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Respond to each peer initial post and question at the end with a response about 3-4 sentences long.
Decision- making in public administration at any level is important and a constant process. Public administrators are responsible for making decisions that may affect just a few to millions of individuals and/or agencies. Their job requires that they make decisions based on what is in the best interest of all involved (Firth, 1998). For instance, Congress must decide what public service programs such as social security to support or not. Or they may have to decide to provide increase funding for a particular program. The president will have to make decisions such as what executive order to sign. There are two critical elements in decision-making which are information and values.
Public administrators make valued decisions that can be either both or one of these: personal value or public value. Basing decisions on values, will have some risks and may even cause criticism since this can be a sign of lack of information known in the process (Firth, 1998). This is because there are so many obstacles to decision making on values such as time constraints, costs, and reliability just to name a few. You as the decision maker may believe that you know that the decisions you are making is of value it may not have been the best choice due to lack of information. For instance, you had the choice for dinner to eat pizza or hamburgers. You then chose to eat pizza because they were having a sale at Pizza Hut and you believed it to be of good value. Yet, after eating the pizza you became sick because just before that there was complaints made with food and safety showing they had food poison from the restaurant. Due to this lack of information, the choice made was not of value since now you have medical bills to pay. This is a prime example of basing decisions on values rather than on relevant information.
Although, it is vital that information provided is of value, value should not be your primary reasoning when your decisions will be affecting so many individuals. As an administrator, you would not want to make a decision of no or little value as this is what causes them to lose the public’s trust. It is essential that the administrators are provided the most accurate and all information when making decisions. Due to the greater risks of basing decisions on just values, I would have to say that information should be the most heavily relied on decision making element.
I think that many of the executive branches recent decisions have been on values and not information. For instance, in the first twelve days, President Trump made signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border and stated that Mexico would pay for it (McFadyen, (2018). He made the decision to have this wall build based on values as he wanted to increase national security to protect the public’s interest and I’m not going to get into his personal values on this issue. However, once the order was signed the Mexican President stated they would not pay for the wall, this was a lack of information by President Trump. This lack of information has halted the building of the wall. President Trump only recently signed a bill to request a 1.6 million dollar “down payment” of the 10-million-dollar project. Lack of information can be detrimental to millions and be extremely costly like in this situation.
Having cognizant knowledge about a matter is tantamount to private or public business. Information is invaluable, that is why some businesses have invested millions into acquiring in-house libraries or research centers and others spend millions with outside research firms to procure it. Researchers Martha Feldman and James March state, ” Organizations are consumers, managers, and purveyors of information. Rules for gathering, storing, communicating, and using information are essential elements of organizational operating procedures”(Feldman, M., & March, J. pg. 02, 1999). The bottom line is that having the right information will allow an business entity to maximize profits. Value is hard to measure. What I believe is valuable another person may not believe it is valuable at all. Value can be based of something a person or group may be passionate about and be the exact opposite for another group or individual. Researcher Barry Boseman posits a question stating, ” Why is public value so often marginalized as non-market, market intervention, or market failure? One reason is that decisions about public vs. market allocation of goods and services are not made on an even playing field. Arguments about public values or public interest often find themselves at a considerable disadvantage, a disadvantage accruing not from the veracity of argument but from the difficulty in framing the argument” (Boseman, B. pg. 04, 2000).
I believe that information is better than value because it is based on extrapolated statistical measurements. Information will allow the actors to make concrete, definitive, and rational decisions concerning the future of their company or the operations of government. In the year 2005 the United States’ Gulf coast was struck with Hurricane Katrina, a massive and destructive Category 5 storm. The government had the reputable and measurable information yet it is fair to surmise, the government determined value was more important than the information it had. Author Richard Stillman explains how value trumped information concerning the levees being breached by Hurricane Katrina stating, “The drowning of New Orleans was caused by complex factors of weather, geography, history, politics and engineering, but it was at heart a tragedy of priorities— not just Vitter’s, but America’s. For years, it was common knowledge in Louisiana and Washington that New Orleans could be destroyed by a hurricane. But decision makers turned away from the long-term investments that might have averted a catastrophe, pursuing instead projects with more immediate payoffs Some of those projects made the city more vulnerable”(Stillman, R. pg. 226, 2009).
Having information but doing nothing about it can have consequences that are egregious. Values should never superimpose information that can save lives, maximize profits, or efficiency. Senator David Vitter of Louisiana chose the special interest group request of the deforestation of cypress swamps,” which would reduce the natural hurricane defenses the restoration was supposed to rebuild” (Stillman, R., pg. 226, 2009). This is a paragon of the value of money and selfish needs superseding the information that would have preserved property and more importantly life.
Every evalution includes presentations. The type of presentation depends on the stakeholders receiving it. Presentations must be tailored to the audience for maximum understanding and effectiveness. Two methods of presentation are oral and written, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both types.
One advantage of an oral presentation is it is more powerful than a written one. The stakeholders can see and hear the emotion behind the words. This also ties into motivation. Motivation can show an audience the evaulator wants to do the evaluation. Another advantage is immediate feedback. The evaluator does not have to wait for a letter in the mail. A relationship develops between the stakeholder and the evaluator that can assist cooperation. Flexibility is another advantage. It allows oral presentations to change as the situation requires (Business, 2015).
Some disadvantages of an oral presentation are there is no record of the proceedings, so results can be disputed. Distortion of words, people misinterpreting meanings, is another disadvantage. An oral presentation also has limited use. If there is a lot of information to present, the presentation may take too long and people may lose interest. Also, if the evaluator uses unfamiliar terminology, the audience may not understand the whole report (Business, 2015).
Written presentations also have advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are people can read them at their leisure and have time to formulate questions. Information can be kept for future reference, and information is less likely to be exaggerated (Kimathi, 2014). Some disadvantages are if the information is not stored and cared for properly, it can be lost or distorted. Also, as with oral presentations, if the written report uses jargon or terminology the stakeholders do not understand, they may not understand the whole report (Kimathi, 2014).
For my evaluation on the Navy Wives Clubs of America (NWCA)’s Scholarship Program, two groups to whom I will present information is the National Board of Directors and Lois Wilber and Melissa Worthey, the Director and Secretary/Treasurer for the program (NWCA, 2011). The National Board of Directors will have a power point and oral presentation giving an overview on the results of the evaluation. I will use graphs to show increases or decreases in scholarship use and effectiveness. For Wilber and Worthey, I will have a more detailed presentation. I will have a written presentation and an oral presentation. They will be given a copy of the written report with areas that could use improvement and areas that are doing well. By giving them a chance to read the specifics ahead of time, they will have time to form questions for the oral portion. During the oral portion, I will present suggestions to improve processes as needed. This presentation will occur first. Any solid information gathered from them may be worked into the power point such as suggestions they are definitely going to put into play.
The written method can have more detail than the oral method. The people who work with the scholarship program every day will be better able to understand the specifics. They would be able to give a reasoned positive or negative response to improvement suggestions. Once that presentation has been completed, the more general presentation stating how the program is doing overall will be given to the National Board of Directors. They have other specialties such as Secretary and Treasurer of the organization, so too many details may confuse them. There are 33 clubs, so they can pass the information down to the separate clubs. If a decision has been made on a way to improve a process, it may require changes from specific or all of the clubs
After completing a program evaluation, evaluators submit their findings to stakeholders. These findings, or “data” is then used as a resource for to stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the program being evaluated. Whether the goal of stakeholders is to evaluate an existing program to determine its effectiveness, anticipate a programs duration, or to provide opportunities for a programs growth; evaluators play a major role in the overall outcome of the program they are evaluating. It is the responsibility of the evaluator to relay consistent and accurate information to stakeholders. An evaluator has several routes he or she may take to present data. An evaluator may choose to provide their findings through oral communication, written communication, visual communication, or even technological resources for communicating findings. Each of these avenues carry their own advantages and disadvantages.
With oral communication an advantage that may be experienced is the opportunity for stakeholders to discuss findings and ask face to face questions during the presentation, while a disadvantage that can be experienced is that stakeholders could find themselves lost within the presentation and struggling to retain all the information even while attempting to take notes. Generally, all presentations will be accompanied by some form of written report. Our text book provides that “First, it is crucial to provide a written record that an evaluation was carried out. Those who arranged to fund the evaluation may need a tangible report for budget accountability. Second, a written report can answer questions about the findings of an evaluation or about its methodology that may arise later. Third, if administrators make a decision on the basis of an oral briefing, they will want a written report as backup if others question the reasons for the decision.”(Posavac 2011) An advantage for written communication of findings might be the ability for stakeholders to see and understand the data, as well as retain the information on their own pace. They can share findings with third parties and refer to the document whenever necessary. A disadvantage could be that stakeholders might have difficulty comprehending the data and no one there to help clarify; also when printing data onto paper you could risk the safety and security of the document and its contents.
For my evaluation I intend to present my findings to board members using both oral and written aspects of a presentation. Due to the large quantity of information being shared and the amount off quantifiable data included in the evaluation, I feel it most effective to communicate my findings to the OOC board of directs in both formats. Using an oral presentation and providing literature that aligns with the findings of the evaluation, I will be able to present the data in a way that can reduce the risk of stakeholders misunderstanding or inaccurately receiving the data.
For presenting my findings to management and high-level employees that are not present on the board I intend to use a written presentation to save time. While oral presentations have the ability to be more cost effective, the organization has provided a limited time period for finding to be relayed to employees and therefore written communication will be most effective. I intend to combine all of my data and findings into a newsletter that will be provided to organization employees during a brief staff meeting.
Posavac, E. J. (2011). Program evaluation: Methods and case studies (8th ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall PTR.Pearson Education, INC
Note response must be at lease 3-4 sentences long.