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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: SDDOT Organizational Health Assessment
Project Researcher: Stephen Tracy, USD
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: 2/1/1998 - 6/30/1998
Cost: $45,000.00

Problem Statement:The South Dakota Department of Transportation has initiated performance measurement to measure, track and improve the Departments performance at all levels. The system emphasizes five "key measurement areas": cost, timeliness, rework, customer satisfaction, and organizational health. For the first three key measurement areas, each work team within the Department will develop performance measures that they will measure themselves, but customer satisfaction and organizational health are to be measured by a coordinated, Department-wide effort. The Department completed its first customer satisfaction study during the summer of 1997, but it has not yet assessed organizational health.

Within the context of performance measurement, organizational health refers to the Departments ability to accomplish its mission now and in the foreseeable future. Organizational health depends on many factors that affect employees, including:

  • communication

  • staff morale

  • understanding of policies

  • work environment

  • staff competency

  • awareness of mission

  • work force stability

  • cooperation

  • training and professional development

  • work force demographics

  • management skills

  • Research is needed to qualitatively and quantitatively assess the Departments organizational health, so the Department can focus attention on areas needing improvement. The qualitative assessment should be based on information gained through discussions and interviews of Department staff. The quantitative assessment should be based upon a Department-wide survey of the 900 employees located in its central office, four region offices and twelve area offices, and should establish a baseline against which effects of future organizational changes can be measured.


    Research Objectives:
    1  To measure the Department of Transportation’s employees’ perceptions and level of satisfaction regarding organizational health. Analysis should be performed Department-wide, by central office division and field office region, and by general position
    2  To identify the Department of Transportation’s organizational strengths and weaknesses.
    3  To establish baseline measurements of organizational health to which subsequent assessments can be compared.
    4  To create a survey instrument that can be used to periodically assess the Department’s organizational health.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Meet with the project’s technical panel to review project scope and work plan.
    2  Review literature and the experience of several comparable organizations, including some state transportation departments, to learn how they have conducted organizational health assessments and have acted upon their findings.
    3  Conduct individual or group interviews or focus groups with Department employees to identify key issues that should be quantitatively assessed through a Department-wide survey.
    4  Submit for the technical panel’s review: a) a technical memorandum summarizing results of the first four tasks; and b) a draft survey instrument for a Department-wide survey.
    5  Conduct a Department-wide survey using the survey instrument revised in accordance with the technical panel’s review comments.
    6  Evaluate the results of the survey on a Department-wide basis, and by significant category such as organizational unit and general employee classification.
    7  Prepare a revised survey instrument and recommendations for using it in future assessments of organizational health.
    8  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the literature review, research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    9  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:
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