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12 CHAPTER 3 Research Findings To provide understanding of the full inner workings of the is consulted for major decisions, policy issues, and funding selected DOTs and provide some common points of reference issues. DOT officials in large states such as California and for analysis, research was conducted on broader topics includ- Texas almost could not imagine being centralized and seemed ing organizational structure, project prioritization and selec- to feel that decentralization lends itself to project acceleration, tion, funding, performance measures, scoping and community freeing individual district directors to focus on projects within involvement, property impacts, environmental concerns, and their jurisdiction rather than having to wait for approvals final design and construction. It is a given assumption that and reviews from a remote central office. Decentralization a state DOT is an organization with many units but with one in a large state also gives the public a "live body" to speak to, pervading unity in function and alignment toward its mission. as opposed to an individual sitting in an office in the state cap- In attempting to meet its goals, the state DOT acknowledges ital located perhaps several hundred miles away. Smaller states and addresses the topics noted. The manner in which the inte- like New Jersey, on the other hand, expressed that a more cen- gration and interactions of those elements with other inter- tralized organization reduced duplication of responsibilities nal and external factors takes place is what makes each DOT and operated in a more efficient manner suited to their partic- unique and what propels it forward. These logical assemblies ular needs. of independent parts are what were researched in this study. Many state DOTs have reorganized both internally and It is important to review the integration of those topics in externally to provide for a more efficient delivery of programs the context of how DOTs set up their structure, operations, and projects. The intent to reorganize was not always based on and programs. Within the organizational structure, one finds the need to deliver projects faster but rather on the realization levels of hierarchy and formal and informal links that form that some form of efficiencies could be attained if the DOT the communication and reporting protocols. To some extent, reorganized parts of its structure. Organizations are becom- the organizational structure influences the DOT culture and the ing less vertical and moving toward flatter structures where individual performance standards for people, teams, and units. more horizontal and vertical communication can occur. The operations of a DOT are defined through the processes In Missouri, the DOT organizational structure is overseen and methods by which they deliver projects and programs. by a bipartisan committee, which may balance to some degree the political aspects of difficult decisions and allow profes- sional judgment and functional systems to better influence Organizational Structure project selection and implementation. Interestingly, the research revealed that each of the state DOTs of some states that were researched have been able DOTs selected for case studies had undergone some form of to maintain their staffing levels, while others have seen sig- organizational restructuring within the last 10 years. There are nificant cuts in total staffing, requiring more outsourcing many different types of organizational structures; however, of project management and production. Staffing levels play most state DOTs can be characterized, generally speaking, an important role in deciding which projects are performed as being either centralized or decentralized. It is evident that in-house versus those that get outsourced. some states function optimally with a decentralized structure, Another trend recognized in most of the states interviewed while other states prefer a centralized office. Most decentral- was that DOTs have introduced a project management philos- ized DOTs have district offices that function like miniature ophy or approach to project development. Project managers DOTs, independent of the headquarters. The headquarters are finding themselves in an environment where their decisions