Thursday, June 23, 2011

Organizatinal Analysis

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Organizational Analysis of the YWCA

I. Introduction

a. The Young Women’s Christian Association states its mission as the following “The YWCA of the United States of America is a women’s membership movement nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values. Strengthened by diversity, the Association draws together members who strive to create opportunities for women’s growth, leadership and power in order to attain a common vision peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people” (YWCA Mission). The Richmond branch of the YWCA strives to empower women, children, and families through their current programs addressing family violence, sexual assault, and homelessness.

b. The YWCA currently employs 65 part-time and full-time staff. In addition to the staff, the YWCA utilizes many volunteers and interns to assist the agency in providing various services to women and children in the community. The agency is located in a newly renovated building on 5th Avenue in downtown Richmond. The building is comprised of four levels that have been built to accommodate those with physical disabilities. When entering the edifice, one is located on the first floor that houses the secretary, two conference rooms, the gymnasium, and the only two enclosed offices of the Executive Director and the Assistant Executive Director. The basement is a newly constructed children’s center. This location includes several classrooms, a computer room, and a cafeteria. The second floor consists of a break room for the staff, an art room designed for the children, and a large play area that the children partake in many activities including riding tricycles to taking their naps. The third floor contains cubicles that house the student unit, the rest of the full-time and part-time staff (excluding childcare workers), three private rooms for the purpose of counseling services, and a large room utilized for support group meetings. The entire agency atmosphere produces an environment that is conducive to feelings of support, comfort, and an overall sense of openness. This is demonstrated by not only the structure and design itself, but by the employees staffed at the YWCA. Please refer to Figure 1.1 for an organizational chart of the agency.

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c. The YWCA offers a variety of services to women, children, and families located in the Richmond community. For example, the agency maintains two twenty-four hour crisis hotlines operated by crisis hotline specialists and has two confidential emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The two shelters are located in the Richmond and Chesterfield areas that each can accommodate twenty women and children. The shelters provide individual and group counseling for women and their children, case management services, employment and legal assistance and childcare for victims of domestic violence, and serve as temporary emergency shelter for victims of sexual assault. The main office, located on 5th street, provides individual short-term crisis counseling for women, men, and adolescents who are victims. In addition, group counseling is available for victims of domestic violence with a concurrent group for their children. Groups are also available for adults and teenagers who are victims of sexual assault. Furthermore, a trained volunteer or staff member is available 4-hours a day to meet sexual assault clients at the hospital emergency room to provide support and information. Another example of the services provided by the YWCA is the childcare program implemented for low and no income families. The YWCA Children’s Center is the only source of free childcare for families living in area homeless shelters. As one of Richmond’s largest Head Start sites, the YWCA serves over sixty preschoolers each day with comprehensive programming (YWCA Children’s Center). After school and during the summer, homeless and low-income children enjoy field trips, homework assistance, and educational activities in a safe, nurturing environment. Last, but certainly not least, the YWCA provides educational programs on the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and healthy relationships for organizations, businesses, prisons, schools and youth groups.

d. The YWCA serves women, children, and families of all ages, races, and income levels. Specifically, the agency serves any and all primary or secondary victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The majority of the client population lives in the Greater Richmond area. However, clients are welcome from any location. Moreover, the agency serves the children of no and low-income


II. Theory

a. The political economy model, as presented in Hutchinson (1), reflects the organizational theory that best applies to the YWCA. This model focuses on the dependence of an agency on environment resources in its ability to function and provide appropriate and necessary services to the community (Hutchinson, 1). Specifically, the political economy model addresses two main resources necessary for such organizations (1) political resources and () economic resources (Hutchinson, 1). The interplay of these two sources results in the overall operation of the agency. It is also important to note that this model recognizes clients as a potential resource for advocacy and power in the political arena (Hutchinson, 1).

b. The YWCA is a non-profit organization that depends on both political and economic resources to fund the agency. Therefore, the actions of the political arena directly effect the operations of the YWCA. If the government officials in power have elected to campaign for issues concerning domestic violence and sexual assault, the YWCA can ultimately benefits from such interactions and attention. Often, when political figures get involved in advocating for domestic violence, private donators become more aware of the need for such services provided by the YWCA. This awareness is a potential avenue to raise donations for the agency. Moreover, political figures make the decisions concerning federal and state laws. These political resources provide potential for additional granting and funds for the organization. In addition, several large organizations and businesses, including United Way and Capital One, provide funding for the YWCA. These funds are accompanied with expectations and obligations by such businesses. Therefore, they claim power over what type of services and programming they would prefer to fund. The YWCA is directly affected by their major contributors in that fashion, often creating limitations for the organization. However, the agency depends on these resources to operate effectively and efficiently. A number of other funds and grants are needed to run the YWCA. Whether or not these grants are approved on a yearly basis, seriously affects the clients, community, and the staff. For example, one part-time staff member was recently dismissed from her position because the grant the agency needed to continue funding her position was lost. As a result, they lost the only staff member that ran the Teen Advocacy Program. Since her departure, the YWCA has had to cancel over thirty scheduled teen public education seminars. Due to the political economy model, these types of decisions are often the result of the interplay between political and economic interest. The YWCA had no other feasible options, because of economic resources, other than to eliminate her position within the organization.

III. Critique

a. The YWCA performs poorly under the political economy model. Unfortunately, due to the nature of a non-profit organization, these conflicts will always be an issue and effect the organization on some level. Because the YWCA is so heavily dependent on political and economic resources, it is not always possible to provide efficient and effective services to clients, nor is there always the possibility of implementing additional programs the community addresses as needs. It is also important to reflect on the aforementioned staff member who was dismissed due to lack of funding. Now that her position is eliminated, the Teen Advocacy Program has no available staff to take her place resulting in the elimination of a community educational program. Therefore, this indicates a lack of efficiency and effectiveness to service those potential client populations. Moreover, the lack of government and overall funding is causing the agency to collapse positions together resulting in staffing patterns that are inappropriate the services being provided. For example, the Director of Domestic Violence has additionally been assigned the position and responsibility of Director of Community Outreach. She is not only handing an abundance of individual domestic violence clients, but is now responsible for follow-up and outreach counseling in the community. It would be impossible for her to adequately, efficiently, and effectively serve each client to the best of her ability. Unfortunately, many of the other staff members are encountering the same problems and issues. Another example are the childcare workers. They often have more children in their care than they can feasibly manage. In addition, they are not trained appropriately to provide the necessary services to the population of children. The problem here arises in the issues of salary. The YWCA cannot afford to hire qualified individuals in their childcare programs. As a result, the programs offered to these children are not performing to their highest expectations. As a whole, there are not enough people within the organization to accomplish the expectations given to them on a daily basis. This could, and probably is, affecting the way clients are being served at the agency. However, there does seem to be a common understanding among management and line staff within each program about problems, populations to be served, services to be provided, and client outcomes to be achieved. The problem arises when such needs, issues, and problems are not being met. Most of the issues concerning efficiency and effectiveness of the YWCA stems from the political and economic resources the organizations depends on for its existence. On a more positive note, the YWCA does utilize their clients as resources in the political arena. Often, the clients return to collaborate with the YWCA on political issues. Together they advocate for new governmental policies and regulations. These collaborations have proven to be effective process for change.

b. The contingency theory should be considered as a possible model that might prove to be effective for the YWCA. This theory states that there is no “one best way” to organize (Hutchinson, 1). It maintains that flexibility within the organization is key to identifying and adapting to the changing environment. Since the YWCA is consistently redefining issues of importance within the community, a more flexible theory would assist in the organization of the agency. However, the failure to recognize the strong influences of political and economic forces regarding the agency may ultimately be a limitation.

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