Organization Development: Principles, Processes, Performance

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Designed for use in undergraduate and graduate programs in organization development, management, human resource development, and industrial and organizational psychology, Organization Development provides readers with an overview of the field and acquaints them with the basic principles, practices, values, and skills of OD. Covering every aspect of the work of an OD professional and featuring numerous illustrative case studies, it shows how OD professionals actually get work and what the first steps in any OD effort should be.

Author Gary McLean surveys different ways to assess an organizational situation—including a comparison of the Action Research and Appreciative Inquiry models—and provides forms for devising an action plan based on that assessment. He then looks at how to choose and implement a range of interventions at different levels, as well as how to evaluate the results of an intervention.

Organization Development goes beyond the organizational level to look at the application of OD on community, national, regional, and global levels. And it successfully combines theory and practice; process and outcomes; performance and affective results; effectiveness and efficiency.

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1 What Is Organization Development?

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OVERVIEW This chapter presents the definitional issues, the business case for OD, two primary models with their strengths and weaknesses

(action research, appreciative inquiry), and the importance of organizational context. It also contains the historical roots of the field, as well as its values and principles. Concepts of organizational culture and change management are also explored briefly.

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elcome to the world of organization development (OD)! Every reader of this book comes with multiple experiences in organizations—from your family to your schools; churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques; workplaces; charitable organizations; government agencies; sports teams; social clubs; labor unions; and so on. Some of these experiences have probably been positive, while some have probably been negative. That’s the nature of the world in which we live. In this book, you will learn some of the approaches that professionals in the field of OD use to turn negative experiences into positive ones, and how good OD practice that relies on solid OD theory can help organizations to be more productive, more satisfying, and more effective and efficient.

 

2 Entry: Marketing and Contracting

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OVERVIEW In this chapter, we explore how OD professionals obtain work (both internally and externally), the contracting process (again, both internally and externally), determining the readiness of the client to change, and establishing collaborative networks.

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bviously, before organization development work can begin, there must be a place in which to begin this work. This requires the OD professional to interact with potential clients, whether as an internal or as an external OD professional, and reach agreement on the work to be done, the processes to be followed, and the allocation of work responsibilities among all parties. Using the organization development process model, as shown in Figure 2.1, we are at the beginning of the cycle in phase 1: Entry.

MARKETING

Innumerable books, chapters, and articles have been written on marketing and how and when to utilize different marketing strategies. However, the purpose of this section is not to provide a detailed account of marketing initiatives but, rather, to provide the basics of a few aspects of identifying and building a client list, as well as attaining new projects, both internally and externally. Advantages and disadvantages of each marketing approach for external consultants are summarized in Table

 

3 Start-up and Systems Theory

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OVERVIEW What are the first steps that an OD professional carries out in entering an organization or a subpart of an organization? A critical component is setting project management in place. Establishing partnerships within the organization is also critical to the ultimate success of the project. How this is done, and with whom, will be explored in this chapter. Determining when it is time to move on to the next phase will be discussed as well. The entire OD process must be set in the context of systems thinking. A brief overview of systems theory is also presented in this chapter.

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ou have been successful in connecting with a client, and you now have a contract in hand. What happens next? The Start-up phase is important in establishing an infrastructure, including project management, that will support the work being done in the organization or subpart of the organization, though in some cases parts of this stage might have been addressed in the contracting component of the Entry phase, illustrating that there is not a clear distinction between phases of the

 

4 Organizational Assessment and Feedback

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OVERVIEW Assessment is carried out in four ways, either singularly or in combination: observation, secondary data, interview, and survey. The pros and cons of each approach will be presented, along with specifics on how to make each one most useful. We will consider differences between the organization development process model and the appreciative inquiry model. Issues related to triangulation, customized versus standardized instruments, and psychometrics will be included. Finally, a keystone of OD is providing feedback on the outcome of assessment, so we will consider a rationale for feedback. Deciding to whom feedback should be provided, by whom, and in what format will also be discussed.

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nce the Entry and Start-up phases are complete, or nearly so, you are then ready to conduct an organizational assessment—also called diagnosis, check-up, cultural survey, employee survey, and many other terms. See Figure 4.1 to see where the Assessment and Feedback phase fits into the organization development process model cycle.

 

5 Action Planning and Introduction to Interventions

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OVERVIEW Based on the findings of the assessment, an action plan must be created. What goals and objectives will the organization establish, and what will the organization do as a result of the assessment and feedback? This chapter includes a form to assist practitioners in the process of doing action planning as a collaborative group, relying heavily on the use of the affinity diagram process described in the previous chapter. An overview of implementation options will be included in this chapter to suggest approaches that might be included in action plans.

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ith the assessment and feedback completed, and with the input of those receiving the feedback, the steering team can now begin the process of deciding what to do in response to the assessment. This step, the Action Planning phase, is shown in Figure 5.1.

A wide range of interventions is available to OD professionals. (An intervention is an activity designed to help achieve the goals and objectives established in the Action Planning phase.) What follows in this chapter is, first, a discussion of a process for separating training needs from other types of OD needs. This will be followed by a description of one approach to creating an action plan, followed by a brief overview of the range of implementation interventions available.

 

6 Implementation: Individual Level

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OVERVIEW The individual-level OD interventions provided in Chapter 5 are the subject of this chapter. Whereas Chapter 5 provided a brief description of each of the individual interventions, this chapter focuses on the process of implementation, along with strengths and weaknesses of each approach where appropriate. The interventions described in this section include T-groups; coaching; mentoring; self-awareness tools; reflection; training, education, and development; leadership development; multirater (360-degree) feedback; job design; job descriptions; responsibility charting; policies manual; values clarification and values integration; conflict management; and action learning.

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interventions at the individual level are perhaps the most challenging for OD professionals because they are asked to be aware of their boundaries of competence. Many of the interventions discussed in this chapter have the potential to raise serious issues related to mental health for the targeted individuals that go beyond the competence of most OD professionals. The role of the OD professional in such a situation must be to recognize that such a problem exists and to refer the individual(s) involved to appropriate professionals (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc.). This concern is explored in much more detail in Chapter 15, “Ethics and Values Driving OD.”

 

7 Implementation: Team and Interteam Levels

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OVERVIEW This level of intervention includes interventions to strengthen teams or formal groups and improve the relationships between teams or groups. These interventions include dialogue sessions, team building (the most common OD intervention), process consultation, team effectiveness, meeting facilitation, fishbowls, brainstorming, interteam conflict management, and strategic alignment assessment.

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atzenbach and Smith (1993) suggested that a team is a group of interdependent people sharing a common purpose, having common work methods, and holding each other accountable. This chapter focuses on the teams that exist in organizations. Team/work group and interteam interventions are part of the Implementation phase shown in

Figure 7.1.

The number of intervention types focused on the team or group level is almost endless. This chapter will expand on a few of them in some detail as examples of what an OD professional might find appropriate in helping improve team or group functioning. The OD professional needs to be sure to use team interventions only when there is a need for people to work together interdependently. Using the intervention for the sake of having an intervention, rather than for the purpose of transforming the team, is neither effective nor productive. Many of the basic definitions of the interventions presented here were covered in

 

8 Implementation: Process Level

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OVERVIEW The process level focuses on organizational processes, including many concepts associated with quality improvement, including continuous process improvement/total quality management, six sigma, business process reengineering, benchmarking/best practices, and sociotechnical systems.

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he term process is used in many ways. In fact, most of this book is about processes—how we relate to others, how we create and support culture change in organizations, how we work across cultures, and so on. The focus of this chapter is not about the processes that we use as

OD professionals but, rather, about the processes used by the organization to produce its products or deliver its services. As with all of the categories used to structure this book, this is a somewhat artificial distinction, as some products and services are delivered by teams, but those processes are covered in Chapter 7, while Chapters 6, 9, 10, and 11 focus largely on people processes. This chapter considers interventions that are useful in improving organizational processes. Process interventions are part of the Implementation phase shown in Figure 8.1.

 

9 Implementation: Global Level

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OVERVIEW This chapter explores the meaning of culture in a country context, describes the difficulties of changing organizational culture in the midst of varying country cultures, and suggests implications for OD practice in organizations consisting of varying country cultures and subcultures. In addition to considering specific OD-related issues, it also discusses common theories of culture applicable across disciplines, explores the emotional issue of globalization, and provides a self-assessment instrument for discussion purposes.

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f all of the issues confronting the OD field, perhaps one of the most difficult yet most important is the issue of doing OD work across national cultures and borders. We live in a world that is becoming increasingly small, given advances in technology—computers

(including e-mail and the Internet), satellite and cable television, and cell phones, all of which enable us to be in touch instantly and always with any part of the world (almost). With few exceptions, all business organizations are impacted by the growing global economy: investment capital flows across the world; currency is exchanged as a commodity; purchases are made from around the globe, frequently from low-wage countries; workers are hired from across the globe (often not even requiring them to relocate); raw materials come from around the globe; the food we eat and the clothes we wear come from a myriad of countries; work is outsourced so that customer service problems in the U.K., for instance, are being addressed by workers in India; and so forth.

 

10 Implementation: Organizational Level

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OVERVIEW At the organizational level, the most important interventions improve strategic thinking and strategic alignment. Important OD contributions to this process included in this chapter are organization design; company-wide survey; learning organization; organizational learning; culture change; accountability and reward systems; succession planning; valuing differences/diversity; mission, vision, values, and philosophy development; strategic planning; large-scale interactive events; open systems mapping; future search; and open space technology meetings.

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e turn now to those interventions that are intended to impact the whole organization. As recognized in Chapter 5, however, within systems theory, all of the levels covered in the preceding chapters also impact the whole organization in some way. Although I have categorized the interventions to fit into different levels of targets of impact, the distinction in levels (and thus in these chapters) is somewhat artificial.

Implementation targeted specifically at the organizational level is one more aspect of the implementation phase, as identified in Figure 10.1.

 

11 Implementation: Community and National Levels

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OVERVIEW A relatively recent phenomenon, especially in the global context, has been the application of OD principles, values, and techniques in community contexts and at national levels. In a world increasingly threatened with violence, the skill set of experienced OD professionals has the possibility of offering that expertise to communities, nations, regions, and worldwide nongovernmental organizations

(NGOs) to help build stronger communities and to counter widespread violence.

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s specified in Chapter 1, an organization is any group of two or more coming together with a common purpose. Historically, the focus of OD work has been on for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including subsystems of those organizations. Increasingly, however, there has been an awareness of the importance of the skills of OD in developing communities, nations, regions, and worldwide NGOs.

This emerging focus is consistent with the Implementation phase of the

ODP model (see Figure 11.1).

The OD Institute has been very influential in sending teams of OD professionals to areas of the world where conflict between groups has been prevalent. Teams have been sent to Northern Ireland, South

 

12 Evaluation of Processes and Results

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OVERVIEW Unfortunately, evaluation is often ignored by OD professionals and their clients. In this chapter, the importance of evaluation is stressed, along with some suggestions of how evaluation can be done so as to counter the objections often put forward. Many approaches to evaluation are reviewed, with advantages and disadvantages of each.

Again, because it is always impossible to prove direct cause and effect with OD, triangulation (use of multiple approaches) is emphasized.

Formative (during the process), summative (at the end of the process), and longitudinal (over time) evaluation are discussed. (This chapter draws heavily from McLean, 2005.)

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valuation is an important phase often overlooked by practitioners.

The difficulty in conducting a viable evaluation is often cited as the reason why evaluations are not conducted. This chapter explores the reasons for conducting evaluation, the pros and cons of the most popular approaches to evaluation, and suggestions for a workable, though not perfect, means of carrying out acceptable evaluations.

 

13 Adoption of Changes and Follow-up

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OVERVIEW Adoption of change is a controversial phase in today’s dynamic and rapidly changing world. Some argue that change is so rapid that an organization cannot afford to adopt or institutionalize a change but must be in the process of constant change. Opponents of this theory argue that the culture has not changed until there is evidence that the change has been adopted or institutionalized. Reconciling these two perspectives will be the goal of this chapter.

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hrough the Implementation and Evaluation phases, we have discovered that the change that was proposed in the Action Plan was successful in the pilot or initial application of the change. From this success, the organization has now decided to adopt the change throughout the organization.

As we see from the ODP model in Figure 13.1, once the Adoption phase has occurred, we return to the beginning of the cycle or move to the Separation phase. With a commitment to continuous improvement, the cycle begins again, exploring the newly created culture and its processes to determine how they, too, can be improved, with the possibility that an even better adaptation to the organizational culture can be found. In this process, the newly implemented and adopted cultural component may need to be replaced, with a new adoption following another pilot implementation. Let’s consider the Adoption phase—and the change it entails—in more detail.

 

14 Reasons for Separation from the Organization

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OVERVIEW Periodically, it is essential for clients and OD professionals to explore their relationship to see whether there is still a need for the relationship on the part of the client, and to see whether the OD professional still believes that value is being added to the organization through the relationship. This stage becomes difficult for internal OD professionals as they are gradually co-opted by the organization’s culture.

Both the organization and the OD professional must avoid overdependency. How can a healthy relationship be maintained so that separation is not needed? How can it be determined that separation is appropriate and benefits both parties? How should separation be handled?

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he final phase of the ODP model is Separation. This phase is not central to the ongoing flow of the model, as seen in Figure 14.1, because Separation ends the involvement of the client and the OD professional. A good ending is critical to support the work that has gone before it. In the ensuing conversation, it is important to discuss what each party learned from the process, suggest ways for each to improve working relationships in the future, and keep the door open for future work as circumstances change.

 

15 Ethics and Values Driving OD

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OVERVIEW OD is a values-driven field. This quality is sometimes seen as one of its challenges. In determining what values should drive the

field, there is the potential for conflict with the values of clients, especially those clients in the for-profit sector. In this chapter, areas that are particularly difficult ethically for OD practitioners will be presented and discussed, with suggestions of ways ethical decisions can be made.

Reference will be made to the various professional ethics statements currently available. Values presented come heavily from my own practice and from the OD Principles and Practices on the OD Network Web site.

The chapter includes a proposed flowchart for making ethical decisions.

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ou may often have heard, “Just do the right thing!” If it were that easy, there would be relatively little to include in this chapter; I could simply refer you to one of the codes of ethics and be done. The reality, however, is that there are many times when determining the

“right thing” to do is extremely difficult, especially when two or more desirable values come in conflict with each other. From my theological training comes this meaningful quote from Tillich (1963): “Life at every moment is ambiguous” (p. 32). A more down-to-earth way of stating this comes from Tom McLean, protagonist in the novel China White:

 

16 Competencies for OD

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OVERVIEW This chapter opens with a discussion of competencies— their definition and the reason for their use. Then, the following questions are addressed: What are the competencies required by OD professionals for working successfully? Does the professional need to have all of the competencies or only a subset? What competencies will be needed in the future? Several attempts to provide OD competencies have been undertaken. A list of competencies developed for The OD

Institute has been adapted for this chapter, providing a self-check list for the individual considering entering the OD field. The instrument can also be used for colleagues to complete in a form of multirater feedback. Finally, the results of a Delphi study looking at the future competencies needed by OD professionals are presented.

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his chapter focuses on competencies needed by professionals who wish to do OD work. Competencies are “a descriptive tool that identifies the skills, knowledge, personal characteristics, and behavior needed to effectively perform a role in the organization and help the business meet its strategic objectives” (Lucia & Lepsinger, 1999, p. 5).

 

17 Issues Facing OD and Its Future

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OVERVIEW This chapter explores many of the issues and controversies that exist in OD. Consistent with the ambiguities addressed throughout the book, this chapter raises more questions than it answers. Next, the future of the field will be explored, including my vision for the future of OD. The book will conclude with a statement of the benefits of OD.

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s I have often suggested throughout this book, there are multiple aspects of OD for which a consensus has not been reached. Competent practitioners and theoreticians have reached different conclusions about many critical aspects of OD practice. What follows is a balanced perspective of several of these issues, followed by a series of questions still facing OD. From there, varying perspectives of the future of OD are presented, followed by my personal vision for the field of OD.

ISSUES

An issue is a controversial aspect of a field for which more than one viable, often conflicting, response exists. The intent here is to suggest that these are questions that must be addressed by the field as a whole, not necessarily by each person working in OD. Some of the questions come from Provo, Tuttle, and Henderson (2003), as suggested at a preconference on OD at the Academy of Human Resource Development

 

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