The Norfolk Department of Human Services: Organizational Change

Understanding the Organization

History and Mission of the Organization

The Norfolk Department of Human Services was founded on May 4, 1980, as an agency committed to improving the lives of communities, families, and children within the city of Norfolk. The organization has been instrumental in helping families during major disasters and children who are orphaned at tender ages and without proper guardianship. The following is the organization’s mission that defines its operations:

“The Department of Human Services is committed to improving the lives of children, families, and communities through comprehensive services that support the well-being of Norfolk citizens,” (Hawks, 2012, p. 1).

As shown in the above mission statement, this organization is keen on ensuring that the entire community can overcome various challenges that may affect it in various ways. It has a special interest in caring for children who lack proper guardianship. The organization runs under the following vision statement:

“All citizens are productive, self-supporting, and live in a healthy, nurturing, and safe community,” (Hawks, 2012, p. 1).

The vision statement shows its commitment towards promoting a healthy and safe community where all citizens are self-supporting and capable of contributing to socio-economic and political development.

Management Theory That Drives the Organization

The Norfolk Department of Human Services is driven by McGregor’s Theory Y which assumes that people are always creative and eager to work with minimal or no supervision as long as an enabling environment is created (DeCarlo & Jenkins, 2015). The organization has been keen on creating that enabling environment for the citizens of Virginia, especially the residents of Norfolk city to help them become self-sufficient and capable of helping other members of this great society.

Programs within the Organization and Services Offered

The organization has several programs that focus on offering services to the community, families, and individuals who may need support from the government. The following are some of the programs of the Norfolk Department of Human Services that offer various services to the community:

  • Children’s services;
  • Adult services;
  • Family services;
  • Emergency utility program;
  • Services for the homeless;
  • Senior resources;
  • Students resources.

Organizational Staffing

The organization has a clear management structure that coordinates its activities to ensure that the vision is realized. Most of the employees working in this organization are members of the local community. The organization prefers hiring the locals because they have a better understanding of the socio-economic problems of the local communities than foreigners. The following chart shows the leadership structure of the organization:

Norfolk Department of Human Services Organizational Chart.
Figure 1: Norfolk Department of Human Services Organizational Chart (Developed by author).

Stephen K. Hawks is currently the director of the Norfolk Department of Human Services. He is assisted in this leadership by several departmental heads responsible for various programs as discussed above. The director is answerable to the mayor of this city who is a political leader.

Organizational Culture and Climate

The management of the Norfolk Department of Human Services has created an environment where employees can easily interact amongst themselves and with their senior officers. The open-door policy has created a culture where stakeholders within this organization can share information and ideas freely to help transform the lives of the less fortunate and victims of various disasters within the community. The culture makes it possible for junior employees to engage their supervisors and managers on issues that they believe affect their activities within the firm (Cummings & Worley, 2013). Members of the public are also offered platforms through which they can express their views about the services offered by the organization. They can recommend changes in the service delivery or service delivery methods offered by the department.

Organization’s Strengths and Limitations

The main strength of this organization is the support that it receives from the members of the community and leaders in various platforms. Through its effective leadership, this organization has formed collaborations and strategic leadership with some of the local churches to help reach out to people who need assistance. These organizations have also helped it convince sponsors and individuals to make donations, especially in cases of major disasters. Its team of highly dedicated employees has also helped the firm in achieving its vision. They have helped this organization to achieve recognition within the society as one that is focused on helping the needy and the less fortunate within the city of Norfolk.

The positive relationship that it has maintained with the political leaders and offices has also helped in ensuring that it has the resources needed to operate. However, one of the main limitations of this organization is that it directly depends on the funding from the government and well-wishers. Sometimes it gets overwhelmed, especially when there is a major disaster and a large number of people need its urgent services. Its limited number of employees gets overstretched and it forces it to seek assistance from other organizations to offer emergency help to the needy.

Scanning the Organization for Change

Understanding of the 5Ps of the Organization

When assessing the Norfolk Department of Human Services for change, it is important to use the 5Ps to understand areas that need change. This model makes it possible to understand the organization’s programs, project, policy, personnel, and practice (Iveroth & Hallencreutz, 2016). It is necessary to look at each of these factors individually:

  • Program: programs of this organization are designed to meet the needs of the less fortunate within the city of Norfolk. The programs focus on children’s services, adult services, family services, emergency services, services for the homeless, seniors’ resources, and students’ resources.
  • Project: projects undertaken by this organization are often based on the programs discussed above. However, sometimes they can be adjusted in line with the prevailing circumstances, especially in cases of emergency.
  • Policy: policies that define operations of this agency are often defined by its top leadership based on its strategic objective. For instance, the current employment policy gives priority to locals who understand forces affecting the people of the city. It also has a strict policy on funding.
  • Personnel: most of the employees at this organization are young individuals keen on offering their services to the public. Other than the volunteers and those in attachment, the organization’s employees are salaried.
  • Practice: the firm has embraced some practices meant to help it achieve its vision. For instance, the management introduced a new practice where members of the public can directly engage the leadership to give their views on how the organization can deliver superior value.

Area of Focus

In this paper, the area of focus will be on the policies that are used by this organization to source for funds. Although the current policies are effective enough in generating the needed resources, it may be necessary to reevaluate in to ensure that the agency reduces its overreliance on the government’s support.

The Problem and How it Relates to the Selected Area of Focus

Currently, this organization heavily relies on funding from the government to support its operations. However, some of its programs go beyond the government’s mandate just to ensure that citizens of this city can lead a decent life even in cases of calamity. This organization should change its approach of sourcing for funds to support its activities. Currently, there is a perception that it is receiving government funds and the community, especially the donor organizations, are not keen on extending their support unless there is a major disaster that is beyond its capability. It should come up with new policies that will create a close working relationship with various donor agencies.

Population Affected

Employees working in the finance department will be affected because they will have to start developing proposals that will be sent to the donor agencies. These employees will have to work closely with other employees in various departments to know the new programs that should be initiated, the cost of such programs, and how the donors will be engaged.

The Arena Where the Change Will Take Place and How it Fits with the Community

The change, although it targets the finance department, will affect the entire organization. It will mean that more activities will be conducted by the agency and a higher number of members of the community shall benefit than was the case before. The change fits well with the community because it will empower the organization to it better than it was before sourcing for extra funding.


Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2013). Organization development and change. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning. Web.

DeCarlo, J., & Jenkins, M. J. (2015). Labor unions, management innovation and organizational change in police departments. London, UK: Springer. Web.

Hawks, S. (2012). Norfolk department of human services annual report 2012. Web.

Iveroth, E., & Hallencreutz, J. (2016). Effective organizational change: Leading through sense-making. New York, NY: Routledge. Web.

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DemoEssays. "The Norfolk Department of Human Services: Organizational Change." February 9, 2022.