Tuesday, March 10, 2009

my knowledge spiral....

Both project consultants provided insights that assisted the researcher in minimizing the focus on presenting solutions to the perceived problems within the observed organization. Instead, greater emphasis was placed on the acknowledgement of the systemic structures within the organization; in turn, the responsibility to create solutions and specific strategies to address observed areas of growth was placed in the hands of the observed organization. The expectation was placed on the organization to determine how it will move forward in consideration of the proposed organizational diagnosis presented by the researcher.

The ability to listen to the organizational development presentations of colleagues provided additional insights into the organizational diagnosis consultation process. First, it became very evident that there is significant power in utilizing a metaphor to communicate major concepts to an audience; however, it is important to make the metaphor relevant and understandable to the anticipated audience. Second, it is strongly recommended to explicitly communicate, both verbally and visually, the strengths and highlights of the organization under study. This aids in trust-building and establishing a strong, genuine rapport with the audience. Third, as an organizational development consultant who may be a member of the observed organization, it is important to not allow obvious organizational characteristics to be perceived as clear. As a consultant, my directive is to delve into the secondary and tertiary layers of an organization with the aim to develop questions that assist the organization in uncovering the underlying factors, values, or beliefs that will aid it in learning and moving in a positive direction. Lastly, organizational development does not focus on people—instead, it focuses on the structures and dynamics that lay within an organization. However, organizations are comprised of people and the delivery of an organizational development plan is an emotional process. Careful consideration must be taken into account with the humanistic element embedded within the delivery of a consultant’s organizational diagnosis and proposed plan for intervention.

A strong grasp of organizational learning theory and conceptual models assists consultants in the assessment and creation on an intervention that is unique to an organization and simultaneously grants power and authority to the organization in making a decision based on the resultant knowledge that was made along the organizational knowledge acquisition and learning processes. Experience, practice, and collegial feedback allow organizational development consultants to finesse the delivery and content of a proposed organizational development plan. I appreciated Dr. Patrick Faverty’s statement, “no leader takes anyone anywhere” (2009); ultimately, it is up to the members of an organization to determine where it goes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

working on ODP

see ODP blog. The link is at the top of this blog.
All weekly posts are on my ODP blog....3/1/09

Sunday, February 8, 2009

PROactive & regular appraisal Dialogue

Conflict is inevitable within an organization. Instead of always being reactive to conflict, leadership can be proactive to anticipated small scale or large scale conflicts that may occur within on organization. For example, the incorporation of regular feedback to subordinates, colleagues, and superiors allows for stronger lines of communication to occur. However, the communication must be genuine and sincere. Chapter 12 of the on-line book focuses on a preventative mediation approach entitled, "Negotiated Performance Appraisal." Although a third non-biased party is recommended to be present and validate the overall appraisal experience, I do not feel that this person is necessary. Frankly, if the two primary parties have established a trusting relationship prior to the performance appraisal, there may be significant apprehension in disclosing personal thoughts and feelings in the environment. I believe the key to any performance appraisal is conducting it after regular on-going communication has already naturally occurred between a subordinate/superior.

Often leadership devotes more time responding to problems and correcting mistakes and minimal time rewarding and praising the behaviors that make the organization as strong as it may be.

How often do we take time to give carefully considered praise? I support the author's suggestion of incorporating "critical incidents" to add additional value to work performance praise. For example, referring to a specific example of a time when the employee participated in positive work performance.

I believe leaders must be proactive and intentionally create regular dialogue with employees in efforts of minimizing and/or providing a more welcoming environment to address conflict when it arises. In addition to dialogue between superior & subordinate, there needs to be opportunities created for appraisal and feedback for peers within an organization. This, too, will help facilitate conflict resolution in the event that it occurs.

Conflict is oftentimes viewed as a "problem," and in Organizational Diagnosis and organizational learning theory, conflict plays an integral role in determining whether organizational learning occurs. Regardless of the magnitude of a conflict/problem, learning does occur. Also, both real and perceived problems or conflicts have an impact on organizational learning.

I conclude with a question: Is the majority of conflict within an organization a result of intrapersonal conflict (e.g. between self and values/beliefs of self & organization) and ultimately surfaces in a tangible, identifiable way? Or is it interpersonal conflict with other individuals within the organization? So, self vs. organization or self vs. another individual. It is difficult to separate the people out of an organization, but it is important to recognize that the organization also takes on a "self" identity although it may be comprised of multiple individuals within it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


After reviewing the OBN presentation slides dedicated to the role wages and salaries [don't] play in individual productivity, motivation, and performance made me think to myself, "is that why the pay in education isn't that great?" Does the inequity within federal and state funding for education ironically support B. F. Skinner's view on pay?
Pay by the day or week [or month] is often mistakenly called reinforcement; its real function is to establish a standard of living from which the worker can be cut off

Apparently, OBM consultants would butt heads with OD consultants who conduct appreciative inquiry as a method of organizational intervention. There is a distinct difference in focusing on problems (OBM) versus affirming the "best of" what already exists within an organization (AI).

It’s important to understand WHY you want an intervention for your organization. As a leader, the impact of making consistent and genuine human connections with your staff compliments successful organization transformation-—more specifically, empowering employees to do/be their best, empowering them to change the system, and providing a clear vision to staff. Regardless of whether it's OBM, traditional action research methods, appreciative inquiry, the world cafe model, etc, ultimately, it is important to determine how and if your organization is open to be viewed in a new lens, change, adjust, and improve. What factors influence an organization's ability to be receptive to any form of intervention? As a researcher and potential organizational diagnosis consultant, what strategies and techniques do I use to be viewed as a person who will "do no harm" and have the "best of intentions" when critiquing their organization? OD integrates several qualitative research methods, e.g. ethnography, action research, participant observer, case study, etc. Perhaps OD is a compilation of the "best practices" of the most applicable research methods that fit into the organizational culture that is studied. It is our job as a researcher to determine what is "best."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

INside oUT

Complete participation – already as an organization member, out of default I will have complete participation in my observations, yet there will be an element of
Moderate participation (Spradley, 1980) – because my normal role in the organization is not a researcher, or participant observer. Although I go into my study with complete participation, as a researcher I must seek to maintain balance between being both an insider and outsider during observation and participation. There is no clear line between complete and moderate participation.

The perspective of Spradley (1980) conflicts with Roy's belief that it is impossible to both diagnose and be an insider of an organization. I guess I may be up for a challenge with the Organization Diagnosis project assigned for this course.

Monday, January 19, 2009

diagnosis & fORMS of inQUIRY

After completing the reading this week, I have a better idea of where to start for the organizational development plan for our course. I like Dr. Roy's suggestion of starting with a case history of the organization before delving into observational data collection. But then I'm left questioning how this project will work as an insider into the organization that I plan on observing. As Dr. Roy states, "people cannot be diagnosticians in systems in which they are full-fledged members due to overt or covert vested interests. So where does that leave me? Essentially, as a researcher, I believe I must be as transparent as possible about my biases and vested interests in the organization within my final organizational diagnosis or development plan. I already see the challenges this will present.

How much will I taint my exploration of the organization if I communicate to current members of the organization that I am "diagnosing" or "studying" the dynamics of the organization? After revealing such a fact, won't everyone be on their "best behavior?" How do I naturally or organically inquire to organization members in order to obtain the most reliable data? As a researcher, at what point are you ethically bound to communicate your intentions?

It will be a miracle to complete this OD plan in only 8 weeks. I already see how much of a process this may be. The action research timeline offered in the Organizational Diagnosis Workbook (p4)acknowledges the realities of time within the organizational diagnosis process.

I see how setting boundaries (i.e. limitations) of my organizational inquiry on the front end may help facilitate the duration of the organizational diagnosis process. Now is the time for me to begin posting to my Organizational Development Plan blog.

I close this entry wondering how Organizational Diagnosis would (not) benefit student organizations within a college campus community? Things to think about: frequency of member turnover, original motivation for joining organization, size of organization, does the purpose of organization effect the value the organization places on OD?, is there a need for OD for student organizations from the students'/ advisors'/university's perspective? how does non-profit status effect the organization? as university accountability increases, does the value of OD increase for student organizations? hmmm...

After an extremely basis google search, I found one study entitled: Describing the Climate of Student Organizations: The Student Organization Environment Scales
The study uses Weisbord's model of organizational diagnosis. More specifically, the Student Organization Environment Scales was created to measure students' perceptions of the psychosocial environment or climate of college student organizations.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

organizational CHAnGE

The article about organizational culture places emphasis on the role of the individual in relation to the overall organization and external environment. This constant play between defining how one fits into an organization and how the organization fits to the individual eludes to the article's concept of creating and recreating the world in which we live. The compliance to create and recreate assumes that individuals within an organization have shared assumptions and beliefs--also known as CULTURE.

Morgan's 3 basic questions for cultural analysts include:
**What are the shared frames of reference that make organization possible?
**Where do they come from?
**How are they created, communicated, and sustained?

Answers to these questions may be best ascertained by conducting qualitative methodological studies. As Schein notes, there are multiple layers of systems and cultures/sub-cultures within an organization. It is up to the leadership to be mindful of the cultures in which they are embedded. Failure to do so may ultimately lead to organizational failure.

If culture is so important and essential to an organization, how do leaders attempt to reform an organization? How do you become an effective change agent within an organization? All too often job openings become vacant due to some reason within an organization. Regardless of the reason, change will occur under new leadership within an organization. The key is how mindful, or aware, will we be to the culture that pre-existed and the culture that exists in our presence, and the cultural legacies that we leave when we transition out of organizations--the "adjourning" mentioned in last week's reading?