much time on this instead of his management tasks. He creates more bottlenecks instead of eliminating them", says a union leader. "Although we work here, we are also users of municipal services".
The conflict is growing, and the personnel manager has to be involved. S-Eie reacts by working even harder, also at night and on weekends. The personnel manager cannot handle the situation and calls for external assistance.
Assignment: Find central elements in the text and formulate a problem for discussion based on these elements.
Visit and consult useful sites on the Internet to find appropriate resources. Do not forget to cite the sosurce in a complete manner
1) You are called as external expertise. From your own angle of organisational understanding, discuss S.Eie's methods. Prioritise and illustrate with examples from the course literature. 2) Various techniques and methods of problem solution are applied in organisational analysis and processes of change. Mention some of them and choose one that you elaborate and discuss with a view to its applicability. Use examples.
|Competitive exposure: Draw an organizational chart|
The Data Plant is a municipally owned company with 24 employees. The company adapts various software packages and creates tailor-made computer concepts for the public sector.|
For the last two years, the company has been in financial straits . The manager, Arvid Almaas, was looking for cheaper housing, but the plan was shelved as the employees, and the programmers in particular, were strongly against it. Almaas worries about the long-term development of the situation.
You have been recommended as a consultant to The Data Plant and you have had one meeting with Almaas. You have noted the following points during the meeting:
1- A genuine interest in the customers
2- A lopsided distribution of roles, authority and responsibility between the programmers and the other employees
3- A concern for the relationship between efficiency and effectiveness
4- A concern for the culture of collaboration in the organisation. Almaas feels that a culture that may be detrimental to efficiency is developing.
The company has planned a boat trip to Denmark for all employees, for both business and pleasure. This trip was booked before you were called in.
Prior to the trip, a meeting is organised in the workplace between you and the employees. However, this meeting is changed to a 4 hour session and moved to the conference room of Colour Line on the day of departure. You will then have two 4-hour sessions with them upon the return from Denmark.
You outline your plan for the management, and the job is yours. You will deliver a proposal to a solution that will appeal to both management and employees on day 3.
Assignment: - Based on your organisational understanding, which questions should be addressed before the minicipality makes a decisiosn on exposure to competition?
- The municipality has asked you to investigate attitudes towards further exposure to competition. Which method will you choose for this investigation and why, and how will you apply it?
- Reflect on projects on exposure to competition that you have read or herad about, and find arguments for and against such exposure.
- Visit and consult useful sites on the Internet to find appropriate resources. Do not forget to cite the sosurce in a complete manner
|RISK-analysis etc.: Draw an organizational chart|
You are the chief administrative officer in a small Norwegian municipality with approx. 10 000 inhabitants. The municipality is organised along traditional lines with a local council, executive committee, and a main committee for each department, such as the Technical Division, Department of health and social services, etc. Each department is headed by a chief municipal officer. The departments are further divided into sections, with a head of section and group leaders.|
The financial situation in the municipality has deteriorated over the years, and the politicians are greatly concerned. As a consequence, they ask the chief administrative officer to present a proposition for a renewed political and administrative structure.
The executive committee asks specifically that the chief administrative officer outline a new political and administrative structure. The local council asks for an assessment of a model where departments and sections are replaced by activity areas. The council also wants suggestions for a visible reduction of the distance between the chief administrative officer and those who have daily contact with the public.
The executive committee believes a programme for renewal should be organised as a project and asks the chief executive officer to draw up a proposal for organisation and implementation of such a project. As chief administrative officer you know that this is a conservative municipality with a strong organisational culture and little propensity for change. Your assumption, therefore, is that the proposal will be strongly opposed.
Find central elements in the text and formulate a problem for discussion based on these elements.
Visit and consult useful sites on the Internet to find appropriate resources. Do not forget to cite the sosurce in a complete manner
1. describe your municipality and its distinctive features. The description should be approx. 1 page.
2. Formulate the proposal you will present to the local council. You may use overhead sketches in your presentation. The proposal should be 7-10 pages, excl. sketches, and should not exceed 40 minutes.
|A reorganisation that went wrong: Draw an organizational chart|
Mr Stokke, head of the Technical division, finds that the division is in need of a new organisational structure. His motto for this is "Innovation through team spirit".|
Employees complain about lack of communication and vague authority lines, and call for a review of the internal structure and the contact with other departments and divisions. A planning committee is set up, with Mr Stokke as leader, and both external and internal representatives as members.
During the planning stage, Mr Stokke is active and ensures a swift procedure. He has frequent discussions with the employees. In a short periode of time, the planning committee has drawn up a proposition, but a majority of the employees (outside the planning committee) does not agree with it. In their comment they propose an alternative work schedule and a new organisational structure.
The alternative proposition is based on the original, and states that it does indeed lay the groundwork for a better organisational structure. However, the following issues should be examined closer:
DIPE stands for Discovery, Invention, Production and Evaluation. These can again be translated into Discovering the problem, Finding solutions, Produce solutions and Evaluating the effect.|
1 How may the DIPE cycle be utilised?
2 What does evaluation imply? Who should evaluate, and when? Discuss.
3 Which questions must be addressed in relation to project work in an organisation?
4 What are the typical characteristics of a project?
5 In which situations may project organisation be especially favourable?
6 Which problems can arise from project organisation?
7 Explain the tasks of the different groups in project organisation (steering group, project leader, reference group, project group)
3) Discuss (for and against...) the statement below:
"The essence of all work for change is organisational understanding!"
Change is a process, not an isolated occurrence. To work for change is to think big and start small and with a clear objective; methodically, creatively, with clear-cut questions and an evolutionary plan.
Change comes through continuous measures. It can also be planned through semi-large and large projects. A successful transition from the current situation to the desired situation is based on a mixed strategy of "evolution" and revolution", which is implemented from top-down and from down-up.
The main objective behind all work for change must be to ensure productivity, good working conditions and to develop human and material resources (S-PAR).
Anyone involved in work for change must possess a good knowledge of problem solving methods, project organisation and organisational understanding (OPP). The quality of the work is documented through regular evaluation of results, and the final evaluation (RE). Work for change should, if necessary, be viewed in relation to other additional/supplementary tasks and problems (TT). (Al-Araki 2001).
2) Read "The first strike in space" and come with your comments
[Source: Elden, Max et al. Mennesker i arbeid. En innføring i organisasjon og ledelse. Universitetsforlaget 1986, p. 15]
The first strike in space broke out on Friday 27 December 1973, when astronauts on board the last Skylab ferry refused to carry out the assigned tasks. Their workplace was one of the costliest and most complicated in the world (or rather, outside it!). This voyage was the last one planned for the Skylab. Important scientific investigations were to be carried out. The objective, which the astronauts surely agreed on, was to get the most out of their time in space. But how?
Billions and years were spent preparing the project, where a number of people were assembled to carry out given tasks. How were these tasks to be coordinated, organised and managed?
NASA's response was based on extensive hierarchical and minute control. Decisions were made without consulting the crew, as if they were robots on remote control. This was according to the general view of organisation and management in NASA, and it had worked without problems - until now.
Every assignment and task was planned in detail and managed from Houston. NASA tried to press as many tasks as possible into the time available in space, and the time given to each assignment was reduced. Even the breaks became shorter. Time to prepare for experiments were shortened, and the most popular pastime - to gaze at the sun and the earth - was prohibited. NASA sent daily instructions on who was to do what, minute by minute. Which equipment should be applied for what task, when and how, were specified in painstaking detail. Endless yards of instructions were printed on the Skylab computer every day. Finally, the astronauts called a halt.
NASA could not predict everything, and that was a problem: the former crew had stored equipment in a way that delayed the start of the research programme. Another surprise was unpredictable dependencies between independent tasks.
Mutual dependencies cannot be predicted. An astronaut's individual work plan from NASA could specify leisure time and exercise (which causes vibrations), while another astronaut's assignment was exact scientific measuring. NASA's one-sided/unilateral remote control, with no room for local management, spelled trouble.
Another organisational model was possible. NASA could have chosen differently. The astronauts possessed a combination of technical professional competence and situational understanding, a solid base for purposeful adjustments. They had what was needed to be autonomous, but were not given the chance. This is a classical problem in the organisation and management of human resources.
What could NASA have done differently? Which knowledge, theories and concepts exist that could have been of help in the design of workplaces and forms of management? This book was written as an introduction to scientific disciplines (such as psychology, sociology, organisational theory, administration, ergonomics and labour research) which may provide answers to such questions.
The main purpose of this book is to provide insight into concepts, theories and knowledge of organisation and management, and to be of use for future professionals. We are concentrating on social science topics, but our objective is not an abstract introduction, but rather to teach and inspire student in a professional course to be creative on the topic of management and organisation of human resources.