2001 Survey of Organizational Excellence
SWT and other Texas State University System institutions participated in the Survey of Organizational Excellence (SOE) coordinated by the University of Texas at Austin in the Fall 2001 semester. A total of 1,000 regular full-time SWT employees were randomly chosen to receive the survey. It was distributed by e-mail to 89% of recipients, but exclusively by paper mail to skilled and service staff. A response rate of 42.4% was obtained. This exceeds a 30% to 35% rate typically achieved for SWT surveys. The response is lower than the 2001 response of 57.8% for all state agencies, 47.5% for TSUS institutions, 47.4% for education agencies, and 44.3% for organizations with 1,001-10,000 FTE employees.
The 2001 SOE response greatly under-represents Hispanics (13% of SOE respondents vs. 25% of SWT full-time employees), staff without college degrees (22% SOE vs. 29% SWT), and service employees (3% SOE vs. 11% SWT). Males (41% SOE vs. 47% SWT) are slightly under-represented among the respondents. The Academic Affairs division is under-represented due to relatively low response rates of 37% from faculty and 32% from all their employees. Finance & Support Services is under-represented due to low response rates by skilled (20%) and service (9%) staff. Above-average response rates in the Division of Information Technology (64%) and by administrators (70%) result in over-representation of the opinions of these two groups (see Attachment I).
Small samples for the President/Special Assistant and University Advancement divisions that resulted from the completely randomized design, and very low response rates from skilled and service staff, make results for these groups less useful than other sections of the Survey of Organizational Excellence (SOE) report. This is the first year the SOE has provided reports tailored to each division and EEO category, and we could have considered a stratified random sample to increase the number of responses from these groups if we had expected such reports. But, doing so could bias university-wide results by over-representing certain university groups. And, even with larger samples, better response rates would still be required from these groups to achieve statistically significant results.
Benchmarks are used to compare the results achieved by SWT to the results of other Texas organizations. Results for Texas State University System (TSUS) schools, education agencies, and large organizations (see Attachment II) are used as SWT benchmarks for both the 1999 and 2001 results. All scores are calculated on a 5-point scale, where 1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3=neutral; 4=agree; and 5=strongly agree.
Survey of Organizational Excellence (SOE) results are grouped each year into constructs the University of Texas sponsors considered to represent wider issues. Constructs represent groups of questions considered to be measures of wider issues than those addressed by specific survey items. As expected for a new set of data, the 2001 survey constructs are slightly different from those used by the University of Texas in 1999. They are shown parenthetically, below, in five broad areas:
1. Workgroup constructs (supervisor effectiveness, fairness, team effectiveness, diversity)
2. Accommodation constructs (fair pay, physical environment, benefits, employee development)
3. Organizational constructs (change/goal oriented, strategic orientation, consistency, quality)
4. Communication pattern constructs (internal, external, availability of information)
5. Personal constructs (job satisfaction, time/stress management, burnout, empowerment)
Results of the survey can be sub-divided into strengths and weaknesses under constructs, and under the individual survey items that contribute to the constructs. Individual survey items that contribute to each construct are shown in parentheses, next to each construct, in Table 1.
Comparisons of SWT to “TSUS” and “educational agencies” benchmarks may not be objective, because of a negative relationship between the size of organizations and item scores. The overall scores by organizational size are 3.74 for agencies with below 26 FTE employees; 3.65 for 26-100 employees; 3.61 for 101-300 employees; 3.59 for 301-1,000 employees; 3.43 for 1,001-10,000 employees; and 3.33 for over 10,000 FTE employees. TSUS schools and most educational agencies are smaller than SWT. Benchmarks for the 1,001-10,000 FTE agencies may present the opposite problem, since SWT is toward the bottom of this range at about 2,300 FTE. SWT may also be greatly different than non-educational agencies in other ways.
In the absence of better benchmarks, the 2001 comparisons are made to each of the benchmarks that are mentioned above. Standard deviations are unavailable for constructs, but the standard deviations for individual items were used to construct 99% confidence intervals for comparing the items to all 3 benchmarks. When 2 or more of the 3 benchmarks were outside the 99% confidence interval, the scores were marked as areas of SWT strength or weakness.
SWT’s 1999 and 2001 strength in comparison to benchmark groups is under the construct of employment development where the SWT score of 3.69 exceeds all 3 of the 1999 and 2001 benchmarks (see Table 1). Scores for survey items show SWT significantly exceeded two or more of the three 2001 benchmarks for the following items, the two asterisked ones being 2 of the 5 items contributing to the employment development construct:
34. When possible, alternative work schedules are offered to employees (3.66)*.
35. Training is made available to us for personal growth and development (3.88).
37. We have information about job opportunities, conferences, and workshops (4.01)*.
SWT achieved its highest mean scores for 1999 and 2001 combined in the following items, with means of 4.00 (agree) and higher as shown in Table 3.
5. We know who are customers are (4.25).
103. I like working at SWT (4.20).
96. I understand how my work directly contributes to the overall success of SWT (4.17).
69. I am satisfied with my sick leave (4.07).
70. I am satisfied with my vacation (4.05).
37. We have information about job opportunities, conferences, and workshops (4.02).
89. My supervisor is helpful when I have a question regarding my work (4.00).
The median change in SWT item scores from 1999 to 2001 was an increase of 0.17 point. The following items had the largest improvements in scores from 1999 to 2001, with increases of 0.50 and higher (see Table 4):
7. My performance is evaluated fairly (+1.50)
17. We feel the channels we must go through at work are reasonable (+0.99).
1. Favoritism is not an issue in raises or promotions (+0.85).
12. Information systems are in place and accessible for me to get my job done (+0.72).
23. There is a basic trust among employees and supervisors (+0.60).
9. Every employee is valued (+0.59).
Ratings by skilled and service staff are frequently below the other ratings of the areas of strength described above. But, due to the low response rate from just 18 individuals in these two EEO categories, the results cannot be considered reliable (see Attachment 1).
SWT weaknesses in 2001 are primarily in the construct of physical environment where the SWT score of 3.55 is below all 3 of the 2001 benchmarks. Item scores (see Table 2) show that SWT fell significantly below at least two of the 2001 benchmarks for the following items, the asterisked ones being 2 of the 4 items in the physical environment construct:
11. We have adequate computer resources (3.28)*.
12. Information systems are in place and accessible for me to get my job done (3.69).
13. Information is shared as appropriate with other organizations (3.55).
17. We feel the channels we must go through at work are reasonable (3.34).
26. The amount of work I am asked to do is reasonable (3.55).
31. We are encouraged to learn from our mistakes (3.68).
32. We have adequate resources to do our jobs (3.12).
40. Our workplace is well maintained (3.57)*.
43. The pace of work in this organization enables me to do a good job (3.51).
44. My job meets my expectations (3.62).
49. The people I work with treat each other with respect (3.67).
60. People are paid fairly for the work they do (2.48).
61. Salaries are competitive with similar jobs in the community (2.45).
62. Benefits can be selected to meet individual needs (3.67).
65. My pay keeps pace with the cost of living (2.50).
68. I am satisfied with my medical insurance (3.62).
71. I am satisfied with my retirement (3.55).
75. I am satisfied with my Employee Assistance Program (E.A.P.) benefit (3.46).
79. We work well with our governing bodies (3.51).
80. We work well with the public (3.71).
81. We understand the state, local, national and global economic issues that impact this organization (3.63).
SWT had its lowest mean scores for 1999 and 2001 combined in the following items, with means below 3.00 (neutral) as shown in Table 3.
61. Salaries are competitive with similar jobs in the community (2.24).
51. Favoritism is not an issue in raises or promotions (2.76).
17. We feel the channels we must go through at work are reasonable (2.85).
14. The right information gets to the right people at the right time (2.89).
47. People who challenge the status quo are valued (2.92).
76. Information and knowledge are shared openly in this organization (2.96).
The median change in SWT item scores from 1999 to 2001 was an increase of 0.17 point. The following areas had the biggest declines in scores from 1999 to 2001, with drops of 0.16 and more (see Table 4):
71. I am satisfied with my retirement (-0.26).
74. I am satisfied with my holiday benefit (-0.25).
68. I am satisfied with my medical insurance (-0.23).
84. I have a good understanding of our vision, mission, and strategic plan (-0.21).
72. I am satisfied with my dental insurance (-0.21).
40. Our workplace is well maintained (-0.19).
73. I am satisfied with my vision insurance (-0.18).
The small groups of Technical respondents and those from the University Advancement division frequently were more positive in their ratings of SWT in the above areas than were employees of other EEO categories and divisions. But, due to the low response rate from just 41 individuals in these two groups, the results cannot be considered reliable (see Attachment 1).
For the two years SWT has participated in the Survey of Organizational Excellence, responses from skilled and service staff have been very low. The predominance of skilled and service staff in Finance & Support Services has lowered the usefulness of results in that division, and has also impacted university-wide scores in a way that makes the validity of comparison to division-specific and job-specific scores questionable. Better response rates are needed to get a better picture of employee satisfaction at SWT.
Better benchmarks may also be needed. Organizations similar in both size and mission would be better benchmarks for SWT than benchmarks available in the 1999 and 2001 surveys. The small number of public universities in Texas that are similar in size to SWT (i.e., University of North Texas, Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Arlington, and University of Texas at San Antonio) make it difficult to establish a good benchmark group. And, only one of these four institutions participated in the 2001 survey.