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?

Monday, January 5, 2009


Forming. Norming. Storming. Performing. Adjourning.
Tuckman's five stages of the group process are accurate in depicting the general processes that all groups undergo. One aspect that the article article did not address is the impact of time, or group member turnover, on the overall development of a group. In a profession such as higher education student affairs, the reality is that several departments may not be given the chance to move past the forming and norming "stages." Frankly, there is a high overall trend in the attrition in several entry-level positions in education. As a career field, are we constantly putting ourselves at an organizational disadvantage when compared to other professions or state/federal priorities (e.g. prison, healthcare)? Tuckman's stages allow educational leaders to assess the current status of an organization in relation to where it needs/wants to go. It may also assist in the definition of goals of both individuals and the organization.

Participation. Organizational Roles. Participation. Decision Making.
I appreciated the questions presented in this short article. As potential participant observers within the assigned project for this course, it allows us to become mindful of our organizational environment and group members. Good answers result from asking good questions.

Making Groups Work.
After reading this article, several of our past JDP group projects came to mind. It reiterated the heavier emphasis that our professors have placed on the group process and not as much weight placed on the outcome. But as doctoral students, there should be heavy emphasis placed on our outcome because when we complete our program and continue working in education, the majority of our stakeholders will focus on the outcome while our academic colleagues will challenge the process. Yet, this too, has surfaced within our program as we are challenged by both our peers and professors.