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Growing Organizational Challenges for the US Forest Service: Results of a Longitudinal Study in a Period of Major Environmental Change

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The US Forest Service has been widely viewed as the leader of the nation's forestry profession. Using longitudinal survey research, we have been measuring the extent of ongoing changes in the attitudes, beliefs, and preferences of agency employees on a wide range of resource management and organizational issues from 1990 to 2008. We have observed the agency transition from a timber-dominated organization to an agency struggling to cope with its posttimber reality. The performance gap in US Forest Service employees' perception of agency management activities—the difference between employee preferences and their perception of the position of the agency on key management issues—spawned an internal agency reform movement in 1989, but that gap has since narrowed. New organizational circumstances, including a reduced workforce, an exodus of employee technical expertise, declining resource budgets, reorganization initiatives, and the ascendancy of fire management have had major impacts on agency programs and employee morale.
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Keywords: Forest Service; morale; organizational change; paradigm

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-03-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.675 (Rank 20/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 39.6 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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