Problem Solution: Coastal County Clerk of Court
Coastal County’s Clerk of Court has long provided traditional county clerical and administrative services to a community that was bypassed during much of Florida’s growth. In addition to these services, the Clerk also acts as the county’s Constitutionally-chartered Chief Financial Officer.
For many years, the Court Clerk was Art Brewer, who easily won re-election every four years not just because he was familiar with the county and its residents, but because he maintained low operating costs. One reason for Art’s low operating costs was his failure to incorporate technology throughout the 1990s; Coastal County only used computer systems when absolutely required to do so by the State of Florida. Art did not encourage use of the Internet or external sourcing as ways to provide cost-effective county services; he did not even use the state-sponsored mail-in vehicle license program until the State mandated it. In Art’s mind, Coastal County was sparsely populated, and it was just as easy for residents to conduct such business at the courthouse. By 1998, development began catching up with Coastal County when Northern Florida retirees began flocking to the sleepy little village of Amber Beach. As newcomers caused the county population to surge, the Office of Clerk of Court found itself facing more citizens, more property development, and a growing attitude that Art Brewer and the Clerk’s office needed to enter the tech era, whether they wanted to or not (Clerk of Court Scenario, 2009).
Describe the Situation
Issue and Opportunity Identification
The Clerk of courts faces serious issues that are having a negative impact in the organization. The first issue is the lack of new technology. Even though the former Clerk of Courts was praised for keeping an excellent budget, he should have invested in updating technology within the organization. The population was growing an increase in property development called for the use of new technology which was unavailable. The court was criticized for not having a website. In today’s advance technological era not having a website was very archaic. Another issue that The Clerk of Courts faced was with was the inability to implement a “conflict prevention” measure within the organization. (Dana, chp 1, 2001)
Munger, Bodkin and Accord had competing interests and their inability to address their interests properly resulted in a breakdown of trust. Munger was dealing with hostility that had been accumulated over many years and manifested itself when Accord took office and implemented the employee accountability rule. Bodkin was concerned about his personal health and his ability to perform his job under a new leader and the special consideration that he has received over the years. Accord had a negative view of the organizational structure that the Clerk of Courts had established over the years and wanted to implement immediate changes. There was nothing in place to proactively diffuse and resolve the differences between the employees and Munger before it escalated to the magnitude that it did.
Stakeholder Perspectives/Ethical Dilemmas
The stakeholders for the Coastal County Clerk of Court are the employees, the employees’ families, the community of Amber Beach, and the Florida Human Rights Commission (FHRC), which is an EEOC intake agency. All the stakeholders attempt to provide the cause of their interest and values in the hope that it will persuade the organizations decision making. The opportunity to develop a stronger facility is readily available to the court and investing in new technology and developing a conflict prevention plan will provide the opportunity to lower the risk that will come with balancing a technologically advanced facility and new business perspectives within the organization. Wilmot and Hocker say, “Because a clear linkage does not exist, the organizational environment becomes dysfunctional, confused, and ripe for ineffective implementation of organizational strategy and of the organizational projects (Wilmot & Hocker, 2009).”
Frame the “Right” Problem
Coastal County Clerk of Court must acclimate itself to the new technology. Another important step is for the Court to establish a way to deal with employee conflict because a great deal of this exists within the organization. Another opportunity is available for the Court, to examine the resources and create an effective and efficient operation for the citizens of Amber Beach. A training program that focuses on technology and the new polices that Accord wants to implement should be developed for the employees.
Describe the “End-State” Vision
Coastal County Clerk of Court has the opportunity to become the local leader in customer satisfaction due to its continued efforts to introduce any new technology when it comes available; because of this the customer satisfaction rating should increase dramatically. The Court can also establish itself as a leader in employee satisfaction with the ability to defuse any conflict as it arises because they will develop a proactive approach to problem solving within the organization by implementing appropriate job training when new ideas and services are introduced.
Identify the Alternatives and Benchmarking Validation
The Court can achieve their goals through any number of methods or a combination of those methods. The first of the methods would be to introduce the technology one piece at a time; develop a training program that will ensure that the internal staff understands how it works and can assist the community in using the new technology. They can put the technology out there to test the users and see how they like it, if it seems to be user friendly and meets the needs of the citizens. Another possible alternative would be to develop a conflict resolution plan that they can implement whenever internal conflict exists. Someone has to step in to help with the elder employee’s situation if not the special interest groups will have a field day with the Court. The Court could truly take something from Coca Cola, who has an excellent conflict resolution program in place and is said to be one of the best places to work for employee overall satisfaction. Another company that I researched is Home Depot, who is very good at keeping up and sometimes ahead of technology, if Coastal County Clerk of Courts were to take a little from each of those companies they would be a huge success.
Evaluate the Alternatives
These alternatives are largely risk free, the goal to increase the use of technology and using computers more to do the work and develop a website so that people can do what they need to do in their own homes, is a very realistic goal and can be easily achieved. The only real risk is the cost but it will eventually pay off. The second alternative, the developing of a conflict resolution plan is basically risk free unless it does not work then they would have the time and the money invested into a new program, but the court must have one. The third alternative solution is implementing a program that address the needs of all employees not just a select few that are vocal about their personal needs outside of the workplace. Although these issues are not job related, they can have an impact on employee performance in the long run. By putting a solid plan in place that addresses all employee needs, the elderly sector’s special needs can fall under that plan and the courts will be less likely accused of discrimination practices. The court could be predisposed to litigation from several sources if a plan is not in place.
Narrowed List of Alternatives
The best alternative is to develop a training program for the employees to learn how to use the new technology and introduce it to the citizens slowly so that they do not become overwhelmed. The second best alternative is to develop a conflict resolution plan that will be known and adopted by all employees. Currently there is no policy in place and the court needs such a policy. The third best solution is to create an employee program that addresses the needs of all employees .
Identify and Asses Risks
For the first alternative of implementing a training program to get the Court into the technology of today includes a small amount of risk. It will be time consuming and has the potential risk of being somewhat costly, but is the best solution and be beneficial to the court in the future. The next is to implement the technology in phases and this has again the risk of being time consuming and could run into a situation where it becomes costly. The third alternative with a risk involved is to establish a conflict resolution plan and introduce it into policy. This will hold the risk of also being somewhat time consuming and also could be ineffective.
Make the Decision
Managers recognize that time, the cost, and the subsequent resource estimates must be accurate if the project planning, the scheduling, and the controlling are to be effective. The optimal solution for Coastal County Clerk of Court would be to design a training program for the employees. The program should be gradual but approached with consistency so that the employees are not overwhelmed. This solution is also time consuming but is the best way because the Court is considerably behind in technology and they must get the programs in place as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Develop and Implement the Solution
For Coastal County Clerk of Court to meet the deadline of introducing the new technology and the implementation of the new tech package it will develop a time-constrained project schedule; a time-constrained project is a project that must be completed by an imposed date; therefore, an important step is to have the resources identified in order to prevent any delays. Because the Court is so far behind technology wise they will have 10 days to develop a training plan for employees and to implement the first phase of the new project. Stan Accord will be sure that the phases are implemented on schedule that is one month after the previous phase. Stan will also have two weeks to develop and make policy the conflict resolution plan. If the Court is able to stay on schedule with this solution they will be a brand new technologically advanced organization.
Evaluate the Results
When a new strategy or plan is put into place, that change must be evaluated on its effectiveness and this itself is a task that must be carried out repeatedly to ensure the changes success. Coastal County Clerk of Court must evaluate the success of its new project; this can be done by looking at the effectiveness of the package, its customer satisfaction, and the employee satisfaction and productivity. The Court will see an increase in its efficiency and effectiveness after six months and it will see a definite rise in their customer and employee satisfaction numbers after the half year point. Following the evaluation after the six-month point the court will be able to evaluate the current changes and can set new goals and expectations and adjust their strategy if the court does not like where it is heading.
The benchmarking research conducted for Coastal County Clerk of Court provides a beginning foundation for the implementation of the courts strategy to provide an idea and a plan. When Coastal County Clerk of Court begins to move forward it should re-evaluate the courts mission to fully understand the courts current position and where the court wants to be. The Coastal County Clerk of Court needs to fully understand all the risks involved with any solution that is tried that could detour from the intended goal. Coastal County Clerk of Court can develop a strategy that will allow it to evaluate the technology used and the customer satisfaction and to develop a strategy that will meet the needs of the current and future citizens. If the court is able to implement the new technology it will allow Coastal County Clerk of Court to remain effective, efficient and a productive government office in Amber Beach, FL.
Coca Cola, (2008), TheCocaColaCompany.com, sustainability
Retrieved November 23, 2009, from http://www.thecoca- colacompany.com/citizenship/diversity.html
Gray, C., and Larson, E. (2006). Project Management: The Managerial Process, Chapter 2: Organization Strategy and Project Selection. The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Retrieved November 22,2009 from University of Phoenix, eBook Collection
Home Depot, (2008) The HomeDepot.com, leadership and values
Retrieved, November 17, 2009. From http://www6.homedepot.com/ecooptions/index.html
University of Phoenix (2009). Week One Coastal County Clerk of Court Scenario.
Retrieved November 29, 2009 from University of Phoenix week one eResource
Issues and Opportunities Identification
Reference to Specific
The Clerk of Court is so far behind when it comes to technology To improve effectiveness and performance by using the technology available. The use of technology is discussed in Dana, Chapter three “how to resolve conflict” and in Dana, chapter eight “strategic management of organizational conflict” page 138
The newly elected Clerk is facing serious legal issues that have resulted from him letting the ‘older’ employees go. I cannot see where any real good can come from this, legal issues are never good for an organization and this may turn out to be the end of the new Clerk. The legal issues are discussed in Dana, chapter two “conflict resolution: mediation for everyday work life” and in Dana, chapter three “conflict resolution: mediation for everyday work life”
Good chance to hire good employees employees to take some of the workload off of the Clerk. Employee selection and training is discussed in Noe, Hollinbeck, Gerhert, Wright “Planning and recruiting Human Resources” chapter five and chapter six.
Stakeholder Perspectives and Ethical Dilemmas
Stakeholder Perspectives and Ethical Dilemmas
Stakeholder Groups with Competing Values
List: Group X
versus Group Y
The Interests, Rights, and
Values of Each Group
The Ethical Dilemma Based on the Competing Values
The employees of the Clerk of Court versus the families of those employees. The employees have the right to be treated fair by the employer. The families of the employees have the right to be taken care of by the employees, their family that is employed by the Clerk of courts. There is a huge ethical dilemma that exists because the employees have a responsibility to take care of their loved ones but at the same time they do not want to lose their job by leaving to take care of their loved ones.
The citizens of Amber Beach versus the employees The citizens of Amber Beach have an interest in the Court making sure their needs are met and they have the right to be taken care of effectively and efficiently. The employee has the values to make sure that the citizens are well taken care of but may not have the means to do so.
The employees know that it is unethical to not take the absolute best care possible of their customers but the ethical dilemma is that they may not be equipped to do such a thing.
Stan Accord versus the agencies that is in a legal battle with the Court. Stan Accord has the interest of the organization in mind and the right to do what he believes is best for it. The agencies have the interests of the employees in mind and what is best for them. Stan has a monstrous ethical dilemma, he has fired the older employees because he thought it was right and just now he is learning the hard way that those actions were unethical in the eyes of many agencies that support those employees.
Analysis of Alternative Solutions
[Click Twice on Table to Change, see instructions on next page]
Risk Assessment and Mitigation
Risk Assessment and Mitigation
Alternative Risks and Probability Consequence and Severity Mitigation Techniques and Strategies
Develop training plan for new technology to be implemented • Time consuming
• High Risk Employee support is needed to make the new technology work. • Make the training a requirement.
Make sure that each employee signs off as to being properly trained.
Bring in a support staff just for new technology • Time consuming
• High Risk Still be stuck in the dark ages, not efficient or effective.
• Have a test group of citizens that try out the new technology
Make sure that each phase is perfect before going on.
• Introduce the new technology one piece at a time.
Develop a conflict resolution plan for the organization • Low Risk
• • Not being able to deal with conflict • Make the plan part of the policy
Be sure to get everyone’s signature to show they are aware of it.
Pros and Cons of Alternative Solutions
Alternative Pros Cons
Develop a training program for employees to learn how to use technology. • The Court will be more efficient and effective after the training is complete.
The customers will be much happier with the new technologies effectiveness. • Will be costly.
• • • Will be time consuming.
• May not work effectively
Implement the new technology in phases. • The Court will be more efficient and effective after the new technology is completed.
• The employees and the customers will not be overwhelmed with it all at once
• Can be costly.
• Will be time consuming.
• Customers may not like.
Develop a conflict resolution plan and introduce as policy. • Be run more like a business.
• There will be no questions because everyone will sign off on the policy
Will have a framework for dealing with conflict.
• May be time consuming.
• May not be effective in dealing with all conflicts
• The plan may alienate individuals.
Optimal Solution Implementation Plan
Action Item Deliverable Timeline Who is Responsible
Implement first phase of new technology Within 10 days Stan Accord or someone appointed to handle the new technology.
Implement the second phase One month after first phase is introduced Stan Accord or someone appointed to handle the new technology.
Implement third phase One month after second phase. One month after second phase Stan Accord or someone appointed to handle the new technology.
Establish a conflict resolution plan Two weeks Stan Accord
Develop an employee training plan for technology. 10 days Stan Accord
Evaluation of Results
End-State Goals Metrics Target
To be technologically advanced Will this increase effectiveness and efficiency? indeed this will create effectiveness and efficiency for the court.
Resolve conflict between employees Will this increase the productivity of employees this will increase the productivity the employee will have no conflict
Properly train employees on the use of new technology. Will this increase effectiveness and efficiency of the employee? Yes, indeed this will create effectiveness and efficiency for the employee.
Resolve employment disputes in a manner that encourages positive communication between parties Does the selected process encourage positive communication between the parties at the outset of the resolution process? Yes, positive communication is encouraged by the process.