Organization Development for the Faint of Heart Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Designing Organizations

Locate a copy of an organizational chart of your company, division, or department. If you do not have access to an organization chart, you can find examples of organizational charts on the Internet searching on Alta Vista,, for the term "company organizational charts." What type of organizational structure does the organization currently have? Is the structure functional, geographic, product, network, or a hybrid? Is it mechanistic or organic? How effective is the current structure? Could or should it be more organic? What changes would you make if you were a top executive? Explain why.

Organizing and Leading

The organizational chart example provided here illustrates a formal structure based on job function. The structure of the chart suggests a mechanistic way of conducting business as the lines of reporting are clearly demarcated and indicate functional relations between the positions. A dotted line drawn between the Construction Group and the Project Manager would be a change that might encourage more organic functioning between the engineering group and the construction group. This change could signal to the two groups of employees that they are expected to communicate and coordinate in a timely and adequately detailed fashion, without necessarily running everything through the technical advisor. If the role of the Technical Advisor is precisely that, then it does not make sense for that position to have a key role in a the hierarchy for the two groups of workers. Reviewing the organizational chart in this way leads me to think that the designer of the chart may be confused about process flow charts and organizational charts. It is logical for the technical advisor to conduct the work associated with his role at a point in a flow chart that precedes the handoff to the Construction Group and the Production Manager. It does seem that it would be desirable to articulate connections between the structure engineer, the surveyors, and the site supervisors and the site inspectors, instead of always going through the technical advisor.

AICCL Organization Chart

Chapter 12 -- Guiding Organizational Change and Learning

2. Is the way you react to innovation and change a fixed aspect of your personality? Do you think you can develop the competencies needed to be effective in organizations experiencing change? Explain. Describe a situation in which you resisted change. Why did you do so? What were the consequences of your resistance?

Although people tend to have aspects of their personalities that are more or less geared toward being adaptable, it is entirely possible to increase tolerance for change -- for ambiguity and cognitive dissonance. The Big Five trait theory of personality articulates the following major aspects of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. People who score high on the openness scale of the Big Five trait theory are more inclined to be less resistant to change than people who score low on this scale. This theory has shown remarkable stability across types of measures and different situations. However, the dimension or facets of the five major traits, allow for even finer discrimination of personality. The six facets of openness include active imagination (or fantasy), aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity. It is reasonable to assume that, at one level, people choose their occupations based on the fit between their personalities and the demands of the job. If this is fundamentally true, then people will tend to work in positions that are a good match for the way that they deal with change in their organizations. For example, someone who is an accountant may score lower on the openness scale than someone who is a client account relationship manager. It is entirely appropriate and desirable for an accountant to be less receptive to change; indeed, the nature of accounting requires absolute consistency with regard to exacting standards of practice. Too much deviance in accounting practices is a trigger for forensic accountants to become involved and for suspicion of malfeasance to rise. A client account relationship manager, on the other hand, needs to be quite flexible, and willing to adjust on a moment-to-moment basis, to the needs and desires of clients. With respect to asking employees to adapt to change, considering the inherently different propensities between the accountant and the client relationship manager, it is apparent that comfort with change will be more of a reach for some employees than for others. And certainly, this reductionist analysis does not begin to address the many other factors that can inhibit or facilitate acceptance of change.

Considering an example of my personal resistance to a change initiative, it is fair to say that my assessment of the situation was that the change was presented as important to the company while I believed that the change was intended to further the career of the person promoting the idea. The proposed change was to completely redesign the company logo, which had been in place for nearly 20 years. Notably, the clientele of this company were fundamentally conservative, and the reputation of the firm was one of considered action with appropriately managed levels of risk. As the ideas about the logo redesign were circulated, the person heading up this change effort solicited feedback from employees across the company. I expressed my thoughts about the negative repercussion of changing the long-standing company logo. Naturally, I did not voice my opinion that the logo change was intended to help justify the existing of the marketing department, and particularly the creatives on the marketing team who would be heavily engaged in any work resulting from this change. Apparently I was not the only person who thought the whole logo redesign was without merit: the proposed changes were not implemented. I would say that eventually the company acted as a learning organization and used a considerable amount of information to make the decision not to subject the firm's logo to redesign.

Chapter 13 -- Managing Human Resources

3. The text states that in order to gain "sustainable competitive advantage" companies need "employees who add value, employees who are rare, and an approach that cannot be copied." Table 13.1 on p. 424 shows some of the major areas of managing human resources and the shared responsibilities for each of these areas. Which, if any, of these HR areas does your company use to gain and sustain competitive advantage? Give specific examples. If you don't think your company is using these HR areas to gain and sustain competitive advantage, what changes in HR policies/processes would you recommend and why?

Human resources in the company I work for conducts many of the approaches for managing and sharing the human resources responsibilities. For instance, the company routinely provides orientation training to newly hired employees as part of the onboarding process. In addition, employees receive basic skills training in all of the information systems that are an integral part of doing business in the firm. The human resources department also conducts team training to help smooth interactions within the global teams, as diverse cultures and several languages can sometimes lead to miscommunication or confusion among members of these far-flung teams. The company also supports career development for employees that have been with the company five years or longer. E-training is an important component of the career development effort, particularly since the international scope of the company requires access to training according to the different time zones and the wide range of schedules people keep. The company has established a mentoring program, launching it -- and re-launching -- it over a number of years. The mentoring program seems difficult to sustain, even though mentees and mentors have said that they value the mutual arrangements quite a bit. Finally, there is a formal coaching program that is focused on succession for top-level executives in the company. Generally the coaching is an aspect of an informal plan for promotions, such that it enables executives to help select and groom the people who are expected to replace them when they retire -- and sometimes when they simply go to work for another firm or become engaged in a start-up company.

Chapter 14 -- Motivating Employees

4. Prepare a 2 -- 3-page paper (double-spaced, 12-point font) identifying 4 items:

Where do you see yourself on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and why?

Where do you see the "average American" on that same hierarchy and why?

Pick any other country and place that country's "average citizen" on the hierarchy and explain why. If you see differences among these 3 answers, explain the reasons. (example: differences between your answers and the "average American")

Conceptually, I consider myself to be in a dynamic situation where I move back and forth between the Esteem level and the Self-Actualization level. The reason that I see myself in both of these levels is largely because my work situation is in a state of flux. A recent change in the executive leader of the company has upset the pecking order, so to speak. Where…

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