A Sympathetic Organizational Environment-A Key to Developing New Programs


  • John L. Crompton


New programs, organizational development, organizational climate, recreation and parks.


The development of new programs by a recreation and park department may be stimulated either by external pressures or by internal voluntary action. External influences in either a supportive or adversarial way may be exerted by client groups, professional peers, higher levels of government, or elected officials. Internal voluntary action to initiate new programs stems from recognition of performance gaps between what a department is currently achieving and what its managers believe it could achieve. Such gaps emerge from changes in citizen priorities or lifestyles, the shifting of target markets, new technology, a changed financial environment, or the availability of underutilized resources.New program ideas flourish best if there is a sympathetic organizational climate to nurture them. Unfortunately, many of the characteristics associated with a supportive climate appear to be the opposite of those frequently found in recreation and park departments. Organizational features characteristic of a sympathetic environment for new program development include an organic, decentralized department staffed by people from diverse backgrounds; availability of slack resources; high employee morale, investment in employee training, and high tolerance of failures; support from elected officials; and support of the department head.?





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