PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT APPLIED RESEARCH (DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

BODY………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7

Diversity Management……………………………………………………………………………… 7

Ethical, Social, and Legal Responsibilities………………………………………………….. 7

International Business………………………………………………………………………………. 8

General and Strategic Planning………………………………………………………………….. 8

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Organizing Work and Synergism………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9

Organization Structure and Chart………………………………………………………………. 10

Work Team Utilization……………………………………………………………………………… 11

Staffing………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12

Employee Training and Development…………………………………………………………. 13

Motivating Employees……………………………………………………………………………… 14

Leadership and Management…………………………………………………………………….. 14

Managing Conflict and Stress……………………………………………………………………. 15

Managing Change……………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Controlling……………………………………………………………………………………………… 16

Appraising and Rewarding……………………………………………………………………….. 17

Operations Management and Plans…………………………………………………………….. 17

Operations Control…………………………………………………………………………………… 18

CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18

REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20

INTRODUCTION

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is among core combat support agencies (CSA) in the Department of Defense (DoD) agency, which is designated by the Secretary of Defense or the Congress to maintain military combat-related operations. Thus, it is an element within the Joint Information Environment (JIE) (JOH, 2011, p. 41). It undertakes a crucial support mission of information technology (IT) for different agencies, but majorly the Department of Defense (DOD). The agency also offers different services, including telecommunications, acquisition and computing services on cost refundable basis. Further, the agency controls and preserves joint warfighting, besides communication systems and command support. The DISA’s director – Lieutenant General RONNIE D. HAWKINS reported that the agency is in a crossroad after accomplishing a 13-year operation in Iraq. The director informs that “Our nation and our leadership have emphatically stated we must transition, as we conclude 13 years of war” (DISA, 2014, p. 1). Consequently, change is inevitable in the organization. As explained by the director, the President together with the Secretary of Defense produced the 2015 FY budgets, which adds more responsibilities to DISA, in spite of the scarce financial and human resources and the trend of the contemporary world. The budget articulated the DoD’s cyber mission of rebalancing the entire military within the next ten years and ensures that it operates within a sustainable track to safeguard the country’s interests and its worldwide sovereignty. The budget also includes the strategic direction of using the cyber and new Joint Information Environment investments to shape its war and defense operations. Consequently, the DISA is responsible for rebalancing activities. The DoD’s mission and strategic direction have irresistible impact on the overall operations in the DISA. The agency aims to execute the activities through its organizational vision, mission, core values, guiding principles, alongside other approaches as discussed in the paper. “Information superiority in defense of our Nation” is the DISA’s vision statement, while its mission statement states that “DISA, a Combat Support Agency, provides, operates, and assures command and control, information sharing capabilities, and a globally accessible enterprise information infrastructure in direct support to joint warfighters, national level leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the full spectrum of operations” (DISA, 2014, p. 3). Additionally, the agency uses dedication, integrity, service and always as its core values, alongside other guiding principles, which govern its operations. According to DISA’s director – RONNIE D. HAWKINS, the agency emphasizes on the following four core strategic goals, which include: “(1) Evolve the Joint Information Environment, (2) Provide Joint Command and Control and Leadership Support, (3) Operate and Assure the DISA Information Enterprise as part of the DoD Information Networks (DoDIN), and (4) Optimize Department Investments” (DISA, 2014, p. 1).

Comprehending management principles and skills is very easy for most people. However, exploiting the principles and skills in real life situations is extremely challenging. This is due to numerous forces such as changes in the environment and scarcity of required resources. Nevertheless, managers and leaders may effectively apply different management principles and skills, alongside the available resources, to achieve the desired objectives. It is easy to understand this through analyzing the following aspects and activities in the DISA: diversity management; ethical, social and legal responsibilities; international business; general and strategic planning; organizing work and synergism; organization structure and chart; staffing; employee training and development; motivating employees; leadership and management; managing conflict and stress; managing change; controlling; appraising and rewarding; operations management and plans; and operations control.

BODY

Diversity Management

There are about 8,300 employees in DISA, though they are not working from a centralized point. While some are operating from its headquarters, others operate from ten directorate offices, while others from 20 line and field organizations across the globe (GAO, 2002, p. 6). Diversity is highly encouraged and managed in the agency. The agency has established a culture that considers diversity as a source of innovation (DISA, 2014, p. 3). The culture also supports effective collaboration and respect among the members. Every member in the organization has equal opportunity of achieving his/her individual goals, while considering the welfare of the other members, as well as that of the entire organization and society in entirety.

Ethical, Social, and Legal   Responsibilities

Ethical, social, and legal responsibilities have been a big dilemma in many organizations, especially in business entities, though each of them strives to avoid any issues related to aforesaid aspects. DISA has been focusing on how to avoid any ethical, social, and legal issues through different approaches. First, DISA operates under identified guiding principles, which depict its identity among the customers (individuals, groups or/and organizations), as well as core values that define how agency’s operations are executed in relations to the customers.

Encouraging trust through transparency is another approach encouraged by the agency to avoid aforesaid issues. The agency’s members (employees) consider themselves responsible in their actions. Additionally, the agency executes its operations while reflecting the U.S. values, principles and specifications documented in the U.S. constitution (JOH, 2011, p. 91).

International Business

While DISA is intensively involved in international activities, the impacts related to changing trends in the global environment exert remarkable influence on its operations and strategy. DISA greatly manages greater fractions of global IT resources in the DoD’s agency. It also offers, runs and maintains variety of services related to information, computing, and networking requirements (GAO, 2002, p. 5). The agency plans to boost customer relations management through remaining innovative, in order to be more supple and receptive to ever changing trends that may hinder achievement of its global mission.

Organizations engaging in international businesses require effective managements that encourage flexibility needed to adopt and adapt any potential changes. Such managements should be able to demonstrate entrepreneurship and effective decision making. They should be also innovative to create insights whenever other organizational members face dilemma. DISA has been attempting to achieve this through synergism with other agencies, its employees and the public in general. Most importantly, its international business activities, including outsourcing, acquisitions and strategic alliances, are integrated in its guiding principles, strategic goals, and core objectives.

General and Strategic Planning

Strategy is very crucial in a sense that it offers the overall direction of any organization. It is usually long-term oriented, which enormous impacts on both individual components in an organization, and the organizational in general. It should be designed to build on and exploit the available capabilities and resources. It should also aim at creating effective congruence between an organization, its mission and the outside environment. Unlike other categories of planning such as tactical and operational, strategic planning focuses on a wide geographic coverage and stakeholder base. As a result, its development and implementation usually takes many years. Effective strategic planning helps organizations not only to cope up with different changes, but also to gain competitive advantages.

Though DISA undertakes own general and strategic planning, the process (planning) usually aims at achieving the broad National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS) upon approval by the president and the Secretary of Defense. The Agency’s management is responsible for general and strategic planning, though they process must reflect the broad national security and defense goal (JOH, 2011, p. 132). Further, the planning process is designed to reflect different current and potential changes, besides scarcity of resources. This holds the management accountable for effective and efficient use of the available resources to achieve the anticipated outcomes.

Organizing Work and Synergism

The agency always encourages collaboration in all its aspects. It believes that it is through collaboration that would help it to accomplish its mission. This is achieved by the concept of “WE”, rather “I”. The agency’s members encourage transparency and trust among themselves (DISA, 2014, p. 3). Through this kind of trust among the members, accountability is taken generally. For instance, the DISA’s 2014-2019 strategic plan points out that “we hold ourselves accountable.” This may seem to be contrary in other organizations whereby every employee is accountable for his or her acts. Further, service delivery is executed in synergisms.

Organization Structure and Chart

Organizational structure is a core element in management that may influence success of any organization. In brief, organizational structure can be described as the coordination between personal and team/group activities in an organization. It defines reporting associations, outlines different channels of communication, and linkages between different individual activities in an organization. Organizational structure can fall into four broad categories, which encompass: hierarchical levels, centralization, departmentalization and formalization. However, the categories for two distinct structure patterns, namely: mechanistic patterns and organic structures. Mechanistic majorly uses centralized and formalized principles, while organic encourage flexibility and decentralization, while considering reduced formalization levels. Jupiterimages Corporation, (2010, p. 186) reports that organic structures are more friendly to innovativeness, entrepreneurship and increased job satisfaction compared to mechanistic structures. DISA’s organizational structure tends to reflect the mechanistic structure (see figure below). Though mechanistic structures yield encouraging results, especially during stable periods, they seem to be outdated in the modern uncertain environment. This implies that the Agency should redesign its structure in order to facilitate innovativeness, higher levels of job satisfaction, and entrepreneurship skills.

Joint Spectrum Center
Joint Staff Support Center
Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization
Defense Technical Information Center
Defense Information System Service Center
Joint Interoperability Test Command
DISA Field Offices:

DISA Central Command

DISA Continental U.S.

DISA European Command

DISA Fort Gordon

DISA U.S. Joint Forces Command

DISA Pacific Command

DISA Southern Command

DISA Space Command

DISA Strategic Command

DISA Transportation Command

DISA Directorates:

Acquisition, logistics, and facilities

Application engineering

Computing services

Customer Advocacy

Interoperability

Manpower, personnel, and security

Network services

Operations

Strategic plans, programming, and policy

Technical integration services

The figure below shows DISA’s structure (GAO, 2002, p. 7)

Work Team Utilization

Weak team utilization is highly encouraged in all its aspects, irrespective of widely dispersed employees across the globe, with a great respect between the workers (DISA, 2008, p. 3). This is absolutely achieved through innovative employees and exploitation of accessible superior technology. For instance, the report by Adobe Systems Incorporated, (2010, p. 1) explained that the agency “In June 2007, DISA awarded Defense Connect Online (DCO), a two-part Adobe Connect solution for collaboration and engagement across DoD global operations.” The report further explained that the two systems consist of Adobe Connect implementation for classified and unclassified network. Through the aid of the systems, which were officially launched in April 2008, effective collaboration between military leaders, supporting personnel, and deployed troops irrespective of their geographical position. The solution helps the agency to overcome challenges associated with previous collaborative approaches such as use of satellite, T-1, and computers, among others. It is informed that since its launch in 2008, the DCO has captured over 25,000 and 90,000 classified and unclassified users, respectively. These users are randomly dispersed in about forty countries across the world. It is further pointed out that the number of users grows at the rate of about 1,200 weekly.

Additionally, Adobe Systems Incorporated, (2010, p. 1) reported that “In addition to deploying Adobe Connect for web conferencing, DCO implemented chat with presence and awareness technology to provide DoD staff with an XMPP-based, always-on IM client to engage immediately with authorized personnel around the globe.” This facilitates active involvement and collaboration, while facilitating effective communication.

Staffing

Staffing activities, which are more linked to human resource management practices and policies, majorly involves selecting the appropriate candidates and incorporating them in the correct positions in an organization to achieve the desired outcomes. This demands managers and leaders to ensure effective financial planning to avoid any error-related issues. Staffing also entails offering clear job descriptions, encouraging learning of the organizational culture and other related activities (Rue, & Byars, 2008).

Unlike in small organizations, multinational organizations such as DISA need to consider wider aspects in their staffing activities. For instance, it is crucial to determine the ability of international workers to comply with different cultural differences across the globe.

As reported above, DISA has effectively recognized and addressed the IT human resource needs. This has been achieved through different approaches, including hiring, retention and training, with help of superior technology (GAO, 2002, p. 9). For instance, internet recruitment has been used to mitigate the related costs and create effectiveness.

Employee Training and Development

Like other organizational strategies and operations, employee training and development program are majorly based on the wide national security and defense strategies. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) guides education, training and development policies in DISA (JOH, 2011, p. 95). The Joint Staff training and development programs are offered frequently to ensure employee flexibility in different areas. For instance, employees are trained to ensure that they can hold technology support tools, and to exploit their capabilities in order to boost expertise and quality their operations. The employees are also equipped with wide knowledge related to their tasks, though everyone is trained how to obtain information and make it available through different technology-based systems. Training programs are also offered to help organizational members to overcome psychological issues such as stress (JOH, 2011, p. 19, 65-70).

Motivating Employees

Though there are other crucial factors that define success of any organization, employees play a remarkable role. This implies that low motivated workforce may lead to declined performance or failure to some extent. DISA has remained focused on motivating its workforce. This has been triggered by its belief that the workforce is crucial for achievement of desired goals. The agency has been encouraging motivation through motivators. According to Saylor.org, (n.d., p. 536), motivators are “factors that are intrinsic to the job, such as achievement, recognition, interesting work, increased responsibilities, advancement, and growth opportunities.” It is the agency’s belief that “individual growth, learning, and proficiency are critical” for its future, including other stakeholders (DISA, 2014, p. 3). As discussed above under the ‘Staffing’ section, DISA has met the needs of its IT human resources, especially through training.

Leadership and Management

The ever changing global environment requires organizations to focus on future leadership and management expertise. Managers and leaders need to adopt strategies that aim at building future leaders and managers through training and development (Rue, & Byars, 2008). The case of DISA validates this, whereby growth and development has been adopted as crucial components to boost future success of the agency. DISA, (2008, p. 3) apparently points out that “leadership is an integral part of all DISA activities.” It is further reported that the agency’s leadership is well-recognized across the world for its successful creation, management and exploitation of cross-industry e-business exchange technology. The agency’s leadership creates an entrepreneurial atmosphere, whereby the employees enjoy the empowerment of recognizing and developing any potential opportunities that constitute their wellbeing, as well as the general wellbeing of the organization and the society.

Managing Conflict and Stress

Conflicts are common in many organizations. They usually occur when one party sees that its preferences and interests are overlooked or negatively influenced by the other parties in an organization. Conflicts may be functional or dysfunctional. Unlike functional conflict, which tends to serve the interests of an organization, the dysfunctional conflicts threaten the interests. Conflicts and stress are associated to different factors such as poor communication, competing for scarce resources, and competition in groups, among others (Rue, & Byars, 2008). Conflicts and stress in an organization should be managed to achieve agreement, improved relationships and learning. For instance, the management process should help employees to gain more knowledge and skills on how to solve any related issues in the future. Conflict can be solved through different styles, which may include: integrating, obliging, compromising, dominating and avoiding.

Managing Change

Due to ever evolving trends in the environment, organizational change is an inevitable element. In other words, organizations should remain flexible enough to adopt and effectively implement changes in order to achieve their desired goals. Like other organizations, the DISA is a victim of new trends in the environment. Insecurity related to human and information has been drastically changing with technological advancements. DISA has been focusing on how remain receptive and flexible to changes in the global environment. As discussed above, the agency had completed its 13-year operation in Iraq, but the U.S. government and leaders added more responsibilities to the agency. The added responsibilities are designed to match the new trends in the environment, and boost security and defense of the country. The agency’s leadership and management have been playing a great role in managing change in the agency, whereby they have succeeded to deal with many changes. This has been achieved through effective communication and trust that exists among the agency’s members. It is informed that lack of sufficient and clear communication may spur resistance to change regardless of the efforts and resources devoted in the change process. Effective communication prepares organizational members prior to the desired change.

Controlling

See Rue & Byars, Management: Skills and Application Chapter 17

Controlling is a crucial managerial function, which entails monitoring organizational performance and making relevant corrections to ensure achievement of objected results. Through controlling, managers ensure that the correct activities take place in the appropriate times. Further, controlling helps organizations to remain within the limits of the relevant rules and policies in an organization such as quality specifications (Rue, & Byars, 2008).

DISA has remained focused to strengthen its management controls. A report by GAO, (GAO, 2002, p. 10) informed that DISA has adopted different control areas. Though the agency had achieved effective control of its IT human capital, it seems to have failed to control other crucial aspects such as effectiveness in its operations. Controlling in the agency aims at achieving not only the agency’s goals, but also those of the wide nation.

Appraising and Rewarding

Appraising and rewarding are crucial management practices in the organization, which may lead to declined organizational commitment and motivation if poorly executed. Appraising and rewarding tends to influence organizational behavior. Rewarding and rewarding may involve either extrinsic or intrinsic approaches or both (Rue, & Byars, 2008). Extrinsic approach seems to rely more on monetary benefits, contrary to intrinsic factors which may encompass aspects such as ensuring encouraging working environment and offering growth opportunities.

Though extrinsic factors are used in DISA, intrinsic factors seem to be more prevalent. For instance, the agency offers training and development programs that facilitate the agency’s members to exploit their potentials. The growth opportunities provided by the agency play a crucial role in boosting morale and motivation among the organizational members. Additionally, the agency facilitates encouraging working environment, whereby trust, communication and collaboration are widely encouraged.

Operations Management and Plans

Apart from the above discussed components in managerial and leadership realm, operation management and plans are other crucial element to forget. Operation management and plans help organizations to track and monitor their operations (Rue, & Byars, 2008). The operation management plans act as the guidelines which are widely followed by project managers to achieve diverse activities such as quality. As explained in the section above section, the GAO report found lack of effectiveness and efficiency in its operations. Consequently, the report recommended the agency to base its operations on well-informed decisions.

Operations Control

Further, operational controls are crucial in any organization in a sense that they assist in controlling and managing organizational activities, outputs, processes, and its impacts on the general society and environment. Operational controls are guided by well-defined procedures, which in turn offer directives to ensure that activities and operations in an organization are executed in the most appropriate manner (Rue, & Byars, 2008).

GAO, (2002, p. 9) reported that in 1999 the agency lacked definite procedures for gathering and reporting performance data. As a result, the entire process was portioned. This resulted to numerous complaints from customers such as delayed services. Nevertheless, the agency has shifted its attention on ensuring appropriate controls in order to achieve effectiveness and efficiency, especially in the contemporary world characterized by scarcity of human and monetary resources.

CONCLUSION

Comprehending management principles and skills is very easy for most people, though exploiting the principles and skills in real life situations is extremely challenging, due to numerous forces such as changes in the environment and scarcity of required resources. As discussed in the paper DISA has been encouraging diversity in its operations. It has also operating within the limits of ethical, social and legal responsibilities through different approaches. Additionally, the agency has been undertaking its strategic planning while reflecting the existing and potential changes in the global environment. Though it has achieve numerous successes, the agency may need to focus on various changes in order to avoid issues identified in the paper, especially lack of efficiency and effectiveness in its operations and activities. This may need redesigning the organizational structure to facilitate effective communication, though the technology has been playing a crucial role as far as communication is concerned.

REFERENCES

Adobe Systems Incorporated. (2010). U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Information

Systems Agency. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2014 from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.adobe.com%2Fshowcase%2Fcasestudies%2Fdisa%2Fcasestudy.pdf&ei=1u4aVJyfD8HdOo3fgZAJ&usg=AFQjCNGyq2oKnFakJyXDA02JueBkXZTOLQ&sig2=GrahJ_Co1ZBYutdrfBXgUA&bvm=bv.75097201,d.ZWU

DISA. (2014). “DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY Strategic Plan: 2014 – 2019 VERSION 2.” Joint Information Environment. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2014 from http://www.disa.mil/News/PressResources/2012/~/media/Files/DISA/About/Strategic-Plan.pdf

DISA. (2008). “DISA Strategic Plan.” DISA. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2014 from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.disa.org%2FDISA%2520STRATEGIC%2520PLAN%25202009.pdf&ei=Lu8aVLfrJ8PWPKiYgPgC&usg=AFQjCNHnAqoRVjLPNREL8nsZy7luiWoWkg&sig2=-xU8FykiGVH12AfOECuuaA&bvm=bv.75097201,d.ZWU

Joint Officer Handbook (JOH). (2011). “Staffing and Action Guide.” Joint Staff, J-7 JETD. 2nd Ed. Retrieved Sept. 17, 2014 from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/dod/joh_aug2011.pdf

Jupiterimages Corporation. (2010). CHAPTER 7: Organizational Structure and Change from PRINCIPLES OF MANAGEMENT V1.1. p. 181-202. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2014 from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.saylor.org%2Fsite%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F06%2FBUS208-5.4.pdf&ei=6-waVLr9M_T57AaSuIH4Bw&usg=AFQjCNFmfyTxeP0RGFl2ChF4X5wK47UJ2A&sig2=aap2feoYXiciX41iMv8RGQ&bvm=bv.75097201,d.ZGU

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. (2011). “TELEWORK: Weighing the Information, Determining an Appropriate Approach”. A Report to the President and the Congress of the United States by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board. Retrieved Sept. 17, 2014 from http://www.doi.gov/telework/upload/mspb-2011-report.pdf

Saylor.org, (n.d.). Principles of Management. Retrieved Sept. 18, 2014 from http://www.saylor.org/books

Rue, L. W., & Byars, L. L. (2008). Management: Skills and application. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
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