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Organizational Development, OD, Intervention Process (from a case study)

Organizational Development, OD, Intervention Process (from a case study)

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Organizational Development, OD, Intervention Process (from a case study)

  1. 1. REQUIREMENT This is an individual assignment. Learners have to analyse the given case and answer all the attached questions.Thiscase contribute 60%of the total course workmarks.Eachquestioncarriesdifferentmarks and the marks are allocated as indicated at the end of each question. Case Study An HR Director asked us to help resolve conflict between the HR and Finance departments. While acknowledging thatpersonalitydifferencesexistedbetweenthetwo Dept.Heads,theconflictalso involved several team members in each department. The groups needed to interact on a variety of projects and poorcommunication wasimpacting moraleand productivity.Weinterviewed each Directorto understand their perspective about the conflict. We also interviewed a couple of key team members from each department. To gatherfurtheradvanceinformation forthe meeting, we developed a short online survey for the two groups. Each person was asked to assess their group’sperformance and the performance of the other group on various communication topics. They were also asked to describe how they viewed themselves, how they viewed the other group, and how they felt the other group viewed them. The datafromthemini survey wassummarized and sentto membersof both teamsa coupleof daysprior to themeeting.All departmentmembersalso completed an on line MyersBriggsassessment.Thefull day workshop began witha two-hour,Myers-Briggscommunicationsworkshopwith allDepartmentmembers. This helped peopleunderstand thatallthepreferencesareneeded to obtain bestresultsand to appreciate thedifferentpreferencesof theirpeersandleaders.Wegavetheminformationabouthow to communicate effectively with differenttypes.The rest of themorning wasspentreviewing the resultsof the survey and breaking into small, action planning teams with HR and Finance represented on each team. The groups were asked to look at the data from each group’s perspective and then develop some specific plans to improvecommunications.Themorning session wasclosed outby reassembling theentiregroupandasking each person to share something they personally planned to do to help improve future communications. In the afternoon, our facilitator met for a coaching session with just the two Directors. The survey data was reviewed with them and the morning workshop debriefed. The Directors were also asked to talk honestly aboutwhattheir personalcontributionsto the conflict issueswere and to brainstormwaysthat they and the two groups could begin to improve their inter-group communications.The feedback on the workshop from the team members and the Directors was very positive. They felt that the honest discussions about communication issues would help them improve. We checked back with the Directors two months after the workshop and they indicated that inter-group communications had improved dramatically.They werepleased thateach group’sperceptionsof theothergroupwerenow morepositive as were their own understanding of each other. Source: http://www.plummerhr.com/documents/Cases.pdf Based on the above case, answer the following questions: a) Explain the diagnosis process in this case and how it helps in the intervention. (10 marks)
  2. 2. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 2 b) Using relevantexamples,discussthe ethical issuesthatyou needto considerwhendealingwith the diagnosis and feedback process. (10 marks) c) Discuss withappropriate theoretical foundation, the types of intervention used in the above case. (15 marks) d) In youropinion,whatare the factorsthat maycontribute tothe conflictbetween the HRandFinance Departments? (15 marks) e) What are the factors that you need to consider when selecting the right intervention strategy? (10 marks) [TOTAL MARKS : 60]
  3. 3. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 3 1. Table of Contents Abstract.........................................................................................................4 1. Introduction............................................................................................4 1.1 Organization, OD and Intervention Defined. ................................................................... 4 1.2 General Model of OD Process (ODP).............................................................................. 4 1.3 Diagnosis Defined............................................................................................................ 5 1.4 Diagnosing Organizational Systems ................................................................................ 6 1.5 The Diagnosis Technique used in the Case...................................................................... 7 1.5.1 Data Gathering.......................................................................................................... 7 1.5.2 Problem Identification and Interpretation................................................................. 9 1.5.3 Intervention – Feedback and Solution .................................................................... 10 1.6 Summary ........................................................................................................................ 11 2. The Ethical Issues in Diagnosis and Feedback Process ........................11 2.1 Personality Differences and Privacy .............................................................................. 11 2.2 Confidentiality................................................................................................................ 12 2.3 Technical ineptness ........................................................................................................ 12 2.4 Misuse of Data ............................................................................................................... 13 2.5 Misrepresentation and Collusion.................................................................................... 14 2.6 Summary ........................................................................................................................ 14 3. Theoretical Foundation and Types of Intervention..............................15 3.1 Approaches to Consultation........................................................................................... 15 3.1.1 Doctor-patient Model.............................................................................................. 15 3.2 Types of Interventions.................................................................................................... 17 3.2.1 Individuals............................................................................................................... 17 3.2.2 Teams...................................................................................................................... 18 3.2.3 Organizational......................................................................................................... 19 3.3 Summary ........................................................................................................................ 19 4. What's causing the conflict?.................................................................19 4.1 Misalignment of Business Unit Goal ............................................................................. 20 4.2 Unclear Expectations...................................................................................................... 20 4.3 Personality Differences .................................................................................................. 21 4.4 Organization Culture and Subculture............................................................................. 21 4.5 Summary ........................................................................................................................ 22 5. Considerations when selecting the right Intervention Strategy (pg196)22 5.1 Organization Readiness.................................................................................................. 22 5.2 Unmatched Strategy to the Data and Diagnosis............................................................. 23 5.3 Deciding where to Intervene .......................................................................................... 23 5.4 Sequence of Activities.................................................................................................... 24 5.5 Conclusion...................................................................................................................... 25 References...................................................................................................26
  4. 4. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 4 Abstract This paper discusses the OD process which includes diagnosis and feedback process, ethical issues, theoretical foundation and conflict. The discussion is based on the given case where two departments, HR and Finance are facing internal conflict which causing a delay on mult iple projects. The issue is also impacting the morale and the productivity of the team members. Ineffective communications between the two departments has been identified as the primary source of the conflict. The paper further investigate and identify the root cause of the conflict, as well as and the activities involved in the intervention process. The paper also discuss the factors to consider when selecting the right intervention strategy. 1. Introduction 1.1 Organization, OD and Intervention Defined. A simple definition of an organization defined by researchers is “an organized or cohesive group of people working together (employee) to achieve commonly agreed goals and objectives”. To develop and improve efficiency as well as expand productivity of the said group of people, organizational development and change (OD) is then introduced. OD focus is to make organizations better by solving problems within the organization or as a way to analyze a process and find a more efficient way of implementing it. According to Richard Beckhard (1969), OD is defined as an effort (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. While Anderson (2015) defined OD as a process of increasing organizational effectiveness and facilitating personal and organizational change through the use of interventions driven by social and behavioral science knowledge. 1.2 General Model of OD Process (ODP) There are many versions of an overall model of the OD in the literature, the one used by Anderson (2015) is depicted as in Figure 1.1. Different practitioners may label the phases differently but the one shown in Figure 1.1 is consistent with what most OD practitioners do.
  5. 5. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 5 Figure 1.1 – Stages of OD Process (ODP) The model looks like a linear process, but OD practitioners are not necessarily to follow step-by-step. They can revisit to different stages throughout the engagement as needed. The components of the OD model will be further discussed subsequently. 1.3 Diagnosis Defined Diagnosis process is the most important part before OD interventions take place. The primary objective is to provide diagnostic information to the organizational leadership and OD consultant which to be used for decisions regarding what OD interventions are appropriate going forward. According to Nielsen and Abildgaard (2013), diagnosis is defined as a collaborative process between organizational members and the OD consultant to collect pertinent information, analyze it, and draw conclusions for action planning and intervention. The process must be conducted thoroughly and accurately in order to answer the question of “What is the current state of the situation? What is causing the conflict between HR and Finance departments and to how mitigate the situation?” Evaluation and Exit Intervention Feedback Diagnosis Data Gathering Contracting Entry
  6. 6. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 6 1.4 Diagnosing Organizational Systems According to Cummings and Worley (2008), organizations can be diagnosed at three levels. The highest level is the overall organization structure. The next level is the group or teams and the lowest level is the individual, position or job. Figure 2.1 illustrates how a diagnosis occurs at different organization systems. For each level, it shows 1) the inputs that the system has to work with, 2) the key design components of the transformation subsystem, and 3) the system’s outputs. Figure 2.1 – Diagnosing Organizational Systems.
  7. 7. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 7 1.5 The Diagnosis Technique used in the Case In a typical situation, the diagnosis process involves 1) data gathering, 2) Identification of problem areas, 3) Interpretation and 4) solution. 1.5.1 Data Gathering The approach used by the HR Director is known as “doctor-patient-model” in OD process. The director hired an OD consultant and asked the consultant to resolve the conflict between HR and Finance departments. Anderson (2015) writes about the responsibilities of the OD consultant which include gathering data, processing information, making a diagnosis and propose the right solutions for the organization. The implementation of the solution relies on the patient or client. Cummings & Worley (2008) argue that the quality of information gathered is the critical part of the intervention process. The common methods used include interviews, questionnaires or survey, focus groups, observations, and unobtrusive measures. At this stage, the consultant performed the following steps; 1.5.1.1 Interviews The OD consultant conducted interviews for two groups of people in the organization to understand more about the situation. Both HR and Finance Directors were interviewed and the second group was the key members from both departments. Interviews are the most common method of data gathering in OD. Anderson (2015), explained the one-on-one meeting is where the consultant gathers information about individual stories and perspectives of organizational members and explore their history, experiences, beliefs and attitudes in details. While Seidman (2006) argues accuracy of data gathering through interviews relies heavily on cooperation from organizational members who will only open up to discuss serious issues if they trust the interviewer. Though interviews are frequently used in the process, there are many factors contributing to the success of this method. Anderson (2015) mentioned that OD consultants must have excellent interpersonal skills in conducting interviews. It can be threatening, as members may feel defensive if they are personally involved in a problem. Interviewers must be able to control the situation, be
  8. 8. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 8 an active listener as well as a good conversationalist. The interviewers may encounter a different type of situation during the interview session. HR personnel may have a lot of things to say and share with the interviewer, and sometimes the topic can be derailed from the main objectives. A good conversationalist must be able to bring the interviewee back on track else it creates more issues in the process like unable to complete the session on time which then affects others work schedule. Contradict to the above scenario, interviewing the finance could not be exciting as interviewing HR due to personality differences and so on. The role of the interviewer is to ignite the conversation to make the session more interactive, hence the importance of being a good conversationalist. 1.5.1.2 Online Survey or Questionnaire The second approach used by the consultant is developing a short online survey for both HR and Finance departments. Survey or questionnaire is another common method used in data gathering. The history goes back to an empirical study by Mann (1957) where the survey used has developed as a means by which consultants can solicit input from a large number of organizational members at once. According to Anderson (2015), surveys address a broad number of subjects and explore a wide range of issues, as opposed to an investigation of one or two issues. Consultants usually use this method as a follow up from the interviews or focus group to understand how prevalent the issues are that have been brought up in interviews. By combining survey with other methods, surveys can provide breadth where others provide depth. (Anderson, 2015). This method is known for its efficiency, with the use of Internet or intranet, survey can be completed quicker and responses can be obtained within a short period of time. It remains as one of the most popular ways in the data gathering process. On the case, the consultant developed and conducted an online survey to be filled out by all team members from both departments. The survey covers many areas of performance assessment, evaluation of own group’s performance versus the performance of another group on various communication topics. Each team member was also asked to describe how they viewed themselves, how they viewed the other group and how they felt the other group viewed them.
  9. 9. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 9 1.5.1.3 Myers Briggs assessment Besides interviewing and survey, the consultant also conducted Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality and behavioral assessment. The MBTI or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was developed in the 1920s based on the psychological theories of Carl Jung, who believed that “people are different in fundamental ways even though they all have the same multitude of instincts (archetypes) to drive them from within” (Keirsey & Bates, 1984). MBTI is the most widely used behavioral assessments in the world for helping the team understand themselves as well as to appreciate the different preferences of their peers and leaders, thus build better work relationships. The MBTI assessment helps both HR and Finance team members to understand that each individual has different personality types or preferences. It is important for each team member to appreciate the different preferences of their peers and leaders. In the workshop, the consultants use the MBTI results as an aid and guidance for people about how to communicate effectively with different personality preferences among team members and peers. By applying this method, the participants can confidently interact with each other according to their personality preferences. For instance, most HR personnel can be extrovert preferences, therefore the effective communication with HR personnel is via telephone or in- person. Finance personnel in contrast, are introvert preferences, communicating in writing, including email, is the preferred mode of communication with an introvert person. Personality preferences is inborn but individuals can develop traits and habits that differ from the description of their preferences. 1.5.2 Problem Identification and Interpretation Based on the information gathered from the data gathering stage, the consultant summarized lack of interpersonal skills in communication among peers and leaders, own assumptions and perceptions about each other have been the main contributing factors to the poor productivity and low morale of both HR and Finance departments. The conflicts also impacting the performance of multiple projects they are collaborating.
  10. 10. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 10 Being the leaders of the HR and Finance department, both directors are seen to work in their own world, not synchronized with each other on the deliverables that both departments have to deliver. Goals and objectives are not well communicated from top-down leaving each team member with unclear expectations, undefined roles and responsibilities to achieve the common goals of the departments. 1.5.3 Intervention – Feedback and Solution In the data analysis step, the consultant summarized the information and shared with all team members from both departments. The consultant proposed a one day workshop for the intervention. The workshop was divided into two sessions. In the morning, the consultant conducted Myers-Briggs communication workshop addressing individual personality preferences and guidelines on effective communication according to preferences. Each individual is unique in every way, with the help of MBTI concept, the consultant explained to all department members that all preferences are needed to obtain the best results from both departments. It is also important for every team members to appreciate the different preferences among them including their leaders. After the MBTI workshop, the online survey results were discussed and the participants were divided into smaller groups. The groups were required to develop specific action plans how to improve communications. The consultant then regroups them back and asked each person to share their individual plan to help improve future communications. The second session, the consultant conducted a coaching session with both HR and Finance Directors. They were required to discuss about their personal contributions to the conflict issues and brainstorm ways for the two groups to improve their inter-group communications. Two months after the workshop, the Directors indicate that inter-group communications have improved dramatically. They have positive perceptions among each other as well as their own understanding of each other.
  11. 11. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 11 1.6 Summary From the case, the OD consultant demonstrates how diagnostic methods are used in the diagnosis process and prepare a suitable intervention solution for both HR and Finance departments. With the aid of instruments like survey, MBTI and access to technology, it helped the consultant to identify and smoothen the overall intervention process. 2. The Ethical Issues in Diagnosis and Feedback Process According to White & Wooten (1983), ethical dilemmas or issues refer to the result of behaviors and inappropriate actions or roles on the part of both change agents and client systems. It can also be defined as any choice situation encountered by a change agent or client system that has the potential to result in a breach of acceptable behavior. Ethical dilemmas occur at various stages of OD process. White & Wooten (1983) address 31 ethical dilemmas in total, however, specifically in diagnosis and feedback process, the issues include; 2.1 Personality Differences and Privacy The two groups have different personality based on the nature of their work. HR department can have a mix of people depending on their roles. For instance, payroll personnel can be secretive and quiet, whereby talent management team is talkative and friendly. Finance department in contrast, can be too focused with numbers, figures and facts. Due to these personality differences, the OD consultant may get a variety of inputs during the diagnosis phase or may not get the desired inputs at all. People who deal with sensitive information may not reveal everything due to “invasion of privacy” policy. Whereby people from finance may provide too brief inputs which is not usable during data analysis. The roles of the OD consultant are very important in tackling this issue. For example, if interview method is used, there are standard guidelines for an OD consultant to follow. Anderson (2015) mentioned that participants should be informed in advance and they must be well explained on the objective and purpose of conducting the interview. The interviewer must also have the right skills in conducting interviews, otherwise low quality of inputs will be gathered.
  12. 12. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 12 2.2 Confidentiality (White & Wooten, 1983; Anderson, 2015) highlight about confidentiality issue when using the data in the feedback meeting in a manner that violates the anonymity of the participants. In this case, both HR and Finance Directors may want to know which quote came from which interviewee. They would like to know specifically who provided the inputs, whether from long- tenured employee or from a new-hirer, or it was from the HR or Finance department. The directors may prefer to read the raw data rather than a summary prepared by the consultant, but the situation creates an ethical dilemma for the consultant who would like to make the data known for them to appropriately interpret and act upon the information and at the same time the consultant also owes anonymity to the participants. 2.3 Technical ineptness Technical ineptness is the most widely discussed by researchers as cited by White & Wooten (1983) referring to (Benne, 1959; French & Bell, 1978; Lippitt & Lippitt, 1978; Pfeiffer & Jones, 1977; Shay, 1965; Walton & Warwick, 1973; Warwick & Kelman, 1973; Zaitman & Duncan, 1976). It occurs when OD practitioners try to implement interventions which they are not skilled or when the client attempts a change for which it is not ready. The success factor of an OD program is the selection of an appropriate intervention, which also depends on careful diagnosis of the current situation. Incompetent OD consultants may not improve the situation, but merely a waste of time, money and efforts to the organization. Using the interview and survey steps as an example from the case, the consultants conducting the interviews must possess great interpersonal skills. A hard and tense situation may fall out during the consultation, especially when sharing with senior employees from both HR and Finance departments who are already comfortable with their current way of working. He or she may not supportive, reluctant to cooperate by telling everything is “OK” and always try to end the conversation early. This is where the importance of technical skills is needed from the consultants. The consultants should have the right skills to motivate the person to speak up and share their opinion.
  13. 13. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 13 From a different angle, the online survey method used should follow the current standard. It must be simple, understandable, not too many questions and easy to navigate from one page to another page. If the survey contains too complex or too long then the participant will lose interest in completing the survey. The consultant must use suitable questionnaires, relevant to the situation and the most important thing the outcome or result of the survey can be used in the intervention process. 2.4 Misuse of Data In the data analysis phase, the consultant faces the dilemma of whether interpreting the data in a way that genuinely reflects the data or the consultant’s own choices on issues or concern. The consultant may alter, delete or distorts particular points in the data. White and Wooten (1983) highlighted the situation may happen to an internal consultant or a change agent who has a personal stake in what data the client sees and chooses to address. Both directors in this case demonstrate lack of leadership skills in terms of communicating the goals and objective to their subordinates which contribute to the conflict. Some of the team members may have highlighted the issue during the interview as well as in the survey form. The consultant analyzing the data, may have interpreted the input wrongly or can be over exaggerated, which is not relevant to the issue. It may introduce a different type of issue like, breaching code of ethical conduct. In a different scenario, the handwritten notes of the consultant from the interviews and the feedback from the survey must be stored and kept in a safe place. The information could be leaked or stolen, and irresponsibility person can manipulate the data for personal gain or any other reasons. It is important to have a second pair of eyes to recheck and analyze and information and ensure the findings are similar to what has been translated by the first consultant. It is the same for data storage, Anderson (2015) suggested to destroy the data immediately after the data has been analyzed.
  14. 14. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 14 2.5 Misrepresentation and Collusion In a typical scenario, misrepresentation and collusion are well-known issues in OD practice. According to White & Wooten (1983), this situation happens when the consultant and the client are required to decide between the options of representing all available information and including or excluding various parties involve in the intervention process. Misrepresentation occurs when the consultant misrepresents his or her skill base, education, experience, certification, or specialized training, or in the opposite where the client misrepresents the organization’s interest, need, or goal. Generally, misrepresentation is an ethical issue which impacts the diagnosis process, especially at the data gathering stage. Using the interview session in this case, if the consultant is not trained and not a skilled interviewer, the data collected may not accurate as the consultant fails to ask the right questions. The consultant may stray away, which in the end misses the objective of the interview. It is the same for the interviewee when they fail to provide a clear background of the current situation to the consultant. As a result, the consultant may diagnose the situation wrongly and eventually propose an inaccurate intervention strategy. Another example is when the consultant chooses to collude with the client by avoiding or minimizing difficult feedback. When the consultant discovers through the data gathering process about incompetent manager, the consultant may be reluctant to address it for fear of the manager’s emotional response. By committing this, the consultant is not properly addressing and highlighting his actual findings, which will impacting the intervention process. 2.6 Summary In summary, ethical issues and dilemmas are caused largely by the nature of the relationship between the change agent or consultant and the client. Various values held by the consultant and the client influenced their actions. Previous studies proposed some guidelines to improve consultant’s actions. Schein (1987, 1997, 1999) suggests few relevant principles like “everything you do is an intervention”, “always stay in touch with the current reality”, “share the dilemma” and “always stay in touch with the current reality”. As one of the goals of OD is to model openness, so both client and consultants should embrace openness to ensure success of OD program.
  15. 15. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 15 3. Theoretical Foundation and Types of Intervention As the basic theoretical foundation of OD has been covered earlier in chapter 1, the next component to look at is the relevant theory used in the case and the organization development intervention (ODI) process. 3.1 Approaches to Consultation There are two common approaches or models used OD consultants. Schein (1969, 1999) describes two approaches; 1) expert model and 2) doctor-patient model. Anderson (2015) added another approach on top of the existing popular model, 3) mechanic model. Expert Model – The model of consulting described by Schein (1999) as the “purchase of expertise” or “selling and telling”. The client in this case will hire expert consultants to solve a problem or implement a solution which has been chosen by them. For example, technology consultants will be hired to solve technology problem. The problem has been identified by the client for instance, “abuse of internet access by the employees” and the client will hire expert technology consultant to propose intervention to the problem. An expert consultant is hired when an organization does not have internal expertise to look at the issue. Mechanic Model – Kahnweiler (2002) describes the third popular model. Simple analogy to this model is when someone visits an auto mechanic and describes the technical difficulty he experiences with his car to the mechanic. The mechanic acknowledges it and tells the customer to come back after a few hours to collect his car back. In between, the mechanic uses his expertise to fix the issue as described by his customer. The mechanic accountable for the solution and the customer only needs to verify the solution. In OD space, the client hires a consultant to fix an issue and then wait for the consultant to come back with a solution. The consultant is on the losing side if the given solution is not working as he has the total accountability over it. 3.1.1 Doctor-patient Model The approach used in the case is based on “doctor-patient” model. The model can be illustrated as someone is visiting a general practitioner. He will describe the pain to the doctor and the doctor
  16. 16. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 16 will assess by asking a series of questions. From the answers given by the patient and through doctor’s observation, he announces the result and the solution. The patient and the doctor feel relieved and satisfied when the problem is solved. This model is very popular and commonly used in OD process. In OD situation, the consultant is responsible to gather data, process information, makes a diagnosis and choosing the right intervention for his client. From the case, the intervention process started when the HR director engaged OD consultants to help resolving the conflict between HR and Finance departments. The HR director explaining the difficulty of both teams interacting with each other to deliver the multiple projects they work together. The conflict has been going on for a while which resulting delays in project delivery as well as impacting the employees morale and team’s productivity. The HR director is open for suggestion and ready for any change in order to improve the situation. Based on the commonly used intervention process, the consultants started with diagnosis process. They conducted interviews with both directors then followed with key persons from both teams. They also set up an online survey for all team members to participate and provide their own opinions on the issue. The consultants also conducted an MBTI assessment for each individual from both teams. At the problem identification and interpretation stage, the consultant highlighted about poor communication as the main reason to the conflict. The consultant then explained the possible factors that contribute to the conflict in the feedback stage. One of the main factors is the personality differences among the team members of both departments. Apart from that, unclear expectation from the leaders, cultural issue and misalignment of business unit goals. At the solution stage, the consultant recommended a full day workshop to discuss on the feedback given by the team members, to explain the expectations of each other, roles and responsibilities as well as guidance on how to communicate effectively based on different type of personality preferences. The workshop also includes a private session with the two directors discussing on their course of action on how to improve the inter-group communications.
  17. 17. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 17 3.2 Types of Interventions There are three types of intervention techniques; 1) individual 2) groups and teams and 3) organizational or multiple organization. Anderson (2015) writes about the differences of these three types of intervention techniques. The case illustrates how individual and team interventions is applied in OD process. 3.2.1 Individuals The consultant conducted one-on-one interviews, survey and MBTI personality assessments. One-on-one interview – The consultant conducted one-on-one interview with HR and Finance Directors and some key persons like team manager or team leader from each department. The consultant set an objective of the interview is to get personal insights of the current situation of these persons. Online survey – Although the design of the survey is not personalized but the participants have to complete the survey individually. Each of them has to complete and submit the survey individually based on their inputs and opinions related to the conflict. The consultant gathered each person feedback, consolidate and summarized it as a group opinion. MBTI - The other technique used is the MBTI personality assessment. The assessment is part of the critical components of the diagnostic phase as the results will be analyzed and used in the intervention program. The results identify each individual preferences and the team as part of Individual Team Organization
  18. 18. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 18 individual development, they will be taught on how to communicate effectively with different type of preferences. Each individual is required to complete the assessment and the result of the individual assessment is discussed in the workshop. Each person must know their preference as well as their peers and leaders preferences. Individual Action Plan – In the workshop, the consultant emphasizes active participation of each individual to share their own action plan to help improve future communication. Coaching – In the second session, the consultant conducted a coaching session with the two directors. Basically, the directors were coached to be more open and look at the bigger picture which is the project goals rather than selfish and work in silos. In the diagnosis stage, the leaders have been found working within their circle only and less communication is seen between the two leaders from both departments. 3.2.2 Teams The overall focus is on HR and Finance departments. It involves from “top-down” including every team member in both departments. Feedback – Although the feedback is completed individually, the summary was put as a collective inputs from all of them. The feedback represents each team perception of each other. Workshop – The workshop is designed for teams. The team’s feedback is presented openly and they are required to address the deficiencies among them and come out with an action plan to improve future communication. Communicationapproach betweendifferent preferences – Based on MBTI preferences, the team is taught how to use different type of communication style when communicating with different type of people. They should be able to use some common sense as well as able to use appropriate of “choice of words” in their interpersonal and inter-groups communication.
  19. 19. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 19 3.2.3 Organizational Although organizational approach is not part of the case, the outcomes of the intervention program for both teams can be set as an example for the entire organization. For example, engineering department and sales department obviously have different characteristics and therefore the same intervention program may apply to a larger team of the organization. 3.3 Summary Based on the above justifications, the steps and the tasks involved in OD process are aligned with a definition by previous researcher like Argyris (1970) who defined intervention as “to intervene is to enter into an ongoing system of relationships, to come between or among persons, groups, or objects for the purpose of helping them”. The more recent study defined intervention as a deliberately planned, behavioral, theory-based actions that aim to increase an organization’s effectiveness or efficiency (Nielsen & Abildgaard, 2013). After the workshop, the consultant conducted a short survey to gather feedback about the workshop. The participants including the directors provided positive response to the consultant. It promptly indicates the teams are ready for change and the honest discussion and the knowledge they gained from the workshop will be applied in order to improve the situation. The consultants also checked back with them after two months, and the directors indicated the inter-group communication had improved dramatically. They were also pleased that each groups’ perception of the other group were now more positive as were their own understanding of each other. 4. What's causing the conflict? HR and Finance people come from different worlds. Finance people deal with the actual, things more specific, measurable and tangible or live under the old sayings “cash is king”. While HR is more art than science, more “right brain” than “left brain” and often live by the motto, “people are our greatest asset”. The differences between these two departments have made it difficult to find a common ground, thus the conflict. HR and Finance, in turn, should build a strong relationship for business to be competitive advantage in the market (The Economist, 2012).
  20. 20. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 20 4.1 Misalignment of Business Unit Goal Each business unit in an organization, including HR and Finance has their own goal. Typically, one of HR business goals is to provide as much as possible training opportunity to all employees. The training and development project obviously requires a lot of financial investment. Finance department in turn, will have “cost-savings” as one of their business goals. Practically, business unit goals should be aligned with the main corporate goal. When both HR and Finance personnel do not have a clear objective of the goal, it leads to a conflict. Whenever HR requested a training budget, Finance will turn them down. Remediation strategy, for instance, HR to submit training budget quarterly instead of yearly, and Finance to communicate the allocation limits so that HR as well as other departments to work their training needs based on the allocated budget. As cited in The Economist (2012), “Conflicts between Finance and HR often arise as one (Finance) needs rational or quantifiable elements to measure return on investment [ROI] decisions (which are often short term), while the other (HR) focuses more on longer-term programs with few quantifiable short-term benefits, thus creating potential tensions”. 4.2 Unclear Expectations Unclear expectations happens when business goal is poorly communicated from top-down. For instance, when the goal is to offer many training opportunities, the training & development personnel assigned to the project should come away with a strong justification of why he or she took the training provider, to find out whether the class syllabus is current and desirable for the job, the cost is competitive and hence onward. People will act based on assumptions if they don’t receive a clear delineation of what is needed from them. The above scenario could happen in the presented case with unclear expectations, HR personnel submitted incomplete justifications which in return being rejected by the Finance without giving a solid understanding of why it's being rejected. The two personnel keep arguing, sending emails back-and-forth and causes a conflict.
  21. 21. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 21 4.3 Personality Differences Different people have different personality preferences, but the nature of work influenced the personality of people more (The Economist, 2012). Every personality preference has its strengths and weaknesses. In this context, understanding individual personality preferences will help improving the working relationship and conflict in the organization. As previous studies suggested, the MBTI is useful in improving conflict resolution (Coe, 1992; Hoffman, 2002 and McCaulley, 2000). From the case, we can see even the two directors are not talking to each other which also followed by the followers. Their perception about each other is purely based on individual characteristics as seen with naked eyes without really understand how to deal or approach them based on their personality preferences. Understanding individual preferences will improve the working relationship and helps to remove conflict in the workplace. As discussed earlier, personality preferences is inborn but individuals can develop traits and habits that differ from the description of their preferences. This can be achieved by going through the MBTI assessment and learn how to communicate based on that preference as recommended by the consultants. 4.4 Organization Culture and Subculture The management team leadership style often associated with organization culture. Great leaders lead by example. From the case, we can assume the directors do not have a good working relationship with each other. Both are too focused at their own world and presumably the leaders are working in silos. This situation created a negative subculture within the organization where both departments keep things within their own department and demonstrate less interaction with each other. The team members are strongly bonded to each other, but not beyond their department. The case illustrates a great example of a negative subculture where HR and Finance departments do not employ openness culture with each other and then leads to negative perception of each other. It started by the leaders and the unhealthy culture, then replicated by their followers at the lower level. Beheshtifar & Zare (2013) mentioned that interpersonal deficiencies are one of the factors influencing negative subculture in an organization. Negative subculture will not bring
  22. 22. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 22 any benefits to the organization but will destroy the organization if intervention is not done immediately. 4.5 Summary The above discussed justifications are the possible factors contributing to the conflict between HR and Finance. From a different perspective, other factors may include resource scarcity, power and conflict, role ambiguity, and so forth. Each individual in the team is responsible for their behaviors and actions. In the event of unclear situation, ask questions and clarify with the immediate supervisor. The leaders must demonstrate excellent leadership style as the saying goes, great leaders lead by example. 5. Considerations when selecting the right Intervention Strategy (pg196) According to Anderson (2015), in the early stage of OD process, many change agents or consultants are concerned about their capability in suggesting appropriate intervention. However, once they are into it, new challenge pops up – too many options to be selected. As mentioned by (Dyer, 1981), “no matter how solid the diagnosis, it is not always evident which intervention is the best”. There are many factors that need to be assessed and take into consideration. 5.1 Organization Readiness Previous studies (Armenakis, Harris & Mossholder, 1993; McLachlin, 1999), refer readiness to the involvement, willingness, energy, time, capability and motivation of the organization to change. Any intervention proposal is unlikely to be able to be implemented if the organization is not ready or willing to change. While other researchers (Dyer, 1981; Schein, 1999) suggested to start with the change when the organization is willing to change in a certain direction and not another, or has preference of one intervention over another. Organization’s capability and competence to change also affect the readiness for change. Recalling the earlier example – “Abusing internet access”, if the organization does not have a budget to invest in new technology like proxy server and content filtering server, the situation will
  23. 23. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 23 not improve. Employees will freely downloading unrelated contents from the net since they are “allowed to”, technically. 5.2 Unmatched Strategy to the Data and Diagnosis One of the biggest dangers to an effective intervention occurs when the intervention is not matched to the diagnosis or either the wrong problem is solved or the intervention is not designed to solve the actual or real problem. It happens when the consultant simply determines what intervention to be implemented without careful considerations of the suitable method to the organization’s particular problem. Massarik and Pei-Carpenter (2002) highlighted that most consultants propose an intervention based on their specialty, without considering what is really required to address the actual problem. OD consultants may seek one’s another expertise by discussing the situation with colleagues or outsiders to verify whether a chosen intervention is the most appropriate for the situation. The ultimate goal of OD process is to satisfy the client, not the consultant. 5.3 Deciding where to Intervene Common questions raised by the consultants and the clients are “should the problem be addressed first at the employee level or by the senior management? Should we begin with a pilot project in one group or organization-wide roll out? Easiest change to implement or the most difficult? In an actual OD process, there is no systematic way to begin with. Many researchers discussed the appropriate starting point in the past. Previous researchers recommend to start with task interventions over personal or relationship interventions. According to Schein (1999), the primary task is the most direct contribution that the consultant has been asked to make. Interpersonal issues should be observed and only targeted for intervention if the client specifically wants to do so. Then shift to group’s tasks and processes such as communication patterns, roles meeting, decision making and so on. In a different situation, some organization prefers to start with a pilot program before rolling out organization-wide. The successful pilot project can build client’s confidence and they know what
  24. 24. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 24 to expect when expanding the scope in the future. Depending on complexity and the situation of the problem, the best approach is to properly assess and decide where and how to intervene. 5.4 Sequence of Activities For a maximum benefit of intervention strategies, the consultants must use their creativity and expertise to arrange and sequence the activities accordingly. Arranging the activities in order will help the consultants and the client to appropriately execute intervention strategy. As a guideline, Beer (1980) lists six considerations for different activities should be sequenced in an overall intervention strategy; - Maximize diagnostic data (more data about the organization) - Maximize effectiveness (build enthusiasm) - Maximize efficiency (conserve time, energy and money) - Maximize speed (structured process) - Maximize relevance (solve the primary problem first) - Minimize psychological and organizational strain (early action) By following this, it may help the consultant and the client see the possible interventions and to prioritize the area that is most relevant to the problem. The above factors are the key elements to be considered when selecting the right intervention strategy. Organization readiness to change is the key point for a successful intervention strategy. Maximum support from the management and the employees are crucial, otherwise weak intervention strategy will be presented and the bad situation remains at the current state. This notion is supported by Poulsen, Ipsen and Gish (2013), where management support as well as participation from the employees influences the overall intervention process. They also added that the first line management support is the most important level they are the one who shall implement the intervention in the daily activities. The management or the leaders represent the organization who are actually “walk the talk” and “lead by example”.
  25. 25. BMOD5103 – Intervention Process Nor Helmee Bin Abd Halim 25 5.5 Conclusion Interventions are explicitly designed to accomplish individual and organizational change. As discussed above, it consists of many phases contracting, data gathering, diagnosis and feedback, intervention strategy and evaluation. Employees sometimes resist to change due to many factors. Ethical issues, incompetent consultants, bad experience from previous unsuccessful change, unclear goals and so forth. Implementing a change in an organization that is not ready is a known factor for a failed intervention strategy. As a result, the organization suffers from wasted effort, time, money and low motivation of the employees. The key success of an intervention is to appoint the right and skilled consultants, maximum support from internal and external parties, having well planned and structured intervention process. These elements are imperative in strategizing an intervention strategy, thus ensuring a successful OD project. [Word counter - 7266]
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