BACKGROUND AND THEORY
FOR LARGE SCALE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE METHODS
H. Rouda, Simulation Software
is a summary of many of the most widely used methods for managing
organizational change with large groups. Much of this information
was gathered by Smith and Smith (1994), and by Bunker and Alban (1992).
major features of large-scale, real-time change management process include:
Of course, this all
goes back to Kurt Lewin (1951). The basic outline of the OD interventions
are to first "unfreeze" the current situation so change can occur, then
to make changes, and finally to refreeze the new situation in place.
- the theory-base
uses less action research and discrepancy theory, and focuses on
application of systems theory (see Senge, 1994)
- the data base
source is no longer internal to the organization, but now involves
both the organization and its environment (an open-systems approach)
- the data base,
which formerly had limited availability, is now widely shared throughout
- time: what
was formerly a slow "waterfall" process is now a fast, quick response
which results in immediate action taking place
- learning moves
from the individual or unit to the whole organization
- the responsibility
and accountability moves from senior management to a mixture of
senior management plus the whole system
- the consultant
role, formerly reserved for data collection and feedback, now also
includes structures and facilities for data analysis and action
- the change
process moves from incremental change to fundamental, organization-wide
MAJOR LARGE GROUP APPROACHES
Interactive Strategic Planning
Dannemiller and her co-workers use a 2 to 3 day event of from 100
to 2300 people, to roll out a new strategic direction, to get clear
on their strategy, and to provide feedback to the top people in the
organization. They stress planning: the use of a planning team, with
much up-front advance work to make the event successful. Their approach
is very task-focused and very structured, and involves interaction
in small groups as part of the full-group proceedings.
theory of the Dannemiller approach is based on a formula that Beckhard
and Harris (1987) attribute to David Gleicher:
x Vision x First Steps > Resistance to Change
means that three components must all be present to overcome the
resistance to change in an organization: Dissatisfaction
with the present situation, a Vision of what is possible
in the future, and achievable First steps towards reaching
this vision. If any of the three is zero or near zero, the product
will also be zero or near zero and the resistance to change will
dominate. The purposes of these OD interventions are to bring approaches
to the organization that will enable these three components to surface
so that the process of change can begin.
also use the strategy suggested by Drucker (1974) of converting
words into actions. They believe that there should be a common activity
focus which is highly reactive, yet highly directive from above.
Their focus is on results, on prioritizing choices, and on keeping
the participants from feeling overwhelmed.
also cites an "Arthritic Model" of organizations. This refers to
an "organizational arthritis" where there are blockages at every
joint of the traditional management-structure pyramid. Their task
is to exercise the organization so that change is not only possible
but is inherent in the structure and design of the organization.
process is to first develop a database of the current reality. This
is accomplished by getting views from the customer, the leaders,
workers throughout the corporation, and their industry. They then
proceed to organizational diagnosis -- identifying the problems
that are impeding change and progress.
send "valentines" to each other -- messages covering what they appreciate
from each other, and what is needed for others to help each of them
to do their jobs in a more productive way.
rest of the Dannemiller approach involves setting strategy and gathering
and processing feedback on this strategy. They use a method of "preferred
futuring" (much like Weisbord, below), and concentrate on action
planning to secure commitments to make the proposed strategy develop
Weisbord's Future Search Conference
is a planned 2-1/2 day event. Ideally, it involves 64 people,
with a maximum of 72. This is clearly too small a group for many
whole-organization large-scale change events, but it works well
for smaller groups.
conference is designed to define and move towards the preferred
future, through finding common ground among the
diverse participants. The preferred future approach involves
an examination of the past, present, and future -- for the whole
system. Weisbord also uses a planning team approach to define
and focus on the stakeholders. The Future Search Conference
is based on Asch's conditions for effective dialogue (1952),
with an emphasis on finding common ground. The process involves
looking at the past -- examining the state of the people,
the business, the industry, and the global environment. It also
looks at the present -- examining events that shape
their reality. Weisbord uses "prouds and sorries",
a look at successes and failures in the organization, to develop
scenarios of their preferred future (keeping some of the past,
changing where needed for the future). And, like other practitioners,
Weisbord puts an emphasis on action planning to define the steps
that will be taken so that the process does not end with the
conference itself but is translated into future action steps.
Axelrod's Conference Model Redesign
method uses a series of four 3-day conferences, held a month
apart. It is based on reengineering as defined by Hammer and
Champy (1993). Its purpose is organization redesign -- radical
changes to be made quickly and permanently in the organization,
not in incremental change and improvement methods like TQM
(Total Quality Management; many references -- see works by
Deming and Juran).
conferences are fast, and highly-participative. Axelrod
also uses a thorough planning approach, using a steering
committee, a data assist team, and a walk-through (a "staging")
in advance of the meeting. His approach is customer-focused,
concentrates on the technical work flow, and develops a
preferred design for the organization.
theory behind the Conference Model includes Socio-Technical
Theory, search theory, and experiential/creative methods.
process involves four conferences:
followed by a succession of implementation steps to put the
plans into action.
Conference -- similar to Weisbord's Future Search
Conference -- defining the requirements, the business
and relationships, their roles, and their customers
Conference -- to identify redundancy and variance,
and clarify their assumptions about their business
Conference -- to develop a preferred design, to use
"treasure hunt" features
Owen - Open Space
uses a 1 to 3 day event for 20 to 100 people. The purpose
is to surface information and promote dialogue. He uses
the concept of an idea marketplace, and emphasizes learning,
networking, and community building.
of the planning for Open Space involves open facilities,
an open agenda, breakout rooms, and blank walls.
approach of this method can be characterized as relevant,
emerging, creative, and self- shaping with personal
responsibility for self learning.
Open Space model is based on the use of ground rules,
focusing on the "here and now", and is partially based
on Chaos Theory (see Wheatley, 1992) to have order emerge
from an apparent lack of planning, structure, and order.
process involves networking, clearly stating meeting
themes, identifying and posting issues, breakout discussions,
and sharing in the whole group. Owen summarizes his
it is over it's over"
(1989) describes the ToP (Technology of Participation)
process and results of the work of the Institute of
Cultural Affairs (ICA). This group sponsors 2 day
events for 10 to 300 people. Their purpose is to delineate
and move toward a practical vision. Their planning
consist of using working groups with trained facilitators
and lots of Post-It® notes.
ICA approach can be characterized as participative,
creative, fast, action-oriented, and synergistic.
The ICA model is based on Spencer's Dialogue, on
community building, participation, and especially
process involves an environmental scan, followed
by developing a shared vision (of what they see
in place). They look for contradictions (what is
blocking them from reaching their vision). They
then set a strategic direction, by dealing with
these blocks and moving their vision forward. They
are heavy into setting action plans, with a 90 day
calendar for implementation.
have a process for discussion (structured conversation),
for workshops, and for action planning. It is a
very useful approach to design and implement facilitation
in a diverse variety of settings.
ICA approach is very people-centered. It puts an
emphasis on ambiance, on environment, and on personal
involvement of the participants. It is the closest
of all of these approaches to incorporating both
spiritual and humanistic components into OD.
LARGE GROUP APPROACHES:
Don Klein (1992) has developed a method involving
a combination of reality and simulation for large-group
Mobius Model. Bill Stockton (1985)
and Marjorie Herdes developed the Mobius Model
for large-group interaction. The model is a
guide to the assessment and design of appropriate
OD interventions; it is not a plan for the events
themselves. It is a model which can also serve
as a real-time guide to facilitating during
these events. It works very well in integrating
spiritual and community approaches to the technology
of large-scale processes. Some of their methodology
has its roots in the ICA Strategic Planning
Mobius Model, like a mobius strip, has no difference
between the inside and the outside. It promotes
wholeness, there being no difference between
who you are and what you do (congruence). It
reflects internal dialogue, as people follow
their own internal voices, their anger and their
fears. It develops understanding, by bringing
the inside (the covert, suppressed truth) to
the outside (as overt, shared data and understanding).
Healing Model. Bob Rouda (1995) has developed a revolutionary
model based on a combination of ancient and
modern wisdom applied to repairing the world.
This begins with ourselves and progresses through
organizations to communities and our ecological
system. This model is guaranteed produce long-term
results, but this success requires that the
details of the theory and methodology not be
revealed in advance. Trust me.
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