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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Organizational change; Organizational teams

  • There are different stages of subordinates' responses in reaction to change in an organization. How do you think an effective leader should deal with each of these different stages?
    Yukl states that there are four stages of typical reaction to sudden change; “The reaction pattern has four stages: denial, anger, mourning, and adaptation” (2012, p.80). It is important to note that this pattern is similar to grief patterns, and that there are several additional reasons for employee resistance to change that Yukl also lists; “Proposed Change Is Not Necessary”, “Proposed Change Is Not Feasible”, “Change Is Not Cost Effective”, “Change Would Cause Personal Losses”, “Proposed Change Is Inconsistent With Values”, and “Leaders Not Trusted”(2012, pp. 81,82). A leader should recognize the source of resistance before attempting to use a “grief” specific approach; to help “overcome denial, channel their anger constructively, mourn without becoming severely depressed, and have optimism about adjusting successfully”(Yukl, 2012, p.80).
  • What are the three main differences in the primary and secondary ways in which a leader can influence organizational culture? Please provide reasons for your choice.
    Schein establishes a categorization of cultural change mechanisms: the primary mechanisms are attention, reactions to crisis, role modeling, allocations of rewards, and criterion for selection or dismissal within the organization. The secondary mechanisms are design of organizational structure, design of systems and procedures, design of facilities, “stories, legends and myths”, and formal statements (Zarafshan, n.d). The first difference is that primary mechanism can be described as “Embedding Mechanisms” while secondary mechanisms can be described as “Reinforcing mechanisms” (Nellen, 1997, para. 30). A secondary differences is that the primary mechanisms operate on a personal or dyadic basis, while secondary mechanisms work on a group level. Nellen differentiates between the mechanisms:”Primary mechanisms used to embed in ongoing manner. Secondary more subtle, more ambiguous, more difficult to control, yet can be powerful reinforcements of primary”. Nellen also asserts that secondary mechanisms are used to culturize “newcomers” (1997, para. 44).
  • How can a leader in a criminal-justice agency develop a vision for change? Formulate brief guidelines for developing a vision and implementing that change.
    A criminal justice leader must, before any other consideration, remember the parameters of law that they operate under. Secondly, they must offer a realistic vision considering the resources they are allocated. A leader must scan and analyze not just the most pressing needs of the community but anticipate likely problems of the future. Taking all those factors into consideration, the leader must consider the capabilities and needs of the people in his organization. To complete his vision, he must bring all these elements in balance while providing for mechanisms of adaptation. Finally, the leader must be able to communicate his vision clearly to the stakeholders and to the organization.
  • Criminal-justice agencies follow procedures rigidly. How can you turn these agencies into organizations that adapt and learn in a dynamic environment so that they can perform with greater efficiency?
    I return to the consideration that criminal justice agencies are bound by law; due to this, they are less adaptable to fluid organizational changes. Other factors that inhibit CJ agencies from rapid change are a lack of resources (not only to do their day to day function, but to plan and implement change) and political influence on the agency's operations. Finally, criminal justice agencies are staffed by conservative cultures; this isn't in reference to the political label of culture, but rather to the stakes on the table when these organizations make mistakes – people die, officers go to jail, taxpayers pay the brunt of lawsuits. Since these stakes are high, CJ personnel are resistant to change that isn't “proven”.
    To counter these issues, CJ leaders that wish to implement change must themselves be adaptable to using a wide array of leadership techniques and to forging personal relationships amongst all stakeholder groups as well.
Analyze and compare the following pairs of factors that are sources of subordinates' resistance to change in an organization. Isolate the factors that you consider the most important:
  • Beliefs about necessity and feasibility of change – followers will feasibility of change over necessity; there is no point in making a change if the change will not correct the issue.
  • Economic threats and loss of power – for most followers, economic threats will trump loss of power. Children tend to cry and make lots of noise when they are starving. However, a certain percentage of people will prefer to advance themselves at any cost.
  • Resentment and threats to values – threats to values pose a major threat to the morale of followers, and this consideration is probably the strongest factor to employee resistance after economic threat.

Nellen, T. (1997). Organizational Culture & Leadership. Tnellen.com. Retrieved December 2, 2012 from http://www.tnellen.com/ted/tc/schein.html

Zarafshan, A. (n.d.). Schein's leadership culture-change actions. Changing Minds. Retrieved December 2, 2012 from http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/actions/schein_culture.htm

Yukl, G. A. (2012). Leadership in Organizations, 8th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256650225

How do the leadership requirements, structures, and functioning of the following types of teams differ from each other?
  • Self-managed and functional teams
  • Cross-functional and virtual teams
In self-managed teams, decision-making authority concerning specific means of accomplishing the team's work is left up to the individuals who compose the team” (Erez, Lepine, & Elms, 2002, p. 929. Such teams may or may not have an external leader; “In such teams an external leader may be accountable for the team’s performance, but often does not get involved in the operational activities and day-to-day decision making of the team” (Carte, Chidambaram, & Becker, 2006, p. 324).
In contrast, “In a functional operating team, the members are likely to have jobs that are somewhat specialized but still part of the same basic function ...There is usually an appointed leader who has considerable authority for internal operations and managing external relationships with other parts of the organization” (Yukl, 2012, p.254).
Virtual teams are similar in operation to self-managed teams; “a collection of individuals who are dispersed (geographically, organizationally, or otherwise), and who collaborate using information technology in order to accomplish a specific goal” (Carte, Chidambaram, & Becker, 2006, p. 324). Carte et al further describe leadership roles in such teams; Recent work on virtual teams suggests that leadership, in this electronic context, might be better viewed as a collective effort distributed among team members characterized by the sharing and rotating of leadership roles” (2006, p. 323)
Cross-functional teams have a similar goal formation purpose to virtual teams, in that they “often draw their members from across disciplines, professions, and functional units, so that their expertise can be applied” (Slepian, 2013, p. 1350005-3), and are limited to a specific goal.
Finally, although teams can play important parts in a leader's arsenal, we need to remember that “teamwork is not a virtue in itself. It is merely a strategic choice” (Lencioni, 2003, p.35).
In the criminal justice organizational environment, discuss whether collective efficacy of the group and mutual trust in the team are more important than individual skills while determining team performance. Support your response with suitable examples.
  • Discuss whether collective efficacy of the group and mutual trust in the team are more important than individual skills while determining team performance. Support your response with suitable examples.
  • Does role clarity for each team member influence his or her cooperation and coordination within the team? How? What possible hurdles might be encountered if there are overlapping roles or confusion about individual roles?
  • Which are the three most important determinants of group processes that affect decision making in groups within criminal justice agencies? Provide a rationale and examples for your choices.
The issue of whether trust between members of a team is more important than skill depends on variables such as levels of trust and skill. If a team member can not conduct a job function, then there is no reason to trust him to begin with. However, if a team member has great skills, but has not built the trust amongst his team to assign him the task, his skill is likewise of no use. If the collective efficiency of the team and mutual trust within the team are great enough, however, then that would be more important than the individual skills of a single team member.

The understanding of one's role on a team not only influences his cooperation and coordination on a team, it determines those effects. The larger the team, or the scope of the operation, the more affect this role clarity has. On a small scale, if a policeman fails to clear a room that is his responsibility properly, he is placing other members of his team in danger. If he doesn't get his paperwork completed in due time, he may fail to provide the legal support another policeman may need in the courtroom. On a larger scale, such as in a task force, a role member may take an action that subverts the entire enterprise; a local policeman may arrest an informant that was supposed to clear the crime scene. In these cases, the team member that does not understand the responsibilities of his assigned role puts the task goal at risk of failure. Overlapping roles, such as jurisdictional conflicts or multi-agency task forces in which role responsibilities aren't mapped out, also interfere with role clarity, team coordination, and team cooperation in the same manner.

Yukl states that there are many factors that can have negative effects on group processes that affect decision making. These factors include such things as “contribution of information and ideas by group members, the clarity of communication, the accuracy of prediction and judgments, the extent to which the discussion is focused on the problem, and the manner in which disagreement is resolved. Common process problems that reduce decision quality include member inhibition, groupthink, false consensus, hasty decisions, polarization, and lack of action planning for implementation”(2012, p. 267). The three most important of these factors would be quality of information, lack of action planning, and groupthink. One of the greatest failures of LE decision-making can be seen in the Koresh/Waco confrontation. The decision to send agents up to the front door, only carrying pistols, for a PR op instead of a safe arrest had the consequence of a siege and a litter of dead bodies. The group decision-making lacked the information that the cultists were well armed and preparing for a “final battle” (Edwards, 2001, p. 347), or perhaps ignored it due to groupthink. The lack of action planning can be seen in the confused response; did NONE of the planners anticipate armed resistance? Edwards contends that the planners of the operation suffered “organizational surprise” and refused “expert advice”(2001). It would seem that the determinants of successful group decision processing is avoiding such pitfalls.

Carte, T. A., Chidambaram, L., & Becker, A. (2006). Emergent leadership in self-managed virtual teams. Group Decision and Negotiation, 15(4), 323-343. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10726-006-9045-7
Edwards, J. C. (2001). Self-fulfilling prophecy and escalating commitment. fuel for the waco fire. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 37(3), 343-360. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021886301373006
Erez, A., Lepine, J. A., & Elms, H. (2002). Effects of rotated leadership and peer evaluation on the functioning and effectiveness of self-managed teams: A quasi-experiment. Personnel Psychology, 55(4), 929-948. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220141772?accountid=87314
Lencioni, P. M. (2003). The trouble with teamwork. Leader to Leader, 2003(29), 35. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218311851?accountid=87314
Slepian, J. L. (2013). Cross-functional teams and organizational learning: A model and cases from telecommunications operating companies. International Journal Of Innovation & Technology Management, 10(1), -1. doi:10.1142/S0219877013500053
Yukl, G. A. (2012). Leadership in Organizations, 8th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved December 3, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256650225

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