Thursday, November 20, 2008

Burns and Stalker

It is important to remember that the spectrum of organizations from mechanistic to organic organizations is one model of structuralist thought. Burns and Stalker's analysis doesn't work for everything.

The appropriate model depends on the environment. If, however, these examples do fit within the context, then they provide some practical concepts. For example, the mechanistic system thrives with a division of labor. Jobs should be well understood and protocol in place to run a smooth process. This means role ambiguity and role conflict need to be minimized. 
With organic organizations, the fluidity in the organization's process is enabled through the staff's "commitment to the concern's task," (Shafritz, 199). This means that employees' perception of the organization's cause must be understood lest the lateral nature of the structure blind administrators from seeing a weak spot. Accountability seems harder to maintain without specified job responsibilities. Steps must be therefore taken to insure consistency in a constantly shifting structure. 
Burns and Stalker's models offer such principles that, when applicable to the situation, serve has a guide. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Old and Modern Structuralists

I think the central divide between the "old" and the "modern" structural theories is World War II. The time that they wrote is the primary difference. Both generations of theories involve building a structure that best fits the enviornment. And though over time the enviornment has changed, the central theme has remained the same: "organizational efficiency is the essence of organizational rationality, and the goal of rationality is to increase the production of wealth in terms of real goods and services," (Shafritz, 193).

But to make sure I've hit all the key points, some of the enviornmental changes that have led to new theory is the rapid evolution of technology. With such a fluid enviornment, organic structures have proven capible of facilitating the necessary rapid adaptions. I would also add that a post-WWII emphasis on social equality has added a new layer of oversight into the basic structure.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama Era Begins

As I am determined to keep the content of this blog focused on the study of Public Administration, I will react only to the 2008 election's implications on motivation. The drive to serve is overwhelming. The enthusiasm I have for my studies has doubled. I'm counting the days until I graduate and can totally commit my humble talents to bettering this country through civic service.
I hope there is place in the public sector that can use me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

EMPA 302: Final Paper

From the initial public demand to the ongoing debate of Pell Grants, this program, an addition to the Higher Education Act, shows an eclectic range of policy elements. The money used to help financially strained students afford a college education has met, and continues to meet, fierce controversy. The ability for this policy to weather constant scrutiny throughout the process is a tribute to the public and political factors that support it so diligently. Examining these factors reveals much about the workings of government, and evaluating the policy’s implementation and its effects raises critical questions for the future of this admirable program.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was initially the continuation of the National Defense Education Act of 1958, (Rudy 87). It had two goals. The first was “to upgrade education in mathematics and the natural sciences. The second goal, which was specified in Title VI of the legislation, was to improve training in foreign languages,” (Rudy 87). In 1972, a Democratic-controlled Congress addressed the reauthorization. Senator Pell led the fight against President Nixon’s opposition to direct aid of tuition and “basic grants” were amended into the bill, (Rudy 121). Today, these “basic grants” are now known as Pell Grants and award up to $4,731 per year to needy students as determined by the results of their Free Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA, (Ed.gov).
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