Teaching Case - Washington State Workers' Compensation Administration (B)

Washington State Workers' Compensation Administration (B)


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  • Product Description

    Like many such systems, the Washington State Workers Compensation Administration was, in the mid-1980s, in deep financial distress. Worse still, its fiscal problems were matched by deep problems of efficiency and morale, particularly in its crucial Claims Administration Unit, which called into question the agency's ability to put its house in order. Under intense public and political pressure, a new team of administrators buys time through stopgap financial steps, before turning to the daunting task of internal structural reform, focused on the claims unit. The case provides rich detail of both the political and production operation issues which administrators confronted, including its strategy of breaking a claims log-jam by terminating a long-established "assembly-line" claims process. Adopted in its place is a new structure which encouraged employees to take holistic responsibility for compensation claims and worker rehabilitation. The case raises the complications of worker morale, union relations and political and business pressures with which administrators coped, knowing that the possibility of privatization was a real alternative. They struggled both to put the department on its feet and to demonstrate a raison d'etre for a public system. Ultimately, their efforts were recognized by an Innovations in American Government program award.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 1, 1996
    HKS Case Number: 1318.0
    Case Author: Harvey Simon
    Faculty Lead: Linda Kaboolian
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 17
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: US & Canada
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