Guidelines, Methods and Resources for Organizational Change Agents


Much of the content of this topic came from this book: Consulting and Organization Development - Book Cover

The purpose of this topic is on acquainting the reader with the broad principles and variety of methods (interventions) used in guiding successful significant change in an organization, including whether it is a team, departmental unit or the overall organization.

The information in this topic is not sufficient to develop competencies in guiding successful significant change. Those competencies come from extensive experience in applying them.

NOTE: Recently, there have emerged many opinions that Organization Development and change management are two somewhat different disciplines. The opinions are that Organization Development is focused primarily on changing a whole system, for example, a team, departmental unit or organization, while change management is focused on the necessary changes among people in the organization in order to accomplish the overall change in the organization. However, the phrase "change management" is still often associated with the nature of activities to improve an organization, rather than the name of a field or discipline. So this topic in the Library considers change management to be an aspect of Organization Development.


Sections of This Topic Include

Understanding the Nature of Organizational Change
Major Types of Organizational Change
Why Change Can Be Difficult to Accomplish
Requirements for Successful Organizational Change
Various Organizational Change Models
Major Roles During Successful Organizational Change
Do Most Organizational Change Efforts Fail?
How to Choose Which Strategies (Interventions) to Use for Change
Possible Strategies (Interventions) to Use for Change
- - - Human Process Interventions (Group and Individual Human Relations)
- - - Technostructural Interventions (Structures, Technologies, Positions, etc.)
- - - Human Resource Management Interventions (Individual and Group Performance Management)
- - - Strategic Interventions (Organization and Its External Environment)
Additional Perspectives on Change
Also See These Closely Related Topics

General Resources

General Resources
- - - Service Organizations Focused on Organizational Change and Development
- - - Online Groups
- - - Toolkits, Etc.
- - - Bibliographies of Books About Change Management

Also see
Overview of the Field of Organization Development
Competencies and Resources for Organizational Change Agents

Related Library Topics

Also See the Library's Blogs Related to Organizational Change

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to organizational change. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library's Consulting and Organizational Development Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog



Understanding the Nature of Organizational Change

What is a Change Agent?

A change agent is the person or team who's currently responsible for the overall change effort. It could be different people at different times during the change. For example, it could be a champion for change who encourages the change. Then it could be an expert on change who plans the change. Then it could be the leader in the organization who drives the change.

Clearing Up Terms and Language About Organizational Change and Development

There are several phrases regarding organizational change and development that look and sound a lot alike, but have different meanings. As a result, there seems to be increasingly different interpretations of some of the phrases, while others are used interchangeably. Without at least some sense of the differences, communications about organizational change and development can be confusing and frustrating.
Cleaning Up the Language About Organizational Change and Development

Why the Word "Change" is Heard So Often

See a video about various driving forces causing major changes in organizations, including in their cultures and structures, and in how they are governed, led and managed. This affects consultants, as well. From the Consultants Development Institute.

Many people argue that organizations are changing like never before. Some of those changes are planned to be accomplished over a long period. However, organizational change is often provoked by some major driving force, for example, a public relations crisis, sudden opportunity in markets, dramatic reduction in profits or new Chief Executive Officer with a very different leadership style.

The subject of organizational change has reached evangelical proportions. There is seemingly an explosion of literature about the subject and an accompanying explosion in the amount of consultants who offer services in this general area.

 

See a video about language about change, types of change, barriers to change, overcoming barriers, phases in change, priorities in each phase and models for change. From the Consultants Development Institute.

When people struggle to accomplish successful organizational change – whether in for-profit, nonprofit or government organizations – it is often because they do not understand the nature of organizational change, types of change, barriers to change, how to overcome the barriers, major phases in proceeding through change, various models for planning and guiding change, and types of approaches (interventions) to implement successful change. That is the focus of this topic in this Library.

Factors of Change
Factors That May Cause Change in an Organization
Factors That May Cause Change in an Organization: Planned and Unplanned
Nine Reasons Why Organizations Need to Change


Major Types of Organizational Change

Organizational change can seem like such a vague phenomena unless you can think of change in terms of the various types of change. There are different types, including the scope, pace, urgency and style of the planning for change.

Organization-wide Versus Subsystem Change

Examples of organization-wide change are an organizational redesign and change in overall strategies. Experts assert that successful organization-wide change requires a change in culture – cultural change is another example of organization-wide change. Those examples change the entire organizational system.

Organizations have many subsystems, as well. Examples of a change in a subsystem include removal or addition of a product or service and reorganization of a certain department.

Transformational Versus Incremental Change

Transformational change is a radical and fundamental shift in the way the entire organization operates. Transformational change is sometimes referred to as quantum change. An example is changing the culture from the traditional top-down, hierarchical style of leadership to a network of self-directing teams. Another example is using Business Process Re-engineering to take apart all the parts of the organization and then put them back together in a more optimal fashion.

In contrast, incremental change is making small adjustments over time to improve the performance of the organization usually by increasing efficiencies in various processes, such as in refining product development and delivery and in reducing labor costs through attrition.

Remedial Versus Developmental Change

Change can be intended to remedy a current situation, for example, to improve the poor performance of a product, reduce burnout in the workplace, become much more proactive and less reactive, or address large budget deficits. Remedial projects often seem quite focused and urgent because they are addressing a current, major problem. It is often easier to determine the success of these projects because the problem has been solved or not.

Change also can be developmental – to make a successful situation even better, for example, to expand the amount of customers served or duplicate successful products and services. Developmental projects can seem more diffuse and long-term, depending on how specific and important the goals are for the change.

Unplanned Versus Planned Change

Unplanned change can happen when a sudden crisis occurs in the organization that can cause its members to respond in a highly reactive and disorganized fashion. Examples are when the Chief Executive Officer suddenly leaves the organization or a significant public relations problem occurs.

Planned change occurs when leaders in the organization recognize the need for a major change and proactively organize a plan to accomplish the change. Examples are strategic planning that is focused on truly strategic topics and succession planning for key leaders in the organization.

Additional Perspectives

Types of Organizational Change
The Three Shades of Change
Coping With Type I Change
Managing Type II Change


Why Change Can Be Difficult to Accomplish

Change can be difficult for you and your client to accomplish for a variety of reasons.

  • People are afraid of the unknown. They communicate their fear through direct means, such as complaining about the plans for change. Or, they communicate their fear indirectly, for example, coming late to meetings and not taking agreed-upon actions.
  • People think things are just fine. This might occur if the executives in the organization have not adequately communicated the need for the change.
  • People are inherently cynical about change. This cynicism often occurs if earlier attempts at change were unsuccessful and it was not admitted to the employees.
  • People doubt there are effective means to accomplish successful change. They may have read publications in which writers assert that most organizational change efforts fail.
  • There may be conflicting goals in the organizational change effort. A conflicting goal might be, for example, to significantly increase resources to accomplish change, yet substantially cut costs to remain viable. That conflict can occur, especially if employees were not involved in the plans for the change.
  • Change often goes against values held dear by members in the organization. For example, they might disagree that the organization should maximize profits more than contribute to their community. This situation is not uncommon, particularly in nonprofit organizations.
  • People get burned out during the change effort. Organizational change usually takes longer to achieve than most people expect. This problem can occur if the question "Is this realistic?" was not continually asked and if an insufficient number of staff were not involved in the planning.
  • Key leaders leave the organization. Especially in smaller organizations or organizations with very limited resources, leaders might not believe they are receiving sufficient value for what they are investing in the organization. They might conclude that it is better to just leave. Or, the change may not be going as expected, and the leaders are asked to leave.
  • Participants do not understand the nature of planned change. Frequently, participants expect the change to be according to a well-designed, well-organized effort that has few surprises. When surprises do occur, they lose faith in the change effort and seek to abandon it.
  • The relationship between the consultant and the client “sours.” The relationship can deteriorate, especially if the client does not want to change or if the project struggles because of one or more of the above-listed barriers to change.

You can overcome many of those barriers if your consulting project meets the requirements for successful change listed below.


Requirements for Successful Organizational Change

Cummings and Worley, in their book Organizational Change and Development (Fifth Edition, West Publishing, 1993), describe a comprehensive, five-phase, general process for managing change, including: 1) motivating change, 2) creating vision, 3) developing political support, 4) managing the transition and 5) sustaining momentum. That process seems suitable for organizing and describing general guidelines about managing change.

Whatever model you choose to use when guiding organizational change, that model should include the priorities and areas of emphasis described in the following five phases of change.

Motivating Change

This phase includes creating a readiness for change in your client's organization and developing approaches to overcome resistance to change. General guidelines for managing this phase include enlightening members of the organization about the need for change, expressing the current status of the organization and where it needs to be in the future, and developing realistic approaches about how change might be accomplished.

Next, organization leaders need to recognize that people in the organization are likely to resist making major changes for a variety of reasons, including fear of the unknown, inadequacy to deal with the change and whether the change will result in adverse effects on their jobs. People need to feel that their concerns are being heard. Leaders must widely communicate the need for the change and how the change can be accomplished successfully. Leaders must listen to the employees – people need to feel that the approach to change will include their strong input and ongoing involvement.

Creating Vision

Leaders in the organization must articulate a clear vision that describes what the change effort will accomplish. It should readily convey the benefits to the employees, as well. Ideally, people in the organization have strong input to the creation of the vision and how it can be achieved. It is critically important that people believe that the vision is relevant and realistic.

Research indicates that cynicism is increasing in organizations in regard to change efforts. People do not want their leaders to promote an idealized vision that will completely turn the organization around and make things better for everyone all the time. They want to feel respected enough by their leaders to be involved and to work toward toward a vision that is realistic, yet promising and rewarding in the long run.

Developing Political Support

This phase of change management is often overlooked, yet it is the phase that often stops successful change from occurring. Politics in organizations is about power. Power is important among members of the organization when striving for the resources and influence necessary to successfully carry out their jobs. Power is also important when striving to implement a plan in which everyone is involved. Power comes from the authority of one’s position in the organization. Power also comes from credibility, whether from strong expertise or integrity.

Some people have a strong negative reaction when talking about power because power too often is associated with negative applications, for example, manipulation, abuse or harassment. However, power exists in all human interactions and is not always bad. It is how the power is used that determines how the power is perceived.

A strong mechanism for ensuring political support for the change effort is to develop a network of leaders at various level who interact and count on each other to support and guide the change effort. Means to do that can include ensuring that all power-players are involved in recognizing the need for change, developing the vision and methods to achieve the vision, and maintaining organization-wide communications about the status of change. Any recommendations or concerns expressed by members to the leaders must be promptly recognized and addressed.

Managing Transition

This phase occurs when the organization works to make the actual transition from the current state to the desired future state or vision. In consultations, this phase usually is called the implementation phase. The ways that consultants and organizations go through this phase can vary widely, ranging from clearly delineated phases and steps to a continual mutual engagement with the client from which the project activities continue to unfold. See How Consultants Customize Their Approaches.

Conventionally, it includes implementing a variety of “interventions" designed to make the necessary change in the organization, ranging from strategic planning, leadership development and team building to whole-systems change, strategic restructuring and cultural change.

Ideally, the various interventions are detailed into associated actions that are integrated into one overall Implementation Plan. If the change is deep and extensive, then each action plan would includes specific objectives, or milestones, that must be accomplished by various deadlines, along with responsibilities for achieving each objective. Rarely are these plans implemented exactly as planned. Thus, as important as developing the plan, is making the many ongoing adjustments to the plan while keeping other members up-to-date about the changes and the reasons for them.

These changes might require ongoing coaching, training and enforcement of new policies and procedures in the workplace. In addition, means of effective change management must continue, including strong, clear, ongoing communications about the need for the change and status of the change.

Sustaining Momentum

Often, the most difficult phase in managing change is this phase when leaders work to sustain the momentum of the implementation and adjustment of plans. Change efforts can encounter a wide variety of obstacles, for example, strong resistance from members of the organization or unexpected changes in the environment outside the organization. The above section Why Change Can Be Difficult to Accomplish lists many examples of barriers to change.

The role of support cannot be minimized. Despite its importance during organizational change, the role of support is often forgotten. Strong, visible, ongoing support from top leadership is critically important to show overall credibility and accountabilities in the change effort.

Supervisors play a critical role in effectively delegating tasks to employees and providing ongoing support in the form of feedback, coaching and training. Employee performance management plays a key role in ensuring that the required actions are being taken at the right times and are being done with high quality.

At this point in a consulting project, it may be wise for the consultant to ensure he or she has ongoing support themselves (for example, from other consultants) who can provide ongoing objectivity, affirmation and other forms of support.

Additional Perspectives

The following links are to articles that together provide an increasingly comprehensive and detailed orientation to change management.
Basic Overview of Organizational Change
Biggest Mistakes in Managing Change
Requirements for Successful Organizational Change
Change Management 101


Various Organizational Change Models

See a video about models for change, roles during change, interventions, how choose them and principles for changing systems. From the Consultants Development Institute.

The purposes of an organizational change model are to 1) provide guidance to leaders of the change effort and 2) give a common perspective and frame of reference for participants when communicating about their change effort. The following paragraphs provide a general overview of some of the more prominent change models. The purpose of the overviews is to increase your general knowledge about approaches to change and help you grasp the diversity of approaches. The overviews are not intended to provide you detailed guidelines about implementing any of the models.

Note that there are many other change models, many of them formed by modifying the well-known models, such as Kurt Lewin’s action research. Also note that, because there is no standard definition for a change model, some readers might consider some of the following to be standard management practices, rather than means to affect change.

Unfreeze, Move, Refreeze

Lewin’s model is probably the most well known. Its simple, but powerful, premise is that to change a system, you first have to “unfreeze,” or loosen up those structures and influences that currently hold the system together. Without attention to those factors, the actions to accomplish desired changes are not likely to be successful because they will continue to encounter strong resistance from members of the organization.

Structures can be loosened in a variety of ways. The means mentioned in the above section Requirements for Successful Organizational Change about motivating change and creating a vision are powerful for unfreezing an organization. The next general phase in this model is about moving the change along, including by developing political support as described in the above section. The final phase is about developing and implementing new structures, such as new plans, policies and procedures, which freeze, or hold, the current state of change in place. The means mentioned in the above section about managing the transition and sustaining momentum would be very useful in refreezing the intended changes.

Lewin's 3-Stage Model of Change

Action Research

Lewin’s action research model is based on an overall cycle of 1) clarifying the current problem in the system, 2) involving a specialist or consultant, 3) gathering data and diagnosing the situation, 4) providing feedback to people in the system, 5) incorporating members’ feedback to further clarify the problem and its causes, 6) developing action plans to address the problem, 7) taking those actions and 8) gathering data to assess the effects on the problem. The cycle can also generate tremendous learning for those involved.

Many models for consulting are based on action research and include various modifications. They include, for example, more involvement of members of the organization in the process, and less focus on “diagnosis” and more focus on joint discovery. There is also more focus on strengths and opportunities and less on weaknesses and problems, as well as more focus on learning.

Action Research

Business Process Reengineering (BPR)

This method aims to increase organizational performance by radically re-designing the organization's structures and processes -- by starting over from the ground up. As with any major model for change, there are many proponents and opponents of BPR. BPR can require an extensive amount of detail, attention and time and can be quite demanding on employees.

Still, the process might be one of few that provides clear guidelines and procedures for carefully dissembling and assembling an organization. The model, like Future Search Conference (below) and Whole Systems Change, really forces leaders to take a complete, fresh look at systems in their organization and how to re-develop those systems anew.

Business Process Re-Engineering

Future Search Conference

Marvin Weisbord developed the future search approach, which can involve 30-100 people or more, usually over three days, to articulate a preferred future and develop the action steps to accomplish that future. It is an example of a relatively recent category of change models called large-scale interventions. Large-scale change is an example of transformational, organization-wide change.

In the approach, a consultant works with a small planning group to design the event. All key internal and external stakeholders are encouraged to attend. Participants examine the past, present and future of the organization from the perspective of the participants themselves, the organization and its industry. Participants discover their shared values and assumptions to clarify a preferred future or vision. The vision emerges from various scenarios, built from considering what has worked and what has not worked in the past -- but especially what has worked. Short-term and long-term action plans are established. Emphasis is on building to the desired future, rather than on solving problems.

Future Search Conference in Theory and Practice

McKinsey 7S Model

The model was developed by Watermann and Peters and depicts seven dimensions of organizations that must be considered when accomplishing organizational change. Imagine a circle of six circles with one circle in the middle. The middle circle is labeled “shared values.” Shared values represent the overall priorities in how the organization chooses to operate. The six outer circles include “strategy,” “structure,” “systems,” “skills,” “staff” and “style.” The point of the model is that an effective organization has to accomplish a fit between all seven S’s, and to realize that a change in any one of the seven dimensions will effect a change in all others.

Strategy is the overall direction of the organization and how it is going to follow that direction. Structure is the organization of the company, defining its roles and lines of authority. Systems include the processes and procedures that guide day-to-day activities in the organization. These three are the hard S’s.

Skills are the capabilities of the organization. Staff includes the organization’s people and how their expertise is utilized. Style is how the organization is led. These three are the soft S’s.

McKinsey 7S Framework

Various Additional Models

Examples of Organizational Performance Management Systems
Strategic Management (systematic, explicit implementation of a strategic plan)
Plan Do Check Act (this approach also is quite common)
Lewin's Freeze Phases
McKinsey 7S Model
Kotter 8-Step Model
Bridge's Transition Model
Embedding Adaptive Change
Prosci ADKAR


Major Roles During Successful Organizational Change

The process of organizational change can include a variety of key roles. These roles can be filled by various individuals or teams at various times during the change process. Sometimes, individuals or teams can fill more than one role.

Change Initiator

It is conventional wisdom among organizational development consultants that successful change is often provoked by a deep “hurt” or crisis in the organization, for example, dramatic reduction in sales, loss of a key leader in the organization, warnings from a major investor, or even actions of a key competitor. It is not uncommon then that someone inside the organization reacts to that deep hurt and suggests the need for a major change effort. Often the person who initiates the change is not the person who becomes the primary change agent.

Change Agent

A change agent is the person or team who's currently responsible for the overall change effort. It could be different people at different times during the change. For example, it could be a champion for change who encourages the change. Then it could be an expert on change who plans the change. Then it could be the leader in the organization who drives the change.

After the project plan has been developed and begins implementation, the change agent might be an implementation team comprised of various people from across the organization. If the change effort stalls out, the change agent might be a top leader in the organization who intercedes to ensure the change process continues in a timely fashion.

It is extremely important for the consultant to always know who the real change agent is at any time during the project because that person or team usually has the most influence on the success of the project, and therefore is the most important role to be working with then.

Here We Are. Now What?: Tips for Change Agents in 2011
Change Agents: The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How
Organization Change: Learning from the Best

Champion for Change

Change efforts often require a person or team to continue to sustain strong enthusiasm about the change. This includes reminding everyone of why the change is occurring in the first place, and the many benefits that could come if it is successful. The champion might be the same person as the change agent at various times in the project.

Sponsor of Change

Usually, there is a one key internal person or department that is officially the “sponsor,” or the official role responsible for the success of the change process. In large organizations, that sponsor often is a department, such as Human Resources, Strategic Planning or Organization Development. In smaller organizations, the sponsor might be a team of senior leaders working to ensure that the change effort stays on schedule and is sustained by ongoing provision of resources and training.

Leadership, Supervision and Delegation

Leadership could defined as setting direction and influencing people to follow that direction. A person can lead themselves, other individuals, other groups or an entire organization. Supervision is a leadership role and is guiding the development and productivity of their direct reports in the organization. Effective supervisors are able to achieve goals by guiding the work of other people – by delegating.

Note that supervisors exist throughout an organization, depending on its particular structure. For example, the Board of Directors supervises the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the CEO supervises middle managers and middle managers supervise entry-level supervisors.

The topic of leadership has become one of the most prominent topics in all of management literature today. It is almost impossible to find a general management book that does not include frequent mention of the topic of leadership. There are a variety of reasons for this, one of the most important being that successful organizational change requires strong, ongoing and visible leadership in support of that change. Leaders must model the type of behaviors that they want to see in their organization. Other reasons include:

  • Leaders must ensure that desired results are clarified and widely communicated, including to define the vision and goals.
  • Leaders in the organization must “walk their talk." They must behave according to the same values and behaviors that are needed during the change effort.
  • Leaders must ensure the ongoing accountabilities, resources and support to ensure that actions are taken to accomplish the overall change effort.

There simply is no substitute for the role that leadership and supervision play in accomplishing successful organizational change. Thus, it is extremely important that leaders and supervisors in the organization have a strong understanding of basic principles of successful change in organizations.

Additional Perspective

How to Know When to Facilitate, Train or Coach


Do Most Organizational Change Efforts Fail?

Since the early 1990s, there has been a common assertion that 70% of change efforts fail. That statistic has been mentioned by prominent people and organizations in the field, including John Kotter, Michael Hammer and James Champy, Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria, McKinsey & Company and the Harvard Business Review.

It has been used a powerful motivator for further research in organizational change, more innovation in models for change, and more commitment from leaders in making change actually happen.

However, many are skeptical of that assertion. They cite the lack of valid research that concludes that finding. They mention numerous examples of success stories about change. Some assert that it is mostly independent consultants (those who are not employees of their client's organization) who believe that statistic, while internal consultants believe that change is mostly successful.

Regardless of the opinions about the validity of the statistic, it is a significant topic to examine when talking about organizational change. Here are a variety of opinions for and against the statistic.

Assertions That Most Fail

The Truth Behind Why 70% of Organizational Change Projects Are Still Failing
Top 7 Reasons Why Organizational Change Fails
70% of Organisational Change Efforts Fail. 8 Steps for Leading Change.
Cracking the Code of Change
Why Organizational Change Almost Always Fails

Doubts About Those Assertions

The Most Misleading – and Exploited – Statistic About Change
It’s Time to Abolish the 70% Change Failure Rate Statistic
Time to Kill the Phantom 70% Failure Rate?
70% of Change Projects Fail: Bollocks!
Do 70% of Organisational Change Initiatives Really Fail?


How to Choose Which Strategies (Interventions) to Use for Change

See a video about where consultants should focus, where clients should focus, where projects should focus and core components of change plans. From the Consultants Development Institute.

The is a wide variety of strategies (often referred to as "interventions", although that term has its detractors) to use to guide successful change in organizations. There is no unique intervention to use for each different situation in an organization. However, there are some key considerations when selecting from among the many choices.

This list assumes that you and your client have done the necessary activities in the contracting phase and discovery phase, especially around readiness for change and also identifying the causes from the symptoms of the client's problem.

For Now, Select the Best Category of Interventions

With your client, discuss the findings from your research in the discovery phase. For example, did it suggest problems primarily among how individuals and groups got along with each other? Lack of strong internal practices to support growth? Lack of performance among many employees and teams? Need for an effective response to rapid changes inside and/or outside the organization?

Then read the introductions to each of the four categories of interventions in the section below to find the most likely category of interventions to use. Then select the category that seems to most closely match the nature of your findings.

The choice need not be the best one right away. If you and your client work collaboratively, always respectfully and honestly sharing impressions of the activities in the project, and then reflecting on what they are learning, you will end up using the best interventions.

Before you and your client select the best type of interventions for the project, be aware of your strong biases about how you view organizations. Without recognizing those biases, you might favor certain types of interventions primarily because those are the only ones you can readily see and understand, even if other types of interventions might be much more effective in your project.
Understand the Preferred Lens Through Which You View Organizations

Now Select the Best Intervention(s) in That Category

Now discuss which interventions, one or more, that most closely matches your findings from the discovery. It helps to review any research about the interventions. If possible, also discuss the potential outcomes with experts and your client. Consider the following questions regarding that intervention.

  1. Does the nature of that intervention match the culture of your client's organization? The best way to find out is to discuss the intervention with members of the organization.
  2. Do you and the client have the ability to implement that intervention? For example, technostructural and strategic interventions often require rather technical expertise in organizational design.
  3. Does the intervention suggest what actions to do to implement it? For example, the strategy of strategic management might suggest a SWOT analysis, identifying strategic goals, developing action plans for each goal and then implementation of the action plans.
  4. Does the intervention require more time to conduct than the time available to implement it? For example, a cash crisis requires immediate attention, so while a comprehensive strategic planning process might ultimately be useful, the four to five months to do that planning is impractical.
  5. Does your client's organization have the necessary resources to implement the intervention? Consider resources such as funding, attention and time from people and facilities.

The following articles provide another set of considerations when selecting interventions.
Four Change Management Strategies (scroll to near the bottom of the article)
Management for You: Interventions for Change
Organization Development (OD) Interventions: What Type of Organizational Development or OD Intervention Do You Need?
Selecting and Implementing Strategies for Change
Choosing the Depth of Organizational Intervention


Possible Strategies (Interventions) to Use for Change

In the article below, Edgar Schein, the developer of process consultation, a very meaningful and widely respected process for collaborating with clients to guide and support change, wonders how useful it really is to try categorize interventions. He ventures that it might be most useful instead to reflect on what emerges from continuing to help the client, rather than on which category of interventions to choose from.
Can One Develop a Useful Typology of Interventions? (see the 3rd page)

For the sake of clarity and understanding, the following interventions are categorized. The four major categories are from Cummings and Worley, in their book Organizational Change and Development (West Publishing, 1993). The following interventions are often highly integrated with each other during a project for change.

Human Process Interventions (Group and Individual Human Relations)

The following human process interventions might be particularly helpful during change projects in organizations where, for example, there are many new employees, different cultures working together, many complaints among organizational members, extensive low morale, very high turnover and/or ineffective teams.

Guiding Individuals

Coaching
Counseling
Delegating
Leading
Morale (Boosting)
Mentoring
Motivating

Group-Based

Conflict Management
Dialoguing
Group Facilitation
Group Learning
Large-Scale Interventions
Search Conference
Self-Directed Work Teams
Team Building
Virtual Teams

Technostructural Interventions (Structures, Technologies, Positions, etc.)

The following technostructural interventions might be particularly helpful in situations having, for example, rapid growth but few internal systems to sustain that growth, much confusion about roles, a strong need to soon learn a major new technology or process and/or many internal operational systems that must soon be implemented.

Balanced Scorecard
Business Process Re-Engineering
Downsizing and Outplacing
ISO9000
Management by Objectives
Organizing Staff
Organizing Tasks, Jobs and Roles
Six Sigma
Total Quality Management
Work Design

Human Resource Management Interventions (Individual and Group Performance Management)

The following human resource interventions might be particularly helpful in situations where, for example, new organizational goals have been established, many new employees have been hired, individual and team goals do not get achieved, plans do not get implemented and/or there is rapid turnover.

Employee Performance Management

Career Development
Diversity and Inclusion
Employee Wellness
Establishing Performance Goals
Evaluating Performance
Firing Employees
Observation and Feedback
Performance Improvement / Development Plans
Performance Plans
Rewarding Performance
Recognizing Performance Problems ("Performance Gaps")
Staffing

Employee Development

Career Development
Leadership Development Planning
Management Development Planning
Personal Development
Personal Productivity
Personal Wellness
Supervisory Development Planning
Training and Development

Employee Wellness Programs

Diversity Management
Drugs in the Workplace
Employee Assistance Programs
Ergonomics: Safe Facilities in the Workplace
HIV/AIDS in the Workplace
Personal Wellness
Preventing Violence in the Workplace
Safety in the Workplace
Spirituality in the Workplace

Strategic Interventions (Organization and Its External Environment)

The following strategic interventions might be particularly helpful in situations where, for example, there are rapid changes in the external environment, significantly increased competition, rapid expansion of markets, a likely merger or acquisition, and/or need for a comprehensive change throughout the organization.

Business Planning
Cultural Change
Large-Scale Interventions
Open Systems Planning
Organizational Alliances
Organizational Transformation
Whole Systems Change
Strategic Management (effective implementation of a Strategic Plan)

Other Organizations' General Lists of Interventions

The following are lists offered by other organizations and professionals in the field, and are not from those in the Cummings and Worley book, Organizational Change and Development (West Publishing, 1993), as listed above.

List of Organization Development Interventions
Organizational (OD) Interventions
Organizational Development OD Interventions
OD Interventions
Organizational Development (OD) Interventions
Organization Development Interventions
Organisation Development Interventions: An Overview
Organization Development Interventions and Teams
Three Cubes of Interventions - Organization Development

Some Types of Capacity Building in For-Profit Organizations (and how clients choose them)
Some Types of Capacity Building in Nonprofit Organizations (and how clients choose them)


Miscellaneous: Other Business and Management Topics to Round Out Knowledge

Advertising and Promotion
Benefits and Compensation
Computers, Internet and Web
Crisis Management
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Service
E-commerce
Ethics in the Workplace
Facilities Management
Financial Management (for-profit)
Financial Management (nonprofit)
Fundraising (for for-profit)
Fundraising (for nonprofit)
Insurance
Legal Information (employee laws, etc.)
Marketing (all facets)
Operations Management
Policies (personnel)
Product/Service Management
Project Management
Program Management
Public and Media Relations
Risk Management
Sales
Social Entrepreneurship
Starting an Organization (for-profit or nonprofit)
Taxation
Volunteers (recruiting, managing, etc.)

Consider
Free, Micro-eMBA
Free, Nonprofit-eMBA


Additional Perspectives on Change

Six Keys to Changing Almost Anything
Top Down or Bottom Up Approaches to Change
Implementing Successful & Sustainable Change
Change Management and Employee Communication Strategies
Four Ways to Increase the Urgency Needed for Change
Change Model 3: John Kotter's 8 Steps of Leading Change
7 Dimensions: Principal Skills of Change Facilitators
Change As Influence: How to Get the Attention of Deniers, Followers, Dreamers, and Leaders?
You Don't Need an Empire to Build Strength for Change
Effective Communication: Getting Everyone On Board The Change Train
Change Management: How to Avoid Resistance Part 1
Change Management: How to Avoid Resistance Part 2


Also See These Closely Related Topics

Overview of the Field of Organization Development
Competencies and Resources for Organizational Change Agents

All About Consulting - Types, Skills and Approaches
Collaborative Consulting for Performance, Change and Learning
Guidelines and Resources for Contracting Phase of Consulting
Guidelines and Resources for Discovery Phase of Consulting
Guidelines and Resources for Action Planning Phase of Consulting
Guidelines and Resources for Implementation Phase of Consulting
Guidelines and Resources for Project Evaluation Phase of Consulting
Guidelines and Resources for Termination Phase of Consulting


General Resources

Service Organizations Focused on Organizational Change and Development

International Association of Facilitators
International Society for Performance Improvement
Institute for Cultural Affairs -- World-Wide
Midwest Facilitators' Network
National OD Network
Society for Human Resource Management

Online Groups

Organizational Change Practitioners (LinkedIn group)
Change Consulting (LinkedIn group)
Organization Development Network (LinkedIn group)
Online groups (link to many different groups)

Toolkits, Etc.

Change Management Resource Library
Organizational Change Resources
Change Management Toolbook

Bibliographies of Books About Change Management

Here's several lists of books about OD, some of them seminal and foundational books.
Books about OD and organizational change.


Submit a link


Additional Library Resources in the Category of Organizational Change and Development

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books


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