Organizational Assessment as Impetus Term Paper

Pages: 15 (4905 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 66  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Healthcare

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S. To reference public assistance grudgingly provided those considered the unworthy poor" (Gerber, 2003, p. 899). Notwithstanding the need to provide such healthcare services for all people, then, Vet Centers in particular stand on the front lines of providing healthcare services to that segment of the population that is perhaps most in need of such specialized medical care.

Furthermore, while the Vet Center approach has experienced mixed results in treating post-traumatic stress disorder cases, many veterans are more willing to actively participate in medical care at Vet Centers by virtue of their "laid-back" atmosphere and less intimidating facilities than their mainstream VA counterparts (Hansen, Madden & Owen, 1992). According to one veteran, "A lot of us don't trust, and I'm one of them. But I trust these guys here at the Vet Center more than I trust anyone in Washington State. They're dumb enough to tell me the truth" (Hansen et al., 1992, p. 166). Similarly, other veterans who may feel marginalized in the mainstream VA healthcare system, such as blacks and women, may be drawn to the Vet Centers by virtue of the camaraderie such settings provide them:

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What happens here at the Vet Center is exactly like that Brotherhood in Vietnam. When our group meets here at the Vet Center, that is the Brotherhood...same damned thing. We all got involved because we got in similar situations. Now we're here, and that Brotherhood is just as strong. Non-racist, too -- it doesn't exist. Everybody belongs in this place...those in the rear -- women. If you're a Vietnam vet, and stuff is kicking you around, we know what made you wrong. If you need some help, get in here (Hansen et al., 1992, p. 167).

Term Paper on Organizational Assessment as Impetus for Assignment

Clearly, then, the nation's veterans healthcare system is tasked with a vitally important role, and the Vet Centers are in a better position than many facilities to provide traumatized veterans with the healthcare interventions they are going to require in the future. Making the most of the existing resources within any such organization, though, requires a realistic acknowledgment of what may reasonably be expected from surveying on Vet Center only, although a best practices model could be developed based on an aggregate of such efforts across the country.

Potential Political Overtones Associated with the Assessment. According to Hendrix (1984), effectiveness should be of interest to everyone in an organization. However, this author also point out that, "Empirically assessing organizational effectiveness has been wrought with difficulty in that no one ultimate criterion exists. A contingency approach to organizational effectiveness considers effectiveness to be a function of the manager, the situational environment, and the criterion of success" (p. 95). Unfortunately, within this framework, no one criterion of effectiveness is a universal indicator; rather, a wide number of criteria may be appropriate depending on the other components of the setting such as the unique business situation and the manager involved. In fact, "Many organizations have various and often contradictory goals. Effectiveness criteria at one organizational level may differ from those at other levels and criteria appropriate at one point in time may change and be less appropriate at later times" (Hendrix, 1984, p. 95). In this regard, because the Vet Center director is also a healthcare provider, there will be some inherent conflicts of interest in how the results of the survey may be perceived from these two different perspectives by the decision-maker involved.

For example, in his or her capacity as a clinician, the consulting psychologist would want to provide each veteran patient with the maximum amount of personalized healthcare services possible; however, in his or her capacity as a Vet Center administrator tasked with maintained a budget and ensuring access to as many veterans who need services as possible, there would be a concomitant requirement to balance these clinical goals with the reality of the scarcity of resources involved.

3. Scope of Evaluation. The scope of this survey will be restricted to the interunit level at the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system, which is the Vet Center, or the lowest facility within the VA organizational healthcare system hierarchy. According to Freeman (2003), this is a particularly important consideration for VA facilities tasked with providing quality mental healthcare services. "The agency or larger organization within which a substance abuse program operates may influence the quality of its empowerment practice. A first step in clarifying such influence is to identify the range of organizational auspices in which program operates" (p. 122). The characterization of the interunit level for organizational assessment purposes was first developed in 1980, when Van de Ven and Ferry introduced the Organizational Assessment Instruments (OAI) for survey research.

This organizational assessment tool was comprised of five components, or modules:

a) A performance module for recording data on performance efficiency at an overall organizational level, at work unit levels, and for individual jobs also provides a process for clarifying and operationalizing values and goals of organizational policy;

b) A macroorganizational module for studying organizational structure provides a procedure for recording data about the organization as a whole (e.g., organization chart, span of control at specific position levels, etc.); these data permit a measure of perceived authority or influence for different kinds of decisions;

c) An organizational unit module guides the study of tasks, structures, or processes in work units using questionnaires and records;

d) A job design module is a set of questionnaires for analyzing jobs or positions, incumbents, job functions, and employee attitudes. It helps in developing a task list and in identifying areas of specialization. It is more than an extensive job analysis form, seeking data on satisfaction, motivation, and salary. It also asks about individual differences among incumbents, apparently limited to the usual demographic variables and one personality variable (growth need strength); the instrument seems remarkably unconcerned with job knowledge, mental ability, or psychomotor skills; and, e) An interunit module with questionnaires to study the control and coordination within and between interdependent work units or positions (Van de Ven & Ferry, 1980).

Sample questions and instructions from the interunit module of the Ven de Ven and Ferry organizational assessment module are provided at Appendix A; based on this component, a comparable interunit survey instrument for public agencies in the U.S. with known validity and reliability was selected for this study. A copy of this survey form is provided at Appendix B.

Size and Focus of the Assessment. The survey will only be administered to the staff at a single Vet Center located in the author's city of residence, with the focus being on improving the delivery of healthcare services to the Center's veteran patients and to improve the administration of the human resources function.

Strategic Goals and Initiatives Monitored. The strategic goals of the survey will be to existing problem areas and constraints in the timely and efficient delivery of Vet Center services to its clientele; a concomitant goal will be to identify opportunities for improvement in such delivery, and to provide the Vet Center director with a snapshot view of staff perceptions of how the facility is being operated, and what steps are needed to take advantage of the opportunities for improvement that are identified in the process.

Elements of Survey that Will Serve the Purpose of the Assessment and Rationale. The source of these goals will be the qualitative monitor elements set forth in Section Two of the survey form at Appendix B. The quantitative and qualitative data will be analyzed using SPSS Version 11.0 (Student Version), with appropriate trending graphs and narrative analyses provided. Subsequent survey administrations will compare like questions to determine the extent of improvements, if any, using the initial survey results as a baseline for future comparison purposes.

This assessment approach has been shown to be an effective method of establishing a baseline for planning intelligent solutions to complex organizational problems and for designing follow-up measures: "Listening to employees and encouraging their involvement can have a positive impact on an organization's quality services initiative. Their opinions and ideas are an invaluable resource that you can uncover in a variety of ways, including employee surveys" (Quality Services Guide VI - Employee Surveys, 2001).

Time Required for Administration and Frequency. Surveys that provide for both qualitative and quantitative measures are a cost-effective method of collecting large amounts of data (Leedy, 1993). Because of the relatively small survey sample size and the brevity of the survey instrument itself, the time anticipated for completing the survey by all Vet Center employees is estimated to be less than one hour.

Based on the level and extent of problems, if any, and opportunities for improvement identified in the survey results, if any, the survey would be administered again according to the Vet Center director's needs to assess the effectiveness of any corrective actions taken, but no longer than 3 months. For example, if the assessment analysis indicated that one or more of the other Vet Center units had somehow constrained the work of the respondent's unit, additional inquiry would… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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