New England Aquarium Structural Frame Public Service Management Essay

1083 words - 5 pages

            In the case regarding “Diversity Programs at the New England Aquarium”, there are many structural and human resource concepts that can be examined to further understand this case and its successes and failures. The structural and human resource frames give perspective to the underlying management issues at the New England Aquarium. These issues arise around the aquariums structure and organization, as well as their goals and mission statement. The aquarium is poorly managed- which leads to a lack of a well developed strategic plan, matching internal strengths with external opportunities. As well as effectively assigning job duties, standards of performance and responsibilities. The management of the aquarium is unable to accomplish the goals of the organization because of their lack of being capable of managing the organization’s people.
            The structural design of the New England Aquarium is lacking, the managers and leaders of the organization are unable to come together with common goals and objectives, clearly defined roles for the volunteers, educators and the youth program, as well as coordination within the organization. Because of this lack of communication, the organization is unable to effectively lead the teams and accomplish their goals and mission statement. The organization falls extremely short when they are unable to clearly define roles of its staff. This causes the staff and youth program workers, to behave unpredictably. As a result, staff and volunteers are forced into the wrong roles- creating tension and conflict between groups. We see management unable to address strategic goals due to a changing staff environment. Turnover and conflict among educators forced the youth programs to be relegated under the volunteer operations- which furthered animosity between the groups.
            The New England Aquarium has a goal to create more diversity in the groups who visit the aquarium and in its staff- assuming that the two are closely linked. The primary solution they come up with is through a creation of community outreach through youth programs. The youth program exacerbates the problem due to the failure to integrate these demographics in to the rest of the organization. They fail to accomplish this goal primarily because of the educators lack of engagement with the youth. The educators fail to help the youth workers by educating them and teaching them how to effectively research and learn what it is that they will be doing in their jobs. The managers are unresponsive to this issue, failing to diversify the staff and foster a positive environment.
            The unclear roles and weak structural frame further increases conflict and isolation between all the groups in the organization. The cultural, committal and behavioral differences between the groups escalate when the managers fail to address the issues. Managers fail to create cohesiveness, by allowing youth workers to undermine the dress code and respectfulness on the job. This group becomes isolated, falling farther away from the organization's goal. These issues create a power imbalance while at the same time redefining roles at the organization. This causes expectations to remain unmet, an uneven work balance and further frustration between staff. The organization fails to establish formal authority, coordination, and support for the youth program.
Cynthia Mackey, the chief operating officer must structurally reframe the organization to further its success. She must come up with and maintain the student selection program that Williams created in order to ensure the proper people are chosen for the youth program. By streamlining and executing this process, they are able to find committed candidates that will want to further their development and increase organizational commitment and retention. They must be careful with this hiring process to ensure that diversity is still upheld and they are not excluding certain candidates.
            Mackey should implement structural planning to ensure that the division of labor between staff, youth workers and volunteers is even and consistent. This will lessen resentment between groups, knowing they all have specific responsibilities and expectations. Mackey should also redesign the current information and support systems, to increase the knowledge of the youth involved in the youth program. This will increase motivation, knowledge, and loyalty within the youth, feeling more cared for within the organization. This could also be received negatively and resisted by current employees. Leading to the loss of staff, volunteers which could, in turn, cause a complete restructuring of the organization.
            Mackey should continue to support and involve shareholders in order to increase and uphold financial responsibility. This will further the success and continue the youth program. Mackey will need to prove the success of the program in order to keep financing it. Without doing so, shareholders may not see the vision and worth of the program and become increasingly frustrated.
            Within the human resource frame, Cynthia Mackey also has a considerable amount of work to do. She must develop a clear line and mindset of management and expectations. She should retrain managers to adapt this in order to establish clear goals and objectives. By doing so, this will further the success of the youth program into the culture of the organization and increase motivation, resulting in the diversity goals of the organization. If managers fail to adhere to her management expectations, the programs, as well as the mission of the organization, will fail.
            Mackey should develop and maintain clear job descriptions. By doing so, staff, volunteers and youth workers will have clear guidelines for expectations. This also helps managers in reviewing and evaluating the performance of staff. Negatively, workers could feel those job descriptions create a hierarchy and division between groups.
  In order for Mackey to ensure that the youth workers, staff, and volunteers are all being held to the same standard, she needs to implement a procedure for employee discipline for managers to use. Controlling and disciplining staff is critical for all organizations to function smoothly. She can do so by clarifying expectations, developing well-organized documentation, informal corrective action plans, and formal discipline. Staff may react negatively to such a plan and discipline plans can run the risk of not being used evenly and across the board. Mackey must ensure that all managers are adhering to disciplinary actions to not single any groups out.
The New England Aquarium should pay close attention to structural and human resource recommendations to better their organization and help their mission to diversify their staff and visitors. By developing a better strategic plan, clearly defining roles of the staff, creating concise goals and better managing the team, the aquarium will be better set up for success. Helping the entire staff to feel motivated, committed to the organization and value.


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