Making Good Management Decisions
The topic of substance use prevention and, in particular, minimizing the impacts of second-hand smoke on children, is an urgent social problem raised in the framework of the proposed intervention model. The program for implementing the necessary steps includes a number of objectives to be achieved. As one of the significant tasks, the adoption of adequate and effective decisions is considered. To analyze the planned intervention, programmed decisions and non-programmed decisions will be reviewed, as well as problem-solving and opportunistic approaches to work. These characteristics of the decisions made allow describing the program from the standpoint of the credibility of the steps taken, which are essential for the successful implementation of all of its provisions.
As a programmed decision, one can allocate a time frame for the presented project to minimize second-hand smoke exposure. According to Longest (2015), clear time periods characterize the programmatic nature of intervention projects and allow structured solutions. The SMART goal strategy applied in the model involves taking the necessary measures to reduce second-hand smoke exposure from December 1, 2020, to December 1, 2021.
As another programmed decision, the description of staffing procedures for the intervention can be given. The intervention project implies involving program managers, smoke-free educators, marketers, a social media manager, as well as volunteers. The program in question also includes some non-programmed decisions, in particular, conducting three policy briefings and conducting workshops to raise funds. The discussion of the policy in question at three briefings is not included in the range of mandatory procedures, but this decision is intended to strengthen the participants’ knowledge and expand the range of their competencies. Raising funds is also not a prerequisite for work, but this measure is a valuable solution to strengthen the project’s financial base. Along with programmed and non-programmed decisions, problem-solving and opportunistic decisions will be reviewed.
Problem-solving decisions are those steps that help overcome potential obstacles through adequate and effective strategic measures. As Longest (2015) remarks, they help “solve existing or anticipated problems” (p. 162). In the planned model, one of the problem-solving decisions is engaging in policy advocacy. In case difficulties in promoting the provisions of the program are observed, this measure will increase the chances of implementing the terms of the project effectively to reduce second-hand smoke exposure. Another problem-solving decision is promoting addiction clinics and group therapy meetings among the largest possible target audience.
Attracting the attention of parents who smoke will be an effective measure to reduce the negative impacts of smoking on children and infants. Opportunistic decisions involve alternative and non-standard steps to achieve the set goals, and in the considered intervention, one of such steps is distributing brochures and flyers around the community to expand the range of coverage. As another opportunistic decision, one can mention recruiting volunteers as a measure to enhance the intervention outcomes and popularize its results. All these decisions are crucial steps taken to promote the model specifics successfully.
Managing Quality – Totally
The quality of change projects aimed to improve specific social, economic, and other aspects is determined by different criteria. Longest (2015) offers to pay attention to individual factors that contribute to realizing the assigned objectives and implementing the required tasks as efficiently as possible. Within the framework of teamwork, as such factors, one can pay attention to the key determinants of team effectiveness and key ethics principles that allow managing intervention projects productively and objectively. These nuances will be considered in relation to the intervention model in question, and their application will be reviewed based on the details of the project and its unique features and provisions.
The effectiveness of teamwork depends not only on how competently each participant performs the assigned tasks but also on how the interaction process is organized. As the key determinants of team effectiveness, Longest (2015) highlights team structure and team operation. In terms of structure, the team of the program in question includes a variety of professionals who use all available resources and can show individual abilities based on personal qualifications. For instance, the marketers are involved in the dissemination of information about the program of second-hand smoke exposure reduction, while educators provide the necessary evidence base.
Streamlined reporting and role clarity are also valuable determinants of team effectiveness. Concerning team operation, the participants are aware of the need to adhere to appropriate behavioral norms. As supportive tools, each program member has access to the necessary media resources. Communication within and outside the team is also conducted remotely, and due to modern messengers, social distance can be maintained. At the same time, in addition to the key determinants of team effectiveness, one should take into account the key ethics principles that help manage the quality of the intervention.
Interaction in team projects implies following specific rules of communication to ensure the freedom of self-expression and give the right to each participant to contribute to the work process. Longest (2015) cites the “four key ethics principles: respect for persons, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence” (p. 240). In the considered model, each of these provisions is taken into account. All team members treat each other with respect and realize that they are doing one common cause for the benefit of many other people. Accordingly, respect for the target audience, in particular children and infants, is an integral aspect of the intervention program.
Justice, as one of the key ethics principles, can be explained in terms of the basic theses of the model. Second-hand smoke has proven negative health effects, and caring for children is a significant social decision. Based on this, the principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence are logical prerequisites for teamwork. Children and infants deserve to grow up in a healthy environment, and the use of tobacco smoke through adults’ fault is unacceptable. These provisions form the key ethics principles and help work productively.
Commercial and Social Marketing
Since the intervention program that involves reducing the negative effects of second-hand smoke primarily affects the most vulnerable population, in particular, children and infants, mistakes are unacceptable. Moreover, to increase the chances of a favorable outcome and ensure the achievement of the intended results, disseminating the information about this program is a significant step. For this purpose, a number of marketers are engaged, who are involved in popularizing the idea of this project and interacting with stakeholders in the media space.
The choice of a marketing approach is a crucial condition that largely influences the outcomes of the joint activities of all the participants. Longest (2015) proposes to consider two types of marketing: commercial and social. Given the purpose of this program, one can argue that social marketing is the main and only principle of attracting interest in the activities to reduce the impacts of second-hand smoke on children.
Social marketing does not set itself the goal of obtaining financial benefits or material bonuses. According to Longest (2015), this type of promotion “involves the use of marketing knowledge, concepts, and techniques to enhance social ends” (p. 270). In other words, social goods are the key object of work in this direction. This form of promotion is relevant to the health sector, and Longest (2015) provides a pertinent example of the impact on people to reduce tobacco consumption among the population. In the context of the program under consideration, social marketing is the only form of interaction with interested parties due to the fact that the participants do not receive any material benefits. The main emphasis is on a socially significant goal, in particular, the protection of children’s and infants’ health in conditions of high risks that second-hand smoke carries. Therefore, this type is acceptable and cannot be replaced by commercial marketing that has totally different aims and objectives.
For comparison, commercial marketing prioritizes financial gains as the primary benefits. Interaction with the target audience is carried out to draw attention to specific goods or services that are a source of potential profit. However, in this program, commercial marketing has no place in view of the objectives to achieve the primary intangible goal. To ensure the success of social marketing initiatives, the members of the intervention publish brochures and distribute flyers. In addition, specific materials will be posted on social media to influence the public and policymakers and pay people’s attention to the issue of second-hand smoke.
Moreover, as a means to ensure the success of social marketing initiatives, volunteers are recruited who are not part of the core team of the program participants. Citizens are involved in disseminating relevant information about the intervention in their communities, which increases the chances of achieving positive outcomes. Commercial marketing does not allow such steps since any goods or services need to pay off; otherwise, sellers will be forced to work at a loss. Therefore, for the intervention in question, social marketing is the only possible one.
Mid-term and final assessments are essential aspects of most interventions that suggest positive changes as the main outcome and indicator of success. For the project to minimize the exposure to second-hand smoke, two types of evaluation can be conducted: a process evaluation and an outcome evaluation. As their names imply, each of these activities takes place at different stages and involves intermediate and final analyses, respectively.
Longest (2015) highlights that these steps are crucial as the measures that can provide objective and relevant information about the quality of the work done and allow making the necessary changes if necessary. The process evaluation for the program will be based on the assessment of the performance at specific time periods; after three, six, and nine months of the project, the current outcomes will be summarized.
Since the logic model in question sets measurable goals, the process evaluation will be based on intermediate information on how the intervention is proceeding. Data on the share of sales of tobacco products will be compared for a specific period of time. In addition, the number of interested parties involved will be taken into account as a factor that reflects stakeholders’ readiness to achieve positive results of the intervention.
The process evaluation will also include how actively partners are engaged in the necessary marketing steps to disseminate crucial information about the specifics of the program. Particular attention will be paid to families in which parents who abuse tobacco have been identified, and interaction with them will be maintained to check the success achieved. These measures will allow controlling the course of the program and obtaining all the data about its pace. At the same time, in addition to such assessments, an outcome evaluation should be performed after the project is completed.
An outcome evaluation, as another assessment part, is an equally important stage that will be carried out after the completion of the intervention in December 2021. This stage of work will include the analysis of the short-term goals set before the intervention. In particular, the assessment will be performed to find out whether the participants of the project have managed to increase the target audience’s knowledge about the dangers of second-hand smoke. In addition, the data will be obtained about whether the sales of these products in the locations in question have reduced. The total number of participants involved will be counted, including volunteers, interested policymakers, and organizations.
By compiling a statistical correlation, the outcome evaluation will allow comparing the data on the proposed issues before the start of the intervention and after its completion. In case of a decrease in sales of tobacco and positive feedback from the target audience, the project will prove its effectiveness. The results will be disseminated in different communities, including health centers and governmental boards.
Longest, B. B. (2015). Health program management: From development through evaluation (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.