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Western Australia Police Communications Centre’s Change


The WA Police Communications Centre is a vital organ of the regions police force, primarily because it provides for an ideal way for members of the public to reach the organization for help and support. However, the job is very challenging because, by its nature, it involves constantly listening to appeals for help and the taking of swift decisions to make sure that the situation is effectively addressed. This essay seeks to analyze the challenges that affect the centre. To this end, a diagnosis of the organization shall be conducted, identifying the problems at the centre, before delving into the provision of solutions for these challenges. The Bolman and Deal reframing theory and the organizational change theory shall be used to develop a proper change implementation framework.

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The WA Police Communications Centre

The WA Police Communications Centre, as per the Bolman and Deal four-frame approach to understanding organizations, can be defined in four different contexts. First, the organization can be viewed as a machine (Bolman and Deal, 2008). This is because the centre, in its existence, has several goals that it aims at achieving. These include providing a rapid response to emergencies and ensuring as ensuring that this support is available at any given time. In its operation, there is a specialization of labour in the organization. There are individuals running the call centre, others driving around waiting for directives on where their help is needed and administrators ensuring that the organization has the necessary material and financial support to operate at optimum levels. In its operation, the WA Police Communications Centre depends on already developed and installed communication technology systems. Without the availability of telecommunication infrastructures such as telephones and the internet, the centre will be paralyzed. The persons working for the organization are required to constantly interact with this technology, with each one of them being assigned to a specific set of equipment.

Using the second frame of the Bolman and Deal theory, the WA Police Communications Centre can be viewed as a family, with the emphasis being on the fit between individuals and the institution (Bolman and Deal, 2008; Marshak, 2006; Harvey, 2005). The Communications Centre exists to serve human needs through the provision of services that are needed to help to make life safer. Also, in the daily operation of the organization, there is a symbiotic relationship between the organization and people. The organization needs a skilled workforce to operate its systems, with the workers needing the organization to earn a daily livelihood. As long as this fit is perfect, both the individual and the organization stand to benefit (Wheatley, Griffin, Quade, and the National OD Network, 2003).

The WA Police Communications Centre can also be viewed as a jungle. This is because, with its setup, there is a framework for the division of power and resources. As far as the allocation of power is concerned, there is one officer that heads the entire organization. Still, below it, there are other junior leaders, with each having their sphere of influence. When it comes to resource-allocation, each department within the parent organization has a budget for its day-to-day running (Bolman and Deal, 2008). Of the overall budget, each department strives to take as much as they can to make their operations more comfortable. It, however, goes back to already set up structures for the allocation of resources to determine the amount that each section will get.

Finally, the WA Police Communications Centre can be viewed as a theatre as it derives at giving meaning, value and purpose. In general, it does not matter what happens in the background, but the output of the centre is critical in enhancing the quality of life of the affected society (Bolman and Deal, 2008). For the people working for the organization, the centre represents their basic livelihood. With their pay coming from the institution, they have to attach value to their area of work. The organization also has its own culture, and this is received in different ways by each individual. For example, the tradition calls for everyone to always be at hand to help the other, irrespective of personal differences, and this has for some time been upheld at the centre.

Forces for change

Organization change is the shift of an organization from an undesirable state to an ideal one, as part of ensuring that the institution operates at the highest effectiveness levels (Deal and Kennedy, 2000). For organization change to be achieved, there must be forces in places leading to a desired future. These forces for change can either be internal or external. In the case of the WA Police Communications Centre, the internal forces for change include administrative challenges, lack of proper equipment and facilities and a disconnect between the junior and senior staffs. As far as administrative challenges are concerned, there is a growing concern that the workers are not getting the kind of motivational feedback needed to help them know whether or not they are on the right path.

In the investigation conducted by Dr Niki Ellis, it was revealed that most people come to work and do their job and then leave without anyone telling them if their output was up to scratch. The lack of equipment was mainly indicated in the frustration over not having enough cars. The field that the WA Police Communications Centre is in requires the organization to always have vehicles on stand-by because it is never known when a call would come requiring a movement of rescuers to a scene. Another internal force for change presented in terms of the junior employees feeling left out of key decision-making processes (Deal and Kennedy, 2000). The junior officers questioned why they do not have a say in the way the organization is run, yet they are the ones who keep the institution running.

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The external forces for change in the case of the WA Police Communications Centre mainly present in terms of changing technology, economic forces and the growing needs of the society they serve. Technology is always changing, and the centre needs to install measures to help maintain relevance. The population of the coverage area is constantly growing, and the centre needs to come up with a viable method of ensuring that support is provided effectively even as the demands increase. Economic forces are also among the external forces that might lead the centre to start instituting change. Because of the fluctuating economy, the organization is forced to develop frameworks to ensure that the members of staff are well insulated.

The problems at the WA Police Communications Centre

The challenges that the WA Police Communications Centre faces regularly, and which call for the development of a change implementation strategy can be divided into structural, political and cultural (Torbert, 2006). The structural problems that the organization faces come from there being a lack of positive communication channels between the senior officers and the junior members of staff. This has eventually led to decisions being made regarding the organization’s operation, which do not involve the junior members, ultimately leading them to feel left out.

Secondly, there is no proper framework for the determination of the quality of service provided (performance appraisal). Senior administrators do not provide the needed motivational commendation to their juniors even when work is done at a perfect level. The element of performance management has been over time, disregarded with the outcome being a lack of enthusiasm for the job by junior members of staff.

The unavailability of enough cars makes it difficult to run the operation at optimum levels. This is because the institution has mainly cut a forte in responding to emergencies, with most of them being attended to using cars. As such, with the number of cars at the disposal of the service being less than required, the officers on duty are forced to have to deal with complaints of inefficiency from the public.

Though not very pronounced, the WA Police Communications Centre also experiences problems that can be classified as political. These manifest in the form of a stringent hierarchy, which makes the decision-making process almost rigid. Some commands can only come from one source. When the individual in this particular capacity is not available or is unreachable for one reason or another, then the operation is forced to break.

The WA Police Communications Centre, being a public-service establishment that has been in operation for a while, has over its existence forged a routine that every new member is expected to follow. Individuals who operate outside this routine are not viewed positively. Individuals on the floor are expected to interact with each other on a social level constantly. Unfortunately, this leads to a reduction in the efficiency levels of the unit, with individuals who would like to pull out of social breaks to work being viewed as pretenders.

Cultural problems have also been seen to be affecting the WA Police Communications Centre. These present in the form of an unequipped human resource department. The centre, even though working in a community whose demands are increasing daily, does not have a big enough budget to allow for the recruitment of more staff members. The human resource department is forced to have to move some duties to the already-overworked staff.

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Change intervention

Several problems have been pointed out in the WA Police Communications Centre, calling for the implementation of change. The problems will be tacked independently and using specific approaches. First, the structural problems need to be dealt with on their own, and this item of change is solely left to the administrative office.

As far as performance appraisal is concerned, the senior officers need to be informed and educated on the need for consistently looking at the work of their juniors and offering their recommendation on what needs to change. This feedback will go a long way in helping the junior officers understand what is expected of them and do it to the best of their ability. The feedback, particularly if negative, needs to come from the persons directly above them for it to reflect well on the target (Greinerand Cummings, 2004; Cummings and Worley, 2005).

The need for junior members of staff to be involved in the decision-making process also needs to be properly addressed. This can be achieved by encouraging individuals from different offices to nominate one of their own to sit in administrative meetings, especially the ones dealing with issues directly affecting the local offices. These representatives will be required to consult with the members they are speaking on any issue that is affecting them and escalate the information to their higher office for evaluation. Any solution that is provided in the administrative meeting should be considered tentative until the office representatives have presented it to their respective offices and a consensus arrived at. This goes in line with the participative leadership style which encourages for each member of an establishment to be included in the decision-making process, ultimately making them feel well appreciated in the development of the institution (Burke and Bradford, 2005).

The issue of there not being enough cars can only be dealt with by looking at the organization’s budget and trying to find out the areas where cuts can be made so that new vehicles can be obtained. The senior administrators should also look at the possibility of getting more funding for the operation, as this will help avail more resources for this purpose. This item should be treated with the utmost urgency because it determines whether or not the operation will be regarded as effective and successful.

To deal with the political issues arising from a lack of flexibility in the issuance of directives, the administrative office needs to establish a framework for the delegation of power within the organization (Gallos, 2006; Hammer, M. and Champy, 1993). The delegating leadership style, which will be applied in this section of change implementation, will serve to make the operating fluid and ultimately more efficient (Pfeffer, 1994).

The problems arising from a social-cultural perspective need to be dealt with from the base. The junior members of staff need to be constantly made aware of what is expected of them. This can be achieved by regularly sending circulars, pointing out the areas of laxity. Commendation for respecting the work environment will also come in handy in helping the members of staff get the initiative to receive the rules positively (Schein, 2004; Bradford and Burke, 2005).

Regarding the cultural environment, notably the human resource department, the centre needs to find ways of expanding its members of staff. This will, in effect, reduce the work-load per individual hence reducing the stress levels associated with the job. The people at senior managerial offices also need to be encouraged to drift from authoritative styles of leadership and embrace more democratic approaches of exercising authority over their juniors.

Resistance to change

Change, as beneficial as it may be to an institution, will always be met by some form of resistance. In tandem with Kurt Lewis’ force-field theory of resistance to change, the suggestions provided in this section for the betterment of WA Police Communications Centre’s work environment and quality of service will not auger well with individuals who believe their power will be curtailed. However, the well-being of the institution should be regarded as more important than the desires of a few (Schon and Rein, 1994; Galbraith, 2001).

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Summary and Conclusion

This essay had set out to point out the challenges that the WA Police Communications Centre faces regularly and provide a desirable solution to these challenges. The first section of the paper was dedicated to evaluating the structure of the centre, and this was well achieved using the Bolman and Deal Theory. It was illustrated that the organization could be viewed as a machine, family, jungle and theatre. Next, the discussion went into listing the forces for change in the institution, and these were broken down into internal and external. The problems that the company faces were identified and solutions provided to help make the institution more efficient. Various leadership strategies were listed for use in the implementation of change. Finally, it was pointed out that there is bound to be resistance to change, and it was pointed out how this resistance can be dealt with. In conclusion, it should be noted that the challenges facing any institution, the WA Police Communications Centre included are always changing and that it will take a regular evaluation exercise to point out the areas that need adjustment.

Reference List

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Bradford, D. and Burke, W. (2005). “The Future of OD?” in D. L. Bradford and W. W.

Burke (eds.). Reinventing Organization Development: New Approaches to Change in Organizations. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Burke, W. and Bradford, D. (2005). “The Crisis of OD” in D. L. Bradford and W. W.

Burke (eds.). Reinventing Organization Development: New Approaches to Change in Organizations. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Cummings, T. and Worley, C. (2005). Organization Development and Change (sixth edition). Cincinnati: South Western.

Deal, T. and Kennedy, A. (2000). Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life (second edition). Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.

Galbraith, J. (2001). Designing Organizations: An Executive Briefing on Strategy, Structure, and Process (second edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass..

Gallos, J. V. (2006). “Career Counseling Revisited: A Developmental Perspective.” Career Planning and Adult Development, 1 (15) pp102-135.

Greiner, L. and Cummings, T. (2004). “Wanted: OD More Alive than Dead!” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 40 (4) pp138-189.

Hammer, M. and Champy, J. (1993). Reengineering the Corporation. New York: Harper Collins.

Harvey, J. (2005). “The Future of OD, or Why Don=t They Take the Tubes out of Grandma?” in D. L. Bradford and W. W. Burke (eds.). Reinventing Organization Development: New Approaches to Change in Organizations. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Marshak, R. (2006). “Emerging Directions: Is There a New OD?” in J. V. Gallos (ed.), Organization Development: A Reader. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pfeffer, J. (1994). Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Schein, E. (2004). Organizational Culture and Leadership (third edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schon, D. and Rein, M. (1994). Frame Reflection: Toward the Resolution of Intractable Policy Controversies. New York: Basic Books.

Torbert, W. (2006). “Generating Simultaneous Personal, Team, and Organizational Development” in J. V. Gallos (ed.), Organization Development: A Reader. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wheatley, M., Griffin, P., Quade, K., and the National OD Network (2003). Organization Development at Work: Conversations on the Values, Applications, and Future of OD. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

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