Essay: Public Sector Strategy and Leadership

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Public Sector Strategy and Leadership

The contemporaneous society is more demanding than ever and competition amongst social individuals has dramatically increased throughout the past recent decades. This competition includes enlisting one's children in the best kindergartens and schools, getting the best job or buying the best house. Regardless of their personal goals, fact remains that the social individuals need guidance, assistance and protection of their rights. The Citizens' Advice Bureau is the provider of these services, meaning then that the role they play within the society is pivotal. For the institution to function at its maximum potential and retrieve the most successful outcomes, they must be internally strong and united. This leads to high performance and increased client satisfaction. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the analyzed Citizens' Advice Bureau. The following pages strive to offer a strategic solution to resolving the issues identified within the organization.

2. Problems and Goals

The Citizens' Advice Bureau is currently facing four problems:

failure in recruiting staff members high levels of absenteeism increased employee turnover rates, and generalized lack of motivation among employees

The ultimate goal of the institution is to resolve these matters and ensure a proper functioning of the organization for the overall benefit of the citizens. This goal is a generic one and has to be divided into smaller objectives. The criterion of dividing up the large goals is that of the problems encountered. Ergo, the CAB should strive to achieve the following:

make the job more appealing so that they are able to attract employees reduce absenteeism reduce employee turnover rates increase the morale and motivation on the job

3. The Role of Strategic Management

Various definitions of the concept of strategic management have been attempted by the specialized literature, but the conclusion has been reached that no unified definition can be offered. In a most simplistic formulation, strategic management is the art and science of identifying problems and implementing solutions that will support the organization in reaching its overall goals (David, 1989). The most common features of strategic management refer to pragmatism, planning functions, innovation and creativity, the ability to link customer benefits to organizational capacity, the ability to reduce the resistance to change or the ability to develop and implement an efficient course of action (Joyce and Woods, 2001).

The concepts of strategic management have primarily been implemented by the business community, namely by the for profit organizations looking to maximize their revenues. The beneficial results they obtained were however visible at various organizational levels, including customer and employee satisfaction, increased quality of the products manufactured and services delivered or an increased operational efficiency. This motivated the institutions in the public sector to consider the implementation of the concepts within their operations.

The organizations in the public sector have been met with both success and failure in their usage of strategic management. The major benefits of the concept within the public context refer to a better delegation of responsibilities, a superior decision making process and a better allocation of resources in response to clients' needs. The limitations of strategic management for the public sector revolve around the lack of proper understanding of the concept (it is generally assimilated with strategic planning), the complexity of the processes employed, lack of strategic perspective revealed by public managers, the difficulty brought in by the political dimension and finally, the fact that the public sector expects to see short-term results, when in fact strategic management deals with the resolution of issues on the long-term (Prowle, 2000).

4. The Proposed Solution

As it has been stated in the second section, the problems encountered by the Citizens' Advice Bureau are multifaceted and a single strategy would be insufficient to resolving the identified matters. Therefore, the proposed solution is a combination of four simultaneous strategic approaches, addressing all four problems.

4.1 Making the Job More Appealing

Increasing the appeal of the job is a strategy directly dependent on other courses of action. In this order of ideas, a job will be considered appealing if the tasks are challenging, if the staff members are properly remunerated, if the working environment is a pleasant one, if the corporate culture is a pleasant one and so on. Basically, the ability of a job to attract employees is given by the internal characteristics of the organization, namely the reward plan, the treatment of the staff members and the features of the job itself. The reward plans and the treatment of employees will be referred to in the following sections.

In terms of job requirements, these have to be clearly detailed and presented to the potential employee. All of his questions must be answered and the interviewing process must be simple, yet relevant. In order to increase the chances of the recruiting stages, the managers at the Citizens Advice Board should develop and implement a media campaign. The aim of this campaign would be to attract more candidates. The advertisements would be aired via the radio, on television, internet, labor specialized periodicals or even through street banners. They would present the major role the public sector plays in supporting the development of communities and would emphasize on that the individual has a chance to make a difference and improve the public service sector as he desires. Ultimately, the candidate would be assured that the job is challenging, the working environment is friendly and the employer will guide his professional formation through training programs and specialized assistance.

4.2 Reducing Absenteeism

Absenteeism (often combined with procrastination) reduces the operational efficiency and generates additional costs. To reduce these, the manager must first understand the causes of absenteeism. The most common reasons generating absenteeism are legitimate illnesses, family responsibilities, lax attendance policies, poor work ethic, undesirable schedules, legitimate injuries, inconsistent application of attendance policies, feelings of alienation and/or unimportance, lack of systematic attendance training, low morale, abuse of FMLA, outside work, lack of flexibility, too much overtime, pressure from peers or simply the desire to stretch the weekend (Volinski, 1999).

The future courses of action depend highly on the root causes of absenteeism. Say for instance that a conducted study revealed that large numbers of employees were young parents, who encountered challenges in finding the proper care for their children. To resolve absenteeism caused by this matter, the CAB could provide employees with day care services - staff members could bring their children to work and leave them in the care of specialized care givers, in the day care center established within the institution.

Another means of dealing with absenteeism is that of offering more flexible schedules to the employees forwarding this as a cause of absenteeism. Ultimately, all strategies employed to reduce absenteeism have the substratum of proposing solutions to increase employees' on the job satisfaction through the offering of various incentives.

A general rule in dealing with absenteeism, regardless of the cause, is that of offering rewards for perfect attendance. This may motivate employees to reduce procrastination and absenteeism, but it might easily only apply to a given type of staff members (Cascio, Boudreau and Ramstad, 2008). Ergo, the best course of action is that of identifying the root causes and developing customized solutions based on the features of each situation.

4.3 Reducing Employee Turnover

Similar to procrastination and absenteeism, high employee turnover rates are generally caused by hidden causes. These have to be identified first and only then can a solution be formulated. Major causes of turnover include the stress generated by the position, receiving a better position with another employer (better paid, more prestigious organization etc.), resignation in search of a more secure position or the job dissatisfactions (working condition, reward plan etc.). Below are some propositions to reducing employee turnover rates within the Citizens' Advice Bureau:

Better stipulating the contractual terms which allow employees to leave under certain circumstance and with a desirable notice

Introducing pay back clauses which state that the employee has to pay the CAB a certain amount of money (spent on training and professional formation) if he were to leave before a given period of time (Taylor, 2002)

Trying to relocate an unsatisfied employee to another department within the institution

Increasing the salaries of the staff members

Offering incentives that increase on the job satisfaction

4.4 Increasing Morale and Motivation

Unlike the previous three issues, the low morale of the staff members and the lack of motivation is a root cause generating negative effects, such as increased employee turnover and the adjacent costs. Most of the times, lack of motivation and low morale are caused by system failures. In order to address them, the manager at the Citizens' Advice Bureau should engage in the following actions:

1. Invite your employees to meet with you to discuss the situation

2. Let them tell you their perceptions and feelings. What problems have they perceived? Sure, you may know it all already, but they need to be involved from the start. Besides, what if you've missed or misinterpreted something?

3. Ask them to suggest ways to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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