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Financial and Human Resources ConsiderationsResearch Paper

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Seymour University operated, as all other educational organizations, as a dual entity. On one hand, it was an educational body that focused on providing high quality education to its students. On the other hand, it was a business organization, where revenues and expenses had to eventually result in an operating profit for the university.

As a business organization, the university also faced organizational and human resource related problems it had to resolve. In this particular case, the decision making regarding financial allocations was split between two bodies, namely the Budget Committee, a separate body recommending the budget to the President and the Board of Trustees and the regular organizational structure that included CFO Paterson and Budget Director Jerome. The result of these two parallel structures was that reporting was complicated and, quite often, different between the two structures.

Basic Empirical Facts of the Problem

A parallel advisory body, known as the Budget Committee, was created at Seymour University. Its main role was to advise the Board of Trustees and its President on the various financial issues concerning the University. Eventually, the Budget Committee came into competition and rivalry with the executive financial structure at the University. The Budget Director and the CFO opposed the creation and the activity of this body. Eventually, they used subversive measures, such as the overestimating expensive, with the purpose of increasing the budget deficit.

The President favored the Budget Committee and fired the Budget Director. However, the problems with the University were also deeper than this, relating to the financial sustainability and reliability of the educational entity. The University had to remain competitive in a difficult environment and find the appropriate ways in which to properly balance its budget. As the case study revealed, some of its problems ran deeper, including a significant challenge in the way that programs had been constructed and implemented at the University. These continued to remain a simple portfolio of various courses rather than a true instrument to prepare students for the working environment (Jones).

Causes and Antecedents

There were several causes that led to this problem. First of all, a parallel structure was not initially needed in the organization. In fact, this was redundant, the two structures only completed with one another, without actually solving issues regarding the financial sustainability of the company (Jones). Despite the fact that the Budget Committee was favored, the executive structure was the one that would be kept responsible for any future auditing actions, so, in a way, it was not entirely fair that the Budget Committee was favored and supported.

Second, the University does not appear competitive on the educational market. The case study recognizes the fact that there is still a lot to do in this area. Programs have been created, but they are just a number of courses without a truly successful and sustainable educational platform (Denneen & Dretler). This would necessarily include partnerships with companies and with other organizations, internships for the students and other instruments that would make the students more prepared for the working environment.

The third cause of problems at Seymour University seems to be related to the working environment. There are obvious human resources problems that have to do with the organizational structure and with the way decisions are made. With several supporting and advisory bodies, the result is a clear competition between these with the results that have been shown in the study.

Finally, the fourth problem, which results from the existing three causes previously mentioned, is the fact that the company is not financially stable. The University has been operating with budgetary deficits, but this could be a problem in the medium and long-term, as President Anthony has understood, since he is trying to reduce these. On the short-term, budgetary deficits can be covered through contributions and donations, but this is something that would need to be solved over a longer period of time (Hardee 121).

Warranted Actions

There are several levels of actions that should be taken into consideration. First of all, there had been no solution to the problem first identified, namely the two parallel operating structures that make proposals regarding the financial decisions. One should consider the way things have evolved after the creation of the Budget Committee that has to make recommendations regarding the budget. Each side is making different evaluations and different estimates, that, the other side claims, have little to do with reality. One should consider what is the added value of creating the Budget Committee. Of course, it has to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding budget, but, as the case study showed, the main result of the creation of this body was a resulting conflicting with the executive branch of the University.

Anthony appears to rely on the Budget Committee and he has also accepted the resignation of CFO Patterson. However, the recommendation of this report is that the Budget Committee and the regular executive structure that includes the CFO and the Budget Director be somehow united into one unitary entity. The executive financial structure cannot be simply excluded and replaced with the new Budget Committee.

As a consequence, a further recommendation is that Anthony, along with the Board of Trustees, find the right ways in which to connect the two structures. There are several ways this can be done. For example, the case study mentions that Anthony attends the Budget Committee reunions and meetings. A weekly or monthly meeting could be done to include the executive structure, namely the CFO and the Budget Director. One should note that this recommendation is made without taking into consideration the actual persons feeling in these positions. It just should be done regardless of this.

The case study apparently sides with the Budget Committee and explains, tacitly, that Anthony's authority was undermined. This is not the opinion of this research paper. Even if the Budget Director may have seemed out of place in his interaction with President Anthony, he should have still received a proper attention and a discussion on why he was proposing the respective measures and why the Budget Committee believed him to be out of place.

The second problem that was identified was the issue regarding the parallel reporting. One of the causes of this, as previously mentioned, was the creation of two parallel structures that competed with one another. With this in mind, the logical reaction should be to adhere to a common reporting framework. In order to do so, a generally recognized reporting structure should be selected and implemented.

This leads to another recommendation, namely the need to implement a proper auditing structure (Great Britain: National Audit Office 32). As the case study has shown, these entities reported independently and, apparently, without any control from any structure or entity. The idea that the Budget Director could report hidden expenses that nobody else recognized seems out of place in a well regulated organization. The reasons for this, beyond the ones previously emphasized, is due to the lack of a proper auditing, control and feedback structure that could report on these situations and correct these situations (Tapper 39).

Another recommendation is that the University continues its approach towards balancing the budget. This implies not only cutting out on some of the expenses that the Budget Director had emphasized, but also increasing the University's revenues through various approaches such as creating partnerships with companies so that students could intern in these locations. As the case study showed, one of the problems of the university programs was that these programs were just a portfolio of various courses. "Even as the impact of institutional plans and priorities diminishes and faculties gain in autonomy, it seems that universities become, as two senior Dalhousie officials put it, less "faculty-centred." (Eastman72) This could be a potential problem for the University in the future, since other education entities could become more and more competitive, offering real opportunities for the students.

A final recommendation is that the University improves its offer to students, so as to become more competitive on the market. As previously discussed, some of the financial problems that the University has come from the fact that its programs only offer a number of courses and not a complete educational strategy. This needs to be rectified through various instruments, including partnerships with other universities and with companies.

Works cited:

Jones, J. "Seymour University," Retrieved June 18, 2015, from https://prezi.com/or7vzkojoflr/seymour-university/

Dennneen, J. & Dretler, T. "The financially sustainable university." Retrieved June 18, 2015, from http://www.bain.com/Images/BAIN_BRIEF_The_financially_sustainable_university.pdf

Eastman, J.A. "Revenue Generation and Organisational Change in Higher Education: Insights from Canada."

Hardee, S.C. "Journeys Through TRIO's Student Support Services at the University of South Carolina: Crossing Borders, Building Borderlands, and Changing the Landscape," (ProQuest, 2008).

Great Britain: National Audit Office. "Regulating Financial Stability in Higher Education: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Higher Education Funding Council for England." (The Stationery Office, 1 Mar 2011).

Tapper, T. "The Governance of British Higher Education: The Struggle for Policy Control," (Springer Science & Business Media, 5 May… [END OF PREVIEW]

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