Any organization, whether profit-oriented or charitable, must proactively define its own strategies for current and future needs and make credible decisions on apportioning its resources to pursue the set strategies. The organization must engage in a formal consideration process of its present and future course of action, otherwise known as strategic planning (Blazey, 2008 p. 8).
Indeed, strategic planning is a requirement for organizations to survive in the turbulent economic times. Organizational leaders must always look ahead of what is happening at present, anticipate changes, and develop essential strategies aimed at successfully navigating the organization through periods of upheavals and change (Lawlor, n.d. para. 4).
Using the Baldridge Criteria for Performance Excellence, this paper aims at addressing the gaps existing in the management of information, knowledge and information technology in Community Outreach, an organization charged with the responsibility of helping the needy in society.
According to the conjectures of the Baldwin scale, organization must put in place strategies that will ensure all stakeholders receive quality and reliable information with ease.
The availability of accurate and timely information is critical as it assists the employees, partners, collaborators, sponsors and customers of the organization to make well-informed decisions. In the same vein, the organization must enhance strategies that make it possible for critical knowledge to be collected, assembled and transferred to relevant stakeholders (Kaufman et al, 2003 p. 17).
From the case study, there exist a gap in the way critical information and knowledge are transferred and made available to interested parties. First the organization does not have a central data and information management unit as demonstrated by the fact that the new volunteer treasurer have to mine crucial information from a number of different sources (Lenk & Domelly, 1998 p. 175).
The impacts of this gap may be colossal. Not only does such an arrangement lead to time wastage but it may also fail to guarantee accurate, reliable and timely information.
Also, information and knowledge received from such an arrangement may not be representative of the actual needs and requirements of the organization, not mentioning the fact that confidentiality of such information may also not be guaranteed. Such an arrangement is also open to mistakes and errors. According to Blazey (2008), organizations “…must ensure integrity (completeness) of data and information as well as ensuring they are available, accessible, reliable, accurate, timely, confidential, and secure” (p. 294).
From the case study, it is also clear that fundamental information and knowledge is not transferred from the organization to other stakeholders such as volunteers (Lenk & Domelly, 1998 p. 177). This is underscored by the fact that some volunteers are seen roaming around the organization’s building due to lack of direction on what to do.
According to Kaufman et al (2003), organizations must disseminate all pertinent information from the offices to all stakeholders. Due to this gap, considerable amount of time end up being lost as workers figure out what to do on their own. In practice, such kind of arrangement will not only decrease the workers motivation but it will also decrease productivity and performance.
Indeed, the inadequate and inefficient channels through which crucial information and knowledge are disseminated in the organization can be used to explain the disappointments faced by Terri, the organization’s operations manager. It can also be used to explain the high employee turnover witnessed in the organization. The overall impact is that it may be pragmatically impossible to strategize and plan for the future when such disjointed and often inaccessible information and data are used.
The organization is in need of coming up with plans and strategies that will enable it to collect more capital to finance its future engagements with the needy masses. Before this dream is realized, the organization needs to come up with ways of addressing its information and knowledge deficits.
Using appropriate strategic planning tools such as ‘preparing to plan,’ the most basic pitfalls and challenges need to be identified and strategies developed for their rejuvenation. In our case, information and knowledge disjoint have been cited as the major undoing for the organization.
Based on this technique, recommendations for organization to court sponsors who will fund a project to centralize all information channels in the organization will be in order. Since the technique depends on a needs approach to plan for the future, the idea of inviting the organization to invest in information technology could also be recommended.
This will not only boost the transfer of information and knowledge between employees but it will also ensure that other stakeholders are kept informed. An efficient information technology component for the organization will also facilitate the funding process. To be effective in planning ahead, proper synergies in communication and information sharing must be observed by all stakeholders (Blazey, 2008 p.76).
Blazey, M.L. (2008). Insights to performance excellence 2008: An inside look at the 2008 Baldridge Award Criteria. American society for quality. ISBN: 9780873897280
Kaufman, R., Oakley-Browne, H., Watkins, R., & Leigh, D. (2003). Strategic planning for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Lawlor, J.E. (n.d.). The importance of strategic planning. Retrieved October 2 2009
Lenk, M.M., & Domelly, B.D. (1998). “Instructional case: Community Outreach.” Issues in Accounting Education, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 173-178