Description of Organization
County Health care agency is a very diverse group of individual organizations.
HCA supplies hospital and clinics to all of Ventura County. It provides Behavior Health, Public Health as
well as Animal services to the county. The organization stretches to every part
of the county with hundreds of working systems. The origination I will be
discussing is the HCA IT department which maintain all the interworking systems
for the Health Care Agency.
IT operations is responsible for all break and fix IT issues in the enterprise.
While at the same time implementing new
system into the network eco system. HCA IT is responsible for helping maintain
the high availability of IT services. The network operations center is
responsible for the network, server and backup administration and functions
within the enterprise. These services are provided to the end users across the county
and ensure high availability of all required network resources. Since this is a
county wide organization, employees working on a specific project, may be
broken up and working from different locations. HCA IT operations center to
ensure resources are available 24/7 in fast paced Health Care organization.
current leadership of the HCA IT director is a transactional leader, also known
as a managerial leader, focuses on the role of supervision, organization, and
group performance; transactional leadership is a style of leadership in which
the leader promotes compliance of his/her followers through both rewards and
punishments. This type of leadership is
effective in crisis and emergency situations, as well as for projects that need
to be carried out in a specific way. (Transactional Leadership) The function of
the network Health Care IT operations center operates to support the
organization in times of crisis and emergency situations so a transactional
leader is an appropriate fit in this environment. As the director, he clearly
defines the roles and tasks of subordinates, provides structure, rewards
employees appropriately, and displays consideration for followers.
A practice of this leadership is that he
defines team member’s roles. Defining member’s roles will help increase their
effectiveness and efficiency. As the network operations center handles multiple
tasks and duties daily, defining one’s role will aid in the efficiency of the
operations and will ensure crucial tasks are being performed on a day-to-day
basis. Specific duties and task can be assigned to employees based on their
skill set. If a member of the organization is more effective at preforming a
specific task, he or she can be assigned the role of performing that task. This
person can be considered a subject matter expert and will have the ability to
pass on their knowledge to fellow employees.
An example of this is the organization uses an
Electronic Medical System the solution has many modules within the solution.
This Modals are not easily implemented or maintained and a subject matter
expert is needed for any unforeseen events that may take place. The solution at
times will fail and risk patient safety. This happens quite often, as there are
hundreds of servers that require monitoring every day. An assigned team member
with in depth knowledge of the solution can troubleshoot, diagnose and resolve
issues much quicker than their colleagues. As this person is solely assigned
this role, the director is effectively using his skill to ensure modules are
properly running, ensuring crucial data is not lost.
Another example of assigning roles is the
director has assigned teams leads for each project the HCA IT Implements. The HCA
IT five internal groups within the organization. These groups are Informatics,
Desktop, Server, Behavior Health , Public Health, And Health Care Plan. As the
director is not a subject matter expert at each function, he is using his skill
of assigning roles to leads that can disseminate knowledge and any important
information to their peers in each respective group. As each group has a lead,
the lead for each group will act as a conduit to the director; allowing any
important information to flow down. Because of this, each group can operate
efficiently and effectively. The director uses this skill to help improve
productivity. This allows for the department to rapidly respond to problems
within there area.
skill the director practices, as a transactional leader is he provides
structure. The Health Care Agengce is a 24/7,
structure must be provided to keep operations flowing smoothly. The director
has implemented policies and procedures. With multiple issues that may arise,
he uses his skill to create a process when a event occurs. There is a structure
on what actions to take and who to contact for every circumstance. If an issue
never seen before arises, he uses his skill to create a process to handle said
issue in the future.
An example of this practice is in our after
hours process. On call Another example of the transactional leadership trait
exhibited is that he uses his skill to recognize and reward individual and
group achievements and performance. The network operations center is a high
paced environment and team members must troubleshoot multiple issues per day.
The tasks can come in the form of incident tickets where employees are assigned
tasks and projects. It’s a fast paced environment, with a high volume of
assignments and the more you tasks you can perform, the better. The director
has the skill to recognize the efforts put forth by his team and can recognize
that rewards and recognition of employee achievements is important the morale
in network operations center.
An example of this is employees are partly
evaluated based on customer surveys. Customers can survey the level of service
they received from a team member. Those that receive a high rating are rewarded
with an extra day off or a bonus. This gives the employees a sense of pride and
gives others that have not done well, a goal to strive for. Another example is
recognitions are communicated to the group when others outside of the network
operations center recognizes efforts such as setting up a new server in a
timely manner and restoring network services after a major network outage. The
director uses his skill to recognize that employees will have a sense of pride
and thus improve morale within the group.
Relationship Between Leadership and Organizational
The culture of an organization is the behavior
of humans within an organization and the meaning that people attach to those
behaviors. (Organizational culture) The organizational culture of the network
operations center can be considered a fortress culture. In this particular
style of organizational culture, employees don’t know if they’ll be laid off or
not. These organizations often undergo massive reorganization. There are many
opportunities for those with timely, specialized skills. (management culture)
Since the company is a defense contractor, the need for IT services is always
changing. Countries defense budgets can be very elastic thus the budget defense
contractors have will also be elastic.
The director of the network operations center
is skilled and aware that goals must be met to justify the size of his staff.
So that he does not lose subordinates due to a smaller budget, he assigns every
subordinate multiple goals to justify the need for each employee. This can be a
difficult task since there can have budget restraints. The current fortress
culture of the business directly affects the network operations center. Upper
management needs to cut costs somewhere and the director of the network
operations center need to work together to determine how to find savings. An
example of this is the director is an authentic leader; he remains true to his
values and beliefs. He works for his employees believes that his subordinates
should remain employed and their budget should not be cut. His view clashes
with the organizations fortress culture.
Effects on Current Culture
As a Government Agency, Health Care Agency falls within what would be
considered a Bureaucratic Organizational Structure. The vertical layout of the
structure is clearly defined to encourage unity of direction and organization
charts provide a clear chain of authority. Due to sections being spread throughout
the County, however, Health Care Agency does not have the benefit of daily
face-to-face interactions. As a result, a member of upper level management,
such as the Department Director, can seem rather untouchable or aloof to the
lower level employees.
This sense of distance, combined with the Department Directors negative
reactions in emergency situations and seeming inability to truly empathize with
the daily demands of the field operations, has created a very frustrated
workforce and negative work culture at the section level. Employees have come
to feel as though they are not supported or trusted by upper management.
towards government workers and their lack of work ethic can be common among
civil observers. In the past, government agencies have not always had the best
of reputations. A push to increase productivity and reduce downtime can
therefore be understood because of the Department Director’s desire to change
the culture and in turn change outside perceptions. While this goal can be
appreciated, it appears the pendulum has swung to the opposite side. A balance
has yet to be found.
In an article entitled “The Happy Workaholic”, authors Friedman and Lobal
(2003) make the following observation: “Employees flourish when senior leaders
help them focus on what matters most… (in) their lives—at home, in their
communities…The happy result: committed people driving hard to achieve superior
performance.” (Abstract) Redirecting focus to a more personalized approach and
reconnecting upper management with field employees will therefore inevitably
become a crucial key if a true improvement are to be made
momentum and interest in technology planning
from leadership as well as stakeholders.
Healthcare demand for technology has never been higher. Upper management has pointed
for more and more initiatives require new IT infistructure and design.
operational support services for ‘keeping the lights on’. The It staff for the most part is invested in the
aplications they manage and take pride in the product having no down time for
the users. The staff are aware of limited backup so they attempt to midigate
down time with preventative measures to make sure patients lives are not at
weakness of the HCA IT is the staffing
levels are low due to budget constraints, Staffing levels can result in different
group being understaffed at times. This leads to big delays and projects not
being completed in a timely matter. HCA 24/7 environment yet we only staff for
support of a 9-5 with an on call staff left to pick up the rest. This can
leave a shift without and employee, exposing vulnerabilities and putting the
high availability of network resources in jeopardy.
weakness of the organization is that other groups not communicate with each
other. The IT groups in HCA it run
mostly in Cilos they work independently of each other and believe they do not
have to notify the other groups if changes are made.t. This increases time to
troubleshoot the issue, not knowing that another group is making changes. This
decreases the effectiveness of the network operations center.
An opportunity that the organization can take
advantage of is new technology. As technology is constantly changing and
evolving, there is an opportunity to implement new hardware or software. An
example of this is the network operations center has dated monitoring software.
It is very limited as far as features to aide in troubleshooting. There are
many options available for the monitoring of network devices. There are many
options as far as software that have many more features than the tools
currently being used. This can benefit the organization by aiding the
efficiency of troubleshooting.
Another opportunity is that the network
operations center is documentation. The organization does not have a single set
location for documentation. The organization should have a single shared
location where all collaboration can take place. This shared location would
contain process documents, templates, graphical diagrams, troubleshooting steps
and other core components required to perform tasks. With improved
documentation, the staff can utilize their skills in a better manner and
eliminate the wasted time that occurs when not having the required information
Organizational threats can have a big effect
on reaching the network operations center’s strategic goals. As ABE Defense
Systems funding is based on how governments around the world decide how to
utilize their defense budgets, the organization’s demand can be very elastic.
Demand elasticity is a measure of how much the quantity demanded will change if
another factor changes. (Demand Elasticity) Thus, a threat to the organization
is funding can fluctuate. With fluctuations in funding, the need for IT
services will also change. During times when governments are not spending a lot
of their budget on defense, the organization requires less IT support since
there are fewer projects being funded. The organization may see budget cuts.
Staff will be reduced but the volume of work will remain. Here, the organization
will be challenged to maintain the same amount of productivity, and resolve the
same amount of issues, while maintaining the same quality of service.
Another threat the organization faces is
changing technologies. With the constantly changing technologies, the staff
needs to remain up to date with standards and the new operating systems.
Features and processes will change and they will be challenged to keep their
industry certifications current. Should the group not stay current with
technologies, they run the risk of having their skill become outdated.
The leader selected for analysis is the
director of the network operations center. The director can be described as a
transactional leader. A transactional leader, also known as a managerial
leader, focuses on the role of supervision, organization, and group
performance; transactional leadership is a style of leadership in which the
leader promotes compliance of his/her followers through both rewards and
punishments. This type of leadership is effective in crisis and emergency
situations, as well as for projects that need to be carried out in a specific
way. (Transactional Leadership) The reason he was selected for analysis was due
to the practices and skills observed while performing his duties as the
director of the network operations center.
A Strength that the director practices in is
his role as a leader is that he defines team member’s roles. Transactional
leaders excel at management functions. They are hardworking, tolerant, and fair
minded. They take pride in keeping things running smoothly and efficiently.
They have a sense of commitment to the organization and conform to
organizational norms and values. Transactional leadership is important to all
organizations. (Burns, 1978) Using his skill to define member’s roles has
helped increase their effectiveness and efficiency. As the network operations
center handles multiple tasks and duties on a daily basis, his ability to
define one’s role has helped increase efficiency of the operations and has
ensured crucial tasks are being performed on a day-to-day basis. Specific
duties and task have been assigned to employees based on their skill set. This
has had a positive impact as the team member’s are considered a subject matter
expert in regards to a particular function or technology and been able to pass
on their knowledge to fellow employees. As a result, the director has used this
skill to ensure the network operations center is able to handle all day-to-day
operations effectively and efficiently.
Another strength exhibited is he provides
structure. The network operations center is constantly monitoring the network
24/7, in a very fast paced environment. There are thousands of network devices
in the environment that are constantly monitored. The structure created helps
keep operations flowing smoothly. The director has implemented policies and
procedures. With multiple issues that may arise, he uses his skill to create a
process for each scenario and function served in the network operations center.
He uses his skill to recognize a process should be created on required actions
to take including any resource or personnel to contact for every circumstance.
His ability to provide structure for his team has helped create a cohesive
group that is well equipped and prepared to handle assigned assignments. This
has had a positive impact on the organization as all tasks and assignments
given to the team can be addressed quickly and efficiently as they have a process.
His subordinates have recognized that the structure provided has created
stability, as they know how to handle tasks that are assigned to the network
Transactional Leadership is based upon the
premise of incentives and/or punishments for compliance with and acceptance of
authority, thus, a reciprocal exchange of work for reward. (Robina & Brian,
2010) This is another strength of the director. He uses his skill to recognize
employees that do well and will reward them in some form. He is effective at
motivating employees that are not performing well and gives goals to obtain.
The director has the skill to recognize the efforts put forth by his team and
can recognize that rewards and recognition of employee achievements is important
to the morale in network operations center.
Transactional leaders are associated with a
less comprehensive decision style and reflect a style that restricts the amount
of information that is processed (Eberlin, 2005; Kedia et al., 2002; Tatum et
al., 2003). As the organization is a defense contractor, it operates on a need
to know basis and includes employees as such. The director is not privileged to
a lot of information that could be beneficial to the group. An example of this
is if a system or service is installed in a classified network. The director
may not be made aware of this since he does not immediately need to know about
the service. He needs to be able to pass on any important information to his
employees in a manner that will not risk putting sensitive information at risk.
The negative impact this has on the group is that the network operations center
does not have the required information to effectively perform their duties
As a transactional leader, it is difficult for
the director to be innovative and to initiate and lead change. This is another
weakness of the director. While the director is able to create structure, he is
unable to change the way team members perform a particular process. It is
difficult to improve on the process in place. He needs to have the ability to
lead changes in the organization’s mission, strategy, structure, and culture,
as well as to promote innovation in products and technologies. (Daft & Lane
, Nd) This weakness has a negative impact on the organization as team members’
morale may be affected negatively since they will begin to feel limited in
In organizations where the transactional
influence process prevails, followers will soon cease to experience dignity,
meaning, and community so essential for the growth of both the organization and
its members. (Mendonca & Kanungo , 2006) This is another weakness that is
seen in the director. The network operations center’s function does not change.
Growth within the organization can be difficult as a result. Since are limited
only to the function they perform, it makes learning new skills and
technologies difficult. An example of this is during periods where the
organization is required to maintain a small budget; there is little room for
growth. The director is unable to provide an opportunity for growth and as a
result team members begin to question their meaning to the organization.
To enhance leadership development, is
recommended that director develop the ability to lead changes in the
organization’s mission, strategy, structure, and culture, as well as to promote
innovation in products and technologies. (Daft & Lane , Nd) This is a trait
that can be learned to help the director gain the skills necessary to become a
transformational leader. The expected outcome of gaining this skill is to help
increase morale, motivate team members and to better strategize issues that are
encountered in the network operations center.
While the director is skilled at recognizing
when team members should be recognized and rewarded, he should do not rely
solely on tangible rules and incentives to control specific transactions with
followers. (Daft & Lane , Nd) The director needs to gain this skill of recognizing
that he needs to not only recognized and reward team members but learn how to
help develop his team’s skills both personally and professionally. This
practice is recommended to help develop team members as it will help benefit
the organization’s skills as a whole. The outcome of this practice will help
develop team members and will assist in the director in his practice to become
a transformational leader. Studies show that transformational leadership has a
positive impact on follower development and follower performance. (Daft &
Lane , Nd)
Another practice recommended for the director
is that he inspire and motivate followers, rather than lead based on
reinforcement and exchanges. He is skilled at rewarding team members and for
recognition. This practice is recommended to help his team members’ morale and
to inspire their growth within the organization. The expected outcome of this
practice is that team members work harder and become inspired.
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Burns, J. (1978). Leadership.
Robina, C., & Brian, S. (2010). Changing
the it leader’s mindset : Time for revolution rather than evolution. IT
Mendonca, M., & Kanungo , R. (2006).
Ethical leadership. Open University Press.
Aarons, G. (2006). Transformational and
transactional leadership: Association with attitudes toward evidence-based
practice. National Institute of Health
Daft, R., & Lane , P. (Nd). Management.
(11 ed.). Ingmar Wesemann/Getty Images.