The Keys to Analyzing Any Organization

Students pursuing their MPA degrees often plan to work for the government; however, there are many companies in the private sector that are looking to hire graduates with these degrees. Everyone from Wal-Mart to DreamWorks need MPA grads to help analyze their processes and structures. As a result, being able to analyze an organization is a key part of any MPA degree. Here are four ways to learn about any company.

Crack Open the Books

One of the first places to start when analyzing any company is finances. Whether you work for the government, a private company, or as a consultant, you will need to determine the health of a company by inspecting its costs and income.

When you pour over the spreadsheets, look for unnecessary spending. Where is the company wasting money? How can it cut back on costs? Then you should look at the products offered and make sure the profit margin is worth the offering. After all, a company that barely makes any money off of its products won’t be in business for long.

Look at the Organizational Structure

Some companies suffer from having too many managers trying to pull employees in different directions, while others have one manager per two employees or worse. Break down the organizational structure to learn who reports to whom and what the jobs are for each manager.

A manager is supposed to be a resource to the employees, and if employees don’t have the help they need to complete tasks then the company suffers. This is why checking the health and logic of the organizational structure is one of the first steps when analyzing a business.

Check the Media Hits and Online Presence

There are two reasons why it’s important to see what the media and Internet are saying about the company: to measure internal marketing effectiveness and to observe public perception. Often times after a crisis, public relations consultants will track a company’s perception and communication efforts to measure the effectiveness.

Analyzing an organization is usually step one to creating a plan, and checking market perception of a business will tell you how much work is ahead of you. Also, seeing the effectiveness of a company’s media messaging will tell you if paying the marketing department is worth it.

Ask the Clients or Customers

Whether it’s a survey, focus group, or even one-on-one interview, the customer will honestly tell you about the product, the company, and the customer service. This will give you an idea of where to start. When analyzing an organization, you need to figure out if the people buying from the company are happy, and if not, how to help them.

For best results, connect with customers as a third-party and let them know that their feedback is anonymous. If they think that what they say will hurt them, they might give the answers they think the company wants to hear.

As you continue to pursue your MPA online, you will learn more ways to analyze organizations and different red flags to look out for. These four are good places to start when you approach a private sector company or government organization.