Over the years, scholars have tried to study what constitute organizational effectiveness and how to achieve it; the result of which is the conception of varied theoretical models that are sometimes incoherent, abstract and redundant (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.8). Some scholars, for instance, suggests that in order to achieve organizational effectiveness, an organization should focus on productivity, goal setting, utilization of the environment, external audit and human resources (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.8). Other organizations, especially profit oriented organizations, on the other hand, evaluate their effectiveness using a broader concept of the triple bottom line, which is a measure of an organization’s effectiveness in three major areas: social, environmental and financial. While these concepts are acceptable, it fails to reflect a parsimonious and comprehensive criteria for measuring organizational effectiveness. It is, therefore, imperative to determine which organizational effectiveness theory is simple, but offer a concrete solution in measuring organizational effectiveness. The organizational effectiveness theory should also be comprehensive so that it can be used as a theoretical framework for a wide variety of organizations especially in a criminal justice organization setting.
What is Organizational Effectiveness?
Effectiveness, in an organizational setting, simply means that an organization is able to accomplish successfully and efficiently, whatever purpose or task, it was created for (Ashraf, & Kadir, 2012, p.80). But simple as it may seem, the trajectory or path towards becoming an effective organization may not be easy. A more concrete and comprehensive theoretical framework for measuring organizational effectiveness, according to experts, is the one that has been put forward by Richard Scott, an American sociologist and professor emeritus as Stanford University. Scott identifies these organizational effectiveness indicators as outcomes, processes and structures (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.8). Outcome indicators have always been a useful and effective tool in measuring organizational effectiveness, which is especially true in industrial organizations wherein productivity is highly valued. Similarly, an organization’s effectiveness can also be measured on how efficient its processes are. Accordingly, process indicators are more valid than outcome indicators “because they are in fact operative, that is, they reflect the actual objectives of organizational actors” (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.10). Lastly, an organization’s effectiveness can also be measured through structural indicators. According to experts, organizational structures support organizational operations and have an “enabling and constraining” effect on effectiveness (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.10).
Applying Organizational Effectiveness Theory on Criminal Justice Organization
The Criminal Justice Organization refers to agencies established by the government for the purpose of controlling crime and enforcing the rule of law for those who violate it . The criminal justice organization is composed of several interconnected agencies that include at a minimum the law enforcement agencies; the courts; and the correctional institutions, which are, collectively, a government administered organization. One unique characteristic of a government organization such as the Criminal Justice organization is the fact that it operates under “regimes of laws, rules, judicial decisions, and administrative practices that constrain, prescribe, and enable the provision of publicly supported goods and services” (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.6). Unlike private organizations wherein managers are given a higher level of flexibility when it comes to implementing organizational strategies, the managers of public institutions may not have the same leeway because of its rigid hierarchical structure, which, according to experts, “has the effect of balancing administrative discretion with accountability to lawful authority” (Forbes, & Lynn, 2007, p.6). Nevertheless, the manager of a public institution, such as the criminal justice organization, may apply the theories of organizational effectiveness in order to successfully manage his organization. The concept of outcome, process and structure indicators, for instance, can be used to increase the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice Organization’s personnel. The manager, for instance, may set certain metrics as an outcome indicator to measure an individual’s performance. Say for example, in law enforcement agencies, the administrator can create outcome indicators such as number of cases solved, crime rates and other similar criteria that measures performance. Standards may be set and reinforced by awards or punishment in order to encourage personnels to perform. Process indicators, on the other hand, can be set in order to determine the effectiveness of the internal processes within the Criminal Justice Organization. The amount of time it takes, for instance, to process cases might be considered and improved. Another process oriented task that can help improve the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice Organization is the hiring and training of personnel. The emergence of deviant behaviors among Criminal Justice personnel such as police brutality in law enforcement organizations, for instance, can be an indicator of an ineffective internal processes and culture. Administrators can also structure their organizations in such a way that processes and communication efficiency is maximized. Departmentalization, for instance, or the subdivision of an organization into units can be implemented in order to facilitate division of labor as well as encourage accountability.
One important implication of implementing effectiveness indicators is in its effect on controlling the organization. In fact, modern management has emerged out of measuring the effectiveness of outcomes, processes and structure and these indicators have always been used to guide and manage organizations. Frederick Taylor’s scientific management, for instance, employed standardization of processes in order to control and improve the efficiency of production and outcomes (Scott, 2004, p.2). Similarly, Max Weber’s bureaucratic management influenced the development of modern organization’s structures, giving managers better control of their organizations (Scott, 2004, p.2). Today, there are different control methods or strategies that are employed within the organization. An important addition to these control methods is the human management approach. In an organization, it is important that a healthy relationship between management and personnel is maintained in order to ensure support and commitment among the members of an organization (Scott, 2004, p.3). One way of effectively controlling the organization is to combine all these elements in order to create a more dynamic and comprehensive control strategy.
Organizational effectiveness is one of the most important attribute that is being sought after by most organizations. For the same reason, organizational studies have focused on developing theoretical frameworks in order to guide organizations in achieving this condition. The problem with organizational effectiveness theories, however, is not in its lack of usable information, but rather in its plethora of concepts. The overabundance of theoretical frameworks for measuring organizational effectiveness, for instance, may cause more confusion rather than help direct an organization towards this end. Some scholars, for instance, observed that organizational effectiveness theories sometimes lack parsimony and coherence while others are quite vague for practical application. Nevertheless, it is still important for an organization, specifically for a Criminal Justice Organization, to adopt a conceptual framework to serve as a guide in measuring organizational effectiveness.
Ashraf, G., & Kadir, S. (2012). A Review on the Models of Organizational Effectiveness: A Look at Cameron's Model in Higher Education . Retrieved February 2016, from http://www.ccsenet.org/: http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ies/article/viewFile/12729/10623
Forbes, M., & Lynn, L. (2007). Governance and Organizational Effectiveness: Toward a Theory of Government Performance . Retrieved February 2016, from http://www.pmranet.org/: http://www.pmranet.org/conferences/AZU2007/ArizonaPapers/Forbes_%26_Lynn_2007.pdf
Scott, R. (2004). Reflections On A Half-Century Of Organizational Sociology. Retrieved February 2016, from http://mario.gsia.cmu.edu/: http://mario.gsia.cmu.edu/micro_2007/readings/scott_annurev.soc.30.012703.pdf
Slaper, T. (n.d.). The Triple Bottom Line: What Is It and How Does It Work? Retrieved February 2016, from http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/: http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2011/spring/article2.html
The National Center for Victims of Crime. (2012). The Criminal Justice System. Retrieved February 2016, from www.victimsofcrime.org: https://www.victimsofcrime.org/help-for-crime-victims/get-help-bulletins-for-crime-victims/the-criminal-justice-system