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The Intervention Phase

Top-down change management creates the problem of resistance with leaders battling to motivate and engage. OD supports organizational change by utilizing their people resource. Rather than creating barriers and a culture of fear, OD intervention methods should be designed to enable people to speak up.

Once the Diagnostic Phase has been completed, the feedback report should provide the information needed to design a robust action plan for OD interventions that will enable the organization to continue its change journey. By this point the disturbance process should be in full effect and options for OD techniques and methodologies can drive real behavior change as well as change to structure, process, and policy. Interventions can be devised to address a number of organization system requirements sustaining and maintaining some elements, consolidat- ing progress made, building on strengths, or preparing for future changes. Interventions can be limited to examining a single issue or an ongoing program of interventions designed for progressive development. At the core of each OD intervention is the search for existing organizational capacity, which can help progress the organization toward prospective futures.

Based on the theoretical underpinning of OD practice, there are a number of OD tools and techniques available to the OD practitioner. Key questions to be addressed during that the Intervention Phase are:
■ Where and at what level within the organization should the intervention be deployed?
■ What specific areas of change are required and to whom: individuals, teams, functions, or the whole organization?
■ What is the focus of the intervention: task, process, or people?
■ Given the organization culture should interventions be rigorously planned or will the change journey be emergent?
■ What intervention tools and techniques best t the organizational environment and have the potential to deliver the outcome required?
■ Who within the organization will be in- volved in codesigning interventions alongside the OD practitioner?
■ What actions can the OD practitioner take to improve the client’s ability to deal with future problems?

An Intervention Model—Harnessing the Human Resource
OD interventions should engage with the tripartite of thinking, feeling, and being, which is central to human endeavor. Harnessing the Human Resource within the organization requires that each intervention engages with rational logic, awareness and self-awareness, and transpersonal elements of the change process.

OD creates space for individuals to think using iterative methods of action and re- ection. It grants access to the full range of intellectual capacity and knowledge depositories within the organizational boundary allowing for a high-level interchange of ideas and information. Reasoning creates an arena, which allows individuals to utilize the intellectual capacity available within the organization, resulting in solutions that are broader in scope, thought through, innovative, and creative.

The links to behavioral science mean that OD interventions encourage people to watch, notice, perceive, and observe their own behavior and that of others within the organization. Sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence, the act of increasing awareness into how people behave and exploring why they behave in that way in- creases an observance of behavior, which, once noticed, can be developed.

OD engages with individuals to appreciate their own, and others’, feelings, values, and beliefs. This appreciation transcends the requirement to be right, and instead develops a connection even in difference. Clear perception and recognition of how individuals activate their beliefs and values results in greater levels of understanding and appreciation, which enables personal peak performance.

The OD Tool Kit—What you Need for the Intervention Phase
The intervention phase is the beating heart of the OD program and harnesses the human resource in the organization to create a safe environment where ideation, creativity, and innovation are utilized to overcome challenges and pursue opportunities. The techniques and methods required for the intervention phase of the OD cycle are:

  • Acknowledgment of complexity
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Knowledge and methods relating to adult learning and learning through play
  • Knowledge and skills in employing OD Methods, for example:
    • Community Learning (Fulton, 2005)
    • World Café (Brown and Issacs, 2007)
    • Open Space Technology (Owen, 2008)
    • Charrettes (Lennertz, 2003)
    • Theory U (Scharmer, 2009)
    • Work-Out (Ulrich et al, 2002)
    • Sustained Dialogue (Saunders, 2012)
  • Ability to develop supportive and safe environments
  • Flexibility and adaptability to respond to the ow and messiness of the intervention environment

■ OD supports organizational change by utilizing the people resource.
■ The feedback report from the Diagnostic Phase should provide the information needed to design a robust action plan for OD interventions.
■ At the core of each OD intervention is the search for existing organizational capacity, which can help progress the organization toward prospective futures.
■ Harnessing the Human Resource within the organization requires that each intervention utilizes reasoning, observance, and appreciation.


Organisational Psychology – Work Design

Answer the Question:

What is the psychological impact of work design?

How it Began?

Terkel (1972) described work as “a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor, in short for a sort of life rather than a Monday to Friday sort of dying.  Perhaps immorality is part of the quest.”

There exist a highly diverse body of scientific concepts and findings about work organizations and the people who operate them. This diversity reflects the many problems that modern industry and commerce present for scientific study. For both practical and scientific purposes it isoften necessary to isolate problems such as work design for human convenience, job evaluation, selection, incentive schemes, primary group organization, supervision, and management organization. At the same time, most specialists agree that these problems are interrelated – beyond a certain point the solution of one kind of problem depends upon solving some of the others.

Square Peg in a Round Hole_0565

The collective act of working creates and sustains whole communities and shapes cultures on a social level.  Work activities exert a powerful influence on how people think, feel, behave, and relate to one another.  Work can have both a positive and a negative effect.

Research on Employee motivation contains considerable evidence that job design can influence satisfaction, motivation and job performance. It influences them primarily because it affects the relationship between the employee’s expectancy that increased performance will lead to rewards and the preference of different rewards for the individual.  For example, Fredrick Herzberg developed the Two Factor Theory: Hygiene Factors and Motivational Factors

Globalization and new technology continue to change what work we do and the way that we work. Characteristic content of tasks, jobs and roles performed by workers continue to evolve, not simply in regards to the shift toward knowledge work but the blurring of the lines between managerial and non-managerial work and the removal of boundaries between work and non-work activity.

Outsourcing has relocated low skilled and semi skilled manufacturing to developing economies whilst in developed economies the majority of the labour market are employed in the services sector.  Changes to the nature of work, and how work and jobs impact people, highlight the need to investigate novel approaches to the design of work.

Key Terminology

Work Design – Task, Job and Work role characteristics

Job Design – Content, Structure and organization of tasks and activities that are performed by an individual on a day-to-day basis in order to generate work products.

Role Design – Recurrent behaviours expected of a person occupying a particular position.

In Brief

The expanded focus on both job and role design has become necessary in order to adequately describe and assess the impact of changes to technology, work and patterns of working.  The characteristic content and pattern of work, as it affects workers, emerges not solely from the immediate somewhat-fixed demands of the task environment, but also from the dynamic physical, social, and organizational context in which work is performed.

Most jobs can be seen as comprising both prescribed and predetermined tasks and activities, typically those that need to be done in order to create or transform work products, and discretionary and/or emergent components.  It also recognizes that, in most work settings, matching a person to a job is a decision that involves considering not just his or her capacity to perform particular tasks, but also to occupy particular roles.

The aims of work design are to improve job satisfaction, to improve through-put, to improve quality and to reduce employee problems (e.g., grievances, absenteeism).

What does this mean to Organization Development?

Problems of task performance, supervision,etc., have the character of part problems. Thus, the analysis of the characteristics of the organisation as a holistic system has strategic significance for our understanding of many specific work related problems. The more we know about these systems, the more we can identify what is relevant to a particular problem and detect problems missed by the conventional framework of problem analysis.

Organizational Development methodology recognizes the interaction between people and technology in workplaces. Socio-technical Systems Theory recognizes both the social aspects of people and society and technical aspects of organizational structure and processes. Technical is not limited to material technology. The focus is on procedures and related knowledge,

Sociotechnical theory therefore is about joint optimization, with a shared emphasis on achievement of both excellence in technical performance and quality in people’s work lives based on designing different kinds of organisation, ones in which the relationships between socio and technical elements lead to the emergence of productivity and wellbeing.

Depending on the organisations primary agenda, sociotechnical principles can be abused as merely instruments for achieving primarily economic objectives. If Humanistic objectives have no value in themselves they may be adopted if the achievement produces a better performance from employees leading to the fulfilment of the economic objectives.

For the OD practitioner, the main task of work design is to enhance the quality of working life and the job satisfaction of the employee. In turn the achievement of these objectives will enhance productivity and yield added value to the organization.


Book Release – Change for Good


Carrie Foster, writer of More Than Just a Number and contributor to research paper “Rethinking Talent Management” for the Cambridge Scholars Publishing release Innovative Business Practices: Prevailing a Turbulent Era, has written a new People Centred Ideology focusing on various subjects, that will help businesses Change for Good.

Temperatism is a new ideology, invented by Carrie, that is a political manifesto; economic treaty and social call to arms.

Change for Good Cover

Change for Good asks the childlike, innocent question “What if Organizations pursued something other than an economic agenda?” As an Organizational Development Consultant, Carrie finds these type of questions most effective when facilitating, for driving innovation and creativity. For jumping people out of their normal linear thinking and getting them to take a look at things from a different angle. Opening up their mind to new ideas, ridiculous notions, that might, just might be the answer to the solution we were looking for all along.

As Carrie says in her Author’s Note: This book isn’t intended to have all the answers, but to present a number of arguments based on the idea that the capitalist profit agenda is not benefiting society or democracy and doesn’t have to be the only agenda that organizations and society have to follow. What follows is a proposition of an alternative agenda of Doing Good and the introduction of a new ideological framework – Temperatism.

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Albert Einstein 

This book is to #bethechange for business and organizations, and for students in Business; Philosophy; Politics; and Sociology, to think about how organizations are currently being run and to develop a ‘Doing Good’ agenda for the Future.

The books is currently available as an ebook from Amazon and will be available from Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords from 3rd June 2013 in print.

For more information please contact Twin Wicks Publishing or Contact Us


Organization Psychology – Behaviour, Performance, and Effectiveness

Answers the Question

What is the hidden structure of Performance?

How it Began

During the 1980s organizational psychology stopped complaining about the standards which organization psychology work and began thinking about occupational and work role performance as a construct which could be modelled.  Since this time there has been considerable contributions to both theory and research dealing with performance, performance dynamics and performance measurement issues.  Despite difference in methodology, terminology and emphasis there has been a remarkable convergence concerning the principal components of job performance.  Regardless of occupation, organizational level, situational context or performance dynamics the meaningful basis of individual work performance is unaffected.


Key Terminology

Effectiveness – The degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. In contrast to efficiency, effectiveness is determined without reference to costs and, whereas efficiency means “doing the thing right,” effectiveness means “doing the right thing.”

Behaviour – A response of an individual or group to an action, environment, person, or stimulus.

Performance – The accomplishment of a given task measured against preset known standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed. In a contract, performance is deemed to be the fulfillment of an obligation, in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contract.

In Brief

Human Performance is the study of limitations and capabilities in human skilled behaviour. Skill is broadly construed to include perceptual, motor, memory, and cognitive activities, and the integration of these into more complex behavior. Emphasis is on the interaction of human behavior and tools, tasks, and environments, ranging from detection and identification of simple events to problem solving, decision making, human errors, accidents, and control of complex environments. Included among the variables that affect human performance are individual differences, organismic variables, task variables, environmental variables, and training variables.

Management and leadership can be approached at different levels. The study of management and leadership at the macro level involves the influences senior level individuals have in the larger organizational context-setting strategy, directing change, influencing values. Theory and research may focus on characteristics of leaders, leader style, leader-member interactions, behaviors of leaders, and related phenomena. At a more micro level, leadership and management involves the day-to-day exchange between leaders and followers. This includes challenges faced by line managers in their relationships with subordinates in the assignment of tasks, evaluation of performance, coaching and counseling for improvement, resource planning, and related tasks. Related to many other areas, effective leadership and management involves task analysis, motivation, decision making, career planning, selection, performance appraisal, interpersonal communication, listening and related skills in a supervisor-subordinate context. Increasingly, attention is placed on team leadership and self-leadership (especially in relation to empowerment), and horizontal leadership (i.e., peer influence processes).

Work motivation refers to the conditions within the individual and his or her environment that influence the direction, strength,and persistence of relevant individual behaviours in organizations when individual abilities and organizational constraints are held constant. Increasingly, work motivation is a concern at the group level as well.

Attitudes, opinions and beliefs are extremely important in organizational settings. They are important in their own right because of humanitarian concerns for the quality of working life of those who are employed in organizations. They are also important for diagnosing problems in organizations. They are important because they relate to the behavioural intentions and the behaviours of individuals at work. Some of the job attitudes include, but are not limited to, job satisfaction(general and various facets), job involvement, organizational commitment, and perceptions of fairness.

What does this mean for Organization Development?

Organization Development encompasses theory and research relevant to changing individuals, groups, and organizations to improve their effectiveness. the body of theory and research OD draws from include related fields such as social psychology, counseling psychology, educational psychology, vocational psychology, engineering psychology, and organizational theory.

More specifically, OD concerns theory and research related, but not limited to: individual change strategies including training, socialization, attitude change, career planning, counseling, and behavior modification; interpersonal and group change strategies, including team building and group training, survey feedback, and conflict management; role or task oriented change strategies, including job redesign, role analysis, management by objectives, and temporary task forces; and organization system-directed change strategies, including survey feedback, open systems oriented change programs, human resource accounting, flexible working hours, structural changes, control system changes, and quality circles.

It is well accepted that the structure, function, processes, and other organizational-level constructs have an impact upon the behaviour of individuals in organizations. Therefore, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the nature of complex organizations. This understanding should include, but is not limited to, classical and contemporary theories of organizations, organizational structure, organizational design, technology, and the process of organizational policy formation and implementation.  Integration of organizational and individual constructs is an important area requires a knowledge of organizational theory.

Much of human activity in organizations takes place in the presence of other people. This is particularly true of work behaviour. The pervasiveness of interpersonal and task interdependence in organizations demands a good understanding of the behaviour of people in work groups. Though the labels “group” and “team” are often used interchangeably, it is also critical to have a familiarity with the growing teamwork literature. This requires an understanding that extends beyond familiarity with research and theory related to interpersonal behavior in small groups. A good background in group theory and team processes includes, but is not limited to, an understanding of leadership, motivation, interpersonal influence, group effectiveness, conformity, conflict, role behavior, and group decision making.

OD practitioners need to have a sound background in work motivation, they must have a thorough understanding of the theories of human motivation including, but not limited to, need theories, cognitive theories, and reinforcement theories. Understanding of general applications of one or more motivational perspectives, such as strategies for work motivation as goal setting, job design, incentive systems, and participative decision making are relevant here.



Organizational Psychology – Multivariate Dynamics in Organizational Science

Answers the Question

How should you approach the analysis of longitudinal data that may possess dynamic cycle of influence among multiple variables?

How it Began

Research interest in dynamic processes are increasing in the field of organisational psychology, at the same time the length and complexity of longitudinal data structures have increased.  Longitudinal data are increasingly important in the study of organizational behaviour. However, the current models used to represent the patterns present in longitudinal data are largely limited to the study of recursive relations (i.e., HLM and SEM). This is inconsistent with what we know about the self-regulated functioning of organizations, teams, and individuals where feedback loops and cyclical processes are thought to be the norm.


Key Terminology

Multivariate statistical analysis – a large set of algorithms used to identify patterns of dependence existing between variables that share the same probability of distribution.

Static Dimensionality – the ordinary factorial representation of performance

Dynamic Dimensionality – temporal factors influencing the performance domain

Individual Dimensionality – variability in the type of performance across persons in the same job.

Recursive Relations – Recursion is the process of repeating items in a self-similar way.  In mathematics, a recurrence relation is an equation that recursively defines a sequence.

In Brief

Questions about the dynamic processes that drive behaviour at work have been the focus of increasing attention in recent years. Models describing behaviour at work and research on momentary behavior indicate that substantial variation exists within individuals.  Of central interest to applied psychologists is how to define job performance, both conceptually and operationally. Most validation research treats job performance as a monolithic and static construct. There is considerable empirical evidence that job performance is multidimensional and it is possible that job performance is not stable over time. In fact, job performance data can usually be classified by three modes: the individuals assessed, the variables measured, and the times of measurement providing systematic sources of variance in job performance data, that is, multidimensionality.   Organizational Science has advanced calls for job performance studies that include changes over time, referring to this approach as multivariate dynamic.

In order to validly measure the frequency and the patterning of mental processes in everyday-life situations procedures are needed that capture variations in self-reports of those processes. To this end, experience sampling methodology has been developed in which a participant at random or specific times has to report on his or her mental state or those activities in which he or she is involved at that moment.

If performance changes over time, it would useful to find predictors of the change itself. Personality measures have been used in addition to cognitive ability measures to predict individual growth curves for performance criteria. Research indicates that both cognitive ability and conscientiousness predict initial academic performance, but only conscientiousness predicts performance trajectories. This may happen because early performance is a transition phase of skill acquisition and later performance is a maintenance phase.

Workplace behaviour comes in two basic kinds: affect driven and judgment driven. Workplace events cause affective reactions, and these affective reactions directly influence affect-driven behavior. But these affective reactions also influence job attitudes that in turn directly influence judgment-driven behaviours.

Affective events theory hypothesizes that momentary affect should thus show stronger relationships with momentary behaviours such as work withdrawal (e.g., taking long coffee breaks or surfing the Web) and that job attitudes should have stronger relationships with more considered behaviours such as job withdrawal (e.g., job search, turnover intentions, quitting). Furthermore, it is expected that individual differences in personality will moderate both the link between events and affect and predict the affective reactions themselves.

The episodic process model suggests that there will be important momentary fluctuations in the affective and regulatory resources available for employees to apply to performance behaviours. This model articulates reasons performance behaviours should meaningfully vary within persons over short time periods. For example, if my supervisor yells at me, and I then need to interact with a client, I may have to regulate my emotional display to appear positive to the client. This act of emotion regulation uses up some of my regulatory resources and may therefore make it more difficult for me to focus my attention on a report I need to write later in the day.

Obtaining evidence requires research designs that are capable of untangling both within- and between-individual variability.

What does this mean for Organizational Development?

Dimensions in the individuals mode differentiate types of employees. For example, two salespersons may provide the same economic benefit to the organization, but one contributes by directly making sales, whereas the other contributes by cre- ating goodwill, encouraging customers to make purchases throughout the store. Such individual difference dimensions of performance could be important in a variety of situations. If the organization derives the same economic benefit from different employees in different ways, these differences should be reflected in selection and reward systems.

Static dimensionality refers to the latent structure of the variables measuring job performance. Historically, the study of job performance was characterized by a search for the “ultimate criterion,” a comprehensive index of performance. It has been pointed out that this is an inappropriate way to conceptualize performance.  There is evidence across many jobs that overall job performance can consist of as many as eight dimensions. At minimum, organizational development consultants researching job performance as part of an organisational diagnostic should consider both task performance, the technical core of the job, and contextual performance, the social and nontechnical contributions an individual makes at work.

These dimensions have been found to independently contribute to supervisors’ perceptions of their subordinates’ overall job performance. For instance, consider two salespeople who have equal sales. One is known to be a loner, whereas the other gives advice and assistance to coworkers. The latter will be viewed as the superior performer due to the social contributions this salesperson makes.

The dynamic nature of performance criteria is also important to consider for employee selection.

Experience sampling methods are ideally suited to explore dynamic models of work behaviour because measurements may be taken throughout the work day on several variables.  Experience sampling data are three-mode (Persons x Variables x Occasions) and are frequently analyzed with multilevel models with the occasions mode nested within persons.

The data been collected as part of an organizational diagnostic with the intent of examining structure and dynamics, requires that the performance variables would need to be systematically sampled from the repertoire of performance behaviours. Self-reported measures may not accurately represent what a worker is actually doing.

Diagnosis of the job performance domain and its three sources of variance should be examined across a sample from the population of jobs. This requires collecting experience sampling and other longitudinal data in many organizations with many different types of employees.

Data should be collected using multiple methods and examined using multiple analytic procedures. Such a strategy will allow for a scientific understanding of the dynamic interaction of individual and workplace attributes in the study of organizational behaviour.




Spain, Seth M. , Miner, Andrew G. , Kroonenberg, Pieter M. and Drasgow, Fritz(2010) ‘Job Performance as Multivariate Dynamic Criteria: Experience Sampling and Multiway Component Analysis’, Multivariate Behavioral Research, 45: 4, 599 — 626