I have just taken command of the Sunny Grove police department. The department is riddled with various organizational issues ranging from theft to poor records management. I am responsible for leading a vigorous turn-around within the organizational culture and transforming the department from its currently underperforming state of operations to a respected department within the state in minimum time.
There is a list of issues the Sunny Grove Police Department (SGPD) has suffered from under its previous leadership. Among the list of issues includes a lack of ethical behavior, poor organizational control, and a seemingly absent set of enforced disciplinary measures. Quality control measures seem to be lacking department wide, and if they are present, they certainly have not been enforced with the rigor and swiftness they ought to be. These problems have created a lax, seemingly care-free organizational culture within the department which is made evident by the poor overall performance of the SGPD when racked-and-stacked amongst other police departments in the state. While impossible to list all the underlying problems occurring within the SGPD in the case report, it is probably very safe to assume that this is department in near shambles and it will require some extreme measures to get it operating back within acceptable parameters.
INSTITUTING BUREAUCRATIC CONTROLS
When bureaucratic-type controls are overused, they can have a tendency to weight the organization down, slowing productivity, and hindering effectiveness. Depending on the type of organization, instituting bureaucratic controls outside of the basic company policies and standard operating procedures can be quite a detriment; however, in organizations such as a Police Department, such controls are necessary to maintain good order as well as safe and effective operations. The term “bureaucratic” itself implies regulation and it’s the first thing we think of when we think of a governmental agency. A Police Department is no Pixar Animation Studios—creative thinking on a whim can have serious implications to the justice system in general and so formal rules and standards must be implemented and strictly adhered to.
It’s obvious that whatever the rules, regulations, and policies are for the SGPD, they aren’t being followed to the degree they need to be. This could be attributed to a number of reasons: quality control policies don’t exist; rules, regulations, and polices are not being enforced or are not known; rules, regulations, and policies exist but are inadequate; senior management has failed to properly convey the policies as well as the importance of having them; and information reporting systems are inadequate or ineffective. Without having more detailed information from the case study, I’d have to assume only that many if not all of these attributes are causal for the current state of affairs within the department.
Rules and regulations must have been pre-existing, especially for a governmental agency. Special department created policies may also have been pre-existing but perhaps they were either insufficient or lacked the depth and scope required. In any case, I have to assume the regulations were both known by management and employee, and that there isn’t question as what those regulations are. As a governmental agency, these rules and regulations define the industry within which the agency exists in the first place. My role will not be to create bureaucratic regulations with the exception of perhaps evaluating internal policies for effectiveness and maybe creating a few new ones to help bring certain practices through a more closely watched quality control “checks-and-balances” process.
Instead, my role will be to undergo an intensive control cycle quality check within all the various departments inside the SGPD. Setting the standards for performance and ensuring those standards are well communicated. Each department will undergo a rigorous initial performance review and analysis and later evaluated to determine effectiveness. From here, the necessary steps will include correcting errors as well as areas of deficient performance. Discipline is clearly an issue within the SGPD and so disciplinary action for failing to meet the instituted standards will finally be enforced. Those not meeting expectations must be dealt with in an appropriate manner, even if it includes termination.
In addition, it will be critically important for me to create a climate which encourages the sharing of feedback both up and down the chain of command within the department. Strengthening the mutual respect between members of the SGPD will play a large role in helping to turn around the present culture. Changing the culture of an organization is not an easy task, and this control cycle will have to be revisited frequently until the culture returns to acceptable norms and then the pressure can be reduced slightly.
INSTITUTING MARKET CONTROLS
Market controls in general have no place within the SGPD with the exception of looking at the “market” as the high crime areas within the jurisdiction of the department. Crime in itself is market driven in the traditional sense of supply and demand. To reduce the supply, you have to reduce the demand. Statistical data should show the areas within the SGPD jurisdiction which can be considered high crime areas. A more hand’s on approach to collecting and evaluating this data can lead to a change in how the SGPD does business. An obvious way to reduce demand, is for the SGPD to be more present in those areas—being more involved within those communities, strengthening ties, and increasing patrols will help reduce demand. These types of market controls will help improve the performance of the SGPD, and if controls of this nature are not already in place, this is certainly an area I would be quick to implement change in.
INSTITUTING CLAN CONTROLS
While heavy bureaucratic controls will be the way of life for any governmental agency, it is important to not neglect the “human relations” aspect of management. Especially true for this particular police department where the culture is struggling, it will be very necessary to connect organizational values to every day tasks. Creating a vision that is shared among the entire department and frequently revisiting that vision will help to cement expectations, beliefs, and values. Obviously, communication is a key component of directing change and it will be vital to continuously stress those things that are important to the success of the organization so that focus is never lost and confusion is never a component.