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1. In Chapter 2 of Reframing Organizations, the authors describe four significant properties of organizations:
Organizations are complex
Organizations are surprising
Organizations are deceptive
Organizations are ambiguous
a. Describe the management implications associated with each of these properties
Organizations are complex because of the ever growing technology, the type of work involved, the skillsets of people, the hierarchical structure of the organization, and the development of relationships outside the organization. The most complex component of any organization is the people whose behavior is difficult to predict. Each person within the organization brings with them interpersonal needs, desires and motivations that impact performance in both positive and negative ways. Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (2003). An example of a complex organization within the United States is the Veterans Health Administration. They operate 152 VA Medical Centers and approximately 1400 community-based outpatient clinics and employs an estimated 280,000 people. The VA reported 92 million outpatient visits and 902,000 inpatient admissions during 2013. List of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. (n.d.). (2015).
Organizations are surprising in that any predicted impact of an organizational decision can be unreliable due to the interpretation of others. An organization’s leader’s actions can be misinterpreted by others, sometimes with unexpected results. Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (2003). For example, the military installation where I work organized an “active shooter” exercise that involved city and county law enforcement agencies and included several local hospitals. In turn, my organization volunteered as the active shooter site. Employees were briefed on what to expect and how to react. When the exercised kicked off, we heard the “bang, bang, bang” and hid ourselves in any enclosed lockable space we could find. We sat in our confined spaces for three hours waiting for our rescue. Unbeknown to us, at the time was that the county law enforcement was held up at the installation main gate for two hours waiting for authority to enter. The crux of the problem was that the exercise was planned before new military installation security procedures were implemented to tightened base access. The exercise planners did not take these changes into account during play and civilian law enforcement was delayed in clearing our building from two active shooters before nine exercise players were killed and thirty wounded.
In 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs had been plagued with long appointment wait times for veteran medical care for more than a decade. In an attempt to improve timeliness of care, then VA Secretary Eric Shinseki approved a plan that ordered physicians to provide medical care to within 14 days of a veteran’s requested date for appointment. The plan did not include funding for this new requirement nor did it implement the internal controls to manage execution. The plan was doomed from the onset. Brunker, M. ( 2014). While appointment wait times were shortened outpatient patient workload increased and was further complicated by the shortage of healthcare workers to treat aging veterans and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with complex health challenges such as traumatic brain injury, multiple limb amputations and prosthetics, diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder. The increased specialty care workload greatly stressed VHA’s ability to meet mandated appointment timelines with limited available resources. Veterans Health Administration Scandal of 2014 (n.d.) (2015). .
Organizations are deceptive in that the structure, culture and procedural practices overshadow what may really be occurring. Strategic Leadership and Decision