Facilitating Organizational Development Through Survey Research

For over 30 years, IBRIC has worked in the area of organizational development with various federal agencies, including the Navy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, plus components in state government, education, and industry. The goal in each project was to help the organization improve in the effective use of its most valuable resource, its employees.

The earliest efforts in this area can logically be thought of as extensions of climate research. Employee questionnaires of approximately 100 items and covering management areas like Planning and Organization, Work Definition, Morale, and Climate for Innovation were developed and administered throughout the organization or contracting component. In each application, organization-wide results were aggregated and delivered to top management. Using the accompanying feedback system, work-group level and intermediate level results were also aggregated and delivered to managers and supervisors all across the organization. A handbook described for supervisors all of the scores (usually there were 17 to 20) in their feedback reports, and provided suggestions for how work-group performance in the various management areas could be improved.

An important step up in the technology occurred when the availability of training of in-house facilitators was incorporated into the system. These people, typically from a variety of areas and functions in the organization, participate in an intensive, week-long training course to prepare them to meet with supervisors and their employees and help them work through issues surfaced by the survey feedback toward the goal of making the work place more productive and enjoyable. Over the years, over 100,000 people have responded to the Management Self-Improvement Survey or one of its predecessors. Over 200 MSIS facilitators have been trained.

On occasion, the organizations surveyed with the MSIS elected to fund research on the validity of work-group scores in predicting performance criteria. Work-group criteria (including cost per placement and percent of openings filled in Employment Security offices and sick leave costs in DHHS units) were significantly correlated with MSIS scores. The results of these studies held that bottom-line measures (like the costs of serving clients) plus the well-being of employees are significantly related to the management areas assessed by the MSIS.

Based on IBRIC's extensive organizational climate research, we have available a variety of employee surveys that can aid organizations in being more productive and making work more enjoyable.

The Management Self-Improvement System (MSIS)

The MSIS, revised and improved several times since its creation, is a planned change process that involves management and employees working together to improve human resource management procedures and organizational effectiveness. Briefly, the process involves planning with management, MSIS survey administration, extensive survey feedback, problem solving throughout the organization, and follow-up to improve performance, innovation, and work satisfaction. The MSIS survey measures a variety of key areas of management performance, such as Planning and Organization, Fairness of Management, Delegation of Authority, and Communications. The typical form includes about seventeen score areas. The process can be quite flexible, and in the past has brought in specially requested elements assessing, for example, Employee Health or Total Quality Management.

The Human Resource Management (HRM) Index

Derived from the MSIS, the HRM Index is a short climate instrument designed to assess economically human resource management procedures across time or after significant organizational events like a re-organization, new product introduction, mission revision, etc. The Index can provide results to large organizational components based on a sampling of employees, if an organization-wide administration is not warranted. The Index provides results on a single score for comparative purposes. Item-level information is given to larger components and the total organization surveyed. For large organizations, a custom form can be developed to include a small number of questions concerning areas of particular importance for reporting to the organization and major components.

The Educational Management and School Effectiveness Index (EMSEI)

IBRIC's long-range goal for this system is to provide a service for school districts in Utah and elsewhere that will allow school administrators at the building and district level to get a relatively quick reading on important dimensions of leadership and organizational climate, plus critical aspects of the effective schools research. About half of the items are the HRM Index, which has been administered to over 200,000 employees in three branches of the federal government, several departments of state government, private industry, and education. Thus, there is an extensive research background for the item base. The EMSEI is targeted specifically on education and can be used to profile individual schools from the perspective of professional staff. Aggregate information can also be produced for combinations of schools at the sub-district and total-district levels. IBRIC has automated the scoring and reporting procedures and is capable of producing any number of custom reports to meet the specific needs of school districts.

Teacher Exit Survey

Working from a somewhat different perspective of organizational climate, IBRIC, together with Jordan and Davis School Districts, designed surveys to collect data from educators who made the choice to leave employment in those districts. The IBRIC survey system studied why the educator left employment and dealt with several climate aspects of the employment situation, including the physical work environment, management, student issues, skills training, collegiality, community relations, and personal growth.

IBRIC has worked with a variety of Federal and other entities to help them improve their effectiveness in managing valuable human resources.

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