We share with you links with articles, available on the internet, that have inspired and influenced us in our work as OD consultant. We clustered the links in a number of topics
for each of our four Move! practice areas. Additionally we develop also a number of topics under the general OD Consulting umbrella. This is work in progress, so topics and links will be added regularly.
On Organizational Development
Using Consultants in Organizations
Edgar Schein, (1990). A General Philosophy of Helping : Process Consulting. Sloan Management Review.
Another term that pops up from time to time is 'systemic consulting' which is not in contradiction with process consultation. That term highlights the importance to look at the organizational system as a whole and the interrelations of the different parts of the system and how that creates meaning in the organization.
A few more articles on systemic and/or process consultation are listed below :
- Campbell, David and Huffington, Claire (2008) Introduction: Six stages of systemic consultation. In: Organizations Connected: A Handbook of Systemic Consultation. Karnac Books, London, pp. 1-14.
- Edgar Schein, Adam Kahane & Otto Schramer., (2001). Humility and Ignorance. What it takes to be an effective process consultant. Reflections, Vol.3, N°2.
- Lambrechts, F., Bouwen R., Grieten, S., Huybrechts, J., & E. Schein., (2011). Learning to Help Through Humble Inquiry and Implications for Management Research, Practice and Education : An Interview with Edgar H. Schein. Academy of Management Learning and Education. Vol.10, N°1.
- Ariane Berthoin Antal and Camilla Krebsbach-Gnath., (1998). Consultants as Agents of Organizational Learning: The Importance of Marginality. WZB (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung).
- Steven Appelbaum & Anthony Steed., (2005). The critical success factors in the client-consulting relationship. Journal of Management Development. (no longer available online)
Dialogic Organization Development
Gervase Bushe & Robert Marshak (eds.), (2013). Advances in Dialogic OD. OD Practitioner. Journal of the Organization Development Network. Vol. 45, n° 1.
In this edition of the OD Practitioner, Gervase Bushe and Robert Marshak, together with a number of renouned OD practitioners draw a status of our current thinking in OD and more particularely the evolution of a DIAGNOSTIC towards a DIALOGIC approach. That doesn't mean that gathering data, or analysing issues suddenly became 'not done' anymore, but that we realize that it's not an objective analysis done by a team of experts or consultants but that it is the result of 'meaning-making' and the relational practice of all those involved in the organization. Not an OD consultant, not a management team, but the whole social system of the organization is involved in meaning-making and creating the future functioning of that organization as a relational system. Appreciative Inquiry is one of the possible methodologies used in Dialogic OD together with Large Group Interventions such as Open Space and Future Search.
A few more articles on the concept of Dialogic OD are listed below :
- G. Bushe & R. Marshak., (2013). Dialogic Organization Development. In : Jones,B. & Brazzel, M. (eds) The NTL Handbook of Organization Development, 2nd Ed.
- G. Bushe & R. Marshak., (2009). Revisioning Organization Development. Diagnostic and Dialogic Premises and Patterns of Practice. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Vol. 45, N° 3
- G. Bushe., (2012). Propositions about Transforming Organizations Through Dialogic OD. Toward aDialogicOD Theory of Practice –Draft 9/29/2012
- NTL (2010). Practising Social Change. Practitioner’s journal of The NTL Institute for Applied Behavioural Science. Issue 2.
- Bushe, G.R. (2011) Appreciative inquiry: Theory and critique. In Boje, D., Burnes, B. and Hassard, J. (eds.)
The Routledge Companion To Organizational Change (pp. 87-103). Oxford, UK: Routledge.
On Strategic Leadership
Gerry Johnson, Kevan Scholes and Richard Whittington., (2005), Exploring Corporate Strategy (7th Edition) Prentice Hall. (full electronic version)
This handbook is an interesting collection of different models and checklists of questions that need to be asked at a certain moment of the strategic process. Content wise you could argue that the strategic process consists out of three parts :
- The Strategic Position : This involves an environmental scan (PESTLE analysis), a decent internal analysis (SWOT), a stakeholder mapping and analysis to identify the different stakes, needs and expectations of all stakeholders (partners) of the organization.
- Strategic Choices : The organizational vision needs to transformend into strategic choices that maximize the chances for sustainable performance and sustainable further development of the business. A well known technique for that is the Confrontation Matrix, linking the external opportunities and challenges with the internal resources (strenghts and weaknesses) of the organization itself.
- Strategic Into Action : This is the part where you start shaping the organization in order to effectively implement the strategy and drive with that strategy actual business results and added value for all stakeholders (including aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility).
Since the strategic process is always the start of an organizational change process, involvement of all stakeholders from the very beginning (the analysis during the Strategic Position phase) is key. Not only because you need the expertise and experience of those stakeholders to gather all the information to enbale a valid internal and external analysis, but you also need the involvement of stakeholders during the process in order to build capacity, ownerhip, energy and accountability for the execution of the strategic choices during the 'into action' phase. Furthermore strategies are living things certainly in a fast changing business context. That means not only that the strategic reflection needs to be an ongoing process, but also that you need to build in different scenario's about how the context might evolve. A good strategic process uses scenario planning as part of the process.
A few more articles & tools for strategy formulation are listed below :
- Clement Leemans., Impact Through Involvement (not published Move! toolkit) with following tools : PESTLE analysis, Matrix Analyisis
- Kees van der Heijden, (2005). Scenarios. The Art of Strategic Conversation. New York, John Wiley.
- Morris & Baddache., (2012). Back to Basics. How to make stakeholder engagement meaningful for your company. BSR.
- Derrick Palmer & Soren Caplan., (no date). A Framework for Strategic Innovation. Innovationpoint.
- Mathew Fairholm., (2009). Leadership and Organizational Strategy. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Volume 14(1)
- Zafar, Butt & Afsal., (2014). Strategic Management. Managing Change by Employee Involvement. International Journal of Sciences : Basic & Applied Research.
- Beer, Michael. "The Strategic Fitness Process: A Collaborative Action Research Method for Developing Organizational Prototypes and Dynamic Capabilities." Journal of Organization Design 2, no. 1 (2013).
Sustainable Business Development
Barry Colbert & Elizabeth Kurucz., (2007). Three Conceptions of Triple Bottom Line Business Sustainability and the Role of HRM. Human Resource Planning.
The Grundtland report "Our Common Future" (1987) introduced with its definition :"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" the idea of 'Limits to the Growth'. In the 25 years following this important milestone, business and organizations have been forced to think about their own sustainable development as a business and an organization. Issues as environmental regulations, licence to operate, cost and availability of fossile fuels and raw materials, technical solutions for CO² emissions, renewable resources, waste, etc... are top of mind in any business strategy or should be in order to create a viable future for the organization. Some organizations are still in the phase of limiting the impact of their industrial activities, others have adopted sustainability as the main driver of their business strategy adopting for instance a Cradle-toCradle business model. Besides the process and technological aspects of sustainable organizations, we also have the Human Resources side of things with talent & expertise development, ability to hire the best people and many other issues on the agenda. The overarching key question is : Is your organization FUTURE PROOF ?
Organizations begin to realize that their combined economic, social/societal and ecological performance will enable sustainable growth and development of organizations. That also implies organizations are shifting from a shareholder to a stakeholder perspective, seing stakeholders more and more as partners to shape a viable (including industrial and economic) future.
A few more articles on the concept Sustainable Business & Organization Development are listed below :
- Wirtenberg, Harmon & Fairfield., (2007) HR’s Role in Building a Sustainable Enterprise: Insights From Some of the World’s Best Companies. Human Resource Planning.
- Terry Wales (2013). Organizational Sustainability : What it is, and Why does it matter ? Review of Enterprise and Management Studies. Vol.1, n°1.
- International Institute for Sustainable Development. (2012) Sustainability Development Timeline (highlighting key moments in sustainability awareness from 'Silent Spring' by Rachel Carson in 1962 till now).
- Michael Braungart (2012). Cradle to Cradle Design. Eco-Conception Conference, Brussels, September 2012
- David Newcorn, Packaging Word. Special Report Cradle to Cradle. www.packworld.com
- Neil Jeffery., (2009). Stakeholder Engagement : A roadmap to meaningful engagement. Doughty Center. Cranfield University.
- Francesco Perrini & Antonio Tencati., (2006). Sustainability and Stakeholder Management : the Need for New Corporate Performance Evaluation and Reporting Systems. Business Strategy and The Environment. (no longer online available)
On Shaping the Organization
Organizations in the Collaborative Economy & Peer-to-Peer
The thinking about distributed leadership in classic organizations is recently 'rivaled' or at least complemented by thinking about collababorative and peer-to-peer economy and organizations.
It's difficult to evaluate the importance of that collaborative economy as part of the overall economy, but this adjacent picture at least gives us some idea.
It is a social dynamic between computers and between people, signalling the birth of a new social order: peer-to-peer (P2P). It builds on the idea that peer-to-peer infrastructures are gradually becoming the general conditions of work, economy, and society, considering peer production as a social advancement within capitalism but with various post-capitalistic aspects in need of protection, enforcement, stimulation and connection with progressive social movements. Using a four-scenario approach, the authors seek to simplify possible outcomes and to explore relevant trajectories of the current techno-economic paradigm within and beyond capitalism.
The P2P Foundation is a knowledge commons and a global community of researchers and advocates that monitors the emergence of peer to peer dynamics in society, i.e. through peer production, governance, and property models that are characterized by open access, partipatory process of governance, and property formats that guarantee universal access.
In these articles a few of those ideas are introduced :
Michel Bauwens., (2006). The Political Economy of Peer Production
Michel Bauwens, et al., (2012). Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy.
Kathleen Stokes, Emma Carence, Lauren Anderson, April Rinne., (2014). Making Sense of the UK Collaborative Economy.
In these videos you hear Michel Bauwens explain how he sees evolving a number of Peer to Peer oraganizations back into forms of Capitalism, away from the original idea of the Sharing Economy.
On dutch television, some of the experts in collaborative economy look at how certain forms of collaborative economy seem to have degenerated into simple capatalistic money machines, far from the original values of the 'sharing economy'.
Job Crafting : A new look at job and workplace design
Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin M. Berg, & Jane E. Dutton., (2010). Turn the Job you Have into the Job you Want. Harvard Business Review.
Nowadays organizations are looking at ways to improve their innovative power, their capacity to change, their ability to share knowledge, learn from each other, collaborate effectively... or in short to create a Learning Organization, where each and every employee and manager, regardless of level or role, feels entitled to initiative and is effectively contributing to sustainable performance and business development.
That means that we are looking for new ways of organizing, no longer based on ‘managing and controlling’ what people do in organizations, but on intrapreneurship, innovation, ownership, shared leadership, ... We realize gradually that in a fast moving knowledge economy control is slowing down innovation and costs ultimately a lot more then confidence and autonomy.
That will not only result in very different organizational features such as the desired organizational structure, culture, processes, job and workplace design, management and leadership practices, information sharing, decision and problem solving processes, etc…It will also affect the process we use to ‘shape’ our organizations in the future : How we do it, who does it, how often we do it, how much it is prescribed or actually emerging as we go, etc…
If we look at one of those organizational features : JOB & WORKPLACE DESIGN we see mainly two challenges :
- How to create engaging, challenging, rewarding jobs and workplaces for everybody, so people can maximize the use and development of their talents, energy and experience. And in that way optimizing their contribution to the organization TOGETHER WITH experiencing personal fulfillment.
- How to make sure that jobs and workplaces are flexible enough to cope with rapidly changing environments and customer demands. How do we change timely objectives, tasks, priorities, internal customers and suppliers relationships, etc… in order to keep up organizational performance.
That the classical ‘job-descriptions’ and yearly individual objectives will probably not longer do the trick, is becoming obvious.
An interesting alternative for DESCRIBING JOBS as a process initiated from HR or somewhere centrally in the organization might be JOB CRAFTING. Job Crafting indicates a process by which an individual is shaping his own job in such a way that it is a better fit for his/her needs, talent, energy and interest as individual.
A few more articles, exploring the nature of Job Crafting and how it can contribute to sustainable performance and job satisfaction in organizations :
- Clement Leemans., (2014). Learning Organization and Job Crafting : A powerful couple ?
- Luc Dorenbosch, Arnold B. Bakker, Evangelia Demerouti & Karen van Dam, (2013). Job crafting: de psychologie van een baan op
maat. In : Gedrag & Organisatie, volume 26, March 2013, nr. 1, pp. 3-15. (Dutch)
- Luc Dorenbosch, Rob Gründemann & Jos Sanders. (2011). Sleutelen aan eigen inzetbaarheid. Kansen en keerzijdes van job crafting als methodiek ter bevordering van de duurzame inzetbaarheid in de context van lagergeschoold werk. TNO. (Dutch)
- Maria Tims, Arnold B. Bakker & Daantje Derks, (2013). De Job Demands-Resources benadering van job crafting. In : Gedrag & Organisatie, volume 26, nr. 1, pp. 16-31. (in Dutch)
- Berg, Dutton & Wrzesniewski (2007), What is Job Crafting and Why Does It Matter? , University of Michigan.
Distributed Leadership & Autonomous Motivation
Paul Adler, Charles Hecksher & Laurance Prusak., (2011). Building a Collaborative Enterprise. Four Keys to creating a culture of trust and teamwork. Harvard Business Review, July-August 2011.
Marylène Gagné and Edward Deci. (2005) Self-Determination Theory and Work Motivation. J. Organiz. Behav. 26, 331–362 (2005)
The realisation that organizations can only cope with the very unpredictable, changing and complex context they operate in, if the initiative, the creative thinking and the leadership in the organization is very much DISTRIBUTED and people behave as 'owners', and feel accountable for what happens in and with the organization as a whole. That awareness has been developed from very different directions and in this Food for Thought item, we bring together a few of those directions and schools of thought that all go in that direction.
In essence they all are about developing contribution of all to a shared purpose, collaboration and learning from working together, enable people to act, develop autonomous motivation and intra-preneurship, etc...
Most of these schools of thinking also express the need not only for a shift in leadership and management roles towards a more process facilitation role of that collaboration.
The idea of distributed leadership goes beyond the classical idea of delegating responsibilities to team members, but introduces the ideas of an oranizational culture that allows people to take leadership in areas or at particular moments they feel that it is beneficial for the organization, they are well equiped to do it, they have the energy for it and others are willing to support them and collaborate to reach the expected results. In that sence it is a very different view on leadership as the 'heroic type' of leadership which was advocated in past decades with a lot of focus on people like Steve Jobs.
In these articles a few of those ideas are introduced :
- James Spillane., (2005). Distributed Leadership. In : The Educational Forum, vol. 69.
- Deborah Ancona., (2005). Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty. MIT Research Brief.
- David Snowden & Mary Boone., (2007). A leader's framework for decision making. Harvard Business Review.
- Kouzes & Posner., (2007). The Leadership Challenge. Wiley. In : Audio-Tech Business Book Summaries.
- Gregorio Martin-de-Castro & Angeles Montoro-Sanchez., (2013). Exploring Knowledge Creation and Transfer in the Firm: Context and Leadership. Universia Business Review.
- Douglas Ready & Emily Truelove., (2011). The power of collective ambition. Harvard Business Review.
- C. Leemans (2011). Autonomous Motivation Jobaid. Impact through Involvement Toolkit. Move! Organizational Learning.
On Strategic Human Ressources Management
Strategic HRM ?
Ulrich, D., (2010). Are we there yet ? What's next for HR ? Michigan Ross School of Business, Executive White Paper Series.
Strategic Human Resources Management is largely about integration and adaptation. Its concern is to ensure that: (1) human resources management is fully integrated with the strategy and the strategic needs of the firm; (2) HR policies cohere both across policy areas and across hierarchies; and HR practices are adjusted, accepted, and used by line managers and employees as part of their everyday work. (Schuler 1995). Strategic human resource management involves the development of a consistent, aligned collection of practices, programs (strategies), and policies to facilitate the achievement of the organization's strategic objectives. (Mello, 2002).
If you read those definitions you immediately understand that HRM is up for a vast program the coming years, creating vertical and horizontal fit (Stewart, Brown, 2008, p 527).
Often it is seen as 'one way trafic', where business strategy is translated in and supported by HR policies and practices. But for organizations who are working on the sustainability of their performance in the midst of a very volatile and quickly changing business environment, HR is also a contributor to a viable business strategy. HR can do that in two distinct ways :
- By designing and facilitating a 'sound' strategic process in the organization that involves all stakeholders and is truly outward looking and is willing to critically analyze their business environment as well as the organizational strengths and weaknesses.
- By sharing from the start their expertise on change, organization development, labor market evolution and other HR related fields in order improve the quality of the strategic business decisions and the organizational consequences of these decisions. HR co-shapes business strategy.
This also means that the role of HR is drastically changing and evolving into new expertise areas an that much of the traditional areas such as learning and development, performance management, etc ... are being nearly totally taken into account by line managers. New roles in the future probably include :
- Internal Consulting (process facilitation + expertise HR advice)
- Team process facilitator (for teams, projects, communities of practice, learning networks, ...)
- Management Coach
- Change Manager
- Organization Development Consultant (process re-engineering, lean, TPM, etc...)
The evolution in the role of HR will also have consequences for the competencies of HR managers and officers. The CIPD developed a competency model that tries to depict the management competencies for the future.
A few more articles on the concept of Strategic HRM are listed below :
- C. Leemans & S. Duts., (2011). Strategic HRD. Move! Organizational Learning.
- Torraco, R.J. & Swanson, R.A., (1995). The strategic roles of human resource development. Human Resource Planning. 18(4).
- Ulrich, D., (1998). A New Mandate for Human Resources. Harvard Business Review. 76(1).
On Learning & Change Management
Scott Keller & Caroline Aiken., (2000). The inconvenient truth about Change Management. Why it isn't working and what to do about it. Mc Kinsey & Company.
This article is making a stunning observation. Since Kotter an astonishing quantity of research, books, process flows etc... have been produced to support organizational change. And yet, a decade (article was written in 2000) later there has been no influence whatsoever on the success rate of change projects in organizations, what logically would have been expected. And there is no reason to believe that another 15 years later that situation has changed.
This Mc Kinsey article was one of the first to try to understand : "what are we doing wrong?" This is what the article proposes as answer to that question : "Literally thousands of prescriptions are put forward in various change management publications regarding how to influence employee attitudes and management behavior. However, the vast majority of the thinking is remarkably similar. Colin Price and Emily Lawson provided a holistic perspective in their 2003 article, The Psychology of Change Management, that suggests that four basic conditions have to be met before employees will change their behavior:
- They must see the point of the change and agree with it, at least enough to give it a try
- Role modeling: They must also see colleagues they admire modeling the desired behavior
- Reinforcement systems: Surrounding structures, systems, processes and incentives must be in tune with the new behavior
- The skills required for change: They need to have the skills to do what is required of them.
This prescription is well grounded in the field of psychology and is entirely rational. Putting all four of these conditions in place as a part of a dynamic process greatly improves the chances of bringing about lasting changes in the mindsets and behaviors of people in an organization—and thus achieves sustained improvements in business performance."
Through our experience, Move! comes to a similar conclusion, although we formulate it a bit different and our viewpoints are broadly based on elements from social constructionist theories, experiential learning and self determination theory. The big issue is not whether those four 'building blocks' of effective change are necessary... because they probably are, but 'HOW' they are created withing the organization. It's not about the blocks, it's not about the steps, but it is about the process. And then we see that at a crucial condition for success is mostly overlooked :
People need to precede the what and the how of change. Most change processes start with an 'analysis' of the issues, finally creating a compelling story for change. Problem is that that analysis is mostly done by a small group of people, most of time senior management. And that creates two major problems : the analysis in a complex organization can no longer be done from the top, it needs serious involvement of all stakeholders in and outside the organization in order to create a valid strategic change agenda. And that being involved and co-creating the whole change process bring a solution to many problems in change processes often (wrongly) referred to as resistance to change :
- you don't need to 'convince' your organization of the 'need for change'. They concluded together, from their observations and analysis that change is necessary and why change is necessary. It's their decision, so no reason to resist it afterwards.
- they will not experience a situation where they are less informed, skilled, noticeable than others towards the new situation. The skill building and development is done as they go through the change process... They 'make' the knowledge, they don't have to be trained afterwards.
- The additional work the change brings will not be in 'competition' with their 'regular work' because the change has become their regular work.
The conclusion could be : It's not about communication, it'a about involvement and co-creation. Or with words of Aiken and Keller : "You’re better off letting them write their own story"
A few more articles on Change Management are listed below :
- Woldring. R., (1999). A Manager's short primer on resistance to change in organizations. Workplace Competence International Limited. (Move! shares the analysis in this article, but not the reaction the author is proposing to managers !!! For instance he suggests to fire employees who think the 'change is wrong'. That is a fundamental thinking error. If experience, qualified employees tell you 'not to go that route for change', you better listen to them because they might be right !!!)
- Cross, Parise & Weiss., (2007). The role of networks in organizational change. Mc Kinsey & Company
- Joan Minieri, et al., (no date). From Constituents to Stakeholders. Community-Based Approaches to Building Organizational Ownership and Providing Opportunities to Lead. NYU, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
- Julian Stodd., (2013). The co-creation and co-ownership of organizational change (blog, the picture is coming from Julian's Blog)
Garvin, David A., Amy C. Edmondson, and Francesca Gino. "Is Yours a Learning Organization?" Harvard Business Review 86, no. 3 (March 2008).
The fast changing, unpredictable, complex and globalized business context most organization operate in create a new challenge. Where once organizatons were successful (in stable markets) copying their success formulas and producing standard products, with high standard quality at the lowest possible price, today the game has totally changed.
Copying the successful recipies of the past is the reason of failure in the future. An orgnazation needs to be capable of finding totally new answers to the challenges and opportunities that are coming towards them. And company that can do that, that is good at becoming good rapidly in totally different things, is a learning organization.
It's about creating a workplace that creates learning and innovaton, it's about sharing knowledge, it's about allowing challenge, contradiction and mistake, it's about collaboration, shared decision making, maximizing involvement, developing sense of belonging etc... The concept is now over 30 years old, but still in organizations we struggle to create truly organizational learning, creative energy and deep, cross the board engagement for a shared purpose.
A few more articles on the concept Learning Organization are listed below :
- David Garvin, Learning Organization Survey (electronical version) (pdf version adapted by C. Leemans)
- Katie Smith Milway & Amy Saxton., (2011). The Challenge of Organizational Learning. Standford Social Innovation Review.
- Robert Allio., (2003). Interview with Russell L. Ackof. Strategy & Leadership. Vol.31, n°3.
- Gretchen Spreitzer & Christine Sporat., (2012). Creating Sustainable Performance. If you give your employees the chance to learn and grow, they'll thrive and so will your organization. Harvard Business Review. Jan-Feb.
- Chris Argyris, (1991). Teaching Smart People How to Learn. Reflections, Vol.4, n°2.