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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: SDDOT Organizational Health Assessment 2000
Project Researcher: Stephen Tracy, USD
Project Manager: Dave Huft
Research Period: 2/14/2000 - 10/31/2000
Cost: $50,000.00

Problem Statement: The South Dakota Department of Transportation has initiated performance measurement to measure, track, and improve the Department's performance at all levels. Performance measurement emphasizes five "key measurement areas": cost, timeliness, rework, customer satisfaction, and organizational health. Each work team within the Department has developed performance measures for the first three key measurement areas, but customer satisfaction and organizational health have been measured by coordinated, Department-wide efforts.

The term "organizational health" refers to the Department's ability to accomplish its mission now and in the foreseeable future. Organizational health depends on many factors that affect employees, including:

  1. communication

  2. staff morale

  3. understanding of policies< / li>

  4. work environment< / li>

  5. staff competency< / li>

  6. awareness of mission< / li>

  7. work force stability< / li>

  8. cooperation< / li>

  9. training and professional development< / li>

  10. work force demographics< / li>

  11. management skills< / li>

The Department performed its first organizational health assessment in 1998. Researchers first used focus groups to identify issues of concern to employees, and to help develop a confidential survey that was later distributed to every permanent employee. Analysis of survey results showed that, on average, the Department scored in the "concern" range for every category or "domain" of organizational health characteristics. Only occasionally did the responses of individual offices or categories of employees score in "operational" or "strength" ranges.

After completion of the first assessment, Department managers initiated various actions to address identified concerns. Research is needed to reassess organizational health, and to determine whether it has improved in the past two years.

Findings: The concept of organizational health is defined with respect to an organization's ability to achieve its goals now and into the future. A healthy organization is well situated to face the day-to-day and long-term demands of its mission. An unhealthy organization is functionally and often operationally challenged. South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) has a clearly defined set of competencies and routines, and management can use these as a solid foundation directed at achieving the Department’s mission. Good organizational health requires employees to be motivated and committed to their jobs. This study looked at the SDDOT in three different ways in order to develop an understanding of the motivation and commitment of the Department’s employees. First, Focus Groups were utilized to gain a broad-based feel for the issues and perception differences, if any, between the different groups (Non-Supervisors, Supervisors and Executive Team). Second, the Organizational Health Assessment (OHA) survey was administered and analyzed to look more in-depth at demographic differences between respondent groups. At the same time, this survey permitted us to confirm or refute the information supplied in the Focus Group sessions. Finally, workshops were held with Supervisors and Non-Supervisors for the purpose of reviewing and discussing the findings and potential solutions to the any major issues facing the SDDOT in the upcoming year. The Focus Groups confirmed that the Executive Team did indeed take actions in the last two years on some issues. Several issues that are a priority for the upcoming year include communication, wages, retention of employees, maintaining the transportation system, efficiency, more staff, and pleasing the public. The survey results showed that the SDDOT is growing and that the overall employee job satisfaction within the Department is improving. Safety and Efficiency, Work Schedule, and Communications represent the area of greatest improvement.

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 geographical region, and by general position
2  To identify the Department of Transportation’s organizational strengths and weaknesses.
3  To evaluate progress in making desired changes in the Department’s organizational culture, through comparison between the current assessment and baseline measurements of the first assessment.
4  To refine 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 results of the Department of Transportation’s first organizational health assessment, and conduct individual or group interviews or focus groups with Department employees, to identify issues and concerns about organizational health that should
3  Submit for the technical panel’s review a technical memorandum summarizing results of the first two tasks and a draft survey instrument for a Department-wide survey.
4  Conduct a Department-wide survey using the survey instrument revised in accordance with the technical panel’s review comments.
5  Evaluate results of the survey on a Department-wide basis, and by significant category such as organizational unit and employee classification.
6  Compare results of the survey with baseline results obtained in the Department of Transportation’s first organizational health assessment to identify significant changes.
7  Evaluate workforce demographics and other data available from the Department’s personnel system to identify significant factors contributing to organizational health.
8  Conduct workshops with supervisors from each of the Department’s four regions and central office to present results and solicit suggestions for improving organizational health.
9  Prepare a revised survey instrument and recommendations for its use in future organizational health assessments.
10  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
11  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

Documents Available:

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