Organizational Development Report
The QICC had been facing a range of challenges in organizational management and behavior. Based on the nature of the problems, organizational development was considered to be the most rational process of change management in the organization. The OD process entails the application of a complicated education process aimed at transforming people’s beliefs and attitudes towards an organization and its performance. The particular challenges identified included lack of communication between teams, lack of collaboration and centralized leadership. To address these challenges, the practitioner decided to implement a series of planning and action activities that resulted in organizational change implementation. For the changes made to be sustainable, however, the organization should practice openness, reduce discriminations across social groups and train the employees extensively.
The organizational development process can be a challenge due to the potential for organizational change resistance. According to the theory of planned change management, organizational change has to possess certain characteristics for it to be considered successful. It is the objective of the organization development practitioner to find strategies through which the organizational challenges at QICC can be addressed, and sustainable changes implemented. The main issues facing the organization ranged from poor communication, segregation of the work place into social groups, and the lack of motivation among teams to unsupportive organizational cultures and behaviors. The implementation process relied on Kurt Lewin’s theory of planned change management. The report, thus, covers areas addressed through the organization development process. In particular, the report presents an overview of the theory of organization development applied, a description of the desired transformation, how the change process was managed, the challenge of organizational change resistance and how it was addressed, and the conclusion and recommendations for the company.
Organizational Development theory
Gohil and Deshpande (2014) described a variety of definitions associated with organization development. According to the authors, organization development can be understood as a complex process of organizational training aimed at enhancing change management. The process makes an effort to modify the beliefs, values, and attitudes of employees as well as the organizational structure to make it more applicable to the desired corporate vision. The definition of organization development, however, is reported to be broad and incapable of representing only the change process. For instance, Austin and Bartunek (2003) assert that the process of change is completely different from the theory of change management. Organization development (OD) brings together theory and practice in change management. Gohil and Deshpande further add that the OD process is a long term process whose objective is to enhance organizational visioning, problem-solving, and empowerment by improving the level of congruence among corporate functions. This latter definition was considered more applicable to the desired change process at QICC.
It was decided to particularly consider the change process at the organization as a potential source of conflict between the employees and the organizational structure, to achieve the objective of the study.The process of developing an organizational self-renewal strategy was applied based on Kurt Lewin’s theory of change management. Hussain et al. (2017) describe Lewin’s theory of change management, which comprises of three stages, which include unfreezing, change process, and refreezing. The unfreezing process entails the deconstruction of previous beliefs, attitudes, teams, and all processes resulting in the undesirable organizational characteristics. The change process itself entails the implementation of the desirable strategies for corporate performance. The ultimate refreezing stage entails consolidating the newly developed beliefs and attitudes towards accomplishing organizational objectives. Additionally, unfreezing stage involves practices such as information dissemination concerning the need for organizational change, the process to be applied, and the roles of each of the organizational members in the change process. The objective of this stage is to enhance change acceptance by eliminating any opportunities for amisunderstanding nd miscommunication. Organizational development can improve organizational change management through its objectives of developing the self- renewal process in an organization. It is for this reason that OD was selected as the strategy of application by QICC in their change implementation process. As an OD practitioner, the objective is to facilitate the process through service leadership and knowledge based organizational transformation.
Understanding the Change
The Quay International Convention Center (QICC) is a well-recognized center within the circular Quay area. With the years of good performance that the center has been having, it ‘s hard to understand how it ended up in the current status of organizational practice. At the start of the OD consultancy exercise, the QICC was facing a series of challenges. They included lack of cooperation among the teams in the center, limited career development and on- the- job growth of employees, over- organized structure, lack of adherence to standard operational procedures, and an overly hierarchical leadership structure. As such, the organization required the services of an organization development practitioner to help QICC attain its vision of enhancing its service leadership, ensuring service excellence, and boosting knowledge growth among the employees. Contrary to the initial status of the organization whereby the communication between employees was hampered by poor communication skills and lack of collaboration between teams, a new organizational culture of teamwork, participatory leadership, and operations led by the organizational credo can help the center to enhance its service capacity. Excelling in service provision is linked to the ability to manage the change process and to make effective use of the available human resources for organizational growth.
Managing the change process
Effective change management depends on the capacity to understand the change process. As an OD practitioner, the strategy applied was dependent on the process described by Theodore (2013), which involved a diagnosis of the entire organization to determine concentration areas in need of change. It also included communicating the need for change through a feedback process targeting the particular concentrations that require change and suggesting strategies for change implementation and implementing the change process where necessary. As such, organizational development should be considered as a change management process in the present report. For all the stages of change the implementation to be satisfied entirely, the OD practitioner conducted the consultancy services beginning with understanding the organizational operations, areas in need of change and eventually the actual change process.
Entering and Contracting
At the beginning of the project, the main objective was to understand the operations of the center. The main strategy applied in entering and contracting with the company was through creating an effective rapport with the different teams in the enterprise. Burnes and Cooke (2012) opine that as a change management process, organizational development is often understood by organizations. This implies that as much as the QICC had contracted the practitioner, it was my prerogative as the practitioner to ensure that my role in the change management process was understood. This was achieved by first interacting with each of the teams in the organization, understanding their roles within the organization, working with them at least for a few days and attempting to understand their challenges and competencies in each of their areas of operations. The functions that were engaged during this process included the human resources function, customer service personnel, and sales and marketing team. Through these engagements, it was possible to introduce the subject of organizational development, its objectives and its role in any organization. Romme (2010) describes four dimensions of organization development which include ascription, displacement, reinterpretation, and fabrication. In the entering strategy employed, none of these dimensions was considered applicable in its entirety. Rather, it was necessary to make it clear to all the teams engaged that the objective of the process was neither to displace organizational practices entirely nor to ascribe to all the practices as they were. The practitioner would also not fabricate their practices independent from the organization. As such, the key strategy for the rest of the operational stages would be a reinterpretation, where the performances and practices of each of the functions would be understood and where necessary, changes would be recommended. This was done through constant communication with team leaders as well as with the team members in each of the teams.
Diagnosing and Feeding Back Information
Following the establishment of the initial contact with the organizational members in different functions, it was possible to work together with them and understand their challenges and their limitations in role performance. According to Bireswari (2013), effective organizational performance is linked to organizational behaviors, culture, and practices. Organizational behavior is an effective indicator of the leadership effectiveness in the organization. During my interactions with each of the teams, I was realized that some of the challenges in the organization were based on the organizational culture. For instance, the habit of ignoring violations of standard operating procedures among the long serving employees and warning newer employees about the same resulted in confusion among the new employees and contempt of the leadership by some of them. Communication challenges made this problem worse as some unresolved issues and conflicts existed between different employees as well as between different functions. Lipsky and Avgar (2010) assert that managing organizational conflicts is one of the key factors that can contribute to effectiveness in organizational performance. This can, however, only be achieved when there are operational and effective teams within the organization.
Based on the observed operations within QICC, it was also determined that collaboration between the teams is limited. As such, the teams perform less optimally due to competition between them. The observations indicated that the teams lacked coordination and most of the characteristics of effective teams are missing from within. For instance, the teams had no shared goals, lacked effective communication and knowledge sharing skills, and some had negative attitudes (Safford & Manning, 2012). Moreover, the teams were socially segregated rather than segregated by functions, hence had no defined goals. Due to the level of social segregation, communication and skill sharing was also limited to the social group settings. The lack of coordinated communicated originated from the top management through to the lowest level of leadership. The leadership was centralized to a great extent resulting in the lack of initiative among other employees to push for change or practice innovation.
After the challenges in the organization had been recognized, the information was granted in the form of feedback to the organizational management and specific action plans made. The communication involved the functional leaders as it was necessary that each team understands their challenges, thus feels free to participate in the change process. It was made clear to them that the objective of the process was to identify and help the organization make changes that would improve its performance and excellence.
Planning and Implementing Change
The change planning process was conducted based on the change model described by Kurt Lewin’s change management theory. The plans were made after the diagnostic process and entailed a detailed clarification of the activities to be carried out. The first stage of the process involved unfreezing. During this phase, the specific activities that were conducted included the organization of briefing sessions for each of the team functions. The objectives of these meetings were to create awareness of the need for change, motivate the teams towards self-steered change, and provide information concerning the benefits of the desired change process. According to Hussain et al. (2017), the unfreezing process results in the deconstruction of intrinsic attitudes, beliefs, and values which are counter –productive to the desired change. As such, the information dissemination process was conducted to ensure that all the members of the organization are aware of the attitudes needed, organizational vision in pursuing, change process, and the roles they have to play in the change management process. In addition to this, the process involved requests for information from employees regarding their perceptions about the leadership, change process, and organizational vision.
The next stage in the change management process was the shift implementation process itself. The stages involved the application of principles of management as well as principles of strategic human resources management. Fried and Fottler (2011) purport that one of the key strategies that can be used in change implementation to accomplish effectiveness in the organizational setting is the use of self managed teams. For this to be capable, the teams have to undergo intensive training. As observed at QICC, the teams in place were under intensive competition, which hampered whole self- management. The first process in change implementation involved the training of the management on key leadership principles and practices of service leadership. Knowing the competencies of each of the team members, strategic role assignment and optimizing the competence of the human resources in the organization were covered under excelling in service leadership. The management was also trained in the practice of decentralized leadership for innovation and team management effectiveness. The other employees were trained on how to communicate more effectively among themselves as well as between the employees and the leadership.
The training were followed by the rolling out of the main change strategies. The strategies involved the communication of the new organizational vision and mission statements, putting in place measures for dealing with violations of standard operation procedures and following up on how they were enacted, encouraging brainstorming and information sharing across teams, and organizing employees into function-based rather than social based teams. Aligning employee teams in functions first required that the actions of the management be perceived as non-discriminative based on social characteristics. Motivational actions were implemented to ensure that the individual goals were aligned to organizational goals and the employees worked collaboratively towards achieving the organizational goals. For instance, the employees were promised incentives in the form of bonuses as long as each corporate goal was accomplished. Additionally, they were made to understand that no employee would be awarded a bonus independently. As such, they had to work together and motivate each other to work towards the overall organizational goals.
Evaluation is an essential component in an organization. It is essential because it provides insights into the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of strategies. Evaluating the implemented change processes was conducted based on performance appraisals. It was also conducted through feedback from the employees. In addition to this, the employees were also requested to provide periodic informal feedbacks on organizational performance.
Resistance to Change
Some resistance was observed during the change implementation process. The employees who had been in the organization for a long time felt it was not needed as the organization had been doing fine without the recommended changes. Zafar and Naveed (2017) assert that the change process must be under the facilitation of an individual who is experienced in organizational change management for it to be successful. Resistance was faced in the early stages of the process but was addressed adequately to ensure that the desired change was accomplished.Zafar and Naveed have outlined the change implementation strategy which addresses the organizational change resistance strategy.
Organizational change resistance can be caused by factors such as lack of knowledge or awareness of the change objectives and the need for change, obsolescence of skills, and a hampering organizational culture. Understanding the reason behind change resistance can be an important starting step in effective change management, because it offers a starting point. Based on the initial interaction with the different teams, the various reasons behind change resistance were understood. Initially, the resistance was mainly due to lack of appreciation of the need for change. As the employees comprehended the change process and its objectives more and more, they became more willing to participate in the change process. However, the resistance was due to the determination to keep the status quo, especially with regards to the lack of verbal or practical punitive measures against violation of company standards of operation. These problems were addressed through clarifying to the employees the need for keeping in line with the acceptable organizational cultures (Bovey & Hede, 2001). They were made aware of the fact that all employees would be treated in the same manner in spite of their longevity in the organization. By making the point clear and putting it in practice, the employees got used to the new organizational cultures resulting in better organizational behaviors. Once the change process was completed, it was established that no more resistance existed in the organization.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The project has been effective towards achieving the organizational visions of enhancing service excellence, improving service leadership, and fostering organizational knowledge sharing. Although the change process was initiated and implemented, sustaining the corporate culture to support the implemented changes will require a greater commitment to the established organizational practices. As such, several recommendations have been made for the QICC management to implement. Foremost, it should apply different employee screening procedures during recruitment – the organization needs to practice more stringent screening procedures that will evaluate employees based on their cultural fit to the organization and their attitudes towards the work place and process. Those who are already within the company can be evaluated through performance appraisal to determine whether they fit into their roles and alignment with the organizational culture. This can help make corrections where necessary and better educate employees on the need for change. Moreover, the organization needs to reduce the social status distinctions and social discriminations that lead to segregation based on social networks. Employees need to be aware of their value within the organization, thus pursue better performance. This can only be achieved when openness is practiced in communication. The organization should, therefore, initiate the culture of openness by revealing more information regarding the company financials, goals, and performance information to the employees. The information can help to create a common ground of understanding between the employees and the organization.
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