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The German University in Cairo MBA section

City of Carlsbad, California RestructuringthePublicWorksDepartment


Case Study Answers to Questions

Students: Marwa Mourad Mohamed Kotb Mohamed Ossama Lecturer: Dr. Ahmed Amin Course: Organizational Development and Change, Winter 2013

Question1: WhatisyourdiagnosisofthesituationinthePublicWorksDepartment? ThecityofCarlsbadisanOceanfrontcityof75,000thathadanEmergingfromworstrecessioninhistoryofcity Accordinglytransitioningtomorebusinesslikeorganizationalstructurewasmorepreferable. ThestructurechosenwasaFunctionalOrganizationone,ThePublicWorksdepartmentformedbyconsolidating sixpreviouslyindependentdepartmentsintothebelowStructure: Thestructuresupportedtheemployeessatisfactionwiththeirjobsasthefocusgroupsandtheinterviews conductedbytheODhaveshownhowevertherewasanobviousduplicationofactivitiesandresourcesbetween somedepartmentsunderthePublicwokdirector,inadditiontheinterventionwasntexplainedtothe employeeswhichhascreatedsomekindoffearamongtheemployees. ThePublicWorksDirectoralsoactingastheCityEngineercouldcauseproblems:possiblepreferentialtreatment andconflictsofinterest. Individualteamsaretoocohesive.Thiscreatedalackofteamwork,trust,andoverallcohesiveness. Therewerenoclearlydefinedroles,responsibilities,orgoals. ThePublicWorksDepartmentseemedtolackastrategiccomponent,morespecificallyalackoffunctional policies,goals,andobjectives. Overall,stakeholdersviewedthechangesaspositiveforcustomersandemployeesbecauseitwouldallowthe anticipatedgrowthtooccurinacosteffectivemanner.

Question2: Howwouldyouproceedfromthispoint? Engageemployeesthroughparticipationandempowerment,sinceemployeesweresuspiciousofthereasonsfor thechange,engagetheminconversationtoexplainthereasonsforchange;askforopinionsandfeedback. Facilitateteachingemployeeswhattheprocessesareforotherdepartmentssothatcohesivenesscanspan acrossdepartmentsratherthanremainingisolatedwithindepartments.Discoverwaystoenhanceemployees appreciationfortheworkofotherdepartmentsand/orhowthedepartmentsaffecttheworkoftheothers throughsystemmodels. Inaddition,oneshouldusecollectionmethodssuchasobservationofemployeesatwork,surveysand questionnaires.BecausethePublicWorksdepartmentservicestheresidentsofCarlsbad,Iwouldalsoinclude theminrandomquestionnairestofindouthowtheirserviceisworkingandhowitcanbeimproved. AllowtheopportunityforaMatrixStructurewhichcanencouragetheeliminationofredundancybetween differentdepartmentsandmakemoreuseofmutualresourcesandcityassists. Question3: WhatinterventionswouldyourecommendandWhy? Sinceindividualteamsareinternallytoocohesive,butlackteamworkcapabilitiesandflowinglydonttrusteach otherandtheirtopmanagement,oneshouldseekinterventionsthatemphasizetheimportanceofteamwork andhelptobuildtrustandcommitmentoftheemployeesnotonlytotheirdivisionsbuttotheCarlsband departmentofPublicWorksasawhole.Belowareafewinterventionsthatmaysolvethisproblem. Processconsultation&Teambuilding.Thisinterventionfocusesoninterpersonalrelationsandsocialdynamics occurringinworkgroups.InthisinterventiontheODpractitionershouldhelpgroupmemberstodiagnosetheir groupfunctioningandfindappropriatesolutionsfortheirproblemsofdysfunctionalconflictandmistrust.His goalatthisphaseshouldbetoallowthemtodiagnosetheirownproblemstobetterdealwiththeirconflictsin thefuture,andcooperatebetterwitheachotherasateam. SincetheMSAisnewlyformedtheODpractitionershouldimprovetheteamcohesivenessbyteambuilding activities,throughwhichthenewlymergedteamswouldgettoknoweachotherandcooperatemoreeffectively toaccomplishingtheirtasks.Thisshouldinvolveexaminationofthegroup'stask,memberroles,andstrategies forperformingtasks. Thirdpartyintervention.TosolvetheinterpersonalrelationsproblemsinPublicWorkDepartmentwhichmay occurafterthemergerthisinterventionwouldbeessential.Interpersonalconflictmayoccurduetosubstantive issues,suchasdisputesoverworkmethods,orfrominterpersonalissues,suchasmiscommunicationwhichlead totheindividualdepartmentsnotunderstandingthereasonbehindthemergeandsuspectingthatitsnotto theirbenefit. GoalSettinginaLargegroupinterventions.IthasbeencommunicatedinthearticlethatthePublicWorks Departmentwaslackingclearstrategiccomponent,morespecificallyalackoffunctionalpolicies,goals,and objectives.

Hence,itsessentialtosetclearandchallenginggoalstoimproveorganizationeffectivenessbyestablishinga betterfitbetweenpersonalandorganizationalobjectives.Thereshouldbelargegroupinterventionsto communicatethegoalsandfollowupontheMSAachievementsasawhole. Integratedstrategicchange.Mostimportantlyalltheabovementionedinterventionsshouldfitwithinan organizationoverallstrategytoimprovethequalityofserviceofferedbyMSA,andworkforthebenefitofits communityandemployees.ItsessentialforMSAasawholetosetaclearmissionbehinditsactivitiesaimingto helpthecommunity,thusincreasingemployeejobsatisfaction,bymotivatingthemtoworkforapurposeanda goodcause. Technostructuralintervention.ItsessentialforCarlsbadPublicWorkDepartmenttodivideworkinto departmentsandcoordinateamongthosedepartmentstosupportitsstrategicdirections.Theyalsomustmake decisionsabouthowtodelivertheirservicesandhowtolinktheappropriatepersontotheappropriatetask. Question4: Foryourpreferredintervention,developanactionplanforimplementation. IthasbeennoticedthatthemajorproblemsthattheCarlsbadPublicWorksDepartmentwassufferingfrom wererelatedtoitsorganizationalstructure.Severaldepartmentswereoperatingwitharedundancyofjobs withsimilarequipment,i.e.building,park,andstreetmaintenance.Inaddition,ithasalsobeennoticedthat somepositionsliketheDirectorofthedepartmentweremisplaced,whichledtohimdoublingasacityengineer. However,onehastowonderwhichtechnostructuralinterventionshouldbeimplemented.Itsapparentfrom thecurrentstructureofCarlsbadPublicWorksDepartmentisthatitsDivisional,wheredepartmentsaredivided accordingtothetypeofservicetheyofferandnotaccordingtotheirfunctions.Thisstructureensures departmentalaccountabilityandpromotescohesionamongthosecontributingtotheserviceoffered,which showsinthestrongcohesivenessamongstthewaterdistrictemployees.However,thestructuresmaypromote allegiancetodepartmentratherthanorganizationobjectives,otherproblemisthatinthisstructurethe organizationneedstoberelativelylargetosupporttheduplicationofresourcesassignedtotheunits,whichis apparentlynotthecaseinCarlsbadPublicWorksDepartmentleadingtoredundancyinfunctionsandassets. Hence,itwouldbenefittheCarlsbadPublicWorksDepartmenttomixbetweentheDivisionalandMatrix Structure.SomeofthefactsapparentinthearticlewouldpromotetheMatrixStructure,like: 1. Thereisrealoutsidepressuresforadualfocusduetothedepartmenthavingmanycustomers,ifwe maycallthemso,withuniquedemandsdemonstratedinthevarietyofservicesthatthedepartment offers,fromParkstoWaterandFirefighting,eachrequiringspecialsetofskillsandexperiences. 2. Amatrixorganizationisappropriatewhentheorganizationmustprocessalargeamountofinformation, especiallywhenexternalenvironmentaldemandschangeunpredictably;whiletheorganization producesabroadrangeofproductsorservices.WhichisthecasewithCarlsbadPublicWorks Department,duetothewiderangeofservicesitoffersandtheeverchangingworkloadasthecity grows. 3. Thereispressureforsharedresources,thatissincethecommunitydemandsvarygreatlyand technologicalrequirementsarestrict,valuablehumanandphysicalresourcesarescarce.Hence,the matrixstructurewouldworkwellinthiscasetofacilitatesharingoftheDepartmentsscarceresources.

Thismergebetweenthedivisionalandmatrixstructureshouldaimtomaximizethestrengthsandminimizethe weaknessesofthecurrentstructures.Thematrixstructurecanalsobeexitingandmotivating,duetothe enlargementasaresultofit.Matrixstructurescanalsomaintainconsistencyamongdepartmentsandprojects byrequiringcommunicationamongmanagers. TheActionPlan Basedontheabovetherestructuringproblemshouldtakethepriorityofthedepartmenthencethe technostructuralinterventionisessentialandhastobetackledimmediately.However,beforeits implementationDepartmenthastocommunicateitsbenefitstotheemployees;hence,GoalSettinginaLarge groupinterventionmaytakeplacefirsttoavoidtheresistancetochange.Inaddition,thenewstructurehasto complimentMSAoverallstrategy,hence,itdoesntmakesensetotackletheorganizationstructureproblem beforeformingaclearstrategyforMSAasawholeandCarlsbadPublicWorksDepartmentinparticular. Oneshouldinvolveemployeesbeforetheinterventionaskthemabouttheirconcernstoletthemtake ownershipofthechangeandfeelresponsibleforit.Thecompanyshouldalsoseekmotivationalmethodsto encouragetheemployeestoacceptthechange.Next,thereshouldbejobanalysisforeachredundantjoband assessmentofassetsthatcouldbesharedbetweenthedepartments.Afterwhichthedepartmentcould effectivelyreengineeritsstructure.