Organization Process Approaches
Now we will discuss system wide process interventions change programs directed at improving such processes as organizational problem solving, leadership, visioning, and task accomplishment between groups–for a major subsystem or for an entire organization. The first type intervention, the organization confrontation meeting, is among the earliest organization-wide process approaches. It helps mobilize the problem-solving resources of a major subsystem or whole organization by encouraging members to identify and confront pressing issues.
The second organization process approach is called inter-group relations.
It consists of two interventions: the inter-group conflict resolution meeting and microcosm groups. Both interventions are aimed at diagnosing and addressing important organizational level processes, such as conflict, the coordination of organizational units, and diversity. The inter-group conflict intervention is specifically oriented toward conflict processes, whereas the microcosm group is a more generic system wide change strategy.
A third system wide process approach, the large-group intervention, has received considerable attention recently and is one of the fastest-growing areas in OD.
Large-group interventions get a “whole system into the room” and create processes that allow a variety of stakeholders to interact simultaneously.
A large-group intervention can be used to clarify important organizational values, develop new ways of looking at problems, articulate a new vision for the organization, solve cross-functional problems, restructure operations, or devise an organizational strategy. It is a powerful tool for addressing organizational problems and opportunities and for accelerating the pace of organizational change.
The final is a normative approach to OD: Blake and Mouton’s Grid Organization Development. It is a popular intervention, particularly in large organizations. Grid OD is a packaged program that organizations can purchase and train members to use. In contrast to modern contingency approaches, the Grid proposes one best way to manage organizations. Consequently, OD practitioners increasingly have questioned its applicability and effectiveness in contemporary organizations.
Organization Confrontation Meeting:
The confrontation meeting is an intervention designed to mobilize the resources of the entire organization to identify problems, set priorities and action targets, and begins working on identified problems. Originally developed by Beckhard, the intervention can be used at any time but is particularly useful when the organization is in stress and when there is a gap between the top and the rest of the organization (such as when a new top manager joins the organization).
General Electric’s Work-Out” program is a recent example of how the confrontation meeting has been adapted to fit today’s organizations. Although the original model involved only managerial and professional people, it has since been used successfully with technicians, clerical personnel, and assembly workers.
Confrontation Meeting Process /Application Stages:
The organizational confrontation meeting typically involves the following steps:
1. A group meeting of all those involved is scheduled and held in an appropriate place. Usually the task is to identify problems about the work environment and the effectiveness of the organization.
2. Groups are appointed representing all departments of the organization.
3. The point is stressed that the groups are to be open and honest and to work hard at identifying problems they see in the organization.
4. The groups are given an hour to identify organization problems.
5. The group then reconvene in a central meeting place. Each group reports the problems it has identified and sometimes offers solutions.
6. Either then or later, the master list of problems is broken down into categories.
7. Participants are divided into problem-solving groups whose composition may, and usually does, differ from that of the original problem-identification groups.
8. Each group ranks the problems, develops a tactical action plan, and determines an appropriate timetable for completing this phase of the process.
9. Each group then periodically reports its list of priorities and tactical plans of action to management or to the larger group.
10. Schedules for periodic follow-up meetings are established.
Results of Confrontation Meeting
Because organization confrontation meetings often are combined with other approaches, such as survey feedback, determining specific results is difficult. In many cases, the result appear dramatic in mobilizing the total resources of the organization for problem identification and solution. Beckhard cites a number of specific examples in such different organizations as a food products manufacturer, a military products manufacturer, and a hotel.
Positive results also were found in a confrontation meeting with 40 professionals in research and development firm. The organization confrontation meeting is a classic approach for mobilizing organizational problem solving, especially in times of low performance. Although the results of its use appear impressive, little systematic study of this intervention has been done. There is a clear need for evaluative research. Also, read the speech on current issues example
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