Culture of Bureacracy: Managing Change in the Federal Government-Part II: What Opportunities for Change Exist, and What HR Tools and Strategies Are Most Effective in Supporting Such Efforts?

By Winchell, T. E., Sr. | The Public Manager, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Culture of Bureacracy: Managing Change in the Federal Government-Part II: What Opportunities for Change Exist, and What HR Tools and Strategies Are Most Effective in Supporting Such Efforts?


Winchell, T. E., Sr., The Public Manager


Part I of this series contrasted differences in private and public sector management and established some baseline assumptions regarding internal federal administrative operations.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Part II provides the sequence for assessing opportunities and barriers that affect change in your organization. It is divided into four sections:

* evaluating current delivery capabilities

* identifying how your programs align with agency priorities

* determining how to best use your human resources tools to support program development,

* getting employee buy-in.

Part III, which will appear in a future issue, will give readers the opportunity to provide comments and ideas online for improving the management of federal organizations.

Evaluate Your Current Delivery Capabilities

Evaluating your internal organization's ability to absorb change is the critical first step in any change process. A sure formula for failure is to superimpose new requirements on an organization that is currently hanging on by its fingernails. The immediate result is the almost inevitable loss of your best and brightest as they move on to less stressful environments.

The internal administrative assessment process can be surprisingly simple: make sure your policy guidelines are up-to-date and your processes are efficient, take advantage of available technology, and ensure your team possesses the competencies necessary to meet customer requirements and expectations.

Staff cannot overcome outdated and contradictory policy guidelines, antiquated processes and technology, or the lack of training funds. Only top management as the "process owner" can address infrastructure problems. The steps of program assessment in administrative organizations are straight forward.

Review your local policy instructions and other published guidelines that affect your program area of responsibility.

The lag time for policy changes mandated by Congress or the Executive Branch to be implemented through an agency hierarchy virtually guarantees that at least some local policy guidelines are out-of-date.

At worst, agency regulations have become so out-dated that supplemental local written (typically in the form of emails) or oral interpretive guidance has regularly been issued that is not well known to new staff who initially make "mistakes" by referencing outdated published policy. These "mistakes" condition a behavior of avoiding risk by coordinating even routine decisions with experienced staff or the supervisor, which slows processes and frustrates customers.

This is more of a problem than may be imagined, particularly during times of high staff turnover. I remember the frustration of one of my superiors when she found that a high percentage of staff (including the newly arrived me who was managing that staff) were not following very clear published procedural guidelines. That these guidelines had come in the form of an email four years earlier that one of my team leaders finally tracked down solidified my point that we needed an online procedures manual accessible to all staff, including the 70 percent who had arrived in the previous two years.

Assess the status of your information technology and its interface with manual operating procedures.

The major source of change affecting federal mid-level managers often involves the agency-wide implementation of new or upgraded technology. Over the last few years, agencies have become increasingly sensitive to the need to ensure that information can be shared. Economies of scale through mainframe systems or standardization of software permit easier and more comprehensive data analysis at higher levels.

While mid-level managers have no choice in participating in agency-wide systems upgrades, they can still positively affect process design. All too often, as processes are automated or new technology is brought online, old manual procedures and individual data gathering tools for capturing data (for example, multiple Excel spreadsheets in various formats) remain in place. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Culture of Bureacracy: Managing Change in the Federal Government-Part II: What Opportunities for Change Exist, and What HR Tools and Strategies Are Most Effective in Supporting Such Efforts?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.