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Criminal Justice Administration

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You have just been appointed as the new court administrator for a medium sized court system with approximately 75 employees and five full time courts. This is a new position for the courts, as in the past each individual court has primarily managed itself, except for the employee hiring process, which was completed through the County Human Resource Division. Upon taking your post you quickly find out that none of the courts seem to be willing to cooperate with each other, or for that matter, any of the other various county offices, such as the County Clerks Office and the District Attorney's Office. Rumors and gossip about mismanagement abound, and the communications process between the five courts appears to be at a stand still. The courts currently have a huge backlog of cases awaiting trial, and in addition, employee morale is low and the turnover rate high.

1. Discuss which problem would you address first and exactly how would you address it?

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Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

Let's take a closer look through discussion and research findings for consideration.

1. Discuss which problem would you address first and exactly how would you address it?

Have you given this question some thought as to what presenting problem would be most pressing to deal with first?

Not everyone would agree of course, but as a case in point, let's argue that increasing employee morale is considered the problem to address first, mainly because most of the other issues demand strong employee morale. For example, employees with a high morale are more likely to commit to the mission of the organization and to the team approach (e.g., courts working effectively together). This means that the courts might then begin to work more effectively together as a team, instead of in isolation. High employee morale is highly related to employee motivation, which both are reported to reduce employee retention, as high retention detracts from effective communication, morale and the courts working effectively together, mainly because new employees are continually being introduced into the system, so the group dynamics is such that it is always in the first stage of development (storming stage).

Let's look at several points of view and strategies for you to consider in building employee morale. The last model discussed is specific to the justice system, so it might be most applicable. However, you might consider points from each perspective as well.

One way to increase employee morale, according to Wellbourne (2007), is to increase employee engagement. She has purported an interesting and holistic model, the role-based performance model. The role-based performance model helps explain employee engagement by starting with the end goal in mind. The objective of all employee engagement initiatives is improved firm performance. However, the employee who has high engagement is the employee with reported high morale as well. The role-based performance model (see Figure 1 in attached article) helps identify the types of behaviors needed from employees to drive performance. The model defines five key roles that employees occupy at work:

· Core job-holder role (what's in the job description)
· Entrepreneur or innovator role (improving process, coming up with new ideas, participating in others' innovations)
· Team member role (participating in teams, working with others in different jobs)
· Career role (learning, engaging in activities to improve personal skills and knowledge)
· Organizational member role (citizenship role or doing things that are good for the company) (http://www.leadertoleader.org/knowledgecenter/L2L/spring2007/welbourne.html).

When employees are engaged in the five key roles above, employee morale increases. When employees are engaged, retention also decreases and communication and team work increases (e.g., courts effectively work together as a team instead of operating as isolated units). However, Wellbourne's role-based model does not detail how to go about building employee morale. The following issues dealt with by Herman (n.d), includes some specific strategies to building an environment conducive to building high employee morale. Although some of the strategies might be more aligned with small businesses, many are generalizable to this case scenario. For example, according to Herman (n.d), there are seven key issues in creating an environment to build high employee morale in the following excerpt:

EXCERPT:

Appreciation

Research shows that people often leave an employer because they haven't received the recognition they want, or feedback on how they are doing.

* Perhaps the first step in creating an atmosphere that will motivate employees is expressing appreciation. Supervisors should commend progress toward agreed-upon goals in a continual and consistent manner. Remember to express your appreciation for the invisible people D the receptionist, the janitor, the payroll clerk D as well as the stars. These employees all need to be singled out from time to time and commended for their efforts in keeping the company running smoothly. Ferdinand Fournies, author of Why Employees Don't Do What They're Supposed To Do, counsels that verbal praise should be given immediately after an employee has completed a successful project. Generally, the praise should be specific ("Thanks for getting the marketing report in on time") and honest ("Sections One, Two and Three are great, but let's discuss making changes to Section Four"). Fournies also claims that tangible rewards such as bonuses, time off or gifts are effective ways to express appreciation, especially when given more frequently than on a once-a-year basis.

* Show pride in your staff. You might reprint an article that quotes an employee and send it to interested customers. Publish news about an employee's participation in a trade or professional association in your company newsletter. And post copies of letters of appreciation to personnel on the staff bulletin board.

* Celebrate successes. When people work hard to complete a project, make sure their ...

Solution Summary

Based on the Criminal Justice Administrative scenario, this solution identifies which problem would be addressed first. Then, through illustrative example of strategies and techniques, it explains exactly how to address the problem. The specific problems mentioned in the scenario are: rumors and gossip about mismanagement abound, the communications process between the five courts appears to be at a stand still, the courts currently have a huge backlog of cases awaiting trial, and in addition, employee morale is low and the turnover rate high. Supplemented with one highly applicable article on strategies and techniques for employee involvement and other relevant links for further research.

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