Customs and Courtesies in the Military: Survey Feedback
The survey feedback system has been defined by Wilson (2008) as a potentially powerful tool in improving and transformation of the organization. Feedback can be observed in both physical and social system perspectives and includes such concepts as collecting data, assessment, and implementations of action plans.
The use of survey feedback as a means of improving safety culture and consciousness in the U. S. Army has increased staff awareness of safety and risks while on and off-duty. Many organizations have benefited from the survey feedback system as it has helped them achieve safe operations and enhance their ability to anticipate and address safety issues before they occur.
Since the feedback system requires the mobilization of staff leaders and employees’ efforts to report on unsafe working conditions, organizations have been able to reduce the number of severity of risks and maximize safety measures by ensuring highest priority needs are identified.
With today’s high industrialized organizations, many have suggested feedback interventions to enhance organizational function. Histories of increased risk accidents and injuries are very prevalent in dynamic industries, and organizations should, for this case, develop a more systematic approach in developing data feedback as an effective change technology (Wilson, 2008, p.1; Geller, 2000).
The survey feedback system has been used by many organizations as a tool for collecting data in survey feedback. Three areas of development of the survey feedback system are mentioned by Wilson (2008) to include the process of collecting data, analyzing, and using data obtained for intervention.
The majority of organizations collect valid data through questionnaires that are transmitted to organizational members for diagnosis and initiation of intervention activities. Scholars working on the development of effective survey feedback in organizations focused on reality and resulted from interactive processes within social groups.
From all these definitions, we see that feedback is the initial social process that creates reality for implementing change in the organization.
Effective implementation of the survey feedback system encompasses three dimensions; the impact of feedback for intervention, a problem that exists on feedback intervention, and implications for future directions in relation to the use of data to change organization. Effectiveness of feedback system helps us understand the fundamental attitudes towards safety culture and ways in which feedback dimensions vary across organizations (Wilson, 2008).
An effective survey system describes interventions to address safety culture as applied in the military institution. Various studies have attempted to measure aspects of safety culture in this institution, but unfortunately, the safety culture in the U.S military may not be as strong as we may perceive it to be.
The correlation of effective survey feedback with specific care practices and outcomes have not been consistent. Wilson (2008), therefore, encourages organizations to involve leadership in the collection of data, reporting, and focusing on the risks. This research, therefore, identifies opportunities for improvement in the military institution and to establish a baseline for assessing future improvement efforts (Wilson, 2008, p.2).
Overview of the Theory
According to Nadler (1976), feedback system theory helps the organization improve the functional system through data collected from self-evident ideas, which are obtained through questionnaires.
After data collection, organizations are therefore required to implement proactive solutions that are adaptive and self-corrective systems that make use of the data to improve the nature of system functions (Wiener, 1950; Von Bertalanffy, 1968; Katz & Kahn, 1966).
Further research conducted by Vroom (1964) links survey feedback theory to a psychological perspective. He explains three functions of psychological effects in relation to human behavior to include the following perspectives; a) cueing system which requires employees to record their performance- which implies corrective behavior, b) learning aspect, involves employees giving information about their performance and helping in the data analysis. Employees who actively participated in setting goals are, for this case, rewarded through motivating to improve functioning in the future and, c) providing information about goal attainment (Locke et al., 1968; Cammann & Nadler, 1975).
These three theories imply that by providing an organization with information which is reflected in the feedback system, feelings and perception of employees can effectively be attended. The organization, on the other hand, can be informed of the problems in its human system and can implement new ways of dealing with those particular problems (Nadler, 1976, p.178).
The use of a survey feedback system was first applied in the Detroit-Edison project by a team of Floyd Mann researchers (Mann & Likert, 1952; Mann, 1957; Baumgartel, 1959) as an organizational improvement project.
The research relied on a qualitative method that focused on systematic collection of data through questionnaires to ascertaining attitudes employed by people in their everyday interactions, innovate ways of using the data collected, and experiment on which data can be applied in the workgroups as an attempt to improve organizational functioning.
Results obtained from the research analysis indicated that departments that received feedback positively correlated to employee attitudes and perception changed. The difference in predisposition between departments drives us to three basic principles; first, the survey feedback system requires the participation of organization members in data collection (Mann & Likert, 1952).
Secondly, the survey feedback system requires the collection of data, which should be then passed through quantitative measurements for validity and fed back into the organization. And third, after analysis, synthesized data should be able to help organizational leaders provide alternative ways of achieving positive change (Baumgartel, 1959; Lynn, 1989; 1986).
Application of Survey Feedback in the U.S. Army
Mann & Likert (1957) suggest group forces be a vital tool in bringing change in the organization as they help in diagnosis, synthesizing information obtained from feedback methodology, and implementation of actions. The survey feedback system uses the hierarchal structure of the organization in reporting and implementing action plans for feedback (Mann, 1957).
Involvement of participants in the process of analyzing reduces resistance in action implementation (Mann and Likert, 1952). For example, the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) safety philosophy proposes to provide proactive and predictive safety climate and culture within the U.S Army.
The safety program mobilizes all the military units in identifying risky situations and individual actions that contribute to accidents to both on and off-duty hence reducing accidents and losses causalities.
The safety program also requires leaders to take full responsibility to avoid preventable losses by taking positive actions with respect to safety. Garrison Commanders are, therefore, required to identify unsafe activities timely and controls to make the work environment safer (Wilson, 2008).
The collective responsibility of reporting on work associated risks is also evident in the Army Readiness Assessment Program (ARAP), which mobilizes all the U.S. military safety departments to evaluate the level of safety in workplaces. Active participation of organization leaders requires Garrison Commanders to enroll for a 60-day program in the ARAP when assuming command.
The primary objective of this requirement is to make plans to improve weak areas identified in the survey. Garrison Safety Managers, for this case, are required to monitor the implementation of the action plans and include status updates of the feeder report.
In another department, the Accident Action Review (AAR) program is provided with responsibilities of conducting accident classes for al its Command officers, which are then included in the quarterly feeder report (Wislon, 2008).
Also, from a group perspective, Individuals and leaders ensure employees under their supervision are trained to recognize and manage personal factors that increase risks of accidents and injury.
For example, Leader Accident Risk Assessment and individuals are provided with risk assessment tools from the Combat Readiness Center to identify individuals who are prone to accidents and ensure the education of risk awareness and training. These groups influence one another in their co-existence and risk assessments, which help improve organizational functioning (Army, 2008).
Sashkin, Frohman, and Kavagah (1976) explains the three theories of feedback system to be incorporated into a six-stage model that involves the use of questionnaires, survey system, data analysis, feedback into the organization, group discussions, evaluation of data collected and intervention of new approaches.
For more conclusive results on the effectiveness of survey feedback, Miles (1969) and his colleagues used the survey feedback system to enhance the effectiveness of the educational organization. The survey system was first implemented in a small system school to evaluate the impact of feedback on the organization.
Mann (1957), however, argues that the use of the post-measure questionnaire in this survey system did not correlate with the hypothesis of improved organizational functioning from the feedback. A similar survey conducted by McElvaney & Miles (1971) in evaluating the results of a three-year survey feedback system did not find any changes in the hypothesis of feedback intervention, which might have been attributed to the regression effect.
Schmuck (1973) presented similar findings in assessing the effectiveness of survey feedback system in school set up that hypothesized the effectiveness of survey feedback in enhancing organizational performance, or influences attitudes of organization members although there is no quantitative analysis to support this claim (McElvaney & Miles, 1971, Callahan & Lake, 1973).
Another case study that employed a stronger hypothesis was conducted by Brown (1971, 192) in a boy’s boarding school to report on a feedback survey and how it affected members of the organization. The hypothesis applied in school roles and responsibilities that enabled researchers to work together in projects and programs that were consistency with neighboring school’s practices and addressed real human needs.
The analysis used repeated questionnaire which used multiple time-series design that allowed comparison of groups that were receiving feedback with those that were not receiving and charting activities over time. The results did, however, show that feedback meetings led to positive changes towards the organization.
A similar study conducted by Bower (1975) on evaluating the effects of survey feedback intervention employed experimental design of Bowers and Franklin (1972) theoretical approach using a standardized measure of organizational functioning (Taylor & Bowers, 1972) which was based on Liker’s (1967) theory of organizational functioning.
In this theory, Bowers attempted to measure the relative impact of different kinds of intervention. In his research, he gathered data from 23 organizations that were subjected to six interventions Bowers (1972) stated as “survey feedback, interpersonal-process consultation, task-processing consultation, laboratory training, data hand back and no treatment” (p.45).
The study used a standardized instrument in each case to obtain both pre and post-measures. Among the tools surveyed, survey feedback was the only instrument that positively correlated with positive changes in the organization culture, as indicated by the questionnaire.
The study methodology of quantitative data analysis helped in comparison to the survey system in different organizations, which helped us identify the difference between the effects of handling data and using systematic survey feedback in different organizations (Nadler, 1976, p.180).
Coughlan and Cooke (1974) considered another experimental survey approach known as the four-group design in measuring feedback techniques in a school system set up. The experimental design was aimed at testing the effects of a specific feedback system in three aspects; problem-solving, collective decision making, or SF-PS-CD.
The design required the creation of cross-organizational level groups with overlapping members whose major functions were too fed back data obtained from the feedback system into the organization for problem identification, problem-solving, and action-taking.
The results, however, indicated that structural interventions of the SP-PS-CD responded to the hypothesis of positive correlation, including changes in decision making structures, increased organizational heath, changes in individual perception of the decision-making process, and more favorable individual attitudes towards the work environment.
The SF-PS-CD technique intervention was used to support Bower’s (1975) findings that illustrated the importance of feedback.
The Process of Survey Feedback in Organizations
The process by which data is fed back into the organization and its implied goal are very crucial to any organizational functioning. Chesler and Flander (1967) have recently criticized organizations for placing more emphasis on organizational members’ reactions to the feedback; however, their exact implications to organizational change continue to source debate and disagreements.
Many have argued that normal depended variables related to changes in attitude or perception should be the only hypothesis used to assess survey feedback. Writers such as Chesler and Flander (1967) expands our knowledge of how the approach of using feedback and identifies issues related to feedback.
They mention resistance to be the major obstacle in accepting the feedback system. Resistance to change influences greatly how feedback consultants behave and the way in which data is represented and fed into the organization. Therefore negative perception affects the degree of application and acceptance of data.
Klein, Kraut, and Wolfson (1971), in their review of survey feedback, employed a more definitive study by using different managers to evaluate how the feedback system is used in the organization. The analysis identified two classes of variables; structural and processes, as separate or interaction to impact survey system.
They explained structural variables to include how meetings affected feedback, how many meetings were held, the procedure of feeding back the results into the organization, information received, and processes in which data were obtained from questionnaires. This description yields two important variables; the effectiveness of communication feedback and the degree to which individuals were encouraged to participate in the survey.
The results in this analysis, however, concluded that meetings were more effective in communicating feedback as opposed to written reports, and employees were more satisfied when managers ran the meetings compared to personal staff (Nadler, 1976, p.181). The variables in the case analysis responded differently on each dependent variable with communication reporting positive correlation to the perception of the survey results being utilized.
Taking into account these variables, Alderfer and Brown (1972) furthered this research by explaining the underlying proposition of feedback mechanism. Their research concluded that the way in which feedback is dealt with reflects the impact t is has on the organization.
Similar studies were conducted at Yale University investigating the impact of survey feedback processing on the perception of feedback and receptivity of feedback.
Alderfer & Holbrook (1973), among other researchers, supported this assumption by hypothesizing that; a) high participation of organizational members in the feedback system and analysis process greatly influences the awareness of the organization’s problem. b). high participation of consultants in relevant organizational issues positively influences the willingness of members to report on threatening issues c) feedback system is most influential when conducted in a mixed team which comprises of inside and outside participants and; d) two process of peer meeting, followed by intergroup meeting is more effective at solving difficult interposed issues as opposed to family groups (Alderfer and Ferris, 1972).
This hypothesis brings us to the conclusion that survey feedback positively correlated with the active participation of organization members, and the process of data collection, analyzing, and using data determines the nature and the extent of survey feedback (Nadler, 1970).
The Process of Survey Feedback in the U.S. Military
The culture of safety in the U.S. military organization should be emphasized to ensure remedial actions are taken on the end products. In the feedback system, the ways in which the systems function to make corrections on safety measures primarily depend on the relationship between high personnel leaders and employees, the channels on which feedback is passed, and the frequency of risk assessments.
Garrison leaders and supervisors perform safety assessments on risks and accidents annually or in situations where needed. Leaders and supervisors are required to report progress and general assessment statistics to Garrison Safety Managers, who then provide an individual risk assessment, with priorities given to organizations with high-risk individuals.
The report status is then passed through the Garrison Safety Manager, who then publishes in quarterly feeder reports and later assessed and sent for training to garrison organizations in FY09 (Wilson, 2008, p.3).
Reduce Off-duty Losses
The Army still faces major challenges with its off-duty soldiers. A memorandum designed to reduce military lost-time accidents was signed by the Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) in 2009 as a strategy to increase safety awareness in the military service.
Previous studies on the feedback system reported reduced off-duty accidents by 20% in 2007; hence, the implementation of the new safety standards (Wilson, 2008). The memorandum promises to keep personnel safe both on and off-duty while providing the best safety programs in their units.
It identifies major safety areas for off-duty soldiers to include privately owned vehicles, motorcycles, and recreation activities and propose to implement proactive measures to curb the risks (Wilson, 2008, p.1). For this reason, the safety measures in the U.S. army proposes to use the feedback system to develop measures targeted at activities and behaviors associated with the most significant risks.
The feedback system uses resources provided by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center to mobilize support from community groups, on-post volunteer groups, and local government agencies to help extend safety culture beyond duty hours and locations since off-duty accidents normally occur away from normal supervisions.
The tasks reflect the components of Mann & Likert’s (1957) theory that required the interaction of members of the target group in order to help the collection of data, diagnosis, and synthesis of information. The feedback system helped Garrison Safety Offices to train, support, and provide programs that benefit the public, off-duty soldiers, and the Army Traffic Safety Training Program (ATSTP).
The Garrison Safety Offices here maintain data collected in terms of the number of courses attained and students trained in safety programs, which is then compiled in the Army INCOM Driver Training Registration System (AIRS) and generated through the administration link. After analysis, the data is passed for assessed and finally published in the quarterly feeder reports (Wilson, 2008, p.3).
The survey feedback system has also helped the U.S. Military organization to execute seasonal safety programs at the start of every season. Various safety programs that included Summer/Spring, Winter/Fall seasons were seen to be more successful in exchanging ideas to express or defend aspects of safety measures.
Garrison Commanders implement safety programs by presenting demonstrations, displays, promotion contests, presentations, and activities to raise awareness of seasonal hazards and educate both the military and common civilians at large about the Army off-duty safety programs.
In the survey feedback mechanism, Garrison explains how data is collected, rationale, collective processes, and outcomes of the respective departments. The unit also demonstrates how data collected from individual participating is analyzed and reflected in the quarterly feeder report (Wilson, 2008, p.3).
Feedback system assists in loss analysis for IMCOM accidents, injuries, and the associated costs. According to Wilson (2008) reports, the feedback system helped MCOM reduce civilian accidents and injuries in 2008 by 16%, which was 21.2 per 100 workers per year contrary to previous year’s reports of 41.0 days per 100 workers per year.
According to Wilson (2008), the Garrison unit in the military command mentions factors contributing to losses and injuries to include both region and installation areas. Effective feedback assessment, the Army leaders would be required to carefully asses and identify job categories, types of injuries and illness that contribute to losses and injuries and target local countermeasures accordingly (Wilson, 2008, p.4).
The feedback system uses the harassment assessment in conducting Job Safety Assessment Analysis (JSA) to assess job risk functions at each Garrison unit. Both supervisors and employees are required to perform the safety analysis with the assistance of Garrison safety staff for both high risks and low-risk jobs.
The completion of JSAs is then monitored in the quarterly feeder. The feedback system is also proposed to mitigate risks through the implementation of initiatives at the Garrison levels to reduce accidents and injuries through programs such as Supervisor Safety Training by conducting periodic and safety training to employees through augmenting safety training courses offered at Combat Readiness University for employees.
The training offered here includes education on hazards in the workplace and job function. In effecting the feedback system, the Army Safety Program incorporated in the Army Regulation 385-10 requires people to frequently report any Army accidents to the Commander responsible for the operation. Supervisors and Commanders also request people to use the Loss Reporting Automation System (LRAS) on the army website to report all the accidents.
Here, supervisors employ their investigative skills by carefully identifying the root cause of every problem, accidents, and injuries and implement corrective actions. Safety Offices are also investigated for risks and accidents and accessed in the LRAS report, which is then published in the quarterly feeder report (Wilson, 2008, p.5).
The feedback system promotes the DA Form 4755 use by encouraging employees to report suspected hazards. The DA Form 4755 comes in Electronic format with instructions on how to report on an unhealthy working environment. Feedback helps Garrison and safety department improve, find new solutions, and develop tools to improve safety performance.
According to IMCOM personnel reports, the feedback system has helped employees report unique safety issues that would never have been identified, which helps them to offer the best solutions and save resources and time. IMCOM Garrison Safety Managers also proposed to use the feedback system to improve safety practices and reporting by 2009 in all the regional safety offices.
Regional Safety Offices also proposes to review the best safety practices submitted and ensure their implementation in all safety offices, regional offices, and the Combat Readiness Center. It was also proposed that the best practice from other installations will be carefully assessed during program evaluation (Wilson, 2008, p.5).
Most organizations rely on feedback interventions as their primary tool for data collection. This intervention has been criticized to lack basic theory to support the underlying bulk of interventions (Webb et al., 1966). Nadler (1975) argues that most of this research does not indicate why feedback should reflect the change and how it brings about change.
The experimental analysis conducted by Nadler (1975) also fails to mention the effects of feedback in organizations. The research also misses providing models for the process of collecting data and feeding it back into the organization. Also, intervention efforts have adequately addressed the long term organizational change effects and failed to concentrate on the short term outcomes.
Lastly, raw data collected and fed back into the organization raises issues of biasness. Future research methodologies of survey feedback system should attempt to use rich sources of organizational data in addition to employees, questionnaires to more conclusive analysis.
Right from data collection, production, turn over, accident rates, and costs, research should provide valuable information that can easily be integrated into the feedback process, as evident in Cammann and Mirvis (1975) and Nadler (1975).
Future research should also use data collected for purposes of evaluation rather than quickly feeding it into the organization. It should be noted that an organization is a dynamic system (Kahn& Kartz, 1966) that requires regular cycles of events and feedback interventions, and in this case, the research should consider such cycles rather than one-shot feedback intervention.
This, therefore, implies that the feedback system should be regularly fed into the organization. Conclusive research requires the application of quantitative tools in data collection, diagnosis, analysis, and feedback process, as evident in my research methodology (Hauser et al., 1975; Bowers and Franklin, 1976; Lynn, 1986).
The research should also help a reader understand how feedback interventions combine and interact in the organization changes, how it brings change, and in what conditions.
Some researchers, including Nadler (1975, 1970), identified the shortcoming of these models and strived to combine feedback and structural change interventions (Mohrman et al., 1997). Finally, research on the survey feedback system requires more extensive research in aspects of how it affects organizational change and employees as a whole.
Casey & Morrow (2000) provides a new policy on the Army safety management procedures with emphasize on responsibilities and organizational concepts. The U.S Army is more safety conscious and supportive of safety practices by implementing safety accident programs through their medical treatment facility.
This program helps in evaluating human and environmental factors that contribute to an accident that provides medical services to service troops and performs biochemical testing for personnel involved in an aviation accident.
Safety accidents and investigations are also performed when conducting surviving physical accident victims and when performing autopsies of aircrew members when circumstances surrounding death are suspicious, especially when the death is suspected of having resulted from the vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or ground accidents (Casey & Morrow, 2007, p.41).
After the initial investigations, accident investigative reports are reviewed by the army commander of the unit involved together with the person involved in the accident. After the final review of the accident report, the appropriate official provides a written report on his findings together with recommendations and ensures that data is circulated within the units, and the recommendations implemented were necessary.
The report is then forwarded through the designated chain of command that involves installation safety manager approval who ensures all reports on accidents and injuries are prepared according to safety instructions and later analyzed and distributed for prevention purposes.
The second channel of data reporting requires the approval of the Army Headquarters authorities, who then provide a written report for each finding and recommendations made by the accident investigation board. The Army Headquarters reviewing authority responsibility is to ensure that an accident report is complete and take additional actions (Casey & Morrow, 2007, p.41).
In accident investigations, Army Headquarter commanders ensure data collection and evidence acquired are confidential. In this case, the accident scene, such as photographs of the scene and injured victims, are preserved for further analysis.
Access to information collected by accident investigation board are only allowed reports received to Army depots for analysis, duty examination, records of personnel and equipment involved in the accident, photographs at the accident scene, witness lists, voice recordings, witness statements and final board findings and recommendations (Casey & Morrow, 2007, p.43).
In ensuring safety and safe practices, the Army has implemented safety policies integrated into the contracting process of its employees to ensure safety and occupational health requirements are met.
The U.S. Army pledges to use and release accident information reports only for investigation purposes. According to Casey & Morrow (2007), data feedback collected here is solely used for prevention purposes and can only be released through command channels to the Commander.
The policy prioritizes safety measurements in designing and constructing their military facilities and buildings to ensure the safety of its employees. The policy further explains that safety requirements will be evaluated during source selection when required (Casey & Morrow, 2007, p.44).
The safety standard policy is also proposed to ensure; a) identify and correction of unsafe conditions related to employment contract b) provide system to report hazardous working environment such as work activity c) provision of a system that reports all accidents, injuries and illness occurring on the project d) systematic investigation procedures and; d) provide written reports with specific plans for implementing safety standards to the contracting officer for approval.
The policy plan is first required to provide activity hazard analysis and measurements to control the hazards. Secondly, the plan should also include the designation of the contract quality requirement as approved by the safety and health of the project site.
Third, a description of how the contractor controls safety duties of the project in terms of regular safety training of the workforce, a preview of hazard analysis in the workplace by each worker, frequent and regular checks for compliance with safety requirements.
The policy, therefore, requires the contractor to assess workplace safety issues frequently, assess daily records and provide factual evidence for safety performances in relation to items and areas checked, results of the analysis and any instructions or corrective actions to be implemented (Casey & Morrow, 2007, p.46).
Finally, to ensure an effective safety working environment, the policy requires prime contractors to work together with contracting officers to determine methods of accident rates and traceability of hazards. In administering collective responsibility, the army contracting officer and installation safety officer develops a platform that incorporates all the organization’s safety program prior to the commencement of the safety program.
In evaluating the safety of the program, the concerned department assesses each bidder to ensure compliance with the safety requirements. In system design, development and production units contain safety requirements supposed to be considered throughout the life cycle of the system.
The feedback system is obtained here by requiring the contractor to provide regular updates to the system safety program (SSPP), which is later reviewed and updated. The safety assessment report will then be prepared and sent to health hazard departments (Casey & Morrow, 2007, p.48).
Army Performance Improvement Criteria (APIC) Overview
The U.S. Army has strived to sustain performance excellence in all its garrison units by securing an environment that supports the well-being of soldiers. According to Faulk (2006), the high-performance status was attained by requiring all army leaders to examine all safety aspects of garrison units and help in identifying strength and opportunities for improvement.
Faulk (2006) argues that the APIC of safety criteria is entirely based on the factual compilation of management practices rather than basic theories of how the organization ought to be performed. The factual compliance provides a platform for sustaining, incremental, and radical change that supports the culture of continuous safety improvement and provides data to leaders in support of their resource prioritization (Faulk, 2006, p.4).
In data analysis, the U.S. Army employed IMA OSA, a performance indicator tool to provide feedback reports as a diagnostic tool that provides timely, comprehensive, and objective feedback to leadership. IMA OSA was a tool to provide corporate surveillance of areas of operation, for example, excellence and opportunities for improvement.
The Army, therefore, embeds this tool into its garrison performance management system to help refine the improvement process. IMA OSA is a customized assessment tool that uses Army language and format to assist in data strategic planning and initiatives (Faulk, 2006, p.10).
IMA OSA tool helps the Army identify organizational strength, prioritize important opportunities for improvement, and help in deployment gaps. This tool employs a questionnaire methodology of 49 questions as a survey feedback mechanism to be completed online.
IMA OSA, as an assessment indicator of feedback reports, aids in prioritizing Army resources and ensure they align with the organization’s initiatives and activities. It provides a real-time feedback report on the current state of the Garrison state affairs and provides data that is easy to populate.
The diagnostic tool is also credited for maintaining the confidentiality of the survey environment, which supports open and honest feedback and identifies systematic strength and opportunities for improvement.
In conducting survey feedback, survey coordinators are given the responsibility of; a) coordinating with garrison leaders for guidance and recommendations for sample pool collection b) confirm survey timeline of deployment and notify IMA HQS POC c) consolidate and forward participants questions and feedback to IMA HQs Region d) filling Garrison Assessment Process Form which is then returned to IMA HQs Region.
After the assessment, the data is forwarded to PAIOS, who then interprets and prioritizes the OSA Performance indicator feedback Report and develop an appropriate strategy for the garrison commander (Faulk, 2006).
The results of the analysis did, however, indicate that senior leadership involvement in the survey feedback supports the utmost importance of the survey feedback mechanism and promotes an environment of openness that yields more honest results (Faulk, 2006, p.30).
This analysis brought us to the conclusion that the use of diagnostic tools in survey feedback helps the organization identify systematic strength and opportunities for improvement. OSA tools also help in identifying and sharing the best practices across the entire Army units.
It aided the management in adapting transformation and modularity. IMA OSA as assessment indicators helps revolutionize the way business is done by providing timely, comprehensive, and objective feedback. It can be very useful for organizations that support prioritization efforts (Faulk, 2006, p.40).
In Survey feedback application, the tool was, for this case, credited for providing real-time feedback on the current state of an organization, provided a framework that focused on safety goals and aligned all programs, initiatives, and activities towards safety goals. Finally, IMA OSA ensured confidentially of data collected hence promoting an environment of open and honest feedback (Faulk, 2006, p.41).
Feedback survey helps an organization optimize the relationship between employees and the organization. Data collected reflected in the actionable feedback helps an organization improve customer satisfaction and retention as well as identify areas of improvement.
It helps in measuring opinions and satisfaction levels to ensure the maximum provision of services. Infosurv (2009) argues that the feedback system helps organizations and companies evaluate and manage their business initiatives. Infosurv (2009) mentions the use of questionnaires as a means of customizing customer feedback and reviewing customer satisfaction.
In early 2008, the Center for Army leadership launched an online Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback (MSAF) program for the collection of data.
The MSAF assessment tool was credited with providing confidential information for leaders’ development in a complex working environment. MSAF specifically provides feedback results to Army leadership, which is then rolled-up for analysis in identifying strengths and weaknesses in the organization (U.S. Army, 2008, p.1).
Implementation of patient safety programs helps eliminate what Connelly and Powers (2005) call “the culture of blame.” The Online Patient Safety Climate Survey helps in collecting data regarding medical errors and patient safety issues (Gershon et al., 2000).
Investigations were conducted at 37 military hospitals and clinics to establish a systematic baseline that would be used in improving hospital patient safety. Army Medical Department (AMEDD) involved in the survey feedback by taking the primary initiative of collecting data on staff and patient perception on organization safety climate.
The Internet-based survey tool was used to encourage maximum participation of staff and ensure anonymity. Connelly & Powers (2004) literature suggests that health care organizations would greatly benefit from modeling their error reporting and analysis practice.
Theoretically, the success of the survey feedback system entirely depends on the efforts of organization leaders and their ability to identify, prioritize, and implement safety improvement strategies into the organizational practice.
These strategies can only be realized by the implementation of the confidential factual reporting system, near-miss error reporting, and reward programs for people who report safety events (Connelly & Powers, 2004, p.16; Buerhaus, 1999).
According to Kahn & Katz (1966) estimates, about 100,000 patients die each year in the United States as a result of medical errors, and in most cases, such deaths are preventable. Due to these shocking results, emphasis on improving safety to prevent deaths has become a top priority for health care professionals.
Shifting blame from the incompetence of medical professionals to individual carelessness does not seem to correct medical errors (Brennan et al., 1991; Berwick, & Leape, 1999; Urden, 2002). Health care organizations, according to Berwick and Leape (1999), should reinforce immediate response to medical errors by identifying and punishing individuals involved.
The punitive model may not entirely solve organizational problems since it discourages error reporting, which can be used in the survey feedback. Leape (1998;1999) suggest that health organization would benefit tremendously from remodeling their error reporting and analytical practices.
Gaba, Singer, and Sinaiko (2003) call on high-reliability organizations like health care institutions to place emphasis on learning and recognizing the errors in health care facilities and design systems to prevent errors before they occur. Classen and Kilbridge (2007) add that people who report on medical errors should be rewarded, and injury prevention should be everyone’s responsibility.
Making everyone safety-conscious requires organizations to commit to cooperation and communication and encourage positive change. This strategy helps shift focus from blaming and punishing individuals to focusing on learning from errors and designing systems that anticipate problems and implement effective solutions (Berwick, 1999; Singer et al., 2003).
The online report effectively helped the organization in obtaining data as it enabled accurate calculation of respondent’s scores, aggregate scores, and average scores for each survey item. For reliability of data obtained was achieved by coordinators’ ability to educate participants on the nature of the survey and its use as a primary improvement tool.
In AMEDD application, online reporting has successfully implement patient safety programs through the creation of a positive safety climate in each medical treatment facility. In Flin, Mearns, and O’Connor (2000) analysis,
Safety climate can be regarded as the surface features of the safety culture discerned from the workforce attitudes and perceptions at a given point in time. It is snapshots of the state of safety, providing an indicator of the underlying safety culture of the workgroup, plan, or organization (p.190).
This safety culture can then be transferred to clinical health care environment (Connelly & Powers, 2000, p. 415)
The assessment used an electronic tool known as the Online Patient Safety Climate Survey designed to provide a quality improvement on patient safety, encourage participation, provide confidentiality of survey participants and provide analysis of the collected data.
The Internet-based survey structure was based on a conceptual framework that consisted three factors; 1) how people in the organization reported on their own errors and those of others 2) willingness of employees and leaders to work together to develop solutions to patient safety problems and; 3) patient safety attitudes of people in leadership positions.
The conceptual framework was developed because the safety climate of an organization is reflected in the majority opinions of organization members. The project setting was located in the AMEDD patient safety program conducted in 37 MTFs located throughout the U.S, Europe, Japan, and Korea.
The primary issue of the survey feedback was to collect world-wide respondents on their healthcare issues and analyze the data obtained for monitoring purposes. The analysis later led to the implementation of an online survey that enabled respondents’ data to flow directly into the organization database, which then calculated basic descriptive statistics, including frequency and mean, which permitted initial analysis.
The survey was short in length to encourage active participation, but the tools used here were designed for quality improvement rather than rigorous research. The results of the survey, however, concluded that survey items positively correlated with the research hypothesis. Participants feared the negative consequences related to reporting errors, and most employees blamed others for their mistakes (Connelly & Powers, 2000, p.425).
Army Explosives Safety
The Army council is an organization within the safety unit to discuss and resolve Army explosives safety policy issues. The DAESC members make policy recommendations and investigate on explosive issues. In establishing a survey feedback system, issues requiring decisions by the DAESC in terms of surveys, studies, and evaluates explosives safety performance to ensure compliance with DOD 6055.9-STD.
Data obtained here help detect conditions that may endanger life and provide reports on violations of the standards and recommend corrective action. In conducting survey feedback, Army Representatives visit installation sites to conduct periodic surveys in explosive safety and provide consultations where necessary.
Data collected from explosive safety survey include name and location of the organization, name and rank of the commanding officer, recent report showing reports on locations of abandoned and improper use of ammunitions, storage areas, transport routes and aerial photographs of installation areas, storage license, list of current location and summary of explosive accidents that have occurred within the past year and future plans for modification of new ammunitions and explosive facilities (Caldera, 2000, p.8).
The DDESB, after reviewing the site survey reports, provides findings and recommendations to USATCES, who then analyze the data and recommend corrective actions and then forward it to the MACOM for further recommendations and corrective or justification actions (Caldera, 2000, p.9).
Safety Management System
Feedback is the backbone of data collection and management for any Safety Management System (SME) organizations. Airport organization benefits from the feedback system as it helps them achieve safe operations and enhances the ability to anticipate and address safety issues before they occur.
Feedback also helps airport organizations reduce the number of severity of collisions and maximize safety investment measures by ensuring the highest priority needs are identified. The feedback system has also been credited for promoting continuous improvement in the organization and collaboration of leaders and employees in developing sound safety practices.
The feedback system has tremendously benefited the aviation industry by increasing staff awareness of safety and risks and making them more responsible in collecting data, assessment, and implementations of action plans (Ludwig et al., 2007, p.32).
Ludwig (2007) and his colleagues suggest that aviation safety has been build upon reactive analysis of past accidents and implementations of corrective actions to prevent reoccurrence of those events. Today’s proactive approach in managing safety is more concentrated on process rather than mere inspection. The causes of accidents can not be prevented simply by increasing safety but rather carrying out investigations on the underlying causal factors.
The U.S. aviation industry has been remarkably credited for achieving high standards of safety, but today’s dynamic industrial world requires more proactive approaches in reducing risks, which can only be achieved through a feedback system. Safety Management System (SMS) in the aviation industry requires the application of systematic, explicit, and comprehensive survey feedback mechanisms for managing risks.
Data collection should involve goal setting, planning and documentation, and regular evaluation of safety performance. For effective implementation of survey feedback, the management should be committed to safety since its actions significantly influence the entire organization. Secondly, organizations should identify and report hazards as early as possible.
Third, a system must be put in place to counteract known risks to safe operations; and lastly, the management should evaluate safety actions and recommend remedial activities. Safety approach in safety risk measurement identifies hazards, risks assessment, and risk mitigation, and tracking.
Safety unit in the aviation industry in ensuring effective survey feedback should include both internal and external audits as well as corrective action in their assessments, which should then be incorporated in the organization’s safety promotion, culture, training, and communication (Ludwig et al., 2007, p.5).
Policy statement in supporting safe practices in the airport environment requires the active participation of employees to report potential safety risks. In conducting surveys, feedback, establishing a culture of safety, training employees on safety principles, and allowing open communication of safety issues. (Ludwig et al., 2007)
Present the first step to risk management to include identification of hazards that requires reporting on risk working environments and analysis to determine actions required to eliminate and reduce risks associated with the hazard. In risk assessment, the organization undergoes an assessment to implement potential consequences to prevent the event from reoccurring.
In risk mitigation and tracking, the organization should carefully analyze the hazards to ensure they effectively address the root cause of the problem. (Ludwig et al., 2007)
Argues that before the implementation of action plans, the organization should consider factors such as costs, organization capabilities, timeliness, and overall effectiveness. In the safety assurance aspect, both internal and external audits, as well as corrective action, should effectively provide feedback on their performance and implement risk mitigation strategies.
Internal audits for this case should be performed on each department to ensure proper safety procedures are being carried out to achieve safety objectives.
External audits survey systems can be conducted on the external organization environment as a means of ensuring compliance with policies and processes. Corrective action requires the department to take proactive measures in ensuring identified safety measures are resolved (Ludwig et al., 2007, p.11)
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