Course - GM 591: Leadership and Organizational Behavior
I have chosen the State of Maine Department of Corrections as the subject of my final course project. The Maine Department of Corrections is responsible for the supervision of adult and juvenile offenders who have been sentenced by the court system to a period of supervision either in an institution or in the community. It is made up of two major divisions, Adult and Juvenile, with two categories within each division, facility and community. In the State of Maine, the Department of Corrections is part of the Executive Branch of government. The administration is made up of a Commissioner, who answers to the Governor, a Deputy Commissioner, and two Associate Commissioners, one for each division.
The focus of my project will be on the Adult Community division. I am currently a Probation and Parole Officer in this division and have been for the last eleven years. I have held the positions of a sex offender specialist, court officer, institutional probation officer and most recently, I supervise a general caseload of approximately 100 adults who have been convicted of crimes in the State of Maine or elsewhere and are living in Central Maine. When I began my career with the Department of Corrections, the administration was made up of people who had worked for the Department for most of their careers. In 2010 a new Governor was elected, and the Commissioner who serves at the pleasure of the Governor was replaced by an individual with no ties to the State of Maine.
Over the past eight or nine years there has been a shift in the Department’s view of the proper procedure for supervision of adult offenders. There has been a lot of legislative involvement, due to budget concerns, to lower the cost of supervision of offenders. The Department has adopted a policy which focuses less on enforcement and more on rehabilitation. These policy changes have increased workload, without increased compensation for employees. As a matter of fact, there has been a freeze on any pay increase state wide for several years. There has also been a lack of communication between the administration and the line workers in regards to expectations and job needs. This has caused a large group of Probation Officers to become quite bitter and dissatisfied in their current positions. Many have opted for early retirement, however, there are even more people that feel “stuck” in their current position due to their financial and educational situations.
How can employee job satisfaction be improved for Adult Probation Officers in the State of Maine?
Schermerhorn defines job satisfaction as “the degree to which an individual feels positive or negative about a job.” (pg. 72) Schermerhorn also identifies some components of job satisfaction, including but not limited to: “the work itself, quality of supervision, relationships with co-workers, promotion opportunities and pay.” (pg. 73) There is also a correlation between job satisfaction and job performance. (pg. 76)
Currently most of the Probation and Parole Officers who are now employed by the Department of Corrections have been employed for a minimum of three years. They started with the department with the expectation of a certain job function which is more law enforcement in nature which is what many had planned for their career.
Recently there has been a shift in supervisory strategies as well. It was often the practice to speak with employees about their performance and come to an agreement with the employee to improve if needed or to counsel about possible policy violations. This style of supervision offered an employee an opportunity take responsibility in the decision process in their jobs and work towards their own set of expectations. Currently it is the practice to formally investigate and correct any and all policy violations. This...