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Highlights

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has made organizational structure and service delivery changes during the past 10 years. However, ineffective lines of communication, confusion over the mission of district offices, complicated and overlapping organizational relationships, and a field structure not consistently matched with mission requirements all combine to impede SBA staff efforts to deliver services effectively. SBA's structural inefficiencies stem in part from realignment efforts during the mid-1990s that changed SBA's functions but left aspects of the previous structure intact, congressional influence over the location of field offices and centers, and legislative requirements such as specified reporting relationships. In response to GAO's findings and additional challenges identifies by the Office of Management and Budget and the SBA Inspector General, SBA recently announced a draft 5-year workforce transformation plan that discusses many of GAO's findings regarding the difficulties posed by its current structure. Organizational alignment is crucial if an agency is to maximize its performance and accountability. As SBA executes its workforce transformation plan, it should employ strategies common to successful transformation efforts both here and abroad. Successful efforts begin with instilling senior-level leadership, responsibility, and accountability for organizational results and transformation efforts. Organizations that have successful undertaken transformation efforts also typically use strategic planning and human capital management, alignment of activities, processes, and resources, and internal and external collaboration to underpin their efforts.

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