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Analyze the Learning Time case study found in your Learning Resources and post a description of two recommended organizational OD interventions and a rationale for each intervention selected. Also provide an explanation of two factors to be considered when selecting an intervention.
Choosing the right intervention that matches an organization and its goals is a key component of the OD professional’s role. An intervention comes only after careful evaluation and assessment of the agency’s needs (Jex & Britt, 2014; Stone et al., 2018). There are many intervention tools available to OD consultants but utilizing the research to determine which intervention is right for the situation is key (Rothwell, 2015). Additionally, determining what level the intervention should be aimed at is important as it could be at the individual, group, or organizational level (Jex & Britt, 2014). Choosing the intervention depends on what needs to occur. For example, processes that may benefit from an intervention can include a focus on organizational goals, group and intergroup processes, and restructuring and strategy. In the current scenario, Learning Time, Inc. is a larger, for-profit company that will be acquiring the smaller company, Tutors for Kids, LLC. In addition to the acquisition, the CEO of Learning Time, Inc. is set to retire. Both companies are facing large scale changes all at once. This scenario calls for organizational interventions as the merger is affecting two organizations that will become one.
As the OD professional reviews and chooses the intervention(s), Rothwell (2015) suggests several helpful factors to keep in mind as the process progresses. First, the OD consultant should remember the big picture. Changing one area of an organization will inevitably affect another part. Remembering that the individual parts are different than the whole will help the consultant recall the connections between all the parts that make up the entire system. Next, Rothwell (2015) suggests attention being paid to choosing the right intervention and recognizing that not every organization and situation will require or benefit from a one-size-fits-all approach. Using current research to find methods and action steps that reflect the problem or goal is vital to maintaining efficiency and moving the change process along. Next, employee engagement in the change process is imperative. Rothwell (2015) encourages the consultant to help the employees see the greater value in changing versus staying the same. This can be accomplished through incentivizing the change process, frequent reminders of the goals and purpose of the change, and increasing positive communication. When employees stay engaged in the change process, it promotes empowerment in the workforce (Laureate Education, 2012d). The consultant should look for ways the employees can be involved as much as possible in decision-making and feedback loops.
Managing resistance is another factor in the change process that is critical for the OD professional to understand and manage as they choose interventions. Both Rothwell (2015) and the consultants in this week’s video resource (Laureate Education, 2012d) discuss normalizing the resistance that will come up whenever change is introduced, whether it is perceived as positive or negative. Dr. Janoff (Laureate Education, 2012d) emphasizes that the consultant’s job is to hold the tension between employees wanting stability with the presence of rapid change occurring all the time. The consultant should anticipate and assume that employees will be skeptical, resistant, and afraid. This is a natural human response to change and does not need to be diagnosed, but instead viewed as part of the process that the consultant can use as a catalyst for engaging and empowering employees in designing aspects of the change, bringing their values to the table, and encouraging problem-solving. This can lead to inspired versus cynical employees (Laureate Education, 2012d). Additionally, taking everyone’s reality into account while understanding that every time a structure is changed there is a tremendous impact on relationships is important in the change process. The impact to relationships cannot be underestimated or ignored (Laureate Education, 2012d). In the current scenario, there are two organizations both undergoing a major change. Not only is Learning Time, Inc. losing their long-time CEO, they will be introduced to new management. Tutors for Kids, LLC will also be under new management and expected to undergo personnel changes that are inherent to acquisitions. The changes would be difficult just for a single organization but a merger presents unique challenges when two separate agencies come under one roof. Mission statements, values, management, and cultures all have to merge. With the interventions, the goal of the consultant should be to help the employees help themselves through the change. Rather than dictating what is best, or how things should go, the consultant will be the guide, seeking to empower employees, keep them engaged in the change process, and make sure the right people are in the room to make the change move forward in the most positive way possible while simultaneously embracing the resistance and looking at it as an opportunity to build momentum (Laureate Education, 2012d).
One organization-wide intervention useful for creating large-scale participation and that generates future-oriented thinking is called Future Search (Jex & Britt, 2014). Often when there are large structural changes, like in the current scenario, if employees are not on board or actively participating, they may act in their own best interests rather than as a team. The concept of the Future Search involves a three-day conference that includes representatives from all levels of the organization to create a vision for the future, as well as strategies to implement it (Jex & Britt, 2014). This would be a useful intervention for the current situation as two separate companies need to come together to form a new vision as one company. Allowing the employees ownership over and input into the process will facilitate communication, stimulate creativity, and allow employees from both companies to work together toward a common goal of integration. An intervention such as this can also generate excitement over the prospect of new things that can be built together. New ideas, goals, and organizational culture can come from this type of collaboration. Similarly, another intervention that would be beneficial in the case of a merger is the Open Space Technology and includes all employees where discussions are facilitated about issues that are important to each of them (Jex & Britt, 2014). People are able to express ideas and concerns while listening to others. These initial discussions are the catalyst for further discussions that ultimately lead to change. In this scenario, with the current climate of politics, mistrust, fear, and apprehension, facilitating open and meaningful discussions where concerns are heard and validated may be the first step towards a successful transition.
Jex, S. M., & Britt, T. W. (2014). Organizational psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012d). Myron Rogers, Dr. Sandra Janoff, and Marvin Weisbord: The experience of change. In Consulting for organizational change [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Rothwell, W. J. (2015). Organization development fundamentals: Managing strategic change. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.
Stone, K. B., Brown, L., Smith, S. L., & Jacobs, J. (2018). Organizational assessment: An integrated approach to diagnosis and interventions. Organization Development Journal, 36(1), 67–95.
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