The umbrella organization
Atlantis Community Mental Health Center (ACMHC) usually specialized in the areas of inpatient, outpatient, and emergency services. The organization initially specialized in the areas of inpatient, outpatient, and emergency services due to the nature of the needs of the population under which it served. Initially, the organizational structure of the organization consisted of several departments that had exploited a common way of performing their duties and had been accustomed to a specific mode of operation. Dynamism and adaptation had not been exploited as no new modes of operation had been employed. This had deemed the organization irrelevant to the population as it was not dynamic with the times and thus did not meet the present demands of the population. There is a high need for organization to change with the current dynamism of the needs and demands of typical populations.
When organizations lack this, they end up being irrelevant to the market and can sometimes be rendered obsolete and cease their existence. A report was handed to it that identified the major organizational flaws the organization experienced. This report showed marginalized people were not being reached in terms of availing crucial services to them. The management resolved they were going to conduct a major organizational change. In response to this report, the management ended up creating new service components in order to meet the shortcomings identified by the report. After evaluating the report, staff members forwarded several suggestions on how to improve service delivery the population effectively. It was agreed community based agencies were already widespread and had to be incorporated into the umbrella body in order to optimize the agency’s efficiency. The major hurdle for this however was how to incorporate them and ensure none of them looses their autonomy. Several suggestions were forwarded on how to departmentalize. One was to departmentalize according to function and the other was according to the type of population served.
Major organizational issues involved.
The critical and growing organizational issue the Atlantis Community Mental Health Centre was experiencing was the inadequacy in providing comprehensive health care to the dynamic increment in population characterizing the highly diverse geographical area the covered by the health care centre. The traditional services employed by the healthcare centre were not efficient to cater for the growing population. This could have been possibly due to lack of trained medical personnel or an efficient organizational structure and process. The community could only get access to the health care facilities if there were an adequate number of qualified nurses, and the available nurses were rationally distributed within the region. The management could have conceptualized that access to medical care as being access to physicians or to hospitals. This could have totally disregarded the effectiveness of the nurses out of the equation (Issel, 2009).
Primary alternative for the organizational structure
I would tend to concur with the two suggested approaches to the organizational structure. The new amalgamated heath agency could departmentalize their organization structure according to the type of service each of the departments would offer. With this mode of departmentalization, all the personnel who offered direct services to their clients would be put into a common department. Another department would be set up to house all the personnel who would be involved in outreach services and so on. Another possible organizational structure would be to departmentalize according to the population under which the different personnel served. The major implication to departmentalization would be the loss of autonomy of the amalgamated agencies.
The best possible alternative organizational structure
The best possible alternative organizational structure would be the employment of the matrix organizational structure. The matrix structure is the best alternative, as it tends to combine two or more different organizational structures. The division of departments according to the functions they serve is often combined with the departments serving different populations. A good example to this is when a department assigned to a specific population ends up taking personnel from functional departments who are specialists in the cases identified in that population. The personnel from the functional group continue to work under the manager of the population group until their work is done. One advantage of the matrix organizational structure is it tends to minimize labor force and ensures that certain projects are undertaken by the best specialists. This results in minimizing expenses in terms of salaries and wages. It also ensures the best results are attained as the job is done by professionals (Lewis & Lewis, 2006).
In order to ensure effective coordination, decision-making, and communication among the various programs, there should be a definite hierarchical structure. However, this would mostly end up causing the small community based agencies would lose their autonomy. A definite hierarchical process would mean that all major decision are made by the senior most managers in the umbrella body and relayed to the ground teams. This would eliminate the dual reporting incidences that are characterized by other models. A definite hierarchical structure ensures effective coordination, decision-making, and communication among the various programs as all the information is relayed to the top managers that enable them to have a good picture of all the affairs of the organization.
Issel, L. M. (2009). Health program planning and evaluation: a practical and systematic approach for community health. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Lewis, J. Packard, T. & Lewis, M. (2006). Management of Human Service Programs (4th ed), Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks.