Word Processing Support in a Government Agency
You are in charge of a four-person staff working in a government agency. Your staff is responsible for providing all word processing and graphics support for the other 40 members of the agency. Lately your staff has not been able to keep up with the volume of work it has received. In the past, it would typically take your staff an average of two days to turn around a 50-page report. However, six months ago several new federal laws were passed by Congress, which in turn required the other 40 members of the agency to address several new issues in their reports. These additional requirements have served to lengthen the reports submitted to your staff by at least 50 percent.
Your relationship with your staff has had its ups and downs, but generally speaking they have been satisfactory. However, the increased workload has put a substantial strain on your staff, and your relationships with your staff members have suffered as a result. To help ease your workload burden, the head of the agency has allowed you to spend $6,000 to purchase new word processing equipment. With this money, you can buy a fairly advanced computer, laser printer, and the latest word processing and graphics packages. Nevertheless, the head of the agency only allocated enough money to buy a single, computer and printer. The following is a more complete description of your four- person staff.
Jack has been with the staff for five years and has 14 years of government service. He is the most senior person on your staff, and has a considerable amount of experience in word processing and graphics. Despite this experience, he does not turn his reports around any sooner than the rest of the staff. Although he has never stated it, you also believe he is angry about your selection as staff supervisor. Both you and Jack were co workers who competed for the position, and you believe Jack holds some lingering resentment over your selection. Jack has never been a disciplinary problem at work, but he is not one to volunteer for additional work, either.
Dianne is 20 years old and has been with the firm for only six months. She is a recent graduate of the local junior college and has three years of word processing experience. As the most junior member of staff, Dianne is currently working with the oldest and slowest computer in your unit. Because of the memory limitations of her computer, she is not able to use the latest word processing and graphics packages. Although she has never complained about it, you know this equipment has played at least a partial role in her inability to turn around reports at a rate equal to her counterparts.
Brenda has been with the staff for three years and is your highest performer. Of all of your workers, she is the only one who seems able to keep up with the increased workload put on your staff. However, to keep up with these increased demands, Brenda will often come in to work early, work through lunch, and stay late even though she does not receive any overtime pay for her additional hours. In recognition for her efforts, you have managed to get her several pay raises, but still does not adequately compensate her for the hours she puts in for your unit. Because her long hours and low pay, you know Brenda has been interviewing with other government agencies for a similar position at a higher pay grade.
Pat transferred into your staff four years ago and has six years of word processing experience. Pat had previously worked with the hardware and software your staff upgraded to two years ago, and she played a crucial training role as you transitioned over to the new equipment. She is by far the most knowledgeable person on the staff, and you usually give her the special word processing or graphics requests from the rest of the members of the agency. To help her meet this need, Pat currently has the most advanced word processing hardware and software in your unit. However, even with this equipment, she is unable to complete all of the requests given to her, and you know the new equipment would better allow her and your staff to successfully accomplish these special requests.
Because of the increased demands put on your staff, you have managed to convince the head of the agency to hire two additional staff members. However, the current one year freeze in government spending means you will not be able to hire any new staff members for another six months, and the agency is beginning to catch flack from headquarters about the time it has been taking to receive your agency’s reports. What will you do to alleviate the current situation?
Use Smarthinking.com tutoring service and submit the tutor’s comments and the final draft of the assignment.
Incorporate the textbook material related to the assignment
Include executive summary, statement of the problem, causes of the problem, decision criteria and potential solutions, recommend solution, external sourcing and use APA format.
Case Study: Word processing support in a government agency
The case study relates to the in charge of a four person staff working in a government agency. The staff provides support to the 40 member other staff of the agency in graphics and other word processing tasks. Lately, there is an introduction of new federal laws that has increased the length of the usually 40 page report to 50 pages. There is an increased burden of work on the 4 staff members and they have started to make different complaints. The government agency has allowed the in charge, me in this case, to spend $6,000 to purchase new word processing equipment. This money can be spend to buy a fairly advanced computer, laser printer, and the latest word processing and graphics packages. As the in charge, I have to come up with a plan to increase the work productivity.
Statement of problem
The problem, according to the case study is an increased work volume. Ne federal laws in the last six months has demanded that the 40 staff members include more details in to the reports which has ultimately increased the work volume of the 4 staff members. This has negatively impacted the work productivity of the 4 staff members and their motivation level which needs to be restored.
Causes of the problem
The causes of the problem include preparation of more graphics and word processing material as a result of new federal laws. Low motivation is also one of the plausible cause.
Decision criteria and potential solutions
There are many constraints that would pose hindrance to certain plausible solutions. For example, due to a freeze in government spending, I will not be able to hire new staff to help in getting some of the work done. Therefore, I will have to look in to other options. Also, I may not be able to fire some staff members with low output because I will not be able to replace that staff member. I can buy new equipment, hardware and software, to increase work productivity because I have the flexibility of spending $6,000. I will keep these points when I am proposing some solutions in the bellow.
There are two types of recommended solutions. The first set of the solutions is general solutions that would help in improving the work environment and get the work organized in order to make it more manageable. General solutions will also positively impact the motivation levels of most of the staff members.
The set of general solutions include making a priority list of what to do when. This list will include the tasks allocated to each of the 4 staff members and they will be responsible to report about their progress on daily basis. The team members will be asked to come to office on time and spend a bit more time if possible. The staff members will be allowed to have a half day once a week if they manage to increase their work productivity. High performing employees will be given incentives to motivate other staff members as well. Work motivation is necessary to get maximum work output (Herzberg, 2017). Daily targets will be set and any returned reports will be edited and corrected by a team of two staff members tasked to do so.
As part of the specific steps, I will buy a new computer and a printer and the old computer hardware is slow. Especially, in the case of Dianne who is working on a really slow computer that decreases her work productivity. Jack has personal issue with the in charge because he thinks he deserved to be promoted instead of the in charge. Therefore, he will be communicate personally by me and new opportunities present for him in future will be discussed with him. Dianne also needs some training to use the equipment effectively and efficiently. Brenda needs to be recognized for her extra efforts and Pat may also be provided with motivational incentives.
The agency has allowed me to hire new people but it is not possible within the next six months due to government ban. Therefore, I will look for an outsourcing opportunity to outsource some work to an external agency to decrease the work pressure. Research has suggested that outsourcing can be helpful in achieving the strategic goals of an organization (Lacity & Willcocks, 2000). If outsourcing is not possible due to any legal or ethical complications, I will look to find staff from within the 40 staff members to share the work load of the word processing tasks.
Herzberg, F. (2017). Motivation to work. Routledge.
Lacity, M. C., & Willcocks, L. (2000). Global information technology outsourcing: In search of business advantage. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..