Virginia Department of Transportation Case Study
A high-performance business or body, time after time, attains excellence whilst fashioning a first-rate work atmosphere (Schermerhorn, 2010). The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) was once considered a premier transportation department, but over the years their reputation had become damaged due to budget overruns and a public perception that VDOT could not do its job. When Mark Warner was elected governor of Virginia in 2001, he wanted a new commissioner for VDOT that had private sector experience to turn VDOT around. His search led him to appoint Philip Shucet, a transportation engineer with both public and private sector experience. This paper will discuss some of the management theories that could have been applied to problems at VDOT, as well as how management has reacted to challenges. Next, an environmental analysis will be conducted and short, mid, and long-term goals will be discussed. Finally, Shucet’s motivation to take the job and the motivational problems at VDOT will be addressed. Management Theories
McGregor’s Theory X “assumes that people dislike work, lack ambition, are irresponsible and resistant to change, and prefer to be led” (Oke, 2011, pg. 26). Theory Y “assumes that people are willing to work, accept responsibility, and are capable of self-direction and creativity” (Oke, 2011, pg. 26). When Shucet arrived at VDOT, Theory X was much more in place, as is often the case in large bureaucracies. There was little teamwork or communication between departments and no one really knew the status of any of the projects (Clawson & Yemen, 2011). If Shucet implemented Theory Y much of this would change as employees took responsibility for their projects and became motivated to succeed.
Frederick Taylor’s scientific management theory would also help to improve performance at VDOT. Taylor’s theory stresses finding the right workers for the job and training them correctly (Oke, 2011). Downsizing led to massive retirements of highly skilled workers during the 1990’s. This pushed under or unqualified people into positions they were not ready for (Clawson & Yemen, 2005). An evaluation of the staff and their qualifications for their current positions could result in a restructuring that would better match skills with job requirements.
Implementation of Henri Fayol’s administrative principles would have had a significant impact on VDOT. Fayol spells out five duties of management; foresight, organization, command, coordination, and control (Oke, 2011). While there were deficiencies in all of these categories, two in particular were weak, coordination and control. Coordination is defined as actions that “fit diverse efforts together and ensure that information is shared and problems solved” (Oke, 2011, p. 22). As discussed earlier, information sharing was a significant weakness at VDOT. Control is actions that “make sure things happen according to plan and to take necessary corrective action” (Oke, 2011, p. 22). Since no one knew the status of the projects, management could not take corrective actions in a timely manner. Six Challengers
The six challenges in today’s workforce are ethics, globalization, technology, knowledge, diversity, and change (Oke, 2011). Ethical issues were a significant problem at VDOT. The commissioner of VDOT was a political appointee and this sometimes led to under-qualified individuals or people with their own agendas being placed in charge of a multi-billion dollar organization (Trying to Keep Virginia Moving, 2005). The appointment of Shucet corrected this, as he did not have political aspirations and was concerned only about getting VDOT functioning correctly for the long-term. Globalization was not much of a factor at VDOT since they are a governmental entity that does not compete on the open market and their business is entirely located in Virginia. Shucet...