Apply Modeling and Measurements to Track and Improve Capacity
OLB 7002, Assignment 7
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Michael J. Kranzusch
24 September 2017
Organizations of all varieties are interested in increasing organizational capacity, and interest in and attention to the idea of “organizational capacity” has steadily increased in recent decades (Carrigan, 2011). Every organization exists for a unique purpose, and organizational capacity has to do with how well or poorly an organization is fulfilling its purpose (Carrigan, 2011). This paper, therefore, is a look at applying modeling and measurements to track and increase the organizational capacity of Columbus Christian Academy. Steps and methodologies have been gathered from current literature on the subject and applied to our organization in its context.
Develop a Vision
Mitchell Brown, an associate professor of political science at Auburn University, lays out the framework for how organizations can begin to examine and increase their capacity for production. She says that the “first step in laying the groundwork for establishing organizational capacity is the ability to develop a vision or legacy” (Brown, 2012). Furthermore, she suggests that “appropriate planning, evaluation, and commitment of key allies” can ensure sustainability and increase organizational capacity. These steps will provide the framework for analysis of Columbus Christian Academy and our present capacity and ability to increase organizational capacity going forward.
In these initial steps, Columbus Christian Academy has established an organizational vision. This vision is to provide the highest quality, affordable Christian education to families in Columbus County, North Carolina. Public schools in Columbus County are consistently ranked among the lowest in the state for standardized test scores, and thus Columbus Christian Academy exists as not only a private alternative to public education, but also exists to instill Christian values in the children and families who attend.
As this relates to organizational capacity, we need to create a metric by which we can assess how well we are or are not fulfilling that vision in our current state. Are our faculty all aiming at that same target? Is our curriculum fulfilling that vision? How well do parents of our students understand our vision? These measures of modeling may well lead us to the next metric: assessing our internal organizational health.
In interviewing Ann Hammond, Executive Director of the Lexington (KY) Public Library, Carrigan (2011) illuminated the need for organizations to be internally healthy and focused before they can shift their focus and resources to their community and its needs. As measurements are created and put in place to track our vision fulfillment, the first area of assessment will likely be our internal health. For example, are our physical resources aligned to vision fulfillment? On what is our money being spent, and is there a better and healthier way to spend our money?
As a non-profit organization, the only outside funding sources are those which we pursue. Therefore, it may behoove us to “pitch” our vision to outside funding sources, highlighting the strides we have made in recent years as well as our pathways for the future. We could show them how their investment in Columbus Christian Academy will reap rewards by allowing us to make some much needed internal changes – such as hiring more specialized staff or upgrading existing technologies – which will benefit our community. There are certainly internal areas where improvements could be made, and making those improvements will not only increase our existing capacity, but also strategically shift our focus to the community and their surrounding needs. As this has paid dividends for the Lexington Public Library (Carrigan, 2011), it will likely do the same for us.
Policies to Prioritize Needs
Altendorfer (2015) studied the impact that organizational policies on prioritizing and meeting needs has on organizational capacity. When policies exist which allow the organization to systematically and objectively focus on meeting higher priority needs, the ability to respond appropriately improves as does the efficient use of resources. Inevitably, the result of such policies is an increase in organizational capacity. Like Altendorfer, Preston (2015) also examined the effects of a standardized, systematic methodology on organizational capacity. Preston concluded that organizations who develop and implement a systematic analysis of their capabilities will see “critical resources and capital used more effectively to reduce operating costs and improve delivery performance”.
Columbus Christian Academy has no modeling, measurement or policies which outline those needs that are high, medium or low priority. There are presently no systems in place which align needs that must be met to vision fulfillment, and thus much organizational capacity is either underutilized or neglected entirely. Consequently, each need is weighted equally and valuable resources and energy are expended on needs which are not contributing to our mission and vision; everything for us is “triage”.
We must spend the time necessary to create systems which assign weight and values to our organizational priorities. For example, it must be a priority for us to increasingly invest in resources which prepare our high school students for college or training to enter into the workforce. This may require hiring a “counselor” who specifically focuses on serving as a liaison between our schools and others, or who can individually evaluate the needs of students and align their present classes with future goals. However, until this is identified as a high priority to the organization, it will continue to be treated with the same urgency as minor discipline problems in the classroom.
Once this and other organizational priorities are created, they can be included in material which is presented to the faculty and staff and accountability groups can be created to ensure that not only are these priorities being emphasized from the school board, but also amongst the staff with one another in existing relationships. These priorities should be placed within a shared drive which all the staff can access and update, and which the administration and school board have access to. This not only fosters accountability but also encouragement to those who are going “above and beyond” to meet these organizational priorities.
Hill (2016) wrote of the potential impact of technology on evaluating and increasing organizational capacity. Technology has developed to such a degree, Hill suggests, that capacity evaluation and planning can produce greater results than a traditional expert. “Automated predictive analytics can help you gain a competitive advantage by maintaining a balance between cost and performance”.
Once these other developments are in place – a vision, internal health, and the codifying of organizational priorities – a matrix can be developed which can not only provide present analysis of capacity but also provide future goal achievement based upon the current rate of goal completion. Technology is an area in which we need to invest more heavily, and the investment of such analytical software can and should be a priority for our present board and administration. Such technology should be employed to provide detailed and extremely precise data to the leaders of the organization which will allow them not only to analyze current capacity goals, but also to make adjustments in the present to allow for maximizing capacity in the future. In accomplishing this goal, an “ad hoc” committee should be formed and appointed by the school board to investigate such software employed in other schools. A recommendation should be made to the board regarding software purchase and implementation, with the stated goal of utilizing such technology to measure and track organizational capacity.
Cropley (2013) studied the idea of “organizational ingenuity” and its impact on organizational capacity. When organizations “have a map that identifies where the obstacles lie and when they are likely to occur”, their potential for organizational capacity increases. The creation of such a map for Columbus Christian Academy would be the result of vision refinement, defining of organizational priorities with timetables, and implementation of technology to provide predictive analytics on organizational capacity. When each of these strategies is utilized by the organization, a much clearer picture of obstacles and expected hurdles within a reasonable timeframe is likely to occur.
Columbus Christian Academy needs to take a dedicated planning weekend or retreat in which the creation of this map is accomplished. This map would not only provide a helpful structure in which to work to increase organizational capacity, but it would also get the creative juices of board members flowing which likely will positively contribute to “organizational ingenuity”. The fruit of such labor over an intensive weekend should be re-visited regularly to ensure that not only does such a map stay current and updated, but also that such organizational ingenuity is refreshed periodically.
Presently, there are no model or measurements in place for Columbus Christian Academy to track or increase organizational capacity. The potential is there for the implementation of every element discussed above, but nothing exists currently which serves as such a model or measuring stick.
It is my strong suspicion that much potential capacity is being grossly underutilized and much energy is being consumed on “non-priority” items. If priorities have not been defined by organizational leaders, then it would not be unreasonable to assume that this is the case. Perhaps there exists someone who is a subject matter expert in this field and who could help us get these models and measurements in place. It would be a wise investment for Columbus Christian Academy to hire a consultant to expedite this process and begin reaping the benefits of such work as quickly as possible. Once this is accomplished and agreed upon models or measurements are in place and regularly applied throughout the organization, we have every reason to believe that not only would we have a clearer and more accurate picture of our organizational capacity, but that we would being to see it increase as such models and measurements are used and analyzed at all levels.
Altendorfer, A. & Minner, S. (2015). “Influence of order acceptance policies on optimal capacity investment with stochastic customer required lead times”. European Journal of Operational Research, 243, 555-565. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Brown, M. (2012). “Enhancing and Measuring Organizational Capacity: Assessing the Results of U.S. Department of Justice Rural Pilot Program Evaluation”. Public Administration Review, 72(4), 506-515. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Carrigan, D.P. (2011). “Organizational Capacity and the Public Library: Featuring an Interview with Lexington (KY) Public Library Executive Director Ann Hammond”. Public Libraries, 54(3), 24-30. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Cropley, D.H., Cropley, A.J., Chiera, B.A., & Kaufman, J.C. (2013). “Diagnosing Organizational Innovation: Measuring the Capacity for Innovation”. Creativity Research Journal, 25(4), 388-396. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Hill, J. TeamQuest. (2016). How to Do Capacity Planning. Clear Lake, Iowa.
Preston, J. (2015). “Capacity analysis for better batch processing”. Industrial Engineer, 47(12), 36-40. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
Set Goals to Improve an Organization's Capacity
OLB 7002, Assignment 6
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Michael J. Kranzusch
17 September 2017
Introduction and Literature Review
Research has demonstrated the impact of effective leadership on organizational capacity. In particular, the role of leadership in crafting effective vision statements and setting realistic and attainable goals for the organization and its individuals is integral. Specificity in goal setting has proven to be more effective toward attainment than ambiguity. Specifying measurable and specific goals improves “performance as compared with more general ‘do your best’ requests” (Locke & Latham, 2002). In contrast, “effective vision statements tend to be relatively abstract, based on imagery, far-reaching, and timeless” and are “never fully achieved in practice” (Van Knippenberg & Stam, 2013).
Specific and measurable goals nested within a timeless vision are a combination which has proven to be instrumental in increasing organizational capacity. Goal setting theory has been well researched and several studies have concluded that improving the performance of those within the organization by the setting of goals is the most effective way to increase capacity. Such research has concluded that “setting goals is one promising way to improve workers’ performance” (Asmus, 2015). As organizational leaders seek to increase capacity, their ability to craft goals for their employees can serve as a powerful and effective tool in accomplishing this objective.
In combining both goals and strategy, Google is often recognized as one of the best examples of organizational alignment. While their vision is to organize the world’s information, they “delineate concrete ways and a clear timeline…about how to implement such ideas” (Berson, 2015). This combination of powerful vision casting and specific goal setting which aims at vision fulfillment has served to continually increase Google’s capacity and make them one of the largest and productive companies in the world.
Vision Casting and Goal Setting for Columbus Christian Academy
In constructing such a vision and setting goals for Columbus Christian Academy, deciding on a framework in which to operate is one of the most important decisions in this process. My recommendation, and the model which will be employed in this paper, is the 7S model. The 7S model is widely acknowledged as “one of the most useful frameworks ever developed for understanding an entire organization” (Spaho, 2014). The seven elements of this framework are strategy, structure, systems, staffing, skills, style, and shared values. In applying this framework, it is imperative to remember that application is best accomplished and rewarded in terms of increasing capacity when it is done with flexibility in a dynamic environment. Lindenberg (2016), for example, concluded that organizations which emphasize flexibility will likely increase capacity as they align expertise with responsibility as opposed to maintaining a fixed command structure regardless of individual abilities. Our operational environment is dynamic and constantly changes and fluctuates, and thus the implementation of these seven elements must be implemented with flexibility in mind.
Implementing the 7S Framework
Our strategy for vision-casting and goal setting must be two-fold: it must involve both the future-focused, imagination driven, over-arching picture of why we exist while also setting goals of various timelines and difficulties which contribute to the fulfillment of our vision. We must communicate why our Academy exists – which is to provide a Christian education of the highest quality while utilizing the most advanced methodologies – while setting planned, specific, measurable goals of how this is to be accomplished. These goals would include annual goals for students – such as educational trips and academic achievements – as well as the staff and organization – such as annual training, professional education, and budgetary goals. This strategy must include each of these elements if we are to increase organizational capacity.
The structure of Columbus Christian Academy also must be evaluated and flexibly adjusted as necessary. Presently, we have an academic faculty of fifteen, a support staff of five, a front office staff of two, an administrator, and a school board. The vision must come from the leadership of the school board and be communicated by the administrator. This vision, which is communicated repeatedly and reinforced as often as possible, is received by the staff at all levels and provides them with the “big picture” as they operate in their various roles daily. The administrator, within the structure, would also work with the staff in receiving input toward constructing weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals with and for them. As these and other broader staff meetings occur, the focus would be on the accomplishment of these goals and their unique and significant contribution to the fulfillment of the overall vision of Columbus Christian Academy.
Our systems have been a continual concern and focus of improvement over the last two years. Recently, we have developed an operations manual which outlines our systems as well as a student and employee handbook. While these have accomplished the purposes of providing objective systems and processes, they have yet to be evaluated for their potential to increase organizational capacity. In view of Lindenberg’s (2016) findings, a committee should be formed of individuals with expertise in these matters whose task it will be to evaluate these systems and make recommendations on how current systems can be improved in a manner which is likely to increase our organizational capacity.
While our staffing is sufficient in terms of number of personnel, it is lacking in terms of training and continuing professional education. This is the area which is most likely to allow for improvement and increase in organizational capacity. Staff members need to be required to attend certain events (training, seminars, classes, etc.) which will increase their professionalism and skill. This will not only increase their confidence and ability, but allow for specific goal creation and attainment. These goals will be aligned within the vision of the Academy and will serve to increase organizational capacity.
As our staffing and staff members improve, so will our individual and collective professional skills. The skills required for successful operation are diverse – from teaching to technological and from administrative to custodial – and yet each is significant and contributes to organizational capacity. Ultimately, each desired and needed skill set should be codified with flexible job descriptions which are clearly nested within the vision of the Academy. How the job description and skill set contributes to vision fulfillment and goal attainment should be delineated and communicated as clearly as possible. Within our systems, there should also be room for skill development as discussed in the previous paragraph. This aligns with Berson’s (2015) research regarding the importance of setting realistic and concrete goals nested within the vision of the organization.
Our organizational style is an area that has never been considered or explored, likely because it is the most intangible area of organizations within the 7S framework (Spaho, 2014). Recently, however, the idea of personality tests as a part of the hiring process has been discussed in view of creating a “style”, or climate, which is comprised of a team of intentionally selected personalities. When this becomes an institutional practice, the creation of a “style” should be also be created, communicated, and reinforced to the staff as often as possible. This removes the subjective interpretation of social norms within the organization and creates a style by which all abide. This also contributes to increasing organizational capacity as the work environment is designed and maintained for fostering the attainment of goals and fulfillment of vision as everyone works together.
Finally, the shared values of our Academy are an area which are in need of improvement in their dissemination, communication, and reinforcement to staff. While organizational values have been established, they have been intentionally linked to organizational decision-making, employee interaction, and production. While our shared values may be present in our literature, they are not embraced by employees, much less aligned with the setting of goals and overall contribution to the vision of the Academy. This is an area which, like staffing, is worthy of our attention and effort and which could greatly increase our organizational capacity as these values are embraced and embodied by our staff and become the filter through which goals are set and vision is realized.
Columbus Christian Academy does not currently have a framework for creating and evaluating goals and organizational vision. The 7S model presented in this paper has been proven to be an effective framework for such creation and evaluation. Columbus Christian Academy would be well served to implement this framework in constructing, or at least re-evaluating, their organizational mission and goals. This would allow for not only objective evaluation to take place, but it would also serve to foster employee development, create a professional and enjoyable work climate, and ultimately to increase organizational capacity. Each of these elements would allow Columbus Christian Academy to not only function more efficiently, but would also see them realize their vision as they work together toward achieving the goals which they establish for themselves.
Asmus, S., Karl, F., Mohnen, A., & Reinhart, G. (2015). “The impact of goal-setting on worker performance - empirical evidence from a real-effort production experiment”. Procedia CIRP, 26, 127-132. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
Berson, Y., Halevy, N., Shamir, B., & Erez, M. (2015). “Leading from different psychological distances: A construal-level perspective on vision communication, goal setting, and follower motivation”. The Leadership Quarterly, 26, 143-155. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
Lindenberg, S., & Foss, N. J. (2011). Managing Joint Production Motivation: The Role of Goal Framing and Governance Mechanisms. Academy Of Management Review, 36(3), 500. doi:10.5465/AMR.2011.61031808
Locke, E. & Latham, G. (2002). “Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey”. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705-717. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
Spaho, K. (2014). 7S MODEL AS A FRAMEWORK FOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT. Paper presented at the 450-464. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.ncu.edu/docview/1643367675?accountid=28180
Van Knippenberg, D. & Stam, D. (2013). Visionary Leadership. In D.V. Day (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Leadership & Organizations, New York: Oxford University Press.
Examine the Impact Leaders Have on an Organization's Capacity
OLB 7002, Assignment 5
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Michael J. Kranzusch
10 September 2017
Numerous studies have explored and examined the correlation between leadership and leadership styles and their effect on organizational capacity. Various theories have been proposed from case studies that have observed various leadership styles.
Doh & Quigley (2014) modeled a “stakeholder approach” which proposes that leaders can increase organizational capacity by investing in individuals within the organization psychologically and by contributing knowledge which will lead to positive outcomes. Similarly, one theory suggests that the “need for leadership succession planning” and the “limited training opportunities for managers” are at the forefront of leadership concerns for building organizational capacity (Austin, 2011). Based on this conclusion, Austin recommends a particular program for leaders to consider in increasing organizational capacity: the Managerial Leadership Training Program (MLTP). MLTP identifies four high-priority areas for skill development. These are leadership development, external relations, management capacities, and executive board relationship development (Austin, 2011).
Other theories and studies have highlighted the importance of self-assessment and evaluation as being critical to leadership development and its contribution to organizational capacity. Leaders who were courageous, for example, as defined by Henze, Norte, Sather, Walker, and Katz (2002) were those who “looked within themselves and honestly confronted their own biases and shortcomings”. Equally, one author notes that “embracing your strengths and appreciating others’ perceptions of you help you to be a better leader” (Jackson, 2011). In particular, two leadership style of transformational and transactional leadership have been examined in this regard. Leaders who utilize transformational leadership motivate their employees beyond personal interests and also act as role models for those employees (Davidson, 2003). Quintana, Park, & Cabrera (2014) also examined the effects of transactional leadership on a variety of organizational outcomes and concluded that it has a direct impact on employee satisfaction, extra effort, and employee effectiveness.
Implicit in this concept in the understanding by leaders of their unique style of leadership. One such tool, the leadership legacy assessment, assesses for leaders their “legacy style” of leadership. My own assessment revealed that my strongest style is a truth-seeker and my secondary style is a creative builder. According to this analysis, truth-seekers think in terms of fairness and must exercise judgment and objectivity. They always seek to level the playing field for those in need and are process-oriented equalizers in their field. Additionally, creative builders, which is my second strongest leadership characteristic, are visionaries and entrepreneurs. They are naturally inclined and gifted at taking ideas and bringing them to life.
Considering these theories and personal analysis, it would behoove Columbus Christian Academy for my primary involvement, from a leadership perspective, to create processes which will presently, and in the future, increase the capacity of the organization while concurrently serving to instill confidence in employees and volunteers as the leadership style of the truth-seeker brings unquestioned confidence and a high degree of objective equality to the organization.
Furthermore, organizational capacity would be increased as my role of leadership was focused on vision for the future and listening and developing ideas so that they may grow into realization. The legacy style for creative builders notes that they have the staying power to see ideas develop to fruition and maturity. Therefore, rather than being involved in the day-to-day administration of processes and procedures, organizational capacity would be increased if my primary role were focused on organizational mission and vision and creating processes to facilitate the appropriate implementation of that mission and vision. Time and space should also be created for talking and listening to employees and volunteers and their own ideas of increasing organizational capacity. The fairness and “level-headedness” of the truth seeker will provide the discernment necessary to decipher which ideas should be fostered and which should be disregarded. Allowing these roles to be my primary identity will provide the greatest opportunity for increased organizational capacity for Columbus Christian Academy.
Austin, M.J., Regan, K., Samples, M.W., Schwartz, S.L., & Carnochan, S. (2011). “Building Managerial and Organizational Capacity in Nonprofit Human Service Organizations Through a Leadership Development Program”. Administration in Social Work, 35:3, 258-281. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
Davidson, M. (2003). “Does organizational climate add to service quality in hotels?”. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 15:4, 206-213. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
Doh, J.P. & Quigley, N.R. (2014). “Responsible Leadersh and Stakeholder Management: Influence Pathways and Organizational Outcomes”. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 28:3, 255-274. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
Henze, R.C., Norte, E., Sather, S.E., Walker, E., Katz, A. (2002). Leading for Diversity: How school leaders promote positive interethnic relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Jackson, D.V. (2011). “Perception is Reality: Your Strengths Matter”. Journal of Leadership Education, 10(1), 155-122. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
Quintana, T.A., Park, S., & Cabrera, Y.A. (2014). “Assessing the Effects of Leadership Styles on Employees’ Outcomes in International Luxury Hotels”. Journal of Business Ethics, 129, 469-489. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
Summary of Recommendations for Columbus Christian Academy
Topic: Primary Role of Senior Pastor
Objective: Increasing Organizational Capacity
Currently, our organizational capacity is limited by virtue of the Senior Pastor having a role which is too broad and allows him to be spread too thin. Consequently, the organizational capacity of Columbus Christian Academy is limited due to his strengths not being maximized.
In order to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses, his role needs to be more narrowly defined and more specifically implemented. This detailed handout summarizes recommendations with concrete examples of how this is to be accomplished.
Recommendation #1: Senior Pastor creates processes to facilitate organizational capacity
Presently, processes are not given focused thought by someone who is inclined for and committed to organizational processes. By focusing this responsibility on the senior pastor, it not only places it within a leadership style gifted at such responsibilities, but it also increases organizational capacity by focusing it within one role. Our processes are not observed by all within the organization, which leads to organizational chaos and only decreases our capacity for producing our desired results.
Recommendation #2: Senior Pastor creates vision and mission to focus organizational capacity
Presently, vision and mission are lost in the day-to-day management of organizational operations. Vision and mission must be the filter through which operations are focused, and the leadership style of the Senior Pastor is currently suited to vision and mission creation and focusing. This will be accomplished through actively listening to employees and volunteers within the organization to justly and judiciously include input from those most directly affected by the focusing of a mission and vision. The day-to-day management of Columbus Christian will be largely delegated to someone whose leadership style is suited and gifted for such work so that the vision and mission becomes the driving forces of the organization rather than lost within the processes. This will serve not only to heighten organizational focus and awareness, but also to increase organizational capacity.
Evaluate the Utilization of Technology to Support and Build Capacity
OLB 7002, Assignment 4
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Michael J. Kranzusch
3 September 2017
Significance of Technology on Organizational Capacity
The influence of technology on a global scale in recent decades is undeniable. This influence extends to sectors of government, corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and every other segment of society which seeks to organize people and resources around a cause or business venture. The economy of Australia, for example, sustained staggering growth during the 1980’s and 1990’s and, in examining the contributing factors to this growth, it was concluded that the information technology revolution was “the major contributor to the productivity performance” for the country (Shahiduzzaman, 2014). The growth in productivity that resulted from this information technology revolution was made possible due to the fact that this technology increased the organizational capacity of the Australian government. Without increasing their capacity for growth, growth itself would never occur in productivity.
The advent and widespread use of the term “e-leadership” reinforces the significance of technology on organizational capacity. For example, an e-leadership survey conducted in 2011 concluded that leaders must develop "strong social networking skills, a global multi-cultural mindset, greater sensitivity toward followers' state of mind, and a 24x7 orientation" (Savolainen, 2014). For the modern leader and organization, e-leadership is a concept which must not and cannot be ignored, and this concept is a reality due to technology and its increasing role in the workplace.
Current Technological Issues
Our present technological standing at Columbus Christian Academy is in dire need of improvement. Though we have made strides in recent years in improving our technology, we are still significantly lacking in many areas. These shortcomings have a direct and negative impact on the ability of our organization to produce to its full capacity. While we have built and dedicated a technology center, the chrome book technology employed in that technology center is not being utilized to its full capacity. The computers themselves are due for an upgrade, as are the operating systems which students and faculty use on a regular basis. This impacts capacity and productivity, namely in the ability of our students to access, practice, and master the knowledge associated with technology which students in other schools and districts are accessing regularly. It has been poignantly observed that “the world is not only more globalized but also more knowledge intensive” (Technology Vision, 2016). Our current technological situation is preventing our school from seeing the full capacity and productivity reached both organizationally and in individual students as well.
Our technological shortcomings, while most pronounced and noticeable in the area of computers and operating systems utilized by students and faculty, are certainly not limited to those areas. No staff and faculty training has been conducted in the operation and implementation of existing technology. This lack of training has resulted in not only a shortcoming in organizational capacity, but an ignorance and negligence of technological advances by our faculty. As most of our faculty and staff have been employed for ten years or more, their professional skills with students and teaching are employed and maximized, but their skills are grossly underdeveloped in the area of technology. As with the issue of computers and operating systems in our technology center, the absence of staff and faculty training is preventing our school from seeing the full capacity and productivity reached both organizationally and in individual employees.
Recommendations to Utilize Technology to Improve Organizational Capacity
Information Technology can be utilized by organizations for three general purposes: cost reduction, revenue increases, or reducing costs and increasing revenues (Mithas, 2016). However, in our previous discussions of implementing new technology, we have only discussed the singular purpose of cost reduction. When we have discussed new technology in terms of computers and operating systems, the focus has always been on reducing the costs of curriculum, faculty, or even overhead costs of multiple classrooms. However, the employment and utilization of technology can also, as Mathis noted, be used to increase revenues while also reducing costs. In addressing that difference, Robert Carter, CIO of FedEx, contrasted the approach of FedEx to UPS by noting that, “We tend to focus slightly less on operational technology. We focus a little more on revenue-generating, customer-satisfaction-generating, strategic-advantage technology. The key focus of my job is driving technology that increases the top line.” (Colvin, 2006)
Like FedEx, I recommend that we shift our focus in utilizing and implementing technology strictly from a cost-saving measure to more of a revenue-generating measure: from a bottom line approach to a top line approach. While this will require initial investment in the form of new and upgraded technology, the result, if integrated deliberately and properly, will likely be increased revenues over time. As referenced earlier, the staggering and sustained growth of the Australian economy in the 1980’s and 1990’s was proven to be directly tied to their own revolution in information technology. There is reason to believe that this would be true for Columbus Christian Academy as well.
Currently, the computers in our technology center have a very limited capacity which, consequently, limits the capacity of the students using them. Furthermore, they also fail to adequately prepare our students for modern technology use outside of our classrooms. Our computers need to be equipped with technology that will be utilized in the modern workforce and in universities which they will attend after graduation. Therefore, I recommend that we allocate $50,000 in the annual budget for technology upgrades for the next school year. This will allow us to purchase 40 Intel Core i7 computers which come equipped with 8GB of memory of 1TB of hard drive space at a cost of $1,000 per computer. These computers, or others with similar capacity, far exceed our current technological capacity in graphic capabilities, hard drive space, and, most importantly, will prepare our students for the technological world which awaits them after high school. The remaining funds of $10,000 will be used to hire someone for thoroughly and properly training the students, staff, and faculty on the operation of these computers. This ensures that the potential capacity of the employment of this new technology is not squandered. If this technology can be utilized in this way, it can be marketed and advertised as an element of the overall educational experience at Columbus Christian Academy which would far exceed any competitor in the public or private realm in our area. This would serve as a “top line” investment which will, over time, increase revenue for the school by attracting new students and families.
This new technology can also serve as a “bottom line” investment as well in the area of staff and faculty training. Despite our recent improvements in information technology, our present faculty is grossly ill-equipped to integrate technology into their professional routine and environment. While this training is imperative, it should not be approached or attempted without first addressing the potential dangers of the integration of new technology into an established workforce.
The major problem related to implementation deals with the anticipated resistance from those faculty members who have not yet been forced to utilize technology over the course of their career. Studies have shown that the implementation of new technology, while providing cost and revenue benefits, can “challenge incumbents by destroying the value of their accumulated knowledge and skills in the old technologies” (Benner, 2007). The result of such actions is often that we would be “creating a performance gap between new entrants and old established firms” (Chun, 2015). Effectively, studies show that established employees would immediately struggle with new technologies with which newer employees would already be accustomed. The impact of this, as Benner notes, is the destruction of accumulated knowledge over the course of a career. Understandably, this change could temporarily, though drastically, impact the social and professional culture of the workforce. While this resistance should not prevent the implementation of new technologies, it should be discussed and understood thoroughly prior to implementation.
Our faculty and staff, if equipped with and trained on new technology, could provide numerous cost-saving measures to the organization, each of which increase its capacity for productivity. For example, faculty currently spend hours recording and averaging grades which are then handed to front office staff who spend hours inputting, printing, and distributing those grades. Collectively, these hours not only increase the costs of organizational operation, but also limit its production capacity, increasing the opportunity costs which do not show up on financial statements. If our faculty were equipped and trained with the proper technology, this entire process could be streamlined using technology which would save time and cost for the staff and involve fewer personnel in the process. The front office staff, for example, would have no need to be involved in the process of report cards if the grades could be uploaded digitally and accessed directly by the students and parents. This is one example of how equipping and training our faculty and staff could serve as a cost-saving measure while simultaneously increasing organizational capacity.
Columbus Christian Academy is in need of an information technology revolution akin to what took place in Australia in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This revolution would serve both to increase revenues and reduce costs, each of which positively contribute to organizational capacity. Presently, we are operating well below our full capacity in both individual and corporate measures. These steps, while requiring initial investment and adjustment, would serve to allow our school to grow and flourish in ways presently untapped.
Benner, M. (2007). “The incumbent discount: stock market categories and response to radical technological change”. Academy of Management Review, 32, 703-720. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Chun, H., Kim, J., & Lee, J. (2015). “How does information technology improve aggregate productivity? A new channel of productivity dispersion and reallocation”. Research Policy, June 2015, 999-1016. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Colvin, G. 2006. “The FedEx Edge,” Fortune, March 20 (available at http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/17/magazines/fortune/csuite_ fedex_fortune_040306/index.htm). Accessed September 3, 2017.
Mithas, S., & Rust, R. T. (2016). “HOW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY AND INVESTMENTS INFLUENCE FIRM PERFORMANCE: CONJECTURE AND EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE”. MIS Quarterly, 40(1), 223-246. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Savolainen, T. (2014). “Trust Building in e-Leadership: A Case Study of Leaders' Challenges and Skills in Technology-Mediated Interaction”. Journal of Global Business Issues, 8(2), 45-56. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Shahiduzzaman, M. & Khorshed, A. (2014). “Information technology and its changing roles to economic growth and productivity in Australia”. Telecommunications Policy, 38(2), 125-135. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Technology vision: Putting science to use. (2016). Communications Today, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.ncu.edu/docview/1773605002?accountid=28180. Accessed September 3, 2017.
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
My collection of personal papers written over the years