The Land Registry Office at Swansea was indeed one of the underperforming government agencies about a decade ago. However, the organisational restructuring process that has taken place over the few years has not just transformed the Land Registry. The improvement measures have also seen the department grow by leaps and bounds to become one of the highly performing government organisations. With its 300 employee base, the Land Registry at Swansea office is warming up itself for tough and demanding future to see into it that it remains tops and shine in its managerial practices that are much needed in service delivery. In any case, the Land Registry has undergone through what may be referred to as a massive transformational phase, an attribute that is being admired by both its employees and customers. Achieving this level of success has not been a walk in the park for the Land Registry office which was incepted way back in 1862. It all began with drafting down of a ten year strategic plan aimed at positively changing the operations of the agency. According to Peper et al (302), organisations that experience slow growth due to managerial problems are often advised to adopt preferably mid to long term strategic plans. This can be blended with a change in management. Fortunately, the Land Registry went through a similar approach as part of preliminary steps to improve service delivery to those buying or selling property.
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As part of the major ingredients to the ten year long strategic plan, the management at Land Registry office at Swansea outlined some of the most important considerations to bear in mind in order to improve the performance of the organisation. For instance, the processes at the Land Registry are being streamlined so as to accommodate organisational change which is much needed. Besides, the management is continually raising the skill level required to run various activities at the Registry. The traditional management system is being replaced gradually with the hiring of new skills and talents. The overall effect is aimed at modernising the Lands Registry department as much as it is a public sector.
Another performance ingredient as laid down in the strategic plan is the need to hire managers who are capable of visualising the fact challenges within an organisation are inseparable from the organisational unit itself and hence workable solutions should always be sought. In addition, the Lands Registry has been hiring individuals with the right aptitude and attitude so that they are compatible with a working environment that demands merit and high performance.
Structural change within an organisation is often an integral part of improving service delivery to the targeted clients in addition to creating job satisfaction to employees (Bratton & Gold 273). In order to expedite service delivery and reduce the backlog of transactions in its office at Swansea, the Lands Registry has computerised its operations. Although most Lands Registry offices often cater for the needs of the local and immediate population only, the Swansea office has managed to register property in most parts of London. Hence, property transactions can now be effected with minimal delay especially after the initial stages of registration have been accomplished.
It is also imperative to note that successive governments have been laying emphasis on the need to modernise its departments. In order to lower operation costs of the Land Registry at Swansea, performance targets are being applied. As a result, the accuracy with which transactions are being carried out has duly improved. Besides, registration of land and other property can now be done promptly thereby easing congestion that used to be a common feature at the Registry some decades back.
In line with the much needed organisational change at the Lands registry, specialisation and division of labour is being put into action. There are specialised departments within the organisation that handle specific cases. As a result, the available work is divided equitably among the staff members. The new procedure has eliminated chances of duplication of work or poor coordination of transactions from one department to another.
Although these organizational changes being put in place by the Swansea Lands Registry sound good, they were not readily accepted or accommodated from the start of the restructuring program. However, the arrival of Duncan Chittenden in 1999 was a major breakthrough in this earlier struggle to accept change at the Lands registry. Chittenden took over as the local Lands Registry manager. He started with a long term process of seeing into it that all individuals were thoroughly engaged in transforming the Swansea Lands Registry office. To begin with, staff surveys were carried out to establish the existing gaps in human resource management of the Lands Registry. Besides, a myriad of conferences as well as capacity building and training for staff members were organised with the sole purpose of improving performance. This has been maintained to date. The senior management are also trained and well equipped with the necessary managerial skills and competences. Through the top management, the rest of the staff members at the registry are continually taken through an appraisal process or performance evaluation to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Even as these improvement processes take place, the needs of the customers have always been put first owing to the fact that the lifeline of the Lands Registry relies on its clients.
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In revisiting the importance of performance appraisal, there are five main areas that are being targeted by the registry in order to boost service delivery (Peper et al. 302). Firstly, delivering positive results is key in its performance evaluation. The registry is ensuring that its employees are sufficiently adaptable in the sense that they can manage change; which is part and parcel of the organisation. The second component that is being considered by the Lands Registry at Swansea office is the need for staff members to build strong and effective teams capable of accomplishing the objectives of the organisation. According to Schuler and Jackson (117), team work and team building in an organisation is a powerful way of meeting the goals and objectives in an organisation especially if appropriate team building exercises are put in place for employees to experience their worth in group work.
How the “cultural web” is used to ensure a strong performance and customer-oriented culture at the Land Registry
The “cultural web” underlies the corporate culture or tradition that has been established by an organisation for the purpose of improving performance and of course maintaining market leadership (Schuler& Jackson 117). This is the very web that has been instituted by the Land Registry at Swansea office. An organizational culture ought to be aligned with the strategies for improvement. Hence, a proven “cultural web” can indeed be advanced throughout the lifetime of an organisation for strong performance.
Any existing corporate culture will influence how processes are carried out within an organisation. Depending on the viability of the culture adopted, it may lead to failure or success within an organisation. The Land Registry underwent a period of organisational change. During this period, the “culture web” became the focal point. Although the environment that was subjected to change was initially static, the entry of Duncan Chittenden with his new managerial skills led to the adoption and subsequent use of a new corporate culture for the Land Registry.
In some instances, the “culture web” may be hard to pin down or vague, there are a myriad of approaches that the Land Registry can adopt to ensure a strong performance is maintained. The manner in which to go about this remains to be the bone of contention although a corporate culture can indeed be very instrumental in formulating, instituting and advancing change.
The Land registry can make use of the cultural web as proposed by Sinclair-Hunt & Simms (62) and Condrey (79). Firstly, the Land Registry can make use of the main elements of its cultural web to make sure that its performance remains strong throughout. There are six paradigms that are related to performance and customer culture. The broader image of the culture adopted by the Land Registry can be visualized when each of the elements discussed below are analysed. Through the analysis, the organisation will be in a position to evaluate weak points in its culture and the possible changes that can be made to improve both the organizational and customer culture. For instance, a cultural web on stories touching on the past records of the Land Registry is vital in improving customer experience and performance of the company. Such stories can be derived from how individuals perceive and talk about the organisation.
In reality, people from across the board will often air their views about the performance of an organisation. These views basically reflect the corporate culture of the organisation. When such opinions are good, then the Land Registry can keep up the culture web. However, bad comments about an organisational culture imply that changes are necessary if impressive performance and customers are to be maintained. The second most important element of the cultural web is the routines or habitual practices of an organisation. Routines form a very important part of planning and managers often make use of successful records of an organisation to pursue further planning. On a similar note, the Land Registry can identify some of the successful routines in its corporate culture and apply them in present situation for the sake of meeting the needs of customers as well as keeping the performance of the organisation high. For example, the Land Registry has been making use of performance appraisal of its employees as part of improving its service delivery. Since this is a routine exercise that has proved to be successful, it is recommended that the organisation should stick to it.
Symbols assist in identifying the physical image of an organisation. These are representations that are visual in nature and they can equally part of the corporate culture web. Although symbols may not directly boost the performance of an organisation, it has an indirect effect of luring customers. It is also imperative to note that the Land Registry can adopt a wide array of symbolic culture such as dress codes, office theme colour and even the organizational logo.
The structure of the Land Registry organisation is yet another culture web that the agency can identify itself with. The organizational structure may be both written and unwritten. For example, the organizational chart will demonstrate the various hierarchy levels and flow of authority (Salaman, Storey & Bills berry 91). Each member within an organisation has certain responsibilities and powers. As a corporate culture the job description as well as the power line of each member should be clearly stipulated to avoid duplication or clash of duties. A well defined organizational structure is evident at the Land registry offices in Swansea. At the helm of the registry is the area manager whose roles and responsibilities are clear; he oversees the overall running and day-to-day well being of the Land Registry within his area of jurisdiction. Such a clear mandate of the area manager will indeed ensure smooth running of the registry and consequently impressive performance.
The culture web that involves a control system of the organisation is equally important as part and parcel of corporate culture (Jones, Conway & Steward 103). One area of the Land Registry that requires a thorough control system is in the management of finances. A well defined culture of handling the finances of the Land registry should be in place.in the event that a corrupt or poor financial management culture is in place, then it is highly likely that the organisation will fail to meet its objectives.
Another control area is in the management of quality systems at the organisation. The Land Registry already has a quality control system through the performance evaluation of its employees. The organisation does not just carry out performance appraisal as a casual exercise. The process of appraising employees is an on-going and all-encompassing culture that was put in place to act as a check and balance in the management of quality service delivery to customers (Bratton & Gold 272). It is part of the modernization of public institutions to match with the current needs and challenges. In addition to performance evaluations, the Land Registry has also embarked on the culture web of training and building the capacity of its employees right from the senior management to the subordinate staff. A myriad of conferences, seminars and workshops all form the corporate culture of ensuring that the Registry improves its performance on a daily basis.
A reward system for highly performing employees is yet another control system that the Land Registry can adopt. Although there is no evidence of an open rewarding culture in this organisation, it is worth to emphasise that a corporate culture that recognizes the output of employees is necessary since the latter will be motivated to put more effort and consequently improve performance. The rewarding system can be more effective if the manager in which the rewards are measured is clear in addition to how the award is spread out within the organisation.
The origin of real authority within the organisation is also an important ingredient as far as corporate culture is concerned. When power is concentrated in a few executives, the authority will be sincerely respected compared to the situation whereby most or all employees have a level playing round in terms of authority or power (Bratton & Gold 273). The Land Registry office at Swansea has the overall area manager with other junior executives below him. When power in an organisation is centralized, it makes it easier to manage resources and reward abilities fairly. As a cultural web, power structure is paramount in the eventual success of an organisation.
How to use the Cultural Web
A cultural web is a broad way of comparing the current status of an organisation with that of the future. The present culture is qualitatively analysed. Thereafter, the preferred culture is modelled and finally, a distinction is drawn between the two extremes (Terry 56). When the difference between the current and preferred culture is obtained, it amounts to the cultural changes that the management of an organisation would prefer to put in place for the sake of attaining high performance.
Analysis of the present and future culture
The management of the Land Registry can initiate the process by giving a critical look each component that makes up the current corporate culture. When the present cultural web has been analysed, the process is repeated but in mind with what the future is expected or desired (Salaman & Asch 30). The management should be able to focus on the future needs of the organisation and thereafter adopt the right model that will enable it attain the desired cultural web.
After the two analyses are complete, a comparison is drawn between them. The striking differences are noted down. The objectives and goals of the organisation are then brought into focus and used to articulate the prevailing strengths and weaknesses. The factors that are acting as stumbling blocks for the strategic development of the organisation are then mapped out. Besides, there may be other elements within the strategic planning of the organisation that are not aligned at all with rest.
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Another revelation the organisation can strive to identify are the factors that are harmful or counterproductive at the place of work and which may act as major impediments towards the realization of the set goals and objectives of the organisation (Condrey 78). Moreover, after comparing both the present and future cultural web for the organisation, it will be possible to have a clear cut difference of the factors that should be promoted and enhanced. At the same time, there are those elements within the cultural web that will definitely deserve to be changed while reinforcing some new belief systems as part of new culture (Armstrong 117). All the aforementioned considerations can be reached at when the cultural web diagram for the organisation is critically analysed at each stage.
The last process of applying the cultural web in improving the performance of Land Registry Office at Swansea is the initiative by the senior management to set priorities for the proposed changes and the development of a concurrent plan to articulate and effect each change.
In recap, it is imperative to note that when a cultural web is applied as a model of strengthening the corporate culture and performance of an organisation, it will assist in the analysis of the present organizational culture. This will further assist in highlighting which needs should remain, be discarded or integrated in the system for effective growth. Attaining goals set especially after adopting a strategic plan as it happened with the Land Registry requires an up to date application of this model. Although the probability of attaining significant success as a Land Registry organisation will be high, the process of implementing it is quite cumbersome. It will demand more than just mere organisational change. The existing organisational values have to be re-moulded a fresh.
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