Organizations exist in complex and dynamic environments that obligate occasional changes and strategic updates to keep up with trends. Similarly, they are exposed to several unavoidable factors that limit their advancement towards goals. However, the effectiveness of an institution’s management and administration reflects on its performance, meaning that poor-performing organizations neglect critical management approaches in their initiatives. As a result, these firms fall short of their goals and objectives, ending up destroying the business and sustainability goals. The following essay addresses the challenges and shortcomings of the West Chester Private School (WCPS), suggesting that the institution can perform better and re-establish its position as a leading facility by adopting evidence-based management methods.
Organizations as Open Systems
The Open Systems theory is a management concept that explains the nature of business organizations. The concept was first introduced by a biologist known as Ludwig von Bertanlanffy in 1956 to describe a combination of dynamic elements and parts whose relationship makes them interdependent. According to its assumptions, open systems cannot exist without drawing resources from their environment and giving back in the form of other players’ needs (Roberts & Obholzer, 2019). Thus, business organizations and service provision institutions are considered open systems because they are structured to support the input of various parties and individuals to achieve the desired outputs and goals. That being said, WCPS and other educational facilities constitute an open system because of the way they interact with their external environment.
WCPS and its administration did not act effectively as an open system because they did not support the best interest of its consumers and parents. WCPS depended on the comfort and excellence of its students to uphold its values and develop continuously. In addition, they were required to meet the needs of parents, who were the major shareholders within the system. However, the institution failed in its obligations as its decision-making was abrupt and inessential. Moreover, the administration’s poor communication methods strained parents who were forced to seek alternative solutions. Thus, the institution did not achieve delivering on objectives as an open system.
WCPS Organizational Culture
An organization’s culture refers to strongly held and widely shared beliefs that are supported by its framework and modes of operation. When WCPS decided to close down its two campuses, it exhibited the attributes of adhocracy organizational culture, which prioritizes dynamism, flexibility, and bureaucracy. Institutions that adhere to the adhocracy cultural model make decisions with a principal focus on getting the job done (Zeb et al., 2021). Although these decisions can result in notable changes and encourage innovation within the organization, the approach may be destructive without sufficient mitigation strategies, careful planning, and the appropriate execution of initiatives. In the case of WCPS, their decision was destructive as it did not appeal to the parents and put their students in a difficult position.
Behavioral Decision-Making Model
Institutional managers adopt different administrative approaches to ensure that their initiatives are sustainable and aimed toward the best outcomes. The behavioral decision-making model depicts how most decisions are made in real-life situations. According to the concept, managers are obligated to make critical decisions based on limited information, unique factors, and varying situations (Shrestha et al., 2019). Therefore, they can make decisions that are contrary to general expectations or what is expected when conforming to rationality. In that case, WCPS adopted the behavioral decision-making model as they abruptly shut down two of their campuses and informed parents of their decision when it was late to mitigate against reparations. Although the parents did not agree with this and perceived it as a rash decision, the institution’s management supported that the decision was necessary for advancement.
WCPS is among the institutions that suffered a major blow due to the Coronavirus pandemic because it had not adapted to technological solutions and did not have any frameworks in place to facilitate distance learning. As a result, one of the most significant technological challenges the organization faced was the faculty’s inadequacy and lack of experience in delivering learning instruction using technological solutions. Although the institution experienced other notable issues due to the changes, the educators’ lack of skills in using technology for learning purposes significantly interfered with their delivery as there were no other solutions. According to the case study, staff members exhibited high levels of frustration, low productivity, stress, and diminished morale. As a result, the implications are destructive as they limit the ultimate purpose of the organization, which is to deliver high-quality education.
The lack of teaching skills using technological solutions has far-reaching implications on the development and credibility of the institution. Therefore, the best solution would be to take all teachers and staff members responsible for delivering learning instruction through an intensive IT training program to equip them with the necessary skills. There are several solutions to providing effective training for all faculty members. For example, the organization can hire IT professionals in the education sector to take the staff through the basics of using computers and inform them of the best techniques to ensure positive development (Haseeb et al., 2019). Moreover, they can take the teachers through benchmarking programs or occasionally send them webinars to enable keeping up with the latest educational technology solutions and applications. Sustaining these training activities over a period will gradually improve their performance and limit associated challenges.
Recommended Management Theories for Handling the Institution’s Closure
Classical approaches to management aim at maximizing efficiency, productivity, and the effectiveness of the workforce. Thus, classical theories of management can provide the appropriate guidance on how to tackle critical issues in organizations. Particularly, the administrators of WCPS should have adopted the scientific management theory which advocates for scientific or evidence-based management techniques to govern institutions (Dahlgaard-Park et al., 2018). By using scientific approaches, the institution would have investigated the implications of its decision and alternatives to avoid problems during the transition. Moreover, the information obtained from collecting various forms enables the formulation of mitigation strategies and frameworks to prevent negative outcomes as seen in the case. Thus, the scientific theory of management is a reliable solution in cases where critical decision-making or changes are involved.
The human relations theory is also another reliable approach to ensure that organizations’ actions focus on the well-being of employees. In this case, the theory applies to all parties affected by the decision to close down the two campuses. The implications of the foreclosure included laying off some staff members, which is detrimental as it diminished the morale of the remaining staff due to anxiety and job insecurity. However, by adopting the human relations theory, the institution would have sought out better solutions like relocation or holding the closure to allow staff members to prepare for its impact. Similarly, closing the campuses was not in the best interest of parents, especially those suffering from financial constraints as they were forced to accept rash mitigation strategies since they could not move their children to better institutions. Thus, the human relations theory would have acknowledged these factors and provided ground for better choices.
Modern management theories are also reliable in organizational decision-making because they advocate for leveraging environmental motivators and technology to achieve exemplary results in institutions. In particular, the systems theory applies to the case because it encourages operating as a unit that should satisfy needs and deliver on certain responsibilities (Dahlgaard-Park et al., 2018). The systems theory perceives organizations as complex structures that can only progress through interconnectedness, synergy, and collective input. Therefore, instead of indefinitely closing down the campus, the organization should have gradually introduced solutions like online learning to enable it to share the remaining resources with affected students. Such initiatives would have limited the strain and stress associated with dealing with disappointed parents and staff members.
Goals to Guide the Institution’s Future Direction
All organizations have goals that propel them towards sustainable development and positive advancement. Thus, a short-term goal that WCPS should aim at is transforming its infrastructure and adopting technology as a method of delivering learning instructions even during normal school calendars. The application of technological solutions will enable the organization to tackle several issues, including staff’s ability to deliver high-quality education, remote accessibility to learning materials, and higher satisfaction (Haseeb et al., 2019). As a result, the organization should begin to gradually introduce these frameworks while providing IT training to staff members to encourage their participation and unwearied input.
A long-term goal that WCPS should set is to become a beacon of excellence and one of the best education service providers in the nation. WCPS is an institution with considerable resources and capabilities. Moreover, they have a firm background that sets them apart from their competitors since they have been in the education industry for decades. As a result, they should take advantage of these resources, technological solutions, and advanced management techniques to establish good relationships with shareholders, create a conducive working environment, and meet the needs of individuals seeking higher learning opportunities. In addition, the institution should alter its practices and reaffirm its position as a quality education service provider as this will enable it to grow and achieve its sustainability goals.
A recommended strategy for achieving the proposed short and long-term goals is utilizing unique management approaches that will steer the organization in the right direction. On that account, administrators should integrate the four functions of management, including leading, planning, organizing, and controlling, to ensure that all initiatives are directed towards achieving objectives and goals. Leading entails motivating employees to work towards their obligations by providing incentives and occasionally boosting their morale. Planning involves laying out all processes, assigning duties, and mentioning key players to spearhead project development (Dahlgaard-Park et al., 2018). Organizing involves assigning duties, allocating resources, and coordinating practices to adhere to stipulations. Finally, controlling means asserting managerial powers and guiding individuals to achieve set targets. WCPS can ensure that all their activities are beneficial and channeled toward meeting the short and long-term goals.
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