Efficiency in Continually Operating Public Organizations: A Case Study

Source: Christopher Barnum, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 40 no. 4, Winter 2011
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This article reports the findings of a case study that examines the effect of compressed work scheduling on the overall organizational efficiency of a medium size police department. An efficient scheduling design is one that utilizes a high percentage of employees during busy times and fewer employees during slower times. Efficient scheduling is important because it can mitigate the problems associated with understaffing including tired employees, increased overtimes, and strained officer and citizen relations. This investigation examined the efficiency of four work scheduling proposals. Two of these were compressed scheduling plans and two were traditional designs. The examination found that a proposed 8-hour plan was the most efficient schedule analyzed. Its staffing patterns closely followed fluctuations in call volume, with more officers working during busy times and fewer during slower times. Statistical analysis establish that this model is significantly better than a 12-hour model currently used by the department, or a 8-hour scheduling plan used by the department in 1999. A proposed 10-hour model was found to be the second most efficient. Although not statistically different from other models, its staffing levels generally followed call volume patterns especially during late night peak times.

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