In every organization, whether private or public, managers would often encounter problems. These problems and challenges act as a barrier to effective management in the public sector. They impede the quality of service delivery and quality of work life in government. The barriers are aligned to issues such as resources, task organization, technology, priorities, and personnel. Such problems do arise in the areas of authority. This implies that solutions to such challenges are more or less within the powers of the managers. In public organizations, the extent of their independence is low compared to the private organizations . Therefore, public organizations may have the ability to gain support from other organizations when it comes to reducing the effect of the management barriers . However, for private organization, this may be a challenge considering the fact that they are fully independent with minimum support from other organizations . This paper highlights on the barriers for effective management of public organizations while making comparisons with private organizations and makes recommendations on how to improve the management and work life within the public organizations.
Routine managerial tasks have consequences relating to decision made in the process. Such kind of a problem mainly affects the government offices . For instance, within the Citizenship and Immigration Services, managers decided to shift staff from one function to a busier function hoping to solve the problem witnessed in the busier area . However, the time used to serve people within the heavy burden area increased dramatically instead of reducing . Another example is the case NASA in 2003, where the staff ignored several procedures and checks for moving a spacecraft as a result this lead to collapse of a cart when a spacecraft was loaded on to it and damages worth 200 million dollars were caused .
Therefore mismanagement of routine tasks can be a huge barrier to public administration . It ranges from simple things such as lost time to finishing an assignment to complex and big situations such as wastage of public resources and failure to follow procedures and rules .
The other challenge and barrier to management of public organization is that sometimes situations may occur that are way out of the formal authority of the managers . Confronting such situations may be of a problem to managers. It may require managers to extend cooperation to other officers who may have different priorities and interests. By sharing the information with other officers, the managers are able to gain a full understanding of the situation . For instance, sometimes it may require the cooperation of officers from different departments and jurisdiction just to be able to handle a situation of the described nature . For instance, during the occurrence of hurricane Katrina, there were so many issues beyond the authorities of FEMA, the military, the department of homeland security. It therefore required the cooperation of many agencies local, state and federal agencies to work together in response to the situation .
The other barrier is when a manager is confronted with a situation where he or she has to satisfy the demands of powerful individuals in government . The interference from above can lead to managers making decisions influenced by powerful political leaders in office . This also means that the manager may sometimes be forced to bend the rules and not act according to the requirements. The influence can occur either within the public agency or outside the agency. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency may come up with a policy to clean up pollutants within an ecosystem. Such a recommendation may not be favoring a private company. Such an issue may involve policy makers, legislatures, and the court in order to be resolved. The court may choose to go the way of the private company. This may affect proper management of the public agency. Compared to public organizations, private organization may not be faced with such kind of legal and political situations. Public management is generally influenced by political incentives. Public organizations are a direct product of legal authority. Such a barrier can be handled with making public organizations independent from outside influence. This has to do with policies that support the independent nature of public organizations.
Unlike in private organization, public agencies have a problem of leaking information to the media . A manager may get to learn about serious scandals happening in their authority through the media . Often than not, the subordinate staff members would be responsible for such information leakage. Public organizations are subjected to investigation according to the freedom of information act. During such investigations, public organizations have no authority to caution their employees from revealing any information about the organization.
Workers are free to state anything they feel is not right . This may however not be the case in private organizations as employees and subordinates can be lured into silence for the sake of public relations. In the national zoo in Washington DC, for example, the death of one zebra was blown into the media and created a series of allegation that damaged the reputation of the internal management of the organization. Eventually the manager of the zoo had to resign to create room for further investigation.
Improving the quality of management and work life in government can be achieved through several ways. Improvement of quality in work life and management of government organizations is important since it helps to trim cost, improve the cash flow while at the same time delivery of services will be excellent . The managers have to continuously challenge their departments to increase efficiency and uphold quality of service at all time. The manager has a role in initiating efficiency in the organization . The manager also plays a role in inspiring the other workers so as to improve the quality of service delivery. Through the leadership style that the manager uses, it is possible to improve the work life in government organizations.
Managers can also use groping along as a strategy for improving the quality of management and work life in government. It is required that managers have a clear sense of the vision and mission their agencies. Groping a long implies that the manager may not be able to effectively plan at the beginning of an experience. They have to grope along. There are new tasks that managers will have to face in the process of leading the agency. The new tasks may come with their own cultural, political and organizational twist posing a challenge for the manager. As a result, the manager will be required to try out the things that work and also determine the things that do not work.
For instance, according to Warrock (1988), the department of child and family services, used to have a situation where it was hard to find black parent adopting children. Adoption was encouraged at that time as a means of reducing cases of child abuse and neglect. As result, the organization also had problems with staff members who were unwilling to adapt to change of the way things were done in the organization. The managers at the moment introduced several strategies that were helpful to motivate the workers and accept the changes being proposed. At the same time, the organization partnered with local community churches in order to encourage people to adopt children as a strategy for reducing cases of child abuse and neglect. This move improved the overall performance of the department of child and family services especially in the African American community regions. All these took place in the 80s when the number of children in foster homes and care units were growing at an unmanageable rate. However, by 1982, children had begun moving from the foster care units into families. This was a good indication of effective management of public agency.
Also according to the case of Ekins and the family learning center, effective management can improve the work life of an organization in the public sector . First of all, Ekins started the organization that pretty much serves the public in her area . She bases the organization on research and evidence to support the mission. She actually had to visit states departments just to get statistical data on the societal problem that she wanted to solve. Teenage pregnancies in the rural areas were a growing problem. This is an indication that for a leader to be effective, they have to be informed and updated.
The young mothers would drop out of school, be forced into early marriages or even put their babies up for adoption . As a manager, she was able to work hard and ensure that her private organization gets the much needed support from other agencies and organizations . For instance, she was able to get sponsorship for the young mothers through local philanthropic groups. As a manager she was also able to keep track of all the issues that might affect the organization in one way or another .
The governor Riley case indicates good quality and style of leadership that would help improve an organization. According to the case, a good leader must set good examples for the staff members while working together as a team with all the staff members. A good leader will not tolerate a sense of ambiguity in his or her purpose as a leader. Every single and little detail that happens within the organization has to have the attention of its leader. In this way, the leader will always be aware and be informed of everything that is happening in the organization. Being attentive to details will also help the leader be able to make good and rightful decisions . This can be attested to using the case of Ekins. She always kept track of every issue that might affect her organization. She was always updated on the any piece information that she needed to know as a leader.
Trusting people is a good quality that managers are required to have. This means that a manager can be able to delegate duties and authority to the subordinates. At the same time, a good manager is able to determine the things that can be done and focus all the energy and attention to ensure that they are done. According to the case of Mayor Goldsmith, business competition in Indianapolis was something that had to be done. Competition, according to him was the perfect solution to lowering cost. If one player is left in the market to monopolize and control the market, it is possible for the player to dictate the prices and very little can be done about it . However, if there is competition, prices will always be controlled by the competitive nature of the market without allowing the government to regulate or do price control . As a leader, Goldsmith was able to encourage competition in Indianapolis especially in the private sector in order to give citizens wider options .
Leaders must also be able to integrate multiple perspectives when approaching an issue. In the one church one child cases, the manager of the department of child and family services was able to bring on board several people of different ethnicity in order to create diverse perspective. The staff members also had to be mixed with people from various ethnic communities in order to create a balance of ethnicity. This helped to increase the motivation of the staff members. Leaders must know how to deal and cope with protest. Firstly, the leader has to gather enough information and facts from both sides of the argument. An organizational leader may not lose the sense of control when it comes to values, decisions, and meetings . Therefore every time there is a protest the control of a leader in on these three issues have to be established. Having control helps the leader be able to act decisively.
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