Model for Organizational Effectiveness

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Introduction and Background

The main issue faced by the top-level administrators of organizations in the criminal justice system is to establish a uniform organizational culture and adjust operations in order for them to be in line with the goals and mission of the organization. Bringing a greater consistency between the values of the organization and the way criminal justice personnel performs their duties is essential in order to improve organizational effectiveness. However, this goal is difficult to achieve due to the fact that criminal justice practitioners may have their own opinion on how their professional duties should be done. Informal socialization processes and existing organizational culture have a great effect on the ideas expressed by criminal justice personnel, and as such, pose major challenges for the executives of criminal justice organizations responsible for the unity of the organization. This paper seeks to address the issue of informal organizational culture being contrary to the official agenda of the organization. The analysis is based on the case of a State Juvenile Bureau, where there is a conflict between the mission of the organization and the views of the board of directors. The case is analyzed from the position of the director of the organization, who is responsible for improving organizational effectiveness.

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Overview/Narrative

The recently appointed director of a State Juvenile Bureau is responsible for overseeing the implementation of ethical and just policies regarding the treatment of juvenile delinquents in juvenile facilities across the state. The Bureau collaborates with state schools and juvenile facilities in order to provide advice regarding the treatment of juvenile offenders. The juvenile justice agenda of the organization requires the administrators to apply the humane and gentle treatment of delinquents. However, the existing organizational culture contradicts the official agenda of the organization. The board of directors, which consists of highly conservative, politically-appointed individuals, believes in the necessity of tough treatment of the juveniles. Due to the high informal power of the board of directors, their conservative views pose a major challenge for the director of the Bureau.

Organizational Culture of the Bureau

Organizational culture is a broad term that describes “a set of assumptions, values, and beliefs shared by members of an organization” (Stojkovic, Kalinich, & Klofas, 2013, p. 250). The opinions expressed by the staff members of the organization, in addition to the values promoted by the organization itself, form the basis of the organizational culture and are also a by-product of it.

The culture of the State Juvenile Bureau was developed before the appointment of the new director and is largely influenced by the opinion of the board of directors. While the official position of the organization is to apply an ethical and just approach regarding the treatment of juvenile delinquents, the opinion of the members of the board of directors dictates choosing harsh treatments and is contrary to the mission of the Bureau. As such, due to the political power the board of directors holds, it can be argued that the informal structure of the Bureau has a significant influence on the organizational culture. The prevalent culture of the organization is not that of the director, but that of the highly conservative board of directors.

The culture of the board of directors was likely to gain a dominant position due to the socialization process. This process implies that individual behavior changes under the influence of external factors, such as organizational, interpersonal, and individual factors (Stojkovic, Kalinich, & Klofas, 2013, p. 262). The informal power attributed to the board of directors is a major cause of concern for the director and should be addressed in order to adjust the culture of the organization to better correspond to its mission.

Model to Increase Organizational Effectiveness

In order to increase organizational effectiveness, it is necessary to move the center of power away from the board of directors. The human service model might be implemented since this model stresses “employee ownership, the delegation of authority, and the sharing of power within organizations” (Stojkovic, Kalinich, & Klofas, 2013, p. 229). Research shows that applying the human service model has a positive effect on organizational performance (Kehoe & Wright, 2010, p. 366). In accordance with this model, the decentralization of power will occur, making the board of directors’ formal influence obsolete. More decision-making power will be allocated to front-line supervisors, ready to act in accordance with the mission of the organization. Fewer and more clearly defined rules will contribute to the establishment of new organizational culture, which will focus on just the treatment of juvenile delinquents.

An organization-wide education program might be implemented to raise awareness about the negative effects of unethical treatments in order to improve the consistency between the mission of the organization and organizational culture. It should be emphasized that effective treatment of juvenile offenders is rehabilitative in nature and that rough treatment, proposed by the board of directors, actually exacerbates antisocial behavior (Henggeler & Schoenwald, 2011, p. 1). Evidence-based strategies should be implemented and promoted with a focus on ethical treatments (Shwalbe & Maschi, 2010, p. 398). A social media campaign can be used to facilitate decision-making to the bureau’s advantage. The focus of the campaign can be the results of unethical treatment of juvenile offenders and the fact that these views are supported by the board of directors. If the public becomes involved, such a campaign can help further minimize whatever political influence the members of the board of directors might have. External pressure from the public and the government might even prompt the members of the board of directors to resign.

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Improving Decision-Making Processes

The decision-making process is affected by a variety of factors, some of which may limit the individual’s ability to make accurate judgments (Dietrich 2010). Guidelines can be established to streamline the decision-making process and reduce the effort the decision-makers have to apply to make a decision (Dietrich 2010).

In order to improve decision-making processes in the Bureau, it is important to create comprehensive decision-making policies, which will act as a general guide for the decision-makers and help them make more accurate decisions in alignment with the goals and mission of the bureau. The policy should be built upon the following concepts, outlined in the criminal justice literature (Stojkovic, Kalinich, & Klofas, 2013, p. 373).:

Equity. In the context of criminal justice, the concept of equity implies treating the same offenders in the same way. Equity should be emphasized when making decisions regarding juvenile offenders. As such, two offenders who committed the same offenses should be treated equally.

Accuracy. The theme of accuracy implies holding responsible every juvenile offender who committed a crime while minimizing the number of non-offenders regarded as offenders. This concept also means evaluating the risk of public safety and recognizing the severity of the offenses committed (Perrault, Paiva-Salisbury, & Vincent, 2012, p. 487).

Consistency with resources. This concept requires decision-makers to take into account the available resources when making a certain decision. Such resources may be human resources, financial resources, jail space, etc. Continuous assessment of available resources is required for this concept to be applied.

Consistency with theory. This concept suggests applying the current theoretical base of the criminal justice system to improve decision-making. A variety of theories on the subject of criminal justice have been created over the years and examined in practical contexts by scholars. Decision-makers have to consult with theory and use it alongside other concepts to improve decision-making.

Decisions should contribute to future decisions. This concept implies that decision-makers should recognize the fact that their decisions are likely to affect other, similar cases in the future. This theme will require decision-makers to critically analyze the outcome of their decisions and choose one which will be most beneficial for the Bureau and its goals.

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Conclusion

In order to accomplish the goals of the bureau, it is necessary to consider reorganization to increase organizational effectiveness. A human resource model will allow the director to move the center of power from the board of directors to the people. The informal influence of the board of directors can be further minimized through social media campaigns aimed at educating the public, and the employees, about the ineffectiveness of tough treatment. A new bureau should have policies established to improve the decision-making process through the concepts of equity, accuracy, consistency with theory, consistency with resources, and making decisions that contribute to future decisions.

References

Dietrich, C. (2010). Decision Making: Factors that Influence Decision Making, Heuristics Used, and Decision Outcomes. Inquiries Journal, 2(2), 1-3. Web.

Henggeler, S., & Schoenwald, S. (2011). Evidence-Based Interventions for Juvenile Offenders and Juvenile Justice Policies that Support Them. Social Policy Report. Volume 25, Number 1. Web.

Kehoe, R., & Wright, P. (2010). The Impact of High-Performance Human Resource Practices on Employees’ Attitudes and Behaviors. Journal of Management, 39(2), 366-391. Web.

Perrault, R.,Paiva-Salisbury, M., & Vincent, G. (2012). Probation Officers’ Perceptions of Youths’ Risk of Reoffending and Use of Risk Assessment in Case Management. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 30(4), 487–505. Web.

Schwalbe, C., & Maschi, T. (2010). Patterns of Contact and Cooperation Between Juvenile Probation Officers and Parents of Youthful Offenders. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 49(6), 398-416. Web.

Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D., & Klofas, J. (2014). Criminal Justice Organizations: Administration and Management. Boston: Cengage Learning.

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