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The City of Carlsbad: Restructuring the Public Works Dept.

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Joshua Birch

on 18 September 2013

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Transcript of The City of Carlsbad: Restructuring the Public Works Dept.

City of Carlsbad: Restructuring the Public Works Department
Meet the City of Carlsbad
Oceanfront city of 75,000
Emerging from worst recession in history of city
Transitioning to more business-like organizational structure
The Public Works department formed by consolidating six previously independent departments
The Plan of Action
City Reorganization Chart
Source: Cummings & Worley, 2008, p.406
The mix of tenure in the departments.
Employees liked their employer, the City of Carlsbad
Overall, stakeholders viewed the changes as positive for customers and employees because it would allow the anticipated growth to occur in a cost effective manner.
The new public works director believed in the newly formed values of the city and was excited to implement a vision that aligned with these values
The City of Carlsbad is growing and the restructure may reduce operating costs brought about from the expected growth in demand for new and better services

The Good
The Bad
Diagnosis of the Situation
at the
Public Works Department
How to Proceed
Since the previously independent departments were accustomed to doing things their own way, a motivational approach will be an effective intervention:
Job enrichment may be beneficial during the reorganization phase.
Job enlargement in regards to blending jobs into one can mitigate the redundancy issue. This method can increase employee motivation because they feel more meaningful and enjoy learning new tasks with greater complexity.

Supervisors should provide feedback to employees concerning work activities that positively impact the community. Employees can then easily see the impact their work is having on the community, thus increasing employee job satisfaction.

Engage employees through participation and empowerment
Since employees were suspicious of the reasons for the change, engage them in conversation to explain the reasons for change; ask for opinions and feedback.
Facilitate teaching employees what the processes are for other departments so that cohesiveness can span across departments rather than remaining isolated within departments. Discover ways to enhance employees’ appreciation for the work of other departments and/or how the departments affect the work of the others.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! Because of the suspicion it’s important that the employee be kept informed. Town halls, questions and answer sessions, coffee talks. The Director is new so in addition to providing information, he needs to interact with the employees.

The Public Works Director also acting as the City Engineer could cause problems: possible preferential treatment and conflicts of interest.
Individual teams are too cohesive. This created a lack of teamwork, trust, and overall cohesiveness.
There were no clearly defined roles, responsibilities, or goals.
The Public Works Department seemed to lack a strategic component, more specifically a lack of functional policies, goals, and objectives.
Redundancies of processes and assets; the same equipment was utilized in multiple departments
The engineering workload is expected to outpace the maintenance workload. This is likely to cause even more tension between departments.
Department consolidation could potentially result in employee downsizing.

Another recommended intervention is instituting a Process Structure. This process emphasizes lateral rather than vertical relationships. Reorganizing the six independent departments under the Public Works Department allowed the departments to focus on a team-based concept rather an individual. Several departments were operating in the same realm with similar equipment, i.e. building, park, and street maintenance. This intervention would eliminate the redundancy issue. Furthermore, the process-based structure removes the need for excess managers which allows faster information flow and less boundaries between departments.

The Process Structure
“If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do”.
Frederick Herzberg, from his motivational theory studies
City of Carlsbad. (2013, September 12). Retrieved from http://www.carlsbadca.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Cummings, T.G. & Worley C.G. (2009). Organization Development and Change. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning
Source: "City of Carlsbad," 2013
Blend the Process Structure with the Motivational Approach

The Process Structure Intervention:
Identify the core processes that each department needs to meet organizational goals
Eliminate redundancies in processes and resources
Reduce hierarchical levels to maintain the flow of decision making, processes, and performance (Cummings & Worley, 2009, pp. 322-323)
The Action Plan Part 1
The Motivational Approach Intervention:

Involve employees by asking what their concerns are and allow them to take ownership of their part of the process
Increase employee satisfaction by developing opportunities for autonomy, responsibility, and advancement
Herzberg’s Theory - motivators such as advancement opportunities increase job satisfaction, while pay and working conditions only prevent dissatisfaction (Cummings & Worley, 2009, p. 377)
Does this mean that job satisfaction is more important than pay?
The Action Plan Part 2
Full transcript