What Is Organization Development

What Is Organization Development
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Dr.NaveenBansal,India,Teacher
Published Date:25-10-2017
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1 What Is Organization Development? CHAPTER OUTLINE Definitions of an Organization Defining OD Who Is an OD Professional? Models for Doing OD Roots and History of OD When and Why Should an Organization Use OD? A Values-Based Field Chapter Summary Questions for Discussion or Self-Reflection 12 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 organiza- tional 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. elcome to the world of organization development (OD) Every Wreader of this book comes with multiple experiences in organiza- tions—from your family to your schools; churches, synagogues, tem- ples, 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 proba- bly 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 organi- zations to be more productive, more satisfying, and more effective and efficient. DEFINITIONS OF AN ORGANIZATION The dictionary provides the following formal definition of an organization: a) the act or process of organizing; the state or manner of being organized: a high degree of organization; b) something that has been organized or made into an ordered whole; c) something made up of elements with varied functions that contribute to the whole and to collective functions; an organism; d) a group of persons organized for a particular purpose; an association: a benevolent organization; e) a structure through which individuals cooperate systematically to conduct business; the administrative personnel of such a structure. (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000) A more informal definition can include any situation in which two or more persons are involved in a common pursuit or objective. Given the broad-ranging and all-encompassing definitions of organization, it is3 easy to understand the complexity of OD and the large number of situ- ations in which it can be applied. Now, as you begin to think about your experience in past and cur- rent organizations, quickly jot down some of the positive and negative experiences you have encountered. Use two columns, with the positive in one and the negative in the other. By doing this, you are already using the early stages of one of the tools of OD, called a force field analysis. You’ll hear more about this tool in a later chapter. An OD professional, along with others in the same organization, might use a list like this to determine how people in that organization feel about what is and what is not going well. This, too, is a part of the OD process of doing an organizational analysis or a needs assessment. The OD professional might use such lists to work with the organization in finding ways to build on the positives and to overcome the negatives. The field of OD is not regulated, except through ethics statements developed by professional organizations (more on this later, too). As a result, anyone interested can practice what he or she might label as OD, even though the field might take exception to the accuracy of such a statement. But there is no recourse. Thus, one of the real challenges of the field is that some people who call themselves OD consultants or professionals (these terms are often used interchangeably and do not indicate whether the person is employed by the organization or is a self- employed person or a person employed by a consulting firm) is that they operate with a narrowly defined “toolbox”—a set of so-called solutions that they apply to every situation. Thus, we experience the “flavor of the month,” a situation in which the latest fad is offered to organizations as the solution to all of their problems. Given the ambi- guity of OD practice, having a strong theoretical background and func- tioning with proven models, therefore, become critical for successful and ethical OD practice. DEFINING OD As indicated earlier in this chapter, there is no standard definition of OD, and what may be considered as legitimate OD practice by some may equally be perceived by others, legitimately, as being outside the scope of OD. Here is your first challenge of ambiguity. How does the field continue to exist and thrive when we cannot agree on its definition?4 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT What Can OD Address? The field of OD is very large and complex; as such, OD professionals will find themselves in many different contexts using a wide range of methods and processes to bring about desired outcomes in organiza- tions. This question will be answered more fully later in this chapter. For now, let me share a few situations in which I have been involved as an indication of the wide range in which one might practice OD. As our children were growing up, we used the tools of OD in our parenting. We held weekly family meetings with rotating facili- tators (even the young children) at which any grievances against each other or against parents could be voiced and (hopefully) managed, if not resolved. When it came to planning vacations, we used brainstorming to create a Likert-type survey to which everyone had equal input. The only differential role that we had as parents was in setting the budget. And whatever came out on top, that’s what we did With a family of six children (four are adopted Koreans), Lynn and I recognized how easy it would be for the individual child to be lost in the crowd. Thus, we created a system of providing each child with a “special day” once a month when each child could pick one parent and one activity that would be just for him or her. We used dialogue processes when there was conflict. We used storytelling to instill our values. Not only did OD serve us well as a family, but it also helped the children to develop some of the OD skills themselves. I have just finished a 3.5-year project sponsored by the U.S. State Department in which I worked with colleagues in Kyrgyzstan, a former soviet republic in Central Asia, to work on major initiatives to change the educational system by reinstituting free kindergarten, establishing graduate degrees for school administrators, instituting requirements for persons to become school administrators, estab- lishing a professional organization for teachers, requiring trans- parency in the finances of schools and universities, and many other outcomes. One of my colleagues wrote to me shortly after the peaceful overthrow of the corrupt president indicating that theWhat Is Organization Development? 5 work we had done set the stage for the democratic processes that resulted in a peaceful transition of governments. I received an urgent telephone call from Saudi Arabia requesting my immediate assistance. There had been a serious refinery ac- cident in which one person was killed and several other workers were injured. The company wanted me to do an assessment to determine why the accident had occurred and what changes the organization needed to make to reduce the risk of future problems in safety. This task required an exhaustive review of risk policies, safety training, the role of the corporate risk office in refineries, a review of the processes, and so on. Two of the major findings were that contract employees, who outnumbered regular employees 2:1, received no safety training, and the corporate risk office was viewed as an auditor rather than as a support system. No sub- sequent accidents have occurred since this project. Rather than going into detail on other projects, let me provide a sampling of others in which I have been involved: ■ I have worked with a state agency to help it institute total quality management, with a specific goal of reducing roadside construction site accidents. ■ I have worked as a coach to the CEO of a large consulting firm to provide him with feedback on his decision making and processes, and to serve as a foil for his ideas. ■ I have worked with many organizations in helping approach a move into another part of the world. ■ I have worked with several organizations immediately after a merger or acquisition to help create a common culture and to bring personnel, processes, and policies together. ■ I assist organizations in conducting qualitative feedback to employees on their performance. ■ I work with organizations to help them manage conflict when it has become destructive to the organization. ■ I have provided support at the ministry level and research in the use of organization development principles and processes6 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT to improve the national situation in Kenya and the Republic of Korea. This emphasis is continuing and expanding globally. This is not an exhaustive listing of the OD work that I do, and it is not even close to exhaustive of the work that can be done under the guise of organization development. I hope, however, that it will give the reader some sense of the scope and power of OD work. Sample Definitions Egan (2002) explored the range of definitions for OD. While not a com- prehensive review, he did identify 27 definitions between 1969 and 2003. Providing all 27 definitions here probably serves no useful purpose. Thus, this section will present a few definitions that express consider- ably different perspectives. Change, whether planned or unplanned, is often associated with people’s understanding of OD. Planned change was incorporated into what was perhaps the first formal definition for OD, that of Richard Beckhard (1969), though many such definitions emerged in that year. Beckhard defined OD as “an effort that is (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s processes, using behavioral-science knowledge” (p. 9). Some within the field are now critical of this definition, asserting that the world in which we live is too complex to plan change. Change, both positive and negative, imposes itself on us from many sources, most of which are beyond our control. Others argue that management from the top is hierarchical, a concept that is acceptable in some cul- tures but not in others, including, to some extent, the United States. On the other hand, if desired change is not supported by top management, can that change ever really occur or be sustained? Another criticism of this definition is the use of a medical model and the reference to “health.” At the same time, just as medical models are rapidly shifting from remediation to prevention, so also do we see this shift in OD. The final phrase of this definition, referencing the “behavioral sciences,” underscores the multidisciplinary nature of theWhat Is Organization Development? 7 Artifacts and Creations Technology Visible but often Art not decipherable Visible and audible behavior patterns Values Greater level Testable in the physical environment of awareness Testable only by social consensus Basic Assumptions Relationship to environment Taken for granted Nature of reality, time, and space Invisible Nature of human nature Preconscious Nature of human activity Nature of human relationships Figure 1.1 Levels of Cultures and Their Interactions (adapted from Schein, 1980, p. 4) field. Many of the behavioral sciences are core to the practice of OD, including psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology, among others. Warren Bennis’s (1969) definition positions OD as reactive to change, rather than proactive, as was the case in Beckhard’s definition. Bennis also introduced the concept that is still core to our understand- ing of OD today—namely, organizational culture: “Organization devel- opment is a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change beliefs, attitudes, values, and structures of organiza- tions so that they can better adapt to new technologies, markets, and challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself” (p. 2). Bennis used four words that are seen today as key components of organizational culture: beliefs, attitudes, values, and structures. This view was later expanded by Edgar Schein (1980), who developed the idea of a cultural iceberg (see Figures 1.1 and 1.2). These diagrams illustrate that change in an organization can occur at many levels. As behaviors and their associated artifacts are readily visible to others, OD can effect change in these relatively easily. How- ever, when organizational change needs to penetrate the underlying8 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT ■ Behaviors, Norms, Artifacts ■ Stated Beliefs, Values ■ Assumptions Figure 1.2 Schein’s Cultural Iceberg beliefs, values, and, ultimately, the unconscious assumptions made in the organization, change is much more difficult. As illustrated in his metaphor of the iceberg, Schein indicated how difficult it is to “see” the assump- tions that underlie our behaviors. Another metaphor used by Schein was the peeling of an onion. We can easily see the outside skin of the onion (behaviors), but, without peeling away the layers between the external skin and the core of the onion (the assumptions), we cannot really understand the onion (the people in the organization). This is the chal- lenge that faces OD professionals—how do we peel away the layers of the onion or get to the bottom of the iceberg as we work in an organiza- tion? At the same time, because of its greater ease and efficient use of time, efforts to bring about change through OD should not attempt to go deeper than necessary to accomplish the objective (Harrison, 1970). If changes in behaviors or artifacts are sufficient (i.e., at the tip of the ice- berg or the outer layer of the onion), then no further effort is necessary. Photomontage by Uwe KilsWhat Is Organization Development? 9 Moving forward, McLagan (1989), about whom you will hear more later in this chapter, also provided a definition: Organization development focuses on assuring healthy inter- and intra-unit relationships and helping groups initiate and manage change. Organization development’s primary emphasis is on rela- tionships and processes between and among individuals and groups. Its primary intervention is influence on the relationship of individuals and groups to effect an impact on the organization as a system. (p. 7) Moving to a more current definition, Cummings and Worley (2005) proposed the following definition: “Organization development is a system wide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement, and reinforcement of strategies, structures, and processes that lead to organization effectiveness” (p. 1). For the purposes of this book, I am proposing the following broad definition for organization development, based on a previous definition of global human resource development (McLean & McLean, 2001). The evolution of this definition is presented in Chapter 11. Organization development is any process or activity, based on the behavioral sciences, that, either initially or over the long term, has the potential to develop in an organizational setting enhanced knowledge, expertise, productivity, satisfaction, income, interper- sonal relationships, and other desired outcomes, whether for personal or group/team gain, or for the benefit of an organization, community, nation, region, or, ultimately, the whole of humanity. Egan (2002), using a card-sorting process based on the 27 OD defini- tions, identified 10 clusters of dependent variables (or desired out- comes) contained in the definitions: ■ Advance organizational renewal ■ Engage organization culture change ■ Enhance profitability and competitiveness ■ Ensure health and well-being of organizations and employees ■ Facilitate learning and development ■ Improve problem solving10 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT ■ Increase effectiveness ■ Initiate and/or manage change ■ Strengthen system and process improvement ■ Support adaptation to change (p. 67) Such a broad set of desired outcomes adds to the complexity of the field of OD, impacting the expectations of OD by organizations and practi- tioners, which makes for a very challenging environment in which to do OD work. A Separate Field or a Subset of Another Field? Here is another piece of ambiguity: The answer to this question, as to much of OD work, itself, is “It depends” The two professional organi- zations that exclusively represent OD professionals—OD Network and The OD Institute—have argued that OD is a field separate unto itself. Recently, however, the Journal of Organization Development, the jour- nal of The OD Institute, has used OD along with the field of human resource development (HRD). In addition, many other professional organizations see OD as a subset of that field: ■ Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) ■ Academy of Human Resource Development (India) (AHRD) ■ Korean Academy of Human Resource Development (KAHRD) ■ Academy of Management (AOM) (especially, the ODC— Organization Development and Change—Division) ■ American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) ■ Euresform ■ Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (with several affiliated groups, such as the Arabian Society for HRM, the Japanese Society for HRM, etc.) ■ Society for Industrial and Organizational Development (SIOP) ■ University Forum of Human Resource Development (UFHRD) It is interesting to note the number of global organizations that rec- ognize OD as part of a larger field. Perhaps the most well-known of these inclusive models was developed by McLagan (1989) for ASTD.What Is Organization Development? 11 Her research identified 11 functional areas within the larger field of human resources; this model is referred to as the human resources wheel, because it is often illustrated in a pie chart format. These func- tions were then grouped into two clusters: human resource develop- ment (HRD) and human resource management (HRM). Four of the 11 functions overlapped the two clusters, as shown in Table 1.1. Note that OD is listed as one of three functions exclusively assigned to HRD. While McLagan has orally expressed some doubts about her model, this model is clearly embedded in the literature of HRD that is utilized around the world. Exploring definitions of HRD globally led to the following definition: Human Resource Development is any process or activity that, either initially or over the long term, has the potential to develop . . . work-based knowledge, expertise, productivity and satisfaction, whether for personal or group/team gain, or for the benefit of an organization, community, nation, or ultimately, the whole of humanity. (McLean & McLean, 2001, p. 322) It is easy to see from this definition, if accepted, how OD fits within the broader context of HRD globally. TABLE 1.1 Assignment of 11 Human Resource Functions to HRD and HRM HUMAN RESOURCE HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (HRD) MANAGEMENT (HRM) ■ ■ Training and development HR research and infor- ■ Organization development mation systems ■ ■ Career development Union/labor relations ■ ■ Organization/job design Employee assistance ■ ■ Human resource planning Compensation/benefits ■ ■ Performance management Organization/job design ■ systems Human resource planning ■ ■ Selection and staffing Performance management systems ■ Selection and staffing Note: Boldfaced items belong exclusively to that column. Nonboldfaced items are shared. Source: Adapted from McLagan (1989).12 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT Characteristics of OD The American Society for Training and Development’s OD Professional Practice Area attempted to provide a synthesis of the various definitions by providing the key points that it saw in the range of definitions available: We believe the practice of organization development: ■ must be in alignment with organization and business objectives; ■ is rooted in the behavioral sciences; ■ is long range and ongoing; ■ stresses a process orientation to achieve results; ■ is based on collaboration; ■ is a systems orientation. The following conclusions can be drawn about the core character- istics of OD: ■ OD is an interdisciplinary and primarily behavioral science approach that draws from such fields as organization behavior, management, business, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, education, counseling, and public administration. ■ A primary, though not exclusive, goal of OD is to improve organizational effectiveness. ■ The target of the change effort is the whole organization, departments, work groups, or individuals within the organi- zation and, as mentioned earlier, may extend to include a community, nation, or region. ■ OD recognizes the importance of top management’s commit- ment, support, and involvement. It also affirms a bottom-up approach when the culture of the organization supports such efforts to improve an organization. ■ It is a planned and long-range strategy for managing change, while also recognizing that the dynamic environment in which we live requires the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances. ■ The major focus of OD is on the total system and its inter- dependent parts. ■ OD uses a collaborative approach that involves those affected by the change in the change process. What Is Organization Development? 13 ■ It is an education-based program designed to develop values, attitudes, norms, and management practices that result in a healthy organization climate that rewards healthy behavior. OD is driven by humanistic values. ■ It is a data-based approach to understanding and diagnosing organizations. ■ It is guided by a change agent, change team, or line manage- ment whose primary role is that of facilitator, teacher, and coach rather than subject matter expert. ■ It recognizes the need for planned follow-up to maintain changes. ■ It involves planned interventions and improvements in an organization’s processes and structures and requires skills in working with individuals, groups, and whole organizations. It is primarily driven by action research (AR) (which will be discussed soon). Is OD the Same as Change Management? In an effort to simplify an explanation of what OD is, some have sug- gested that OD and change management are the same. I disagree. There are times in the life of an organization where dramatic change is needed—change that does not and cannot rely on the use of OD. The marketplace sometimes requires that an organization take swift and unplanned actions in order to survive. It may require outsourcing domestically or to another country, downsizing, reductions in salaries, and increasing health care costs. Although all of these changes may be absolutely necessary for the survival of the organization, they do not necessarily follow the OD processes, principles, or values. An excellent distinction between OD change and change that does not follow OD principles is discussed in Beer and Nohria (2000). In essence, they argued that there is E change (economic value) and O change (organi- zation’s human capability), one of which is planned and follows OD principles (O), while the other (E) is market driven and does not follow OD principles; both can be included in what many people call change management. So, it is a mistake to equate OD with change manage- ment. The business benefits when both types of change are affirmed14 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT within an organization. While long-term, systemwide planning that results in change (the OD model) can be very beneficial for an organi- zation and its bottom line, failure to act quickly and to make immediate decisions, even when those processes violate OD principles, may well result in the demise of the organization. WHO IS AN OD PROFESSIONAL? There are many ways to answer this question. We will answer it first by looking at where OD professionals are primarily employed, and then we will explore the qualifications for doing OD work. Finally, we will look at how OD consultants differ from management consultants or consultants in other fields of endeavor. Internal versus External OD professionals or consultants can be employed by the organization or can be hired on a contract basis. Regardless of whether they are internal or external to the organization, the term consultant is still com- monly used. There is no right answer for whether an internal consultant is better than an external consultant, or vice versa (more ambiguity). Table 1.2 outlines the advantages of each. Because both internal and external OD consultants have advan- tages, it makes considerable sense for a partnership between an internal and an external consultant, so that the best of both can be available to the organization. For this same reason, it also makes sense to establish a partnership based on differences in demographics (e.g., gender, eth- nicity, age) in order to capture fully the perspectives of varying views. What one might see, the other might not see or might see differently based on different socializing experiences. Thus, using a partnership approach can strengthen the ultimate outcomes from OD work. OD work does not necessarily need to be performed by a profes- sional serving in such a designated position. Increasingly, OD is per- formed by persons in other positions who have OD expertise. Thus, a line manager or a staff person in some other functional area who has been trained in OD can (and probably should) apply OD principles in his or her ongoing work. The more widely understood OD principles are inWhat Is Organization Development? 15 TABLE 1.2 Advantages of Using Each Type of Consultant—Internal and External INTERNAL EXTERNAL ■ ■ Already has familiarity with the Does not have preknowledge of organization and how it works the organizational culture, so ■ Knows the organizational does not enter the process with culture better than any external any preconceived notions ■ can ever know it Often given more respect by ■ Has relationships established insiders because he or she is that can get cooperation more not known except by reputation ■ quickly More freedom to “say it like it ■ Has a trust level already is” because he or she has less established at risk politically ■ ■ Lower cost by project because Organization makes less long- of organization’s long-term term commitment for pay and commitment to employment no commitment for benefits, ■ Organization takes less risk leading to lower overall costs. ■ of confidential information Organizational members may being leaked be more willing to trust in ■ Less emphasis on getting the confidentiality in sharing job done quickly as salary is information with the consultant ■ already paid versus hourly Easier to be ethical; can refuse pay for external to do something that is deemed ■ Greater accountability unethical ■ ■ Job security and less emphasis Can reject the project if there is on marketing a perceived lack of readiness for change in the organization ■ Usually has a broader set of experiences ■ Greater job variety ■ Can be separated from the organization quickly and easily if performance problems occur16 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT an organization, the more likely it is that the organization will benefit from their use. Qualifications for Doing OD Work A subsequent chapter will focus extensively on the competencies needed by professionals doing OD work. This section will provide a very brief overview of the qualifications needed. Given that OD work is based on the behavioral sciences, an OD professional would be expected to have an intensive and broad back- ground in the behavioral sciences. Clearly, no one individual can be an expert in all of the behavioral sciences, so one would expect an OD professional to be involved in continuous study and lifelong learning in the profession. Furthermore, one would expect an OD professional to have advanced education specifically in OD, or in a field with a strong emphasis on the behavioral sciences in an organizational context (e.g., human resource development, industrial and organizational psychol- ogy, organizational behavior, etc.). At the same time, it should also be evident that no one can have complete knowledge of OD or of all of the behavioral sciences. So, do not be intimidated by what appears to be overwhelming content. At the same time, it should also be obvious that the field of OD is complex. A single course in OD, or in one or more of the behavioral sciences, is probably not sufficient to allow an individual to begin to practice OD. Because there are no restrictions as to who can practice OD, trained professionals in the field have expressed concern that unqualified indi- viduals can and do enter the field who may negatively affect the repu- tation of the OD field. This point leads to dialogue about whether there should be licensure, with the assumption that only qualified indi- viduals will be licensed, thus protecting the practice of OD. Licensure is a legal requirement, usually enforced by a government entity. But licen- sure results in many problems. First, since we do not have a common definition of OD, how do we determine what competencies are neces- sary for licensure? Who will determine what is to be measured and how? Are the core competencies for OD even measurable? And what should be done with the thousands of OD professionals who are already in the field?What Is Organization Development? 17 Another approach to becoming an OD professional, short of licen- sure, is to acquire appropriate credentials. The OD Institute is currently the only professional organization that provides specific certification in OD, though many universities may provide their own certification for students. The OD Institute has two levels of credentials: RODP (Regis- tered Organization Development Professional) and RODC (Registered OD Consultant). Both certifications require ongoing membership in The OD Institute and an affirmation of the Code of Ethics of The Insti- tute. In addition, to be an RODC (the higher level of certification) requires two letters of recommendation attesting to one’s professional expertise and the passing of a multiple-choice examination. No identi- fied research indicates that the work done by an RODP or an RODC is any better than that done by those without such credentials. Finally, one can look at one’s individual personality characteristics and one’s level of knowledge and skill. An extensive list of competen- cies needed for OD professionals has been developed and will be explored in a later chapter. For now, it is important, again, to empha- size the importance of self-knowledge. When you work in an organiza- tion at the core of assumptions, beliefs, and values, it is easy to impose one’s own assumptions, beliefs, and values on the organization, and to make judgments based on your own assumptions. It becomes critical, therefore, to understand fully what your own values, beliefs, and assumptions are to minimize the damage that may be done to the organization as a result of ignorance. Another core expectation for an effective OD professional is basic knowledge of business and its language. Given that most OD work is done in a business environment, OD professionals need to understand that context. There are many skills and considerable knowledge that the OD professional must have that will be discussed in Chapter 16. OD Consultants versus Traditional Consultants A common and appropriate question is how OD consultants are differ- ent from traditional consultants, such as management consultants, information technology consultants, safety consultants, and almost every other field that employs consultants—and that means almost every field While perhaps a biased perspective, Table 1.3 provides a18 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT TABLE 1.3 Comparison of Traditional and OD Consultants TRADITIONAL CONSULTANTS OD CONSULTANTS ■ ■ Are considered to be the Function as facilitators rather subject matter expert than subject matter experts ■ ■ Take more of a telling and Work/collaborate with clients directive mode with clients and client members ■ ■ Create dependency between Create interdependency moving the client and them to independence for the client ■ ■ Own and manage process Allow clients to own and and outcomes manage process and outcomes ■ ■ Transfer little or no skill to Transfer skill to client client organization organization comparison of traditional consultants and OD consultants—at least in the ideal world. Schein (1998 and earlier) referred to the OD consulting processes described in Table 1.3 as process consultation. MODELS FOR DOING OD This section contains an explanation of what a model is and how it is used in practice, followed by a basic presentation of the primary mod- els in use for doing OD. This text is organized around the action research model. Although the action research model has been the dom- inant model in use in OD (and continues to be), it has been criticized, and alternate approaches have been suggested. All of the current alter- native approaches, however, are still basically variations of the action research model. The Use of Models in OD A model is a representation of the real thing and is intended to provide general guidance and suggestions about how one might proceed. For example, a model airplane may look like the real thing in miniature, but it will be lacking some critical components, as it will not carry pas- sengers or cargo and will not fly across the ocean. Yet it can be a very useful tool in aviation design and construction. A model plane used inWhat Is Organization Development? 19 a wind tunnel might well show engineers what design components are best equipped to deal with a variety of wind patterns. But no one loses sight of the fact that the model airplane is not the real plane. The same is true of models utilized in the field of OD. Even though the model is not OD, an OD model has the capability to illustrate and lay the groundwork for the work to be done. Though it may be helpful in building our understanding of a certain phenomenon, a model can- not replicate a phenomenon, laying a foundation instead. Practitioners and even theoreticians sometimes lose sight of the difference between a model and reality. So, as you encounter models throughout this book, keep in mind that they are presented to help you understand a phenom- enon, but not to describe it fully. The Action Research Model From early on in OD, the action research model (ARM) has been the organizing approach for doing OD. It remains deeply embedded within the practice of OD, and a form of it will be the organizer for the remainder of this book. Kurt Lewin, one of the widely recognized founders of the field of OD, is also credited with forwarding the ARM concept in the mid-1940s with his famous statement, “No research without action; no action without research.” A precursor to the ARM was Shewhart’s PDCA cycle, developed in the 1920s as a model to explain the necessity for ongoing organiza- tional improvement and a process through which such continuous improvement was to occur (see Figure 1.3). Plan Act Do Check (or Study) Figure 1.3 Shewhart’s PDCA Cycle20 ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT At the Plan stage, decisions are made about what might be done to improve the organization and its processes, using a variety of decision- making tools. At the Do stage, those plans are carried out in a pilot or trial implementation. At the Check stage (W. Edwards Deming, well- known for his leadership in total quality management, later suggested that Study might be a better word here), measurements are taken to determine whether the pilot implementation did, in fact, result in the changes desired. At the Act stage, the process, if successful, is imple- mented. Whether successful or unsuccessful, the next stage is to begin the cycle all over again with a Plan stage. If successful, the new plans should explore what more can be done to improve the processes. If unsuccessful, new data may be gathered to determine what went wrong, and new plans are piloted to see whether they will improve the processes. The emphasis is on continuous improvement. In many respects, the action research model reflects a similar com- mitment to continuous improvement. An earlier model (McLean & Sul- livan, 1989) suggested a cyclical but sequential model, much like the PDCA model shown in Figure 1.3. This type of model, however, has been criticized on a number of counts. For example, even though the model appears to be cyclical, the unidirectional arrows still suggest a linear model. Furthermore, there is no indication of overlap between the phases, or any suggestion that there might be a back and forth movement among the phases. As a result, a modification of this model (see Figure 1.4) is used throughout this book, called the organization development process (ODP) model. The ODP model consists of eight components or phases with inter- activity among the phases, each of which will become one (or more) chapters of this book. Each of these phases applies whether or not the OD professional is an internal or external consultant. Keeping in mind that OD can be applied at different levels of depth, some of these phases will be very brief and superficial, while more in-depth OD efforts will require more time, resources, and effort. Briefly, the purpose of each component is as follows: Entry – The first phase is when the OD professional (“consultant”), having done the requisite marketing, and a person representing the client organization (or part of an organization) (“client”) meet to decide whether they will work together, assess the readiness of the organization to change, and agree on the conditions under which they will work together.

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