Chapter 5 Organizational Development and Change
The organizational development (OD) tradition is a practitioner-driven intervention-oriented approach to effecting organizational change via individual change, with view to increasing effectiveness. It is implemented within a problem-solving model, places a heavy accent on survey-based problem diagnosis and subordinates people to a vision of the future. Commitment-based strategies of effecting change assume that the impetus for change must come from the bottom up, whilst compliance-based strategies involve the creation of behavioural imperatives for change. Various ‘employee involvement’ strategies are reviewed, but there is little evidence for their effectiveness either as a means of securing commitment or enhanced performance, or as a means of leverage for change. Culture is assumed to be the primary vehicle for change within the OD tradition, although the relationship between culture and the change process is ill understood. Finally, the assumptions underpinning team development, and its implementation, are critically examined. The organizational culture literature itself is fraught with epistemological debate. Practitioners are interested in management by measurement and manipulation of culture. Theoreticians of culture, however, aim to understand the depth and complexity of culture. Unresolved issues remain regarding how to define culture, the difference between culture and climate, measurement/levels of analysis, and the relationship between organizational culture and performance. Interest in corporate identity is relatively recent, and is mainly driven by marketing and strategic management considerations. More psychological approaches to the analysis of corporate identity include an interest in how corporate identity is reflected in the identity and self-esteem of employees, and the implications of this for managing organizational change. The classic OD approach to organizations and organizational change has been somewhat ‘side tracked’ today in favour of ‘knowledge management’, where knowledge and its creation is seen as critical to organizational sustainability and competitive advantage in today’s constantly changing global economy. Knowledge management raises issues about the potentially highly complex relationship between structure, technology and people. The dangers of a too tightly coupled understanding of the relationship between organizational structure and technology are highlighted. Chapter Thought Bytes and Examples
‘Diagnostic’ organizational methods
Questionnaires and other instruments (for example, The Managerial Grid) Data is ‘canned, anonymous’, economical and readily analysed, but not itself conducive to creating the kind of ‘personal involvement and discussion necessary to ‘changing hearts and minds’. Interviews
This involves the skilled and impartial elicitation of opinion and sentiment on a wide range of subjects, including personal concerns that are rarely aired. However, they are time-consuming and labour-intensive to analyse. Sensing
This involves unstructured group interviews designed to explore group issues, concerns, needs and resource requirements. Sampling members from different parts of an organization affords the OD researchers a ‘feel’ for the whole. Alternatively, it can be used to identify problems and concerns pertaining to one particular subsection. Sensing generates rich data and people come away feeling that they have been listened to. However, people will not disclose their real concerns if there is no trust.
A group is ‘polled’ by questionnaire, or a structured ‘round robin’ exercise, on issues or agendas otherwise unspoken (for example, interpersonal conflict, the future of the group and its place in the organization). Full and balanced involvement of all members is essential to ensure ownership of the results. It is important that the results are followed-up rather than left ‘open’ and...
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