Organisation Development evolution with purpose and coherence

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The emergence of 'organizations from industries' and 'humans from machines' is attributed to the contributions of OD researchers. OD is hence "A response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values and structure of organizations so that they can better adapt to new technologies, markets and challenges and the dizzying rate of change itself "(Bennis,1969) . This report is an account of the evolution of OD in the century, its metamorphosis in time giving novel approaches rooted in its purpose and a synthesis of ODs purpose and coherence today.

Evolution of OD

The internal exigencies during the Second World War production processes (Grieves, 2000) are accounted to be the emergence of OD. According to Beckhard,(1969,p.2) the first third of the century was focused towards better "human engineering", to rationally utilize the workforce for increased output and productivity, which peaked during Second World War after which a demanding work force impelled management to take up a "human relations" approach which focused on man's social needs and ways of meeting them to increase motivation and organization productivity, which developed thereafter an altruistic concern for people in organization(Grieves,2000). Grieves, (2000) points out three central issues that emerged in the first three decades of the twentieth century which later informed the development of OD :

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The problem of control and compliance;

The application of technology; and

The increasing sophistication of organisational analysis.

From the late 1940's and until the 1960's behavioural and organisational health perspectives of OD emerged. This was a response to the growth of industries and organizations with many departments, levels of management, rules and procedural levels (Cummings, Boonstra (ed), 2004). Kurt Lewin and colleagues through their community experiments came up with Force Field Analysis and T-group training, where unstructured groups of participants learn from their own interactions about group dynamics, leadership, interpersonal relations and personal growth (Cummings, Boonstra (ed), 2004) which helped organizations improve social processes(Marrow, 1967). OD now in the context of organisational behaviour had the influence of the rational scientific approaches to management that began at the beginning of the century (Grieves,2000) like: Taylor's scientific management (Taylor, 1911), the Gilbreth's motion studies (Gilbreth,1911) and Gantt's task scheduling (Gantt,1929). This period reflected a mature industrial society(Thompson and McHugh,1995,p.4) and one characterized by bureaucracy and an exploitive relationship of power between the factory owner and the wage labourer (Grieves,2000). Merton (1968) and Argyris (1957) began to illuminate the inevitable conflict between bureaucratic organization and adult personality. Grieves,(2000),thus points out to concerns of "anomie" and "alienation" that grew in this period which gave rise to studies of motivation. "The new behavioural science approaches, including personality and skills testing, were recruited to assist the development of a new type of person who would be organizationally committed and moulded by the needs of the corporation and whose life in the organization was routine and largely unemotional(Biggart,1989,p.4). The roots of OD are located within the concepts of alienation and anomie(Grieves,2000).

During this period Beckhard proposed the healthy organization perspective which he explains in his definition of OD as a "planned change effort involving systematic diagnosis of the total organization that is managed from top to increase the organisational effectiveness and health of the overall system"(Beckhard, 1969,pp.9-10). Beckhard looks at the organisational health and diagnosis for organization development reflecting the functionalist thinking prevalent during the period(Grieves,2000).

Towards the 1950s work was designed to promote technical rationality, resulting in jobs that were highly specific, fragmented and repetitive resulting in employees complaining that work was boring and felt alienated affecting the organization with absenteeism and problems in quality, turnover and productivity (Cummings, Boonstra (ed),2004.The discovery of "group norms" in the Western Electric Company led to the concept of social group which became a target in order to influence productivity within the organization. This brought the impact of technological structure on work groups which gave rise to the concept of the socio-technical system (Trist and Bamforth,1951) and the effects of technology on organisational structure(Woodward,1958)(Burns and Stalker,1961).

But by the late 1960s Lewin's T-Groups began to be called "the shadow side of our profession" because they challenged personal defences and damaged members through pressure and attack (Harrison,1996,p.13). Though there were conflicts and criticisms the late 1960s saw the flowering of OD as a discipline (Albrecht,1983).

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The 1970s marked the period when organisational learning became a central constituent of OD(Grieves,2000). This period was when organizations were looking to integrate people into organizations so they join, remain, and produce at high levels (Cumming, Boonstra(ed),2004). Cummings,Boonstra (ed),(2004) further explains that by then many organizations believed that rewards can play a powerful role in promoting performance. Beckhard explains the organisational learning perspective saying, "One does not learn to play golf or drive a car by getting increased knowledge about how to play golf or drive a car. Nor can one change one's managerial style or strategy through receiving input of new knowledge alone. It is necessary to examine present behaviour, experiment with alternatives and begin to practice modified ways, if change is to occur"(Beckhard, 1969,p.16).

Though rooted in the logic and method of the 1960s ODs value-free "scientific" past was now challenged by humanistic values(Grieves,2000). This perspective of OD with value was propagated by Cummings and Huse- "Values have played a key role in OD, and traditional values promoting trust, collaboration, and openness have recently been supplemented with values for organisational effectiveness and productivity"(Cummings and Huse,1980,p.38). As a discipline it therefore emerged as "A long-range effort to improve an organizations problem-solving and renewal process through collaborative management of organization culture and with the assistance of a change agent or catalyst guided by an emerging theory and technology of applied behavioural science and especially with a methodology of action research (French and Bell, 1995).

By 1990s, it was possible to identify the specific themes of OD as personal development and organisational learning and analyses was based more on meanings informed by newer methodological approaches, than simply systems (Grieves,2000). These include: 'high-involvement organisations' that push decision-making, information and knowledge, and rewards downward to the lowest levels of the organization(Lawler,1986); 'boundaryless organsiations' that seek to eliminate unnecessary borders between hierarchical levels, functional departments, and suppliers and customers(Ashkenas et al.,1995); and 'virtual organizations' that focus on the organisation's core competence while outsourcing most other functions to other organizations who do them better(Davidow & Malone,1992). Consistent with these the interventions help organizations gain the capacity to continually learn from their actions and to make effective use of such knowledge. Such learning can provide strong competitive advantage in complex, changing environments (Teece,1998).

Current practices of OD- a far cry rooted in its history

The origins of OD was set in a market characterized by mass production and mass consumption and OD practices were a response to the growing levels of production and maximum utilization of the human resource available. The literature about the history of OD shows how a "human engineering" (Beckhard,1969,p.2) perspective has now transitioned to a human one. Originally OD was dealt with in a macro-level, where only the big picture was given importance to. Visions of a mature industrial society(Thompson and McHugh,1995,p.4) promoted a bureaucratic approach to development which was top-down and where employees were instructed to work towards OD. In spite of group concept being popularized, anomie and alienation (Grieves,2000) grew which lead to and heavily affected organizations during a major growth in economic interactions mainly globalization. The irony was in the fact that the group approach to promote learning through interactions within group did not achieve what it intended to. Original practices revolved around the individual focusing on the organization and working to instructions from management towards OD.

Present day practices are rooted in the history but have transitioned to meet the new world. The new world of the 21st century holds a vast variety of research in social science, psychology and economics. These are forces that affect an organization functioning in a milieu with constant changes, dynamic market and innovations. OD has journeyed through the change and takes an approach which focuses on the individual progress and this culminating in progress at organisational levels. Current practice promotes individual learning to reach high levels of consciousness like spirituality and wisdom by having a sense of awareness and realization that humans are influenced not just by the environment but by the interactions they have with everything around them. These practices are a holistic one where OD is dealt with in keeping with the reality that organizations exist in a society from where individuals come and both entities are governed by the dynamics of communal and personal development. Unlike the original practices, now OD goes through a bottom up approach.

Current Approaches to OD

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A century of change in social, economic, cultural and intellectual processes has moulded OD as a discipline and practice, which has seen various traditional approaches like:a data-based process driven by survey feedback (Nadler, 1977), a sociotechnical approach focused on job tasks and characteristics (Hackman & Oldham, 1980), an interpersonal process approach to facilitating group dynamics (Schein, 1969), and even a religious movement driven by zealots out to democratize organizations (Harvey, 1974). These approaches have widened the arena for and provided a foundation for a boundaryless customization. The new approaches are derived from a very panoramic view of psychology, individuals, society and the world and applied to organisation environment. Cacioppe and Edwards,(2005) have offered a big picture synthesis of transformative OD. The approaches they have used in their synthesis are Ken Wilber's integral theory, the spiral dynamics model of Don Beck and Chris Cowan, Richard Barrett's corporate transformation model and William Torbert's action inquiry model.

Integral Theory Approach

Integral theory is an over-arching model of human and social development that attempts to incorporate as many approaches to development as possible into its explanatory framework (Wilber, 1999; 2000). Ken Wilber, the creator of integral theory, has pointed out the need for over-arching frameworks that can both recognize the insights of more focused models and integrate those insights into larger theoretical structures (which he calls integral methodological pluralism)( Cacioppe and Edwards,2005). Wilber (2003, p. 31)states:

All of the major modes of human inquiry possess general practices and injunctions that bring forth and illumine various types of experiences, revelations, data, and phenomena held to be legitimate by those disciplines, and an integral methodological pluralism quite literally makes room for all of those major modes of inquiry.

Cacioppe and Edwards, (2005) describe this approach as an ambitious attempt at proposing both an investigative methodology and an explanatory framework for organisational behaviour and development. Wilber has explained this theory using three core concepts:

(1) the domains of development (the four quadrants) which fits all entities into four quadrants which represent four perspectives of reality: interior - exterior dimension, with respect to the relationship between the inner world of subjectivity and the outer world of objectivity; and individual-communal dimension referring to the relationship between individual identity or agency and social identity or communality Cacioppe and Edwards, (2005). The interactions of these quadrants show development and change and an organization should aim to maintain a balance in its four quadrants.

(2) the levels and lines of development come from Wilber's understanding of human development through "a spectrum of consciousness" (Wilber, 1976, 1980,1981). This looks at the development of: an individual from the neonatal period and infancy, through adolescence and adulthood, all the way to advanced levels of maturity and wisdom (Cacioppe and Edwards,2005); and society (Wilber ,1996). This is reflected in an organization too as culture, goals, customer and community relations, ethics and corporate morals, marketing, governance and leadership and each of these lines will develop through the spectrum of levels in each of the quadrants(Cacioppe and Edwards,2005).Figure1 shows the basics of the integral approach.

Figure1:Basic features of integral theory

Source: Cacioppe and Edwards,2005

(3) the dynamics of development: in coherence to the dynamics of an organization with focus on the need for growth integrating, its foundational activities, needs and processes for which the integral approach requires a balance between growth and integrative processes in all aspects of OD (Cacioppe and Edwards,2005).

Figure2:An integral approach to organisational dynamics

Source: Cacioppe and Edwards,2005

Figure 2 is a diagrammatic representation of the dynamic transformation to a higher level leading to growth qualitatively and qualtitatively. This focuses on the transformation of an individual or organization into an entity not just highly competitive, but in being aware of the surrounding. Each successive higher order level is more complex, more organised and more unified - and development continues until there is total unity (Cacioppe and Edwards,2005) . The integral approach to OD is a comprehensive one as compared to the traditional approaches and one that allows a breakdown analysis of the array of phenomena leading to development.

Corporate Transformation Approach

Corporate transformation (CT) (Barrett, 1998, 2002) approach is based on the seven levels of consciousness which is the same for individuals and organizations shown in Figure 3. An aspect of this approach that other approaches lack is the inclusion of spiritual levels. From this basic approach of consciousness development Barrett has developed several tools to assess and monitor OD at the individual worker, team, management/leadership and organisational levels. All these tools are used to identify areas of potential dissonance, conflict, miscommunication, perceptual gaps, and differences in levels of consciousness. These measures are intended to identify some "vital signs" on OD and corporate health and for targeting areas of weakness within the organisation and its plans for growth (Cacioppe and Edwards,2005). The CT approach drives towards achieving competitive business advantage through the perspectives of consciousness.

Figure 3: The corporate transformation levels of consciousness

Source: Cacioppe and Edwards,2005

The Action Inquiry Approach

William Torbert (2003), developer of the Action Inquiry(AI) approach says that:

Action inquiry is about discovering actions in real-time personal and professional settings that alert, attune, and sometimes even align self, immediate others, organisational strategies, and global vision and that encourage non-violent personal, organisational, and societal transformations. Action inquiry is about discovering, not just knowledge, but wisdom - the integrity of being, knowing, doing, and effectuating. Action inquiry is about discovering, not

just objectivity, but the conscious, spontaneous interplay among subjectivity, intersubjectivity, and objectivity.

AI sees personal and organisational growth as intimately connected (Cacioppe and Edwards,2005). As an individual journeys through developmental stages it leads to complex levels of "action inquiry" which is similar in organizations as shown in Figure 3.

Figure4:Parallels between personal and organisational stages of development

Source: Cacioppe and Edwards,2005

From these approaches to current OD we can clearly understand that the individual and his psychological state is the focal point to current approaches.

OD today- emergently holding on to purpose and coherence.

The past 20 years OD has seen:

A movement from centralization to decentralization

A focus on the flexible firm by disaggregating or outsourcing

A movement from long-term strategic planning to short-term tactical palnning

The emergence of downsizing and restructuring with the team as the central mechanism for innovation and exchange

The movement from training (typifying the division of labour) to organisational learning, personal growth and development (Grieves,2000)

We are heading towards a dynamic world that is challenged with perpetually evolving trends and perspectives in knowledge, human psychology, social dynamics and change, organisational styles and economic philosophies. People and organizations have to face the reality to emerge victorious in their fields. OD, from its start as a bureaucratic toolkit has mutated through a contrasting evolution of individuals and organisational interactions surviving the criticisms and near failure as a practice. This is evidence to the fact that OD has taken a different stand-point but definitely not lost its purpose or coherence.

The move towards virtual organizations and the challenge of attaining competitive advantage is the need of this economic era. This demands a cumulation of realization of self, individual purposes, organizations and their vastness and the survival in the volatile social construct. The new approaches to OD rooted in its purpose of individual empowerment - the catalyst to organisational excellence has been coherently sewn to fit the current philosophies of the panoramic individual- who is a sum total of experiences from the neonatal stage , an entity with inner subjectivity and outer objectivity, goes through a conscious discovery of knowledge and wisdom and achieves spiritual levels; and a mammoth organization philosophy- comprising of the panoramic individual, individual and communal interactions, competitive business markets, boundaryless functioning and its very own strategies.

OD will remain a very real and evolving phenomena until change prevails. It will coherently accommodate the need of the hour and will help synthesis approaches to implement it with social philosophies.