PA 6620 – ORGANIZATION THEORY – INSTRUCTIONS FOR CASE STUDY ANALYSIS MANDATORY HEADINGS

PA 6620 – ORGANIZATION THEORY – INSTRUCTIONS FOR CASE STUDY ANALYSIS

MANDATORY HEADINGS
(Must be Included in Your Analysis)    SECTION INSTRUCTIONS
I.    NARRATIVE SUMMARY OF THE CASE    General Instructions for Section I:

Demonstrate an understanding of the case by writing a narrative summary.  Provide a thorough explanation of the essential elements of the case so that someone

unfamiliar with its details can follow your analysis.  Use specific and relevant referenced course concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public

laws, or court cases, from MPA courses in your discussion.
A.    Case Summary    Write a narrative summary of the important elements of the case.  Include a discussion of the goal(s), specific objective(s), or outcome(s)

desired to be accomplished, achieved, or maintained.  Use specific and relevant referenced course concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public

laws, or court cases, from MPA courses in your discussion.
B.    Key Actors and Their Roles    Identify and discuss the key actors and their motivating roles and agenda(s).  Use specific and relevant referenced course

concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases, from MPA courses in your discussion.
C.    Central Problem(s)    State clearly the central problem(s) or potential problem(s) in the case, external and internal to the organization.  Use specific and

relevant referenced course concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases, from MPA courses in your discussion.
II.    IDENTIFICATION OF CASE PROBLEM(S) AND ISSUE(S) AND APPLICATION OF CORE-COURSE KNOWLEDGE TO THE RELATED CASE PROBLEM(S) AND ISSUE(S) OF THE CASE    General

Instructions for Section II:

For this case study, you will specifically need to do the following:  (1) identify the problem(s) or issue(s) from Section I that is the focus of the application, (2)

explain the concept you are applying to the problem(s) or issue(s) (assume the reader has limited background in the concepts you are discussing), and (3) explain how

the concept can be applied to solve or lessen the impact of the problem(s) or issue(s). The emphasis in this section is applying specific referenced course concepts,

theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases learned in PA 6610.   A solid response will demonstrate understanding of the case by

applying concepts from this course only.  Begin the section with a brief summary of the central problem(s) from Section I.
PA 6620 – Organization Theory    Introduce at least three case problem(s) or issue(s) identified in Section I.  Identify and thoroughly discuss at least five referenced

course concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases from PA 6620.  Apply material to the problem(s) or issue(s) identified.
III.    ALTERNATIVES FOR ACTION    General Instructions for Section III:

Identify, develop, or create three alternatives for action that are available to you or that are available to the decision makers in the case to solve the central

problem(s).  If you are analyzing actions performed by others, are additional alternatives available to them?  List at least three alternatives for action.  The

alternatives should address the key decision problem from Section I.  Compare and contrast them, discussing their relative strengths and weaknesses.  Begin the section

with a brief summary of your central problem from Section I and the issues from Section II.
A.    Alternative 1    Identify and discuss your first alternative.  Support your alternative with specific referenced course concepts, theories, theorists, scholars,

models, processes, public laws, or court cases from this course.
B.    Alternative 2    Identify and discuss your second alternative.  Support your alternative with specific referenced course concepts, theories, theorists,

scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases from this course.
C.    Alternative 3    Identify and discuss your first third alternative.  Support your alternative with specific referenced course concepts, theories, theorists,

scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases from this course.
IV.    SELECTION OF RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE     General Instructions for Section IV:

Begin this section with a summary of your central problem (from Section I), issues (from Section II), and alternative solutions (from Section III).  In this section,

you will choose one of your three alternative solutions for the central problem and recommend it for implementation.  This is the appropriate place to list

limitations, restrictions, constraints, rules, policies, guidelines or necessities, challenges, or opportunities to change or obtain waivers from these limitations.

In particular, selection of an alternative must be systematic and supported.  A good way to organize your thinking about which alternative to select is to use a

decision matrix. However, the decision matrix by itself is not the answer.  It is only an organizing framework.  Use of the decision matrix requires the student to

identify decision criteria important to the facts of the case.  The case suggests what these criteria are.  The decision criteria used to evaluate alternatives should

be defined.  To fill in each cell of the matrix, the student must insert judgmental or objective criteria.
A.     Method    Identify and discuss the method by which you will select your recommended alternative.
B.     Criteria    Identify, justify, and discuss three criteria you or the designated decision maker will use in selecting the recommended alternative.  Support

your choice of criteria with specific references to the case and/or referenced course concepts, theorists, scholars, theories, models, processes, public laws, or court

cases from this course.
C.     Recommendation    Use the method and criteria to identify the recommended alternative.
V.   IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATED ALTERNATIVE    General Instructions for Section V:

In this section, you will develop a complete implementation plan for your recommended alternative.  Begin this section with a summary of your central problem (from

Section I), issues (from Section II), alternative solutions (from Section III), and a clear statement of which alternative you are choosing to implement (Section IV).

Discuss the recommended alternative in more detail.  Consider such elements as what obstacles you might encounter in implementing this alternative; how you would

overcome them; what reporting or feedback system you will use, if any; and how you might evaluate the success or failure, even the degree of success or failure, of

your alternative.  End with summary, observations, concluding remarks, if any.  Support your discussion of the implementation, obstacles, solutions, and evaluation

strategy with specific references to the case and/or referenced course concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases from

this course.
A.  Implementation Plan    Develop a detailed implementation plan to explain how you would propose to operationalize the selected alternative.
B.  Obstacles    Speculate about potential obstacles to your implementation plan.  Consider where resistance might come from either internally or externally to the

organization.  Suggest how each of the obstacles can be overcome.
C.  Evaluation Plan    Develop a plan for assessing the success or failure of the implementation plan.  In other words, how will you know if the problem has been

solved?  Support your discussion of the implementation, obstacles, solutions, and evaluation strategy with specific references to the case and/or referenced course

concepts, theories, theorists, scholars, models, processes, public laws, or court cases from this course.

The Ordeal of Change*

Byron Barton was an aggressive and determined young man with a drive to get things done quickly and efficiently. He had received a bachelor’s and then a

master’s degree in public administration with a major in city administration from a large Midwestern university. Upon receiving his second degree at the age of

twenty-three, he turned to the network of earlier graduates known as the “Peer-to-Peer-Peer (PPP)” for assistance in get¬ting a job.  His fraternity combined with

other fraternities at his university to forge this network.  The alumni from fraternities helped him obtain his first position as assistant county manager in

Springfield, a county of about 100,000 population.
The county manager of Springfield was Albert Roland, a member of the Peer-to-Peer-Peer (PPP), who demanded much of his assistant but who took pains to teach

him his job. In Springfield, Barton displayed his managerial talents best in municipal finance, job classification, and organization. He was respected rather than

liked by employees, and he realized this. He never pretended to be a good politician, he would say, and preferred to leave the politicking and public relations to

Roland.
After five years as assistant county manager, Barton realized he had come to a dead end insofar as his own advancement in Springfield was con¬cerned. He

discussed his prospects with Roland, who advised him to “strike out for his own county.” Taking stock of his own assets and liabili¬ties, Barton decided that Roland

was right. He realized that he had made some mistakes but he thought these were canceled by the recognition he had received for tasks expeditiously performed in

Springfield.
Barton, as one would expect from his character, began his job search in a practical way. He prepared a comprehensive resume, passed the word among the Peer-

to-Peer-Peer (PPP) and notified the job-placement office of his alma mater that he was looking for a new position and answered advertisements in the county-management

and public-administration publications. But jobs were scarce in the central part of the state, where he hoped to locate. He did not, however, rule out going further a

field. Finally, after several disappointments, he learned of an ideal opening in Springfield, a county in the state with a population of 175,000 that offered a salary

of $38,500. With strong references from Roland and Professor John McGee, the chairman of his graduate committee, and the support of the Peer-to-Peer-Peer (PPP), Barton

was invited to Springfield for interviews with the mayor, County Council members, and the county manager. These inter¬views went well, and an offer was quickly

extended. Barton was elated and told Roland on his departure from Springfield that he looked for¬ward “to calling the shots from County Hall.”
Barton found his first weeks on the job exciting. County officials, elective and appointive, were friendly and informative about municipal affairs and they

welcomed a dynamic young administrator whom they thought likely to solve long-standing problems, some of which, Barton discov¬ered, were acute. These did not worry

him. He accepted the challenge of solving them, convinced that he would register his personal imprint on the county with a more efficiently operated government.
Singling out the personnel system for his first close examination, Barton asked for a summary profile of all employees and for a copy of all personnel

policies, rules, and regulations. He was initially most inter¬ested in the system of job classification and pay, an area that he felt his knowledge and experience

especially had prepared him to tackle.
After spending hours studying the reports, Barton discovered many disparities in job classification and many inequities in pay. The prob¬lem, he decided, was

that the system, in operation for twenty-five years, had not been basically overhauled to meet the needs of a government that had assumed new services and

responsibilities in recent years of rapid growth. Instead of being incorporated into the basic scheme, new classifications were added so that there was a multiplicity

of them. In effect, Barton concluded, the generalizations and flexibility necessary for an adequate position classification had led to abuses within each “job family”

or those jobs that were alike in the work performed and the skills needed for the required tasks. He decided, also, that misuse of seniority in making job assignments

had played a part in the disparities he found in the system.
Because of the complexity of the problem, Barton felt that an outside evaluation of the personnel system by a management firm should be conducted. He submitted

a request for proposal (RFP) to Public Man¬agement Consultants, a privately owned and locally based firm. It pro¬posed that the position-classification system be

examined through desk audits so that jobs could be properly grouped on the basis of job-related characteristics that pertained to satisfactory work performance.
The evaluation required two months. The report stated that “confu¬sion is the only standard operating in the present classification system.” It suggested a new

hierarchical arrangement of positions based on the knowledge required, supervision given and received, complexity of the work performed, scope and effort of the tasks,

physical demands of the work, and personal contacts and their purposes. Barton sent copies of the report to council members and recommended its adoption. After a brief

discussion of the report at a regular meeting, the council approved it by a vote of 4 to 1.
The next day Barton sent copies of the report to the director of person¬nel and the heads of line departments with a memo ordering them to implement the new

classification system as quickly as possible. He stated that the new plan would bring about major changes in office arrangements, power and pay hierarchies, and office

accountability.
County employees had been aware of the study being conducted of the classification system, but they had no idea of its extent until now. They reacted with fear

and resentment. Those who held positions that would be reclassified were upset because generally they had become accus¬tomed to doing things in certain ways and

dreaded the uncertainty of new conditions. Some complained that the reclassification scheme would produce new inequities. In brief, they preferred following famil¬iar

paths to embarking on new ones.
At a meeting the department heads told Barton that implementation of the new system was encountering difficulties. Some of the more out¬spoken declared it

would cause more problems than it would solve. Barton was shocked. He could not understand why a system worked out so carefully to introduce efficiency and economy

into county operations and to correct inequities in work assignments and pay could meet with such opposition. Reform, he discovered, was easier to propose than to

effect.

*Meyer, C. K., Brown, C. H., Beville, M.J., Scheffer, W.F., & Preheim, R. L. (1983). Practicing public management: A casebook. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

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