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Organizational Development Strategy Proposal - Whole Systems Predictive Modeling

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Organizational Development Strategy Proposal:

Whole Systems Predictive Modeling

Team B

ORG502 Human Relations and Organizational Behavior

June 1, 2004


For the past two years the public school system--save one--has failed to meet the minimum standards required for the No Child Left Behind program. This coming year will be the final year for the public school system to meet the standards or it will lose its charter and the program will be taken over by state officials or privatized. There are four basic strategies that could be implemented Ї Action Research, Appreciative Inquiry, Future Search and Whole Systems Intervention. Because of the infrastructure difficulties and cultural changes that need to be addressed, as well as the large number of employees and parents involved and the variety of their concerns, it is our contention that the Whole System Predictive Modeling approach would be the most favorable methodology to remedy this situation. This proposal will describe the basic ideologies of the four interventions and explain why we feel the Whole Systems Intervention model is our preference.

Organizational Strategy:

Whole Systems Predictive Modeling

In order to fully understand Whole Systems Predictive Modeling (WSPM), and why we chose it as our intervention strategy, it is important to first describe the three interventions we did not choose and why. This will provide a better understanding of Organizational Development (O.D.) as a whole and help provide the foundation of why we chose our particular intervention strategy.

The three intervention strategies that were researched, but not chosen are Action Research, Appreciative Inquiry, and Future Search. We will begin with Action Research (AR), which was designed by O.D. theorist Kurt Lewin as a way to dig deeper into an existing problem in order to seek out not only the underlying problem but the issues and

concerns that surround the systems and the individuals involved. The strategy requires action-oriented experiments that rely on empirical data to diagnose the problem, analyze it, and then provide implementation to change the process. In the world of O.D. action research has been challenged by some theorists (Watkins & Cooperrider, 2000) and in some circles seen as a dinosaur of intervention strategy: "AR has been receiving some criticism for its lack of relevance" (Cady & Caster, 20000, p. 79). Though still considered effective for certain situations, this process is intricate and requires time to gather and analyze data, but for this situation, time is of the essence. This process would have proved quite practical to gather the necessary evidence of the problem and give a clear path to designing a solution, but it would have been best used in the first year of the schools' troubles. Now that time is a concern this process is rendered ineffective and is not a viable option here.

Appreciative inquiry is about seeing that which others may not see. It is about heightening our awareness of the value, strength and potential of others and ourselves and overcoming the limits that we impose, often unconsciously, on our own capacities

(Lord, 2001). This theory relies on social transformation of all concerned parties as its measure of success. Practitioners believe the action-researcher is drawn to affirm, and thereby illuminate, the factors and forces involved in organizing that serve to nourish the human spirit (Cooperrider & Srivasta, 1987). Appreciative inquiry "...refers to both a search for knowledge and a theory of intentional collective action which are designed to help evolve the normative vision and will of a group, organization, or society as a whole". (Cooperrider & Srivastva, 1987, p.159) Reasons for its success are many, and the principles and theory behind it are very philosophical in nature. Appreciative Inquiry has

been a very effective O.D. intervention tool used in many businesses and industries, but for this particular problem there just isn't the time for philosophical change, which can take years to mesh into existing structures. With only a year left a new strategy needs to

be implemented with radical changes now, and when success has been achieved, a philosophical change can be looked at for future endeavors.

Future search is another model used for O.D. intervention where a planning meeting is held that helps people transform their capability for action very quickly. The meeting is task-focused. It brings together 60 to 80 people in one room, or hundreds in parallel rooms. Future search brings people from all occupations into the same conversation Ї those with resources, expertise, formal authority, and need. They meet

for 16 hours spread across three days, during which time people tell stories about their past, present and desired future. Through dialogue they discover their common

ground, and only then do they make concrete action plans. If an organization lacks behavioral style diversity, its leaders may use the Future Search process to provide a group of diverse stakeholders with an opportunity to identify a shared vision and a common purpose (Darling, McKenna and Shelton, 2002). This intervention is good for companies that have employees with shared beliefs and common norms--a corporate culture. But with the public school system there is a much more diversified pool of individuals, with each group bringing different expectations to the table. This approach is desired for its quick implementation, and a quick solution is needed here, but when considering the support staff, teachers and parents involved, a more comprehensive system is required.

Based on Whole systems Predictive Modeling we are recommending the Whole System Change Intervention Strategy (WCIS). We choose this O.D. strategy because the Superintendent has stated that a "radical" culture change must take place. The Whole System Change model refers to an organization's entire system and subsystems that impact on its performance, and this is what we need to examine and offer recommendations to remedy. This model also integrates all the key stakeholders in the organization (e.g. support staff, teachers, students, parents, community, stockholders). In other words, everyone is included in the process. This encourages the organization's members to build relationships and focus on the relevant performance



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