A Probation Officer`s View of Effectiveness

There are two distinct sets of interests that were served by the individual evaluations; it can fairly be said that the newspaper’s evaluation of the department served the interests of the newspaper, as the newspaper would of course be able to use such sensational articles to attract readers to their publication.    It can also be said that to a certain extent, the interests of the public are served if there is accurate information in the newspaper articles.

     Furthermore, the proposed evaluation would serve the needs of the higher ups in the probation department, as the evaluation could serve as a means for the managers to protect themselves from potential complaints from the public as a result of the newspaper articles.

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1.      What theory or theories of effectiveness are represented in the new evaluation format?
One theory of effectiveness which is especially appropriate in describing the new evaluation format is contingency theory.  To be more precise in describing what is meant by contingency theory in this particular situation is that the new evaluation format would only be effective and useful to any extent if it were accepted by the subordinates in the department once handed down from the director of the department.
  All of this ties back to the allegations made by the newspaper as well, because if the new evaluation format is not embraced by the entire department-superiors and subordinates alike-it will not be able to come into being, just as the original attempt at an evaluation resulted in the loss of a department head and the appointment of a new head, who is now attempting to institute the new evaluation format.
2.      What process and outcome measures are included in the evaluation? What domain of activity do these cover? Is the meaning of the variables clear?
Within the evaluation, the process measures included consist of the surveillance/monitoring of clients, the intake/processing of clients, and the ability to take on additional cases to maximize productivity.
Additionally, the outcome measures could include the success of the clients upon their completion of the probation program, the resulting reduction of caseload for the probation workers, and improvement of the overall system that is utilized for the processing and monitoring of clients.
The domain of activities that these measures cover can best be described as a combination of administrative and enforcement, which is to say that the probation officers perform the actual law enforcement activities required of them as well as the accompanying paperwork and recordkeeping.  The meaning of the variables overall is somewhat vague; for example, how one can measure the “success” of a client may be easier said than done, as is the measure of the improvements to the system itself.  The point to be realized here is that variables must be clearly defined if a process is to be as effective as possible.
 

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