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

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Department or Administrative Unit

Environmental Studies

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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.


This article was originally published in Journal of Forestry. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Forestry


Copyright © 2010 by the Society of American Foresters.