Although there are various models provided by textbooks to understand and measure organizational effectiveness, the basic meaning of organizational effectiveness remains unchanged: It is for the organization to be doing everything that it knows how to do, and to be doing it well. When business and economic trends alter, however, organizational effectiveness calls for organizational innovation.
After completing my B. S. degree in the Humanities, I pursued an M. A. egree in Library and Information Science, which helped me to truly understand how advances in information technology have the power to enhance services and create opportunities to market to new patrons. It was my inherent belief in organizational innovation that initially led me to study Information Science with respect to the Library. After all, advances in information technology are nowadays understood to be the Number One impetus for organizational innovation.
Numberless experts are of the opinion that organizations may only gain their respective competitive advantages in our times by the adoption of newest technologies. Working as a Library Assistant for a year at a public library, I had the opportunity to witness how the four functions of organizational management come into play with regards to innovation, as the organizational manager must plan, organize, lead and coordinate innovations. Among other duties, I was responsible at the library for conducting children’s programming, providing reference services and assisting patrons in using public access terminals.
During this experience I observed that while innovation breathed new life into an age old organization, it would not have been possible without strategic planning. Moreover, I understood the fact that organizational innovation is not just a matter of technology or any particular medium; rather, it speaks to the importance of analyzing the organization for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Libraries must open doors to increasingly technically savvy patrons who demand access to new services. Accordingly, many public libraries have begun to adopt Web 2. technologies.
As a matter of fact, libraries have already experienced a paradigm shift as a result of technological innovation. This shift is, no doubt, accompanied by changes in entire organizational cultures. I had the opportunity to experience organizational innovation also as a Retail Store Manager for a year. Working for a large franchise operator in the petrol industry, I prepared daily financial statements and oversaw the everyday operations of the store. My organization was experiencing significant pressure from the economic realities of the time.
Petrol prices were beginning to soar during my tenure and the organization constantly had to adopt new approaches to maintain stellar sales performance, while trying to boost waning consumer confidence because of high expenditures on petrol. Needless to say, my company had limited control over the price of petrol. We, therefore, had to come up with new ways to overcome the problems. We started to do ‘re-grand openings,’ where we would focus on specific sites. We brought in staff members and managers from diverse positions and geographical locations within the organization to boost sales.
We also began to market our brand more intensely, differentiating our product as superior in a market that allowed little room for change in the price of the good, as the external factors held greater clout. Organizational innovation, as I learned from my experience as a manager, must be responsive and proactive in nature. Public libraries, by their nature as publicly funded institutions, have a longer period of time to plan for and respond to innovation. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is useful for me to have experienced that innovation could be both a reactive and proactive process.
The manager must always endeavor to discover new opportunities and solutions, but also must acknowledge threats to the organization and respond with equally effective innovative solutions. I have also worked as an associate at a theme park in an attractions area for a year. This experience was primarily customer service oriented, but it gave me experience in an organization that is very sensitive to economic perturbations as well as security concerns, and may therefore have to engage in scenario planning in addition to contingency planning to automatically begin processes of innovation, if and when required.
My organization, in particular, generated income from many diverse activities. Apart from developing extensive new opportunities for tourists, the organization developed opportunities for the local patrons to enjoy the night life. It also marketed specialty tickets that allowed faster access to attractions. Furthermore, my organization had to constantly consider new technologies such as face recognition surveillance so as to augment security measures for all visitors. Indeed, innovation is the organizational equivalent of the experience of human growth.
Operational innovation is to invent new ways of doing work so that the organization may have a competitive edge. Although innovation in terms of new products and services is also expected to grow a business, I continue to regard the adoption of new technologies as the most important form of organizational innovation in our times. The organization knows how to manage its employees, and to manufacture the products or provide the services that it originally set out to manufacture or provide.
However, in order to be effective in its operations, it should be managing its employees well, and manufacturing good quality products or providing high quality services to its customers. What is more, in the organizational environment of today, the organization that is effective in its operations must be effectively using information technology. This is, in fact, one of the requirements of organizational effectiveness, which the manager is ultimately responsible for.