Measuring Organizational Confidence: A New Way to Tackle Organizational Change in Corrections

By Bohn, James G.; Douthitt, Robert et al. | Corrections Today, June 2006 | Go to article overview
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Measuring Organizational Confidence: A New Way to Tackle Organizational Change in Corrections


Bohn, James G., Douthitt, Robert, Eggers, John T., Corrections Today


Organizations continually seek new ways to evaluate performance. Leadership evaluations, performance-management assessments, 360-degree feedback, employee surveys and employee focus groups are some of the performance measurement tools used today. Yet, in spite of the various tools available, a key factor, organizational efficacy, is missing in this process.

Most of these tools focus on the individual. As such, they are limited in scope with regard to their effectiveness. For example, leadership evaluations tend to focus on a few individuals and their impact on the organization. Missing is the organization's view of its own capabilities, a view of organizational efficacy, and employee perspectives on the effectiveness of the organization as a whole as opposed to its individual components.

J.G. Bohn (1) defined organizational efficacy as a generative capacity within an organization to cope effectively with the demands, challenges, stressors and opportunities that it encounters within the business environment. Otherwise referred to as the "three factor solution," organizational efficacy exists as an aggregated judgment of the organization's individual members about their sense of collective capacities, their sense of mission or purpose/future, and their sense of resilience. In an organization, the three factor solution encompasses the following:

* A sense of collective capacity: Can we work together to accomplish the goal?

* A sense of mission or purpose/future: Do we know where we are going?

* A sense of resilience: Are we capable to stay the course or are we unable to adapt to our situation?

Corrections Organizational Efficacy Questionnaire (COEQ)

Stanford professor Albert Bandura, Ph.D., (2) developed the concept of self-efficacy as one's assessment of one's capability to bring about outcomes and to manage stressors. In simplest terms, self-efficacy is a sense of "can do."

Our research has taken the concept of self-efficacy to an organizational level to develop a new tool, the Corrections Organizational Efficacy Questionnaire (COEQ), to help correctional administrators, human resource teams and performance managers evaluate organizational performance. Using the research conducted by Bohn, (3) the authors of this article and a small number of personnel at the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Academy, modified Bohn's existing questionnaire, which focused on manufacturing organizations, to one that corresponded with the specific challenges in today's correctional environment.

The COEQ uses the three-factor solution to allow researchers and practitioners to focus on specific areas for organizational improvement. Modifying Bohn's organizational efficacy questionnaire included adapting his original scale items so that the questionnaire, overall, would address the issues facing corrections.

The Study

The intent of the research was to compare the newly developed COEQ scales with Bohn's original Organizational Efficacy Scale (OES) in an attempt to validate the new scales. Knowing that the original scales were reliable and valid, the authors were able to analyze the collected corrections organizational efficacy data from the respondents in the study. The scales revealed both validity and reliability and were analyzed accordingly.

The COEQ was tested with eight correctional agencies that participated in the NIC Management Development for the Future (MDF) program. The study comprised mid-level managers from seven state departments of correction and one large jail system. Participants were not new to supervision and had been employed at their institutions for some time. Thus, their experiences allowed them to make effective and accurate judgments of the efficacy of their correctional agency.

At the time of the study, the participating agencies faced similar organizational changes and challenges. Changes in top leadership, budget cuts and program shifts highlighted the one constant as change itself.

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