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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: SDDOT 2006 Organizational Health Assessment
Project Researcher: TJ Brown,
Project Manager: Terry Jorgensen
Research Period: 6/26/2006 - 2/28/2007
Status: Approved
Cost: $89,295.00

Problem Statement:The South Dakota Department of Transportation has initiated performance measurement to measure, track, and continuously improve the Departments performance at all levels. Performance measurement emphasizes four "key measurement areas": customer satisfaction, organizational health, business improvement, and finance. Each work team in the Department has developed performance measures related to business improvement and finance, but customer satisfaction and organizational health are measured by coordinated, Department-wide efforts.

The term "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 composition

  • management skills

  • management philosophy

  • reward and recognition

  • common purpose among all staff levels

  • prevailing economic climate.

  • The Department performed its first four organizational health assessments in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004, respectively. In each case, researchers conducted focus groups to identify issues of concern to employees, then developed and distributed a confidential survey to every permanent employee. The most recent survey included an electronic and paper version. Survey results were analyzed to identify domains of organizational strength, operational capability, or concern. The findings have significantly influenced the Departments policies and actions, including development and execution of its 2001-2006 Strategic Plans. Research is needed to reassess the Departments organizational health, to determine how effective actions have been in responding to past assessments, and to identify additional practical opportunities for improvement.

    Findings: The technical panel believes that this assessment provides valuable information and insights on what is important to the department's employees. Organizational Health Assessments should continue at regular intervals in the future.

    Research Objectives:
    1  To measure the Department of Transportation's employees' perceptions and level of satisfaction regarding organizational health.
    2  To identify the Department of Transportation's organizational strengths and weaknesses.
    3  To evaluate progress in improving the Department's organizational culture, through comparison between the current assessment and baseline measurements of earlier assessments.
    4  To recommend specific actions that the Department can take to achieve its strategic goals and improve its organizational health.
    5  To refine a survey instrument and process that can be used to periodically assess the Department's organizational health.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Critically review results and methodology of the Department of Transportation's first four organizational health assessments and similar assessments performed by similar public agencies.
    2  Meet with the project's technical panel to review project scope and work plan.
    3  Conduct individual or group interviews or focus groups with Department employees to identify issues and concerns about organizational health that should be quantitatively assessed through a Department-wide survey.
    4  Submit for the technical panel's review a technical memorandum summarizing results of the previous tasks and a draft survey instrument for a Department-wide survey.
    5  Conduct a confidential Department-wide survey using the survey instrument revised in accordance with the technical panel's review comments.
    6  Analyze the results of the survey on a Department-wide basis and by significant category such as organizational unit and employee classification. At a minimum, analysis should be performed Department-wide, by central office division and program, by g
    7  Compare results of the survey with results obtained in the Department's earlier organizational health assessments to identify significant changes and trends and to assess the effectiveness of the Department's attempts to improve organizational health
    8  Submit to the project's technical panel a technical memorandum that summarizes results, identifies key issues and improvement opportunities, and proposes workshops with distinct employee groups to explore the issues' root causes and potential solutio
    9  Upon concurrence of the technical panel, conduct workshops with distinct groups of employees and supervisors to explore the key issues' root causes and potential solutions.
    10  Conduct a workshop with the Department's Executive Team to present results and initiate the process of addressing organizational health concerns in the Department's Strategic Plan.
    11  Prepare a revised survey instrument and recommendations for its use in future organizational health assessments.
    12  Conduct workshops in the four regional offices for all supervisors and managers to discuss results, conclusions, and recommendations.
    13  Prepare a final report, executive summary, and a two-page brochure summarizing the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
    14  06/Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:
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