Managing Change in Complex Environment Essay Example
Managing Change in Complex Environment Essay Example

Managing Change in Complex Environment Essay Example

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  • Pages: 12 (3152 words)
  • Published: August 20, 2017
  • Type: Report
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The USPS is a self-governing governmental organization that generates revenue from mail services. It is the second largest civilian employer in the United States and its main objective is to deliver mail across the country at a consistent price regardless of location.

The USPS has attained self-sufficiency over the course of two centuries by placing a strong emphasis on its delivery operations. Currently, it maintains exclusive control over non-urgent mail delivery and manages about 40% of worldwide mail volume, which amounts to roughly 200 billion items each year. This process started in the 1990s.

The USPS is in danger of a financial collapse because of heightened rivalry from competing bundle delivery and messenger services, as well as the Internet. To remain relevant in modern times, the USPS must implement essential and structured modifications.

History/Background: ...

g> The Postal Department of the United States was established on July 26, 1775, with the appointment of a Postmaster General by the members of the Second Continental Congress. The mission of the U.S. remains...

The Postal Department operates in a similar way to its past operations, with the main duty of delivering first-class and non-urgent mail to individuals and businesses within the United States. Congress has passed legislation that gives the postal service a legal monopoly on non-urgent First Class Mail, as well as exclusive rights to deposit mail in private letter boxes. While these laws give USPS a competitive advantage, they also restrict its ability to compete with alternative package delivery and courier services.

The roots of the Post Office Department in America can be traced back to the 17th century, when there was a necessity for mail communication between colonial colonies and exchanging information

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with England. In 1775, Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Continental Congress as both the first postmaster general and president of a commission tasked with making recommendations for establishing a postal service.

On September 22nd, 1789, the station office was established as a new government division in the United States. At that time, there were 75 station offices and around 2,000 miles of station roads.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been essential in providing national public assistance and facilitating communication for the military, congressional representation, and newspapers. The USPS has always funded its operations through earned revenue and was granted a monopoly by Congress to exclusively deliver mail.

Important milestones in the growth of the USPS

Postal officials have consistently strived to discover the most efficient ways of transporting information and delivering mail since the establishment of the Post Office until now. For instance,

In 1791, George Washington emphasized the growing significance of postal routes for disseminating knowledge about governmental laws. Furthermore, from 1791 to 1861, the U.S. placed great importance on these postal paths.

The US Postal Service saw an increase in the area of S from 3.9 million to 31.4 million square stat mis and the length of postal roads grew from 1.875 to 240.595 stat mis. The Board of Governors of the USPS is responsible for establishing policy.

The process of establishing postal rates for provided services involves the appointment and confirmation of nine out of the 11 members by the President and the US Senate.

The Postmaster General is both the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board. They are selected by nine appointed members to oversee daily activities of the service.

Furthermore, this ten-member board also nominates a Deputy Postmaster General.

The USPS is officially categorized as an "independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States," although it is often perceived as a government organization. The individual responsible for overseeing the USPS is referred to as the Chief Operating Officer and has authority over its eleventh and final position.

In terms of environmental factors, various external influences significantly impact the USPS, such as the political system in the United States, labor unions, technological advancements, and market forces.

United States Political System: The U.S. Postal Department was transformed into the USPS in 1970 as a result of the Postal Reorganization Act, which required it to operate as a "self-sufficient organization within the U.S. Government".

Furthermore, the Postal Service has also created the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) as an additional regulatory entity. Nevertheless, there have been no alterations to the Board of Directors or legislation regarding regulation within the Postal Department. The USPS Board of managers is accountable for supervising expenses, evaluating procedures, strategizing for the future, and setting policies and service standards.

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) consists of five commissioners appointed by the executive branch and confirmed by the Senate. These commissioners have the power to accept, alter, or endorse any congressional recommendations initiated by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Congress has the power to modify the rates, service frequency, and employee benefits of USPS. Any changes regarding the market made by the Board of Managers require review from both the PRC and Congress. The USPS workforce is largely represented by four unions: National Association of Letter Carriers and American Postal Workers.

The National Rural Letters Carriers

Association and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union have successfully negotiated bargaining agreements for their members' compensation and benefits, surpassing the USPS's revenue capacity. These labor unions greatly influence decisions affecting the welfare of USPS employees. At present, USPS employees enjoy healthcare coverage that accounts for 79% of their costs, a percentage higher than any other federal agency.

Strategic challenge

The USPS has undergone a transformation in its operational structure and is now obligated to function as a business entity, relying on the sale of postal products and services to generate revenue.

The postal service's current business model lacks the necessary flexibility for a changing market, posing as the main problem. Specifically, the USPS has faced difficulties in adjusting to a notable decrease in demand for first class mail service, resulting in declining profits in recent years.

Congressional Influence

The USPS's charter from Congress brings both advantages and operational restrictions. One such restriction is that the USPS must provide services at the same price regardless of customer location or dispersion.

The USPS is legally required to deliver mail six days a week to all addresses, regardless of the amount. They are also mandated to offer free addressing assistance for visually-impaired people and aid overseas military voting. One significant cost for the USPS is the pre-funding of health benefits for future retirees.
Major Concerns:
The USPS is presently encountering difficulties caused by a decline in mail volume due to technology advancements and rising labor expenses, resulting in a decrease in overall revenue. These trends are projected to persist in the future.

Despite a decrease in volume, the United States Postal Service (USPS) experiences an annual increase in operating costs due to a significant rise in

new references. The USPS has been granted exclusive rights by Congress for first-class letter mail services; however, its outdated business model hinders its ability to adapt to technological advancements and market forces that impact its financial performance each year. Postage fees for first-class and non-standard mail serve as the primary source of revenue for the USPS. However, the emergence of modern information systems like email poses challenges for the organization.

The demand for traditional mail services has been decreased by smartphones, online banking, and other digital communications. This issue is intensified by the basic economic rule of supply and demand.

New technologies offer cheaper alternatives to the services provided by the station office.


Postal Workers – The USPS has more than 500,000 employees, making it the second largest civilian employer in the country, after Wal-Mart. Despite being backed by a labor union.

Employees of the USPS are legally prohibited from engaging in strikes. The labor unions within the USPS are well-established, influential, and have strong political ties. Collectively, they form a powerful force.

The brotherhoods consistently advocate for improved employee wages, life allowances, and healthcare benefits. Acting as a mediator, the Postal Regulation Commission (PRC) facilitates discussions between the USPS board of governors and Congress. The PRC holds the power to reject or alter petitions prior to their submission to Congress for ultimate approval. Members of Congress possess authority over different facets of USPS operations, such as approving its market participation and safeguarding the concerns of constituents when the USPS seeks modifications to its business model.

The station office has the responsibility of providing mail service for various references. Over the past decade, there has been an increase of

approximately 18 million references nationwide, and this number continues to rise as the country recovers from economic setbacks. A significant portion of these consumers are members of Congress, who hold accountability for them.

Rivals: The USPS holds a monopoly on delivering first-class mail, which is authorized by Congress.

The United States Postal Service, also known as USPS, has limited competition in handling non-urgent mail and small packages. However, it has seen a decline in mail volume due to the rise of digital communications and technology, which have replaced traditional USPS services.

Market Forces

Approximately 80% of the organization's expenses are related to its workforce.

Despite their monopoly on first-class mail, the USPS faces competition from smaller, more efficient companies that deliver large bundles and urgent letters.

Used Schemes

Current efforts - The USPS has enhanced its efficiency and effectiveness through engineering and reorganization. In the late 1990s, the USPS invested significantly in fuel-efficient vehicles and new facilities. Additionally, it carried out a $15 million advertising campaign to improve its image as an imperfect yet modern organization.

10 years ago, it took 70 employees one hour to screen 35,000 letters. Today, in an hour, only two employees process the same volume of mail.

Though the number of references in the state has increased by about 18 million in the past decade, the number of employees who handle the increased delivery burden has decreased by more than 200,000 (Potter, 2010a). The USPS launched delivery verification service and priority mail in order to compete with rivals.


Lewis (2011) states that the USPS' problems are a result of a restrictive business model and its inflexibility to operate in a dynamic market place.

As previously mentioned, the USPS's response to this

job is a specific program aiming to reduce expenses and boost revenues in order to overcome their increasing shortage. While this program does tackle the USPS's immediate financial difficulties, it does not address the underlying problems. By utilizing Senge's system approach and McCaskey's Organizational Design model.

This paper will expose USPS' root jobs.

Strategic Issues/Strategies/Goals-Objectives

The strategic issues of USPS include a loss of gross due to worsening mail volume, extended costs due to a bloated and expensive unionized workforce, and the usage of an outdated legislatively forced concern program. Their proposed scheme to extenuate these issues centers on cutting their expenses, consolidating infrastructure, renegotiating labor cost and employee benefits, and increasing rates.

Additionally, the USPS plans to evolve their business plan to incorporate technological advancements. This strategy is consistent with their objective of offering a "dependable, efficient, and timely" service.

The text states that there is a need for reliable and fearless nationwide agencies that can effectively pass on information in a sustainable business model. This will enable flexibility and economic growth in a dynamic market.


In FY11, the USPS earned $65 billion in revenues, but their total expenses amounted to $75 billion. According to congressional law, the USPS is mandated to be a financially self-sufficient government agency.

The USPS is able to cover its costs without government assistance by generating revenues from a monopoly market. It operates more like a private business than a government agency. This advantage is supported by congressional restrictions on rates, delivery procedures, and labor benefits. The USPS' monopoly prevents direct competition in the delivery of first-class mail.

Using specific delivery routes and personal mailboxes is inadequate for ensuring the safe delivery of urgent mail and

large packages. FedEx and UPS are competitors in this market, but they have an advantage due to their efficiencies, technological advancements, and ability to respond to market needs.

Crucial Factors for Achievement: The USPS' success hinges on its capacity to meet customer demands and generate sufficient revenue to cover expenses.

The ability to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver services requires adapting to a dynamic market and optimizing a scalable infrastructure.

Project Requirements:

To understand the USPS organizational structure, customers can place their mail in their residential or post office using several methods for delivery process.

The curbside letter box is subject to examination. In both cases, the process begins and ends with the client sending or placing mail in the letter box. The postal carrier receives the mail, which is then consolidated at the local station office. At this office, it is manually or automatically inspected for correct postage.

The mail is initially routed to a hub for delivery to a specific location in the state. From there, it is sent to a processing center where it is sorted for the appropriate route. Finally, the mail is sent to the terminal station office and delivered to the final recipient. The mail moves in a linear manner between each step in the process chain. We observed a direct relationship along the interdependence continuum of USPS' functional units. Each entity in the process chain produces a final product that becomes a required input for the next step in the chain.

The USPS achieves success in their additive process through the bold delivery of mail for a small fee. In return, the workers must

be trustworthy and ensure the mail is properly protected as it progresses through each step in the chain. The workers only need to meet the minimum requirements for their specific task in the process.

This implies that there is a lack of motivation for them to implement or make improvements to the process from within. Any efficiencies gained in one part of the process are not easily spread throughout due to the sequential nature of the process. This is due to the inherent nature of change within the organization.

The analysis below demonstrates that there is a misalignment between the levels of interdependence among functional units and the coordination mechanism employed in the employee compensation structure. The sole motivation behind this is to maintain the current state of affairs. The theoretical model of interdependency/coordination mechanism illustrates this analysis.

The USPS and FEDEX are compared in terms of coordination degree. The USPS focuses on successes rather than failures and coordinates through regulations and ordinances. FEDEX is shown to have a coordination degree that aligns with its degree of mutuality. To achieve optimum alignment, the USPS should horizontally align its degree of mutuality with the coordination mechanism.

The USPS requires an enhanced coordination mechanism to accommodate the existing level of interdependence, aiming to improve efficiencies within the system.

Process/ Systems

Snow and showers may not hinder postal carriers from their designated delivery routes, but their financial issues may impact at least 50% of all postal offices. The U.S. Postal Service.

Due to a shift towards digital communications, the volume of mail has decreased by 22% in the past 5 years. This decline is projected to continue and is partly attributed to competition from

companies like FedEx and UPS. In response, the Postmaster General has proposed a list of cost-cutting measures.

The Postmaster General's plan includes extinguishing Saturday delivery and closing up to 3,700 local station offices. These would be replaced by machine-controlled centres operating from local businesses. Additionally, the plan involves reducing the workforce by up to 120,000 workers and withdrawing workers from expensive federal pension programs. The Postal Service has spent $21 billion in the past three years on pre-funding retired person benefits.

The underlying issue is that congressional approval is required for all of these proposed actions. To make these rapid and significant changes, the Postal Service needs access to its own funds and the ability to operate as a separate corporation. The transformation from a government-run entity to a privatized organization requires Congress to grant the USPS the flexibility to take action and make changes without excessive bureaucracy. The altered Senge Model (Limit to Growth) below illustrates the constraints that hinder the USPS from implementing changes. In summary.

The USPS is constrained by Congress from implementing rapid and proactive changes that address the underlying issue rather than just the immediate problem. The resistant "Status Quo" hinders the process of implementing change and ensuring its effectiveness, which is a challenge faced by the USPS as well. The current nonionized culture provides a sense of security to USPS employees, who fear losing their benefits and are reluctant to bear the significant personal cost that change demands. However, it has been proven that such change is crucial for the long-term well-being of the organization.

The current issue is whether the current state of affairs is suitable for the new demands of change.

An organization in urgent need of making drastic adjustments to stay up-to-date cannot be constrained by outdated regulations imposed by Congress.

Change Management Plan

The USPS recognizes its need to reduce expenses and boost revenue. It believes that by doing so, it will solve the problems. The USPS initially takes reactive measures but fails to address the underlying issue.

In the USPS organization, we believe that there is a significant issue that can only be addressed through a systems approach. According to Senge, it is impossible to make changes to a system from within the system. By adding complexity to the USPS management structure, we have identified the core problem and mistakes in the system. We propose a top-down approach to implementing change, taking into account potential resistance from employees. This approach will use the Lewin and Kotter models to guide the organizational transition. Using the Lewin model, we have identified a three-stage approach that addresses both employee and organizational issues.

An information program is communicated to employees at each stage to facilitate transition to the next stage. The USPS's current costs of doing business are higher than its current methods of productivity. Unless the strategic direction model is modified, the USPS will continue to lose revenue and be unable to effectively meet market demands.

The proposed cost cutting solutions presented in the text only address a small portion of the overall challenges related to organizational direction and coordination. Our approach is supported by validated organizational change models. We defend our plan, which incorporates the Lewin model and demonstrates a strong correlation with Kotter's organizational change model. Our program ensures long-term success for the USPS, keeps it relevant in

the current market, and enables necessary adjustments through regular evaluations.


  1. Lewis. T. . Montgomery C. . Shuler. J. . ( 2011 ) .

The US Postal Service is located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Senge, P. works there as well.

. (1990). The Fifth Discipline. Doubleday Publishing.

New York

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