The department of Electrical/Electronics and Aerospace Engineering, as part of the School of Technology of Springfield College has clear notions regarding first-order stakeholders and their requirements. The position of second-order and other stakeholders may not be entirely clear to the entire team and there may be opportunities for improvements. There are harmonised quality standards in place, which meet stakeholder’s requirements but further improvements should be implemented for the benefit of all stakeholders. Continuous improvement and change are generally promoted within the department but the current culture may not support these to the highest standard possible.
This assignment aims to analyse and discuss the meeting of stakeholder requirements to agreed quality standards and seeking improvements, applied to a chosen organisation, i.e. Springfield College – School of Technology (E/E, Aerospace). The report will attempt to examine three main parts, namely, identifying stakeholders and their requirements, applying and improving quality standards, and promoting continuous improvement and change. Each of these will be presented as a task with additional sub-headings to meet the assessed learning outcomes, e.g. Task 1 – 1.1, 1.2, etc. The report will be of academic nature rather than attempting to provide a narrative. Therefore the focus will lie on critique, analysis and opinion, supported by academic theory.
It will also question the processes, benefits and values of methodology adopted by the chosen organisation, underpinned by relevant theory. In part one, the report will discuss who the stakeholders are and their expectations, how the organisation meets them, how these are communicated internally, and what processes for up to date information are in place. Part two will discuss the meaning of quality in the organisation, what organisational quality policies and procedures are in place, how teams are encouraged to improve quality, and what improvements could be made. Part three, will discuss needs for continuous improvement, assess work activities and identify areas for improvement, and discuss how to teams can contribute ideas for continual improvement. Sources of information will be referenced and citations will be used in the report.
Task 1 (Be able to identify stakeholders and their requirements) (1.1 Determine organisational stakeholders and their expectations) There are a number of stakeholders attached to the department of Electrical/Electronics and Aerospace, which could be divided into first-order, second order, and other stakeholders, i.e. learners, employers and the local community plus local industry being first-order stakeholders. Second-order stakeholders include teaching staff, college leadership, middle management, awarding bodies, and quality departments. Other stakeholders may include OFSTED, suppliers, admin and support departments, contractors and others. Appendix 1 (Figure 2) shows a stakeholder map of the department. Boddy (2002) divides stakeholders into levels of interest versus levels of power, which is called the power/interest matrix.
This tool of analysis applied to the department discussed would suggest that learners, employers, and the local community/industry form the key players; Awarding bodies, OFSTED and QA departments should be kept satisfied, admin and other internal stakeholder should be kept informed and suppliers, contractors and others would fall into the minimal effort category. This leaves teaching staff in a special category, as they support all stakeholders without necessarily interest or power for themselves. However, in terms of delivery, they are key players. The expectations of stakeholders vary and first and foremost are learners with the expectation of receiving education and qualifications. Employers expect trained apprentices and access to potential qualified employees with good skills, and as they have a choice of provider, they also have power. Figure 1 shows a stakeholder matrix, applied to the department. 1.2 Discuss methods of meeting stakeholder expectations or requirements
The methods of meeting expectations of stakeholder requirements range from planning, preparing and communicating to assuring, supporting, and certifying. There are however external, as well as internal factors that affect the operating environment. This means that some are controllable (internal, e.g. staff training, technology updates) and some are uncontrollable (external, e.g. government, economy, unemployment, etc.). Consequentially, there a different methods of responding to stakeholder’s needs, according to the environments. For example, technology advances rapidly and learners get used to being able to access all aspects of their course online. Therefore, departments need to plan their future technology capacity. This is where an external factor influences the internal environment, and a weakness can be turned into a strenght by investing in technology.
Figure 1 – Stakeholder Matrix of the Electrical/Aero Department at Springfield College
Therefore, conducting a stakeholder analysis should highlight and prioritise the focus needed to satisfy each stakeholder’s needs. Methods of achieving this can include direct supervision, standardizing inputs and outputs, defining hierarchies (e.g. first and second line support), setting of rules and procedures, and establishing harmonized information systems, such as central databases. 1.3 Identify methods of communicating stakeholders’ requirements with team members
Regular team meetings, all staff meetings, training events, stakeholder polls and evaluations, newsletters, emails, memorandums, site visits, open forums, internal blogs and information sharing activities can all contribute to communicating stakeholder’s needs to team members. Effective communication is key for this, as is a conducive culture, e.g. a culture that shares information willingly amongst team members, rather than keep it hidden. 1.4 Explain processes for updating information on stakeholder requirements
As described in 1.3, effective communication is key and the list of methods aids the updating process of responding to changing stakeholder needs. For example, a company that has a number of apprentices in training with Springfield requires more training for multi-skilling their staff. In this case regular meeting, email communiques, and standardised channels of communication should ensure that this need be fullfilled effectively and timely.
Task 2 (Be able to apply and improve quality standards)
2.1 Discuss the meaning of quality to an organisation
Johnson and Scholes (2002) put forward the notion that quality is important in the improvement of profit performance – for Springfield achievements mean profit/funding. The best situation appears to be a combination of high share and high product, or service quality, but even organisations with low market shares demonstrate significantly higher profit performance (or achievement rates) if they have offerings of superior quality. In this sense, quality can be a partial substitute for market share in sustaining advantage. For many organisations in the 1990s TQM (Total Quality Management) became the number one concern in terms of productivity as it often supported team-based structures as opposed to merely work-based structures. Team-based structures attempt to combine both horizontal and vertical co-ordination through cross-functionality. Some teams would develop, design, support customers, and research new knowledge and hence build around business processes. This leads to empowerment and increased feeling of responsibility, putting staff at the centre of producing quality out of self-determination. In theory this would create a TQM culture, which would benefit the entire organisation.