Academic journal article College Student Affairs Journal

The Luke Principle: Counting the Costs of Organizational Change for One-Stop Service Models in Student Affairs

Academic journal article College Student Affairs Journal

The Luke Principle: Counting the Costs of Organizational Change for One-Stop Service Models in Student Affairs

Article excerpt

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet agreat way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. Luke 14:28-32 (Thompson, 1988)

The Luke Principle states that the successful implementation of any organizational change requires a counting of the costs (Ousley, 2003). As developers do not construct a building, nor do governments go to war, without counting costs, administrators in higher education should not reorganize units or merge departments without counting costs. This manuscript addresses the costs of implementing a one-stop service model. In the implementation of a one-stop service center, the costs include (a) the remodeling of facilities; (b) the acquisition and training associated with technology; (c) the opportunity costs of choosing the one-stop model over an alternative model; (d) the hiring, training and compensation of staff; and (e) the emotional costs for staff as they make a paradigm shift, learning new tasks and adapting to an environment with new boundaries and relationships. The human element must be considered in implementing change. Staff members need time to grieve the loss of the old work environment and time to adjust to the new work environment. Countless cultural issues arise as a result of a change, and it is difficult to plan for the nuances of personality and culture that can dramatically affect the work environment and productivity. In making a decision to implement change, it is essential to count these costs and be prepared for dealing with the consequences of these changes.

Management fads leading to organizational change often originate in nonacademic sectors and are absorbed into higher education through the use of powerful narratives (Birnbaum, 2000). These trends follow a cycle in which many institutions virtually or symbolically adopt the fad to show acceptance that the new method is being followed, but eventually, the fad is abandoned. In a few cases, the new methods are adopted effectively, and these success stories lead more institutions to adopt the fads, perpetuating the cycle (Birnbaum, 2000).

The push in some higher education institutions to transition from traditional silo methods of offering student services to an integrated one-stop model is an organizational trend originating from government and business (Federal Benchmarking Consortium, 1997), and this trend is currently being pursued in community colleges nationally (Moneta, 2001). The silo model processes tasks from department to department, whereas the one-stop model provides comprehensive services in one location. For example, in the silo model, students enroll in the admissions department, complete paperwork in the office of financial aid, select classes with an advisor, and register for classes with registration staff. The one-stop model combines these steps so that students work with one person in one office, rather than working with several offices and staff members. The explanation in adopting a one-stop model is that colleges and universities face pressure from multiple sources to be more accountable, efficient, and customer-service oriented (Hrutka, 2001). Implementing a one-stop model uses resources effectively in a studentcentered environment (Marsee, 2000).

This article presents findings from qualitative research on one-stop service centers in three community colleges. The effectiveness of the organizational change from a silo model, where parts of a process or service are provided by separate departments, to a one-stop model, where processes and services are integrated in a single location, is evaluated for each site. …

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