organizational development and change case

Module 5 – Case

Organizational Development and Change

Case Assignment

Organizational Development and Change

In this module’s Case Assignment, we will again use an experiential approach. You will engage in a personal applied case on the topic of organizational development. As in earlier modules, use the following outline to structure your 4- to 6-page paper. You may use the subtitles as headings within your paper.

Introduction: Discuss the topic of the paper and how you will approach it. It is best to write this section after you have written the rest of the paper.

Concrete Experience: Begin with a specific situation/event. Describe a change that occurred at your workplace that was significant and meaningful to you. It may have been an extraordinarily good experience—or it may have been an experience that did not work out very well at all! The important point is that it should be an experience which you would like to understand better. Be objective and focus on just the facts: who, what, where, when, and how—as if you were composing a newspaper article.

Reflective Observation: Reflect upon that change experience from multiple perspectives of persons involved or affected in the organizational change. Step back from the situation, look at the organizational change from your own viewpoint, and from the perspective of all other parties involved or affected. You want to look at the circumstances surrounding the experience from every relevant point of view. Why did you react and behave the way that you did? Why did others behave the way that they did? Did others have the same positive (or negative) experience? Explain. (Note: your discussion of theories and models from your module materials belongs in the following section.)

Abstract Conceptualization: Use critical thinking skills in order to understand and interpret the change experience at a deeper, more generalizable level. Interpret and understand the events you have described by drawing on the concepts, theories, and models in the background material from this module. Explain how they apply to your experience. For example, what steps in the change process were undertaken in the change process you experienced. Which Organizational Development technique, if any, was applied and used in your actual experience? Which Organizational (OD) Development technique do you think should have been applied and why? Compare the actual experience with the change plan you develop from your chosen OD technique. Be sure to apply at least three concepts, theories, and/or models and cite all references to concepts, ideas, and/or quotes that you use from any outside source.

(This Abstract Conceptualization section is the “heart” of your paper. Using critical thinking skills, provide a clear, specific discussion on the logic, theories, and models and how they apply to your experience.)

Active Experimentation: Identify ways to respond to the next occurrence of a similar experience. What have you learned about the way organizational development and change can take place from this analysis? What have you learned from any mistakes? How are you going to put what you have learned to use? What actions will you take to lead effective change at a business or organization?

Conclusion: Sum up the main points of your analysis and the key learning you are taking from it.

Reference List: List all references that you have cited in the paper using APA formatting. References include materials from the required background readings as well as any outside internet or library sources you used in researching and writing your paper.

Assignment Expectations

Your paper will be evaluated using the criteria as stated in the Case rubric. The following is a review of the rubric criteria:

  • Assignment-Driven: Does the paper fully address all aspects of the assignment? Is the assignment addressed accurately and precisely using sound logic? Does the paper meet minimum length requirements?
  • Critical Thinking: Does the paper demonstrate graduate-level analysis, in which information derived from multiple sources, expert opinions, and assumptions has been critically evaluated and synthesized in the formulation of a logical set of conclusions? Does the paper address the topic with sufficient depth of discussion and analysis?
  • Business Writing: Is the essay logical, well organized and well written? Are the grammar, spelling, and vocabulary appropriate for graduate-level work? Are section headings included? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of responding, or is justification/support instead conveyed through excessive use of direct quotations?
  • Effective Use of Information: Does the submission demonstrate that the student has read, understood and can apply the background materials for the module? If required, has the student demonstrated effective research, as evidenced by student’s use of relevant and quality (library?) sources? Do additional sources used provide strong support for conclusions drawn, and do they help in shaping the overall paper?
  • Citing Sources: Does the student demonstrate understanding of APA Style of referencing, by inclusion of proper citations (for paraphrased text and direct quotations) as appropriate? Have all sources (e.g., references used from the Background page, the assignment readings, and outside research) been included, and are these properly cited? Have all sources cited in the paper been included on the References page?
  • Timeliness: Has the assignment been submitted to TLC (Trident’s learning management system) on or before the module’s due date?

Module 5 – Background

Organizational Development and Change

Action Research

Organizational Development refers to the theory and practice of how organizational leaders can implement interventions that lead to effective organizational change and improve organizational performance. Organizations consist of multiple departments, managers, and individual employees each with their own issues. Each industry also has its own sets of concerns. Diagnosing the problems faced by an organization can be a very difficult task.

Fortunately, there are techniques available to help both diagnose problems faced by organizations as well as find solutions to these problems. The basic building block for Organizational Development is a technique called Action Research.

A good place to start is this introductory video on organizational development:

Weiher, A. (2014). Artifact: Organization Development. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9iLMsogoR0

To supplement the video, read the following introductory book chapter. Pay special attention to the section on action research as applied to organizational development which starts on page 20:

McLean, G. N. (2006). Chapter 1: What is organization development? Organization Development: Principles, Processes, Performance. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection. In the EBSCO book collection

Now read up in more detail on action research with the following two chapters:

Haneberg, L. (2005). Chapter 3: The action research approach to change. Organization Development Basics. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training & Development. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Lurey, J. & Griffin, M. (2013). Section 2: Chapter 4: Action research: The anchor of OD practice. In Vogelsang, J. (ed). Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network. Saranac Lake, NY, USA: AMACOM Books, pp. 46-52. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Large Scale Intervention

Organizational Development also involves large-scale organizational change. A key contribution of organizational development is identifying the value of the wide range of opinions and information that a large number of employees at different levels of the organization can provide. Rank-and-file employees and mid-level managers will certainly be more likely to go along with any change decision if they have input. For any large-scale change, valuable information and input can be obtained if a wide range of employees are involved in the planning process.

However, it can be very difficult to involve a large number of employees in a decision-making process. There is always the danger of “too many cooks spoiling the broth” or an inability to reach some type of agreement. Fortunately, Organizational Development experts have created several techniques called Large Group Interventions that are specially designed to involve a larger number of employees in an organizational change process. Large Group Interventions typically involve holding a conference for two or three days with a large number of participants.

There are quite a few Large Group Interventions that are widely used. For this module, we will be focusing primarily on two techniques. Future Search is a relatively focused and structured method developed by Sandra Janoff and Marvin Weisbrod. The focus of Future Search is “getting the whole system in the room” and involving representatives of key stakeholder groups within the organization to find common ground on what kind of future is desired for the organization and how to reach this desired future outcome.

Another method that we will cover is Open Space Technology. This method is less structured and much more informal than Future Search. Open Space Technology can involve a huge number of participants, and also allows any participant to come up with an idea for discussion. Any participant can propose a discussion topic and schedule a time and place for discussion during the two or three days of the Open Space Technology conference. After sessions are scheduled, participants can pick and choose which sessions to attend. The choice of topics discussed as well of the schedule of an Open Space Technology conference are set almost entirely by the participants. At the end of the conference, reports and recommendations from each session are shared with all of the participants.

For background on organizational development through large-scale intervention, view these two videos for a basic introduction to the large group intervention methods Open Space Technology and Future Search. These are short animated videos that will explain the basics of these methods.

Pashley, S. (2012). Open Space. NHS Research and Development Forum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vEBcr_YkHU

Kaapz. (2010). Kaapz and Future Search https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfTHKwvAbiA

Now read these two articles for a basic overview of large group interventions such as Future Search and Open Space Technology:

Nixon, B. (1998). Creating the futures we desire – getting the whole system into the room: Part I. Industrial and Commercial Training, 30(1), 4-11. [ProQuest]

Leith, M. (1996). Organizational change and large group interventions. Career Development International, 1(4), 19-23. [ProQuest]

Finally, take a closer and more detailed look at Future Search and Open Space Technology with these final two readings:

Norum, K. E. (2005). Chapter 15: Future Search conversation. In Dialogue as a Means of Collective Communication (pp. 323-333). Springer Science & Business Media B.V. / Books. [Business Source Complete]

Rogers, J. (2010). Large group interventions. Facilitating Groups. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Pp. 98-104 [EBSCO eBook Collection. Note: this is a section at the end of Chapter 3

Appreciative Inquiry

Another organizational development technique is called Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI is an alternative approach to Action Research. Usually standard Organizational Development techniques focus on identifying problems. AI involves a considerably different approach. Instead of focusing on problems, AI involves identifying what has worked well in an organization in the past. An AI consultant might collect information from employees on what has worked well in the past, and then work with the team or organization to build upon these positive aspects. It is not clear if AI is preferable to standard OD techniques in all situations, but it is nonetheless a useful alternative approach that has become widely popular and worthwhile to learn about and consider.

To start, view this short introduction to the basic concept of Appreciative Inquiry:

Hayes, J. (2009). Appreciative inquiry. Aarhus School of Business https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHeujLHPkw

Now take a look at this slightly more detailed video. Pay close attention to the discussion of the “4D Model” towards the end of the video:

Kelm, J. (2011). What is Appreciative Inquiry? Appreciative Engagement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGNZ63hj5k

Now take a close look at these two short but important articles which provide direct comparisons between Appreciative Inquiry and traditional Organizational Development techniques as well as some of the main advantages and disadvantages of Appreciative Inquiry:

Venter, J. (2010). Appreciative inquiry. Accountancy SA, , 42-44. [ProQuest]

Zemke, R. (1999). Don’t fix that company! Training, 36(6), 26-33. [ProQuest]

Finally, read up in more detail with these more comprehensive chapters on Appreciative Inquiry. For the first of these readings, pay special attention to Table 1 and the comparison between Appreciative Inquiry and traditional Action Research (Deficit-Based) problem solving methods. For the second reading, pay special attention to the discussion of what is involved in each of the “4 D” steps:

Whitney, D. K., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2010). Chapter 1: What is Appreciative Inquiry? The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Lewis, S., Passmore, J., & Cantore, S. (2016). Chapter 4: Appreciative inquiry: How do you do it? In Appreciative inquiry for change management: Using AI to facilitate organizational development. London: Kogan Page. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Required Reading

Haneberg, L. (2005). Chapter 3: The action research approach to change. Organization Development Basics. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training & Development. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Hayes, J. (2009). Appreciative inquiry. Aarhus School of Business https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHeujLHPkw

Kaapz. (2010). Kaapz and Future Search https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfTHKwvAbiA

Kelm, J. (2011). What is Appreciative Inquiry? Appreciative Engagement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwGNZ63hj5k

Leith, M. (1996). Organizational change and large group interventions. Career Development International, 1(4), 19-23. [ProQuest]

Lewis, S., Passmore, J., & Cantore, S. (2016). Chapter 4: Appreciative inquiry: How do you do it? In Appreciative inquiry for change management: Using AI to facilitate organizational development. London: Kogan Page. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Lurey, J. & Griffin, M. (2013). Section 2: Chapter 4: Action research: The anchor of OD practice. In Vogelsang, J. (ed). Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network. Saranac Lake, NY, USA: AMACOM Books, pp. 46-52. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

McLean, G. N. (2006). Chapter 1: What is organization development? Organization Development: Principles, Processes, Performance. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection. In the EBSCO book collection

Morris, D. (2011) AI in business renewal: Turning around a manufacturing Division at John Deere. Retrieved from http://www.davidcooperrider.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/John-Deere-Case3-1x.pdf

Nixon, B. (1998). Creating the futures we desire – getting the whole system into the room: Part I. Industrial and Commercial Training, 30(1), 4-11. [ProQuest]

Norum, K. E. (2005). Chapter 15: Future Search conversation. In Dialogue as a Means of Collective Communication (pp. 323-333). Springer Science & Business Media B.V. / Books. [Business Source Complete:

Pashley, S. (2012). Open Space. NHS Research and Development Forum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vEBcr_YkHU

Rogers, J. (2010). Large group interventions. Facilitating Groups. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Pp. 98-104 [EBSCO eBook Collection. Note: this is a section at the end of Chapter 3

Venter, J. (2010). Appreciative inquiry. Accountancy SA, , 42-44. [ProQuest]

Weiher, A. (2014). Artifact: Organization Development. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9iLMsogoR0

Whitney, D. K., & Trosten-Bloom, A. (2010). Chapter 1: What is Appreciative Inquiry? The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Zemke, R. (1999). Don’t fix that company! Training, 36(6), 26-33. [ProQuest]

Optional Reading

Weisbord, M. R., & Janoff, S. (2010). Future Search: Getting the Whole System in the Room for Vision, Commitment, and Action. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Owen, H. (2008). Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide (3rd Edition). Williston, VT, USA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D. K., & Stavros, J. M. (2008). Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change. Brunswick, OH: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Collection]

Morris, D. (2011) AI in business renewal: Turning around a manufacturing division at John Deere. Retrieved from http://www.davidcooperrider.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/John-Deere-Case3-1x.pdf

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