Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

  • Think about a problem in a specific unit or area of your organization or one with which you are familiar. What are the indications that there is a problem? What change may be needed? (Note: This problem should be different from the one you are addressing in the Week 2 Assignment.). A clinical problem works well; an example is that you note an increasing number of patients with deep vein thrombosis following orthopedic surgery.
  • Consider how you could locate evidence to examine the needed change. What literature would you review? Which professional organization standards or recommendations may be relevant? With whom would you communicate/network to ascertain community standards? Bear in mind that you may also look at evidence from fields other than nursing.
  • Review the information in the Learning Resources. Using your knowledge of contemporary theories of chaos and complexity, consider how you could adapt Lewin’s classic model for change and apply this to your selected problem.

By Day 3

Post a description of the problem, including relevant indicator(s). Provide a synopsis of how you would proceed in locating evidence, including research literature you would consult, which professional organization standards may be relevant, and with whom you would communicate or network to ascertain community standards. Then, identify how you would adapt Lewin’s classic model of change based on chaos and complexity theory to address this evidence–based change.

Chapter 02 The Nature of Planned Change

PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

for change, decrease those forces maintaining the current state, or apply some combination

of both. For example, the level of performance of a work group might be stable because

group norms maintaining that level are equivalent to the supervisor’s pressures for change

to higher levels. This level can be increased either by changing the group norms to support

higher levels of performance or by increasing supervisor pressures to produce at higher

levels. Lewin suggested that decreasing those forces maintaining the status quo produces

less tension and resistance than increasing forces for change and consequently is a more

effective change strategy.Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Lewin viewed this change process as consisting of the following three steps, which

are shown in Figure 2.1(A):

Unfreezing. This step usually involves reducing those forces maintaining the

organization’s behavior at its present level. Unfreezing is sometimes accomplished

through a process of “psychological disconfirmation.” By introducing information

that shows discrepancies between behaviors desired by organization members

and those behaviors currently exhibited, members can be motivated to engage in

change activities.


Moving. This step shifts the behavior of the organization, department, or individ-

ual to a new level. It involves intervening in the system to develop new behaviors,

values, and attitudes through changes in organizational structures and processes.

Refreezing. This step stabilizes the organization at a new state of equilibrium. It

is frequently accomplished through the use of supporting mechanisms that rein-

force the new organizational state, such as organizational culture, rewards, and


Lewin’s model provides a general framework for understanding organizational

change. Because the three steps of change are relatively broad, considerable effort has

gone into elaborating them. For example, the planning model developed by Lippitt,

Watson, and Westley arranges Lewin’s model into seven steps: scouting, entry, diagno-

sis (unfreezing), planning, action (moving), stabilization and evaluation, and termina-

tion (refreezing).


Similarly, Kotter’s eightwstage process can be mapped onto Lewin’s

phases: establishing a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a

vision and strategy, and communicating the change vision (unfreezing); empowering

broad-based action, generating short-term wins (moving); and consolidating gains and

producing more change, and anchoring new approaches in the culture (refreezing).


Lewin’s model remains closely identified with the field of OD, however, and is used

to illustrate how other types of change can be implemented. For example, Lewin’s

three-step model has been used to explain how information technologies can be imple-

mented more effectively.


Action Research Model

The classic action research model focuses on planned change as a cyclical process in

which initial research about the organization provides information to guide subsequent

action. Then the results of the action are assessed to provide further information to

guide further action, and so on. This iterative cycle of research and action involves con-

siderable collaboration among organization members and OD practitioners. It places

heavy emphasis on data gathering and diagnosis prior to action planning and imple-

mentation, as well as careful evaluation of results after action is taken.

Action research is traditionally aimed both at helping specific organizations imple-

ment planned change and at developing more general knowledge that can be applied

to other settings.Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change


Although action research was originally developed to have this

dual focus on change and knowledge generation, it has been adapted to OD efforts

in which the major emphasis is on planned change.


Figure 2.1(B) shows the cyclical




25CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

phases of planned change as defined by the original action research model. There are

eight main steps.

Problem Identification. This stage usually begins when an executive in the orga-

nization or someone with power and influence senses that the organization has

one or more problems that might be solved with the help of an OD practitioner.

Consultation with a Behavioral Science Expert. During the initial contact, the

OD practitioner and the client carefully assess each other. The practitioner has his

or her own normative, developmental theory or frame of reference and must be



Comparison of Planned Change Models

[Figure 2.1][Figure 2.1]


ewin’s Planned

Change Model





Action Research




Consultation with

Behavioral Science Expert

Feedback to Key

Client or Group

Joint Diagnosis

of Problem

Joint Action



Data Gathering

after Action




Initiate the Inquiry

Inquire into

Best Practices

Discover Themes

Envision a

Preferred Future

Design and Deliver

Ways to Create

the Future

Data Gathering and

Preliminary Diagnosis

26 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

conscious of those assumptions and values.Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change


Sharing them with the client from the

beginning establishes an open and collaborative atmosphere.

Data Gathering and Preliminary Diagnosis. This step is usually completed by

the OD practitioner, often in conjunction with organization members. It involves

gathering appropriate information and analyzing it to determine the underlying

causes of organizational problems. The four basic methods of gathering data are

interviews, process observation, questionnaires, and organizational performance

data (unfortunately, often overlooked). One approach to diagnosis begins with

observation, proceeds to a semistructured interview, and concludes with a ques-

tionnaire to measure precisely the problems identified by the earlier steps.



gathering diagnostic information, OD practitioners may influence members from

whom they are collecting data. In OD, any action by the OD practitioner can be

viewed as an intervention that will have some effect on the organization.


Feedback to a Key Client or Group. Because action research is a collaborative

activity, the diagnostic data are fed back to the client, usually in a group or work-

team meeting. The feedback step, in which members are given the information gath-

ered by the OD practitioner, helps them determine the strengths and weaknesses

of the organization or unit under study. The consultant provides the client with all

relevant and useful data. Obviously, the practitioner will protect confidential sources

of information and, at times, may even withhold data. Defining what is relevant

and useful involves consideration of privacy and ethics as well as judgment about

whether the group is ready for the information or if the information would make

the client overly defensive.

Joint Diagnosis of the Problem. At this point, members discuss the feedback

and explore with the OD practitioner whether they want to work on identified

problems. A close interrelationship exists among data gathering, feedback, and

diagnosis because the consultant summarizes the basic data from the client mem-

bers and presents the data to them for validation and further diagnosis. An impor-

tant point to remember, as Schein suggests, is that the action research process is

very different from the doctor–patient model, in which the consultant comes in,

makes a diagnosis, and prescribes a solution. Schein notes that the failure to estab-

lish a common frame of reference in the client–consultant relationship may lead

to a faulty diagnosis or to a communication gap whereby the client is sometimes

“unwilling to believe the diagnosis or accept the prescription.” He believes that

“most companies have drawers full of reports by consultants, each loaded with

diagnoses and recommendations which are either not understood or not accepted

by the ‘patient.’ ”


Joint Action Planning. Next, the OD practitioner and the client members

jointly agree on further actions to be taken. This is the beginning of the moving

process (described in Lewin’s change model), as the organization decides how

best to reach a different quasi-stationary equilibrium. At this stage, the specific

action to be taken depends on the culture, technology, and environment of the

organization; the diagnosis of the problem; and the time and expense of the


Action. This stage involves the actual change from one organizational state to

another. It may include installing new methods and procedures, reorganizing

structures and work designs, and reinforcing new behaviors. Such actions typically

cannot be implemented immediately but require a transition period as the organi-

zation moves from the present to a desired future state. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change


Data Gathering After Action. Because action research is a cyclical process, data

must also be gathered after the action has been taken to measure and determine

the effects of the action and to feed the results back to the organization. This, in

turn, may lead to rediagnosis and new action.







27CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

The action research model underlies most current approaches to planned change and

is often considered synonymous with OD. Recently, it has been refined and extended

to new settings and applications, and consequently, researchers and practitioners have

made requisite adaptations of its basic framework.


Trends in the application of action research include movement from smaller subunits

of organizations to total systems and communities.


In these larger contexts, action

research is more complex and political than in smaller settings. Therefore, the action

research cycle is coordinated across multiple change processes and includes a diversity

of stakeholders who have an interest in the organization. (We describe these applica-

tions more thoroughly in Chapters 20, 21, and 22.) Action research also is applied

increasingly in international settings, particularly in developing nations in the southern



Embedded within the action research model, however, are “northern

hemisphere” assumptions about change. For example, action research traditionally views

change more linearly than do Asian cultures, and it treats the change process more col-

laboratively than do Latin American and African countries. To achieve success in these

settings, action research is tailored to fit cultural assumptions. (See “Different Types of

Planned Change” below and Chapter 23.) Finally, action research is applied increasingly

to promote social change and innovation, as demonstrated most clearly in community

development and global social change projects.


These applications are heavily value

laden and seek to redress imbalances in power and resource allocations across different

groups. Action researchers tend to play an activist role in the change process, which is

often chaotic and conflictual. (Chapter 23 reviews global social change processes.)

In light of these general trends, contemporary applications of action research have sub-

stantially increased the degree of member involvement in the change process. This contrasts

with traditional approaches to planned change, whereby consultants carried out most of

the change activities, with the agreement and collaboration of management.



consultant-dominated change still persists in OD, there is a growing tendency to involve

organization members in learning about their organization and how to change it. Referred

to as “participatory action research,” “action learning,” “action science,” or “self-design,”

this approach to planned change emphasizes the need for organization members to learn

firsthand about planned change if they are to gain the knowledge and skills needed to

change the organization. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change


In today’s complex and changing environment, some argue that

OD must go beyond solving particular problems to helping members gain the competence

needed to change and improve the organization continually.


In this modification of action research, the role of OD consultants is to work with

members to facilitate the learning process. Both parties are “co-learners” in diagnosing the

organization, designing changes, and implementing and assessing them.


Neither party

dominates the change process. Rather, each participant brings unique information and

expertise to the situation, and they combine their resources to learn how to change the

organization. Consultants, for example, know how to design diagnostic instruments and

OD interventions, and organization members have “local knowledge” about the organiza-

tion and how it functions. Each participant learns from the change process. Organization

members learn how to change their organization and how to refine and improve it. OD

consultants learn how to facilitate complex organizational change and learning.

The action research model will continue to be the dominant methodological basis

for planned change in the near future. But the basic philosophy of science on which

traditional action research operates is also evolving and is described below.

The Positive Model

The third model of change, the positive model, represents an important departure from

Lewin’s model and the action research process. Those models are primarily deficit based;

they focus on the organization’s problems and how they can be solved so it functions

28 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

better. The positive model focuses on what the organization is doing right. It helps

members understand their organization when it is working at its best and builds off those

capabilities to achieve even better results. This positive approach to change is consistent

with a growing movement in the social sciences called “positive organizational scholar-

ship,” which focuses on positive dynamics in organizations that give rise to extraordinary



Considerable research on expectation effects also supports this model of

planned change.


It shows that people tend to act in ways that make their expectations

occur. Thus, positive expectations about the organization can create an anticipation that

energizes and directs behavior toward making those beliefs happen.

The positive model has been applied to planned change primarily through a pro-

cess called appreciative inquiry (AI).


As a “reformist and rebellious” form of social

constructionism, AI explicitly infuses a positive value orientation into analyzing and

changing organizations.


Social constructionism assumes that organization members’

shared experiences and interactions influence how they perceive the organization and

behave in it.


Because such shared meaning can determine how members approach

planned change, AI encourages a positive orientation to how change is conceived and

managed. It promotes broad member involvement in creating a shared vision about

the organization’s positive potential. That shared appreciation provides a powerful and

guiding image of what the organization could be.

Drawing heavily on AI, the positive model of planned change involves five phases

that are depicted in Figure 2.1(C).

Initiate the Inquiry. This first phase determines the subject of change. It empha-

sizes member involvement to identify the organizational issue they have the

most energy to address. For example, members can choose to look for successful

male–female collaboration (as opposed to sexual discrimination), instances of cus-

tomer satisfaction (as opposed to customer dissatisfaction), particularly effective

work teams, or product development processes that brought new ideas to market

especially fast. If the focus of inquiry is real and vital to organization members, the

change process itself will take on these positive attributes. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Inquire into Best Practices. This phase involves gathering information about the

“best of what is” in the organization. If the topic is organizational innovation, then

members help to develop an interview protocol that collects stories of new ideas that

were developed and implemented in the organization. The interviews are conducted

by organization members; they interview each other and tell stories of innovation in

which they have personally been involved. These stories are pulled together to create

a pool of information describing the organization as an innovative system.

Discover the Themes. In this third phase, members examine the stories, both

large and small, to identify a set of themes representing the common dimensions of

people’s experiences. For example, the stories of innovation may contain themes

about how managers gave people the freedom to explore a new idea, the sup-

port organization members received from their coworkers, or how the exposure

to customers sparked creative thinking. No theme is too small to be represented;

it is important that all of the underlying mechanisms that helped to generate and

support the themes be described. The themes represent the basis for moving from

“what is” to “what could be.”

Envision a Preferred Future. Members then examine the identified themes, chal-

lenge the status quo, and describe a compelling future. Based on the organization’s

successful past, members collectively visualize the organization’s future and

develop “possibility propositions”—statements that bridge the organization’s cur-

rent best practices with ideal possibilities for future organizing.


These propositions

should present a truly exciting, provocative, and possible picture of the future.





29CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

Based on these possibilities, members identify the relevant stakeholders and critical

organization processes that must be aligned to support the emergence of the envi-

sioned future. The vision becomes a statement of “what should be.”

Design and Deliver Ways to Create the Future. The final phase involves the

design and delivery of ways to create the future. It describes the activities and cre-

ates the plans necessary to bring about the vision. It proceeds to action and assess-

ment phases similar to those of action research described previously. Members

make changes, assess the results, make necessary adjustments, and so on as they

move the organization toward the vision and sustain “what will be.” The process

is continued by renewing the conversations about the best of what is. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Comparisons of Change Models

All three models—Lewin’s change model, the action research model, and the posi-

tive model—describe the phases by which planned change occurs in organizations. As

shown in Figure 2.1, the models overlap in that their emphasis on action to imple-

ment organizational change is preceded by a preliminary stage (unfreezing, diagnosis,

or initiate the inquiry) and is followed by a closing stage (refreezing or evaluation).

Moreover, all three approaches emphasize the application of behavioral science knowl-

edge, involve organization members in the change process to varying degrees, and

recognize that any interaction between a consultant and an organization constitutes an

intervention that may affect the organization. However, Lewin’s change model differs

from the other two in that it focuses on the general process of planned change, rather

than on specific OD activities.

Lewin’s model and the action research model differ from the positive approach in

terms of the level of involvement of the participants and the focus of change. Lewin’s

model and traditional action research emphasize the role of the consultant with rela-

tively limited member involvement in the change process. Contemporary applications

of action research and the positive model, on the other hand, treat both consultants

and participants as co-learners who are heavily involved in planned change. In addi-

tion, Lewin’s model and action research are more concerned with fixing problems than

with focusing on what the organization does well and leveraging those strengths.


The three models of planned change suggest a general framework for planned change

as shown in Figure 2.2. The framework describes the four basic activities that practi-

tioners and organization members jointly carry out in organization development. The

arrows connecting the different activities in the model show the typical sequence of

events, from entering and contracting, to diagnosing, to planning and implementing

change, to evaluating and institutionalizing change. The lines connecting the activi-

ties emphasize that organizational change is not a straightforward, linear process but

involves considerable overlap and feedback among the activities. Because the model

serves to organize the remaining parts of this book, Figure 2.2 also shows which spe-

cific chapters apply to the four major change activities.

Entering and Contracting

The first set of activities in planned change concerns entering and contracting

(described in Chapter 4). Those events help managers decide whether they want

to engage further in a planned change program and to commit resources to such a

process. Entering an organization involves gathering initial data to understand the

problems facing the organization or to determine the positive areas for inquiry. Once


30 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

this information is collected, the problems or opportunities are discussed with man-

agers and other organization members to develop a contract or agreement to engage

in planned change. The contract spells out future change activities, the resources

that will be committed to the process, and how OD practitioners and organization

members will be involved. In many cases, organizations do not get beyond this early

stage of planned change because one or more situations arise: Disagreements about

the need for change surface, resource constraints are encountered, or other methods

for change appear more feasible. When OD is used in nontraditional and interna-

tional settings, the entering and contracting process must be sensitive to the context

in which the change is taking place.


In this stage of planned change, the client system is carefully studied. Diagnosis can

focus on understanding organizational problems, including their causes and conse-

quences, or on collecting stories about the organization’s positive attributes. The diag-

nostic process is one of the most important activities in OD. It includes choosing an

appropriate model for understanding the organization and gathering, analyzing, and

feeding back information to managers and organization members about the problems

or opportunities that exist.

Diagnostic models for analyzing problems (described in Chapters 5 and 6) explore

three levels of activities. Organization issues represent the most complex level of analy-

sis and involve the total system. Group-level issues are associated with department

and group effectiveness. Individual-level issues involve the way jobs are designed and


Gathering, analyzing, and feeding back data are the central change activities in diag-

nosis. Chapter 7 describes how data can be gathered through interviews, observations,

survey instruments, or such archival sources as meeting minutes and organization

charts. It also explains how data can be reviewed and analyzed. In Chapter 8, we describe

the process of feeding back diagnostic data. Organization members, often in collaboration

with an OD practitioner, jointly discuss the data and their implications for change. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Planning and Implementing Change

In this stage, organization members and practitioners jointly plan and implement OD

interventions. They design interventions to achieve the organization’s vision or goals

and make action plans to implement them. There are several criteria for designing

interventions, including the organization’s readiness for change, its current change

capability, its culture and power distributions, and the change agent’s skills and abilities

General Model of Planned Change

[Figure 2.2][Figure 2.2]




(Chapter 4)




Planning and



(Chapters 9–10,


Evaluating and



(Chapter 11)

31CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

(discussed in Chapter 9). Depending on the outcomes of diagnosis, there are four major

types of interventions in OD:

Human process interventions at the individual, group, and total system levels

(Chapters 12 and 13)

Interventions that modify an organization’s structure and technology

(Chapters 14, 15, and 16)

Human resources interventions that seek to improve member performance and

wellness (Chapters 17, 18, and 19)

Strategic interventions that involve managing the organization’s relationship to its

external environment and the internal structure and process necessary to support

a business strategy (Chapters 20, 21, and 22).

Chapters 23 and 24 present specialized information for carrying out OD in interna-

tional settings and in such nontraditional organizations as schools, health care institu-

tions, family-owned businesses, and the public sector.

Implementing interventions is concerned with leading and managing the change

process. As discussed in Chapter 10, it includes motivating change, creating a desired

future vision of the organization, developing political support, managing the transition

toward the vision, and sustaining momentum for change. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Evaluating and Institutionalizing Change

The final stage in planned change involves evaluating the effects of the intervention

and managing the institutionalization of successful change programs so they persist.

(Those two activities are described in Chapter 11.) Feedback to organization mem-

bers about the intervention’s results provides information about whether the changes

should be continued, modified, or suspended. Institutionalizing successful changes

involves reinforcing them through feedback, rewards, and training.

Application 2.1 describes the initiation of a planned change process in a government

organization. It provides especially rich detail on the planning and implementing phase

of change, and on how people can be involved in the process.



The general model of planned change describes how the OD process typically unfolds

in organizations. In actual practice, the different phases are not nearly as orderly as

the model implies. OD practitioners tend to modify or adjust the stages to fit the needs

of the situation. Steps in planned change may be implemented in a variety of ways,

depending on the client’s needs and goals, the change agent’s skills and values, and

the organization’s context. Thus, planned change can vary enormously from one situ-

ation to another.

To understand the differences better, planned change can be contrasted across situations

on three key dimensions: the magnitude of organizational change, the degree to which

the client system is organized, and whether the setting is domestic or international.

Magnitude of Change

Planned change efforts can be characterized as falling along a continuum ranging

from incremental changes that involve fine-tuning the organization to fundamental

changes that entail radically altering how it operates.


Incremental changes tend to

involve limited dimensions and levels of the organization, such as the decision-making

processes of work groups. They occur within the context of the organization’s existing

business strategy, structure, and culture and are aimed at improving the status quo.





application 2.1

Planned Change at the San Diego County

Regional Airport Authority

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

(SDCRAA) was created by a California state law

in October 2001; this gave it the responsibility to

establish and operate airports within San Diego

County. Most importantly, from Thella Bowens’s

perspective, the law required the San Diego

Unified Port District (Port of San Diego) to trans-

fer operation of San Diego’s international airport

to the SDCRAA by January 2003. Bowens was the

current senior director of the Aviation Division

within the Port of San Diego that was responsible

for operating the San Diego International Airport.

When the law was passed, she was named Interim

Executive Director of the SDCRAA, and assigned

an interim advisory board to help manage the

transition. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Bowens’s tenure with the organization gave her

an important understanding of the organization’s

operations and its history. For example, the San

Diego International Airport accounted for about

$4.3 billion or roughly 4% of San Diego’s regional

economy. Forecasts called for air travel to more

than double to 35 million passengers by 2030, and

contribute up to $8 billion to the regional econ-

omy. In addition, Bowens had participated in the

Aviation Division’s strategic planning process in

2001. She was well positioned to lead this effort.

As she thought about managing the start-up

of the SDCRAA, two broad but interdependent

categories of initial activity emerged: developing

the transition plan and dealing with the legal and

regulatory issues.


In April 2002, Bowens took the senior team from

the old Aviation Division to an off-site workshop to

discuss the creation and management of an effec-

tive transition process. This group understood the

importance of SDCRAA quickly becoming a stand-

alone agency and the need to be seen differently in

the marketplace. The group recommended revising

the existing strategic plan, to hire staff to research,

discuss, and create a transition plan, and to con-

duct retreats with employees from multiple organi-

zational levels. In response, Bowens chartered the

Airport Transition Team to ensure the smooth and

seamless transfer of operations and public services

provided by the airport without regard to which

agency was responsible for their provision.

In May 2002, seven employees were handpicked

from the Aviation Division to become members of

the Airport Transition Team and relieved of their

day-to-day job responsibilities so they could focus

on the transition. The selection criteria included

the ability to work within a process yet think out-

side of the box, to communicate well with others

in a team, and to influence directors and man-

agers without having formal authority. A one-

and-a-half-day kick-off meeting was held to set

expectations, to communicate goals and respon-

sibilities, and to initiate the team. A “war room”

was established for the team to keep records, hold

meetings, and serve as a communication hub. The

team named themselves the “Metamorphs.”

Many Metamorph members came from differ-

ent parts of the organization and, having never

worked together, needed to rely on each other to

effectively design the transition process. Senior

team member Angela Shafer-Payne, then director

of Airport Business and Administration, worked

closely with the Metamorphs and led formal team-

building activities throughout the year. Through

their work together, the Metamorphs discovered

how large and daunting the organizational change

was and yet appreciated the unique, once-in-a-

lifetime opportunity to make an impact. As one

member put it, “How many times in your life can

you say that you helped put together a brand-new


The Metamorphs decided that to meet their char-

ter, any transition plan had to be designed spe-

cifically to minimize disruption to customers and

service, minimize airport and nonairport financial

impacts, and properly address and resolve all legal

and regulatory matters. These criteria guided the

creation of 12 functional teams (which expanded

later to 19). Responsibility for the teams was

divided among the transition team members,

and each team was composed of employees

from the old Aviation Division and other Port

of San Diego departments. Their mission was to

33CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

collect data, establish new or parallel functions

for the SDCRAA, and highlight any issues related

to the start-up of that particular function. Once

the teams were in place, they were given tools to

use and questions that needed to be addressed.

Each team set aside time to review all of the

records in each functional area. For example,

the human resources functional team consisted

of Aviation Division employees, HR professionals

from the Port of San Diego, and Port attorneys;

it was charged with developing the actual transi-

tion mechanism, HR operations, and HR organi-

zational structure. Another team focused on the

environmental issues involved in the transition.

They examined over 100 different environmental

permits held by the Port of San Diego to under-

stand if SDCRAA needed a similar permit, needed

to be a co-permittee with the Port of San Diego,

or if the SDCRAA could stand alone. If it were a

stand-alone situation, then documentation would

be prepared to transfer the permit. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

To ensure that no issues fell through the cracks,

three distinct peer reviews were held in the sum-

mer and fall of 2002. The peer review panels were

staffed by professionals within the aviation indus-

try, people who had experienced a transition of

some type within an organization, or those who

were integral to the start-up of the organization.

The first peer review panel examined the transi-

tion plan and offered advice on whether to add

any other critical and/or missing components. The

second peer review panel, consisting of mostly

human resources professionals, examined the

proposed organizational structure. The final peer

review panel focused on the IT systems portion of

the transition plan because of technology’s critical

role in the overall success of many of the internal



By January 2002, the SDCRAA was not yet a full

agency and had only one employee, Thella Bowens.

Despite all the work of the Metamorphs and the

functional teams, and sometimes because of it,

Bowens also had to interface with the California

legislature. The original legislation (California

Senate Bill AB93 [2001–2002]) provided a frame-

work for setting up the new agency but left many

questions unanswered, including issues relating to

property transfer (SDCRAA would lease land from

the Port on a 66-year lease) and the transitioning

of employees from one public agency to another.

To provide clarity and another layer of under-

standing, “clean-up” legislation (SB 1896) was

passed in mid-2002. Together with the original bill,

the legislation protected employees to ensure no

loss of jobs or benefits. This gave the Metamorphs

additional information and guidance to deal with

employee contract issues. For example, in the

middle of the transition planning process, the

Port District had to renegotiate its union contract.

The Metamorphs had to work closely with the

airport’s external counsel, the Port of San Diego

counsel, and state senators to ensure a smooth


Finally, Bowens and the Metamorphs had to address

changes to federal security regulations outlined in

the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that

resulted from the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Those events caused a number of disruptions for

many stakeholders in the air transportation indus-

try. They required the transition plan to include

a component that focused on keeping costs con-

tained to enable aviation partners, the airlines, the

gate gourmets, and tenants, to weather the storm.


The final transition plan was presented to the

interim board and then to the Board of Port

Commissioners for approval in October 2002. The

approved plan was comprised of several compon-

ents, including an IT conversion plan and the

process for formally transferring responsibility to

the SDCRAA, but the key elements were human

resources and communication plans.

The human resources plan specified the transition

of 145 budgeted Aviation Division employees to

52 vacancies plus the 90 other positions identified

by the Metamorphs to make the organization whole.

The plan called for all of the positions to be filled by

mid-2005. The human resources plan also provided

for the purchase of services, like the Harbor Police,

from the Port of San Diego until mid-2005.

The communication plan was critical to the imple-

mentation phase. The Metamorphs regularly car-

ried information about their progress to coworkers

in their respective departments. In addition, com-

munication meetings with the entire organization,

called “all hands meetings,” were held to provide

3434 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

information about the transition. The Airport

Transition Plan contained a special emphasis on

the needs of the employee. Bowens understood

the sociotechnical nature of change and did not

want the human factor to be forgotten in the midst

of all the legal, technical, and other transitions.

She included a number of change management

education sessions for all employees. The change

management education sessions were developed to

reassure employees; to encourage genuine, candid,

frequent, high-quality communications; and to

neutralize anxiety and fears. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

During the sessions, employees were (1) updated

on the progress of the transition; (2) introduced

to change theories, models, and concepts; and

(3) encouraged to share their issues, fears, anxieties,

concerns, and creative ideas. Employee input was

organized into themes, then documented and com-

municated to Bowens and her direct reports. The

leadership team was committed to answering ques-

tions and addressing concerns that emerged from

the change management sessions. Airport managers

met regularly to select and answer questions for

publication in the organization newsletter or live

communication at “all hands meetings.” In addition,

the employee satisfaction survey was updated with

questions to learn about transition concerns.

Thella Bowens was named President and CEO of

the SDCRAA on January 1, 2003. By June 2003,

the SDCRAA had received awards based on superb

customer service and outstanding levels of perform-

ance. The SDCRAA, based on all available metrics,

is successfully operating San Diego’s international

airport and serving over 15.2 million passengers

on 620 daily flights in and out of the airport. Part

of the success is due to the way the transition plan

was developed. Because of the broad participation

in its creation, many employees understood the

plan. When issues arose, identifying the personnel

to become part of an ad hoc problem-solving group

already familiar with the topic was easy.

“Ms. Bowens accomplished the extraordinary job

of leading a successful transition of the airport from

the Unified Port of San Diego to the Authority,”

said Joseph W. Craver, Authority (SDCRAA)

Chairman. “She is highly regarded and respected

for both her breadth of knowledge of aviation

management issues and her visionary leader-

ship.” Thella Bowens added, “Fortunately, we’ve

been supported by very dedicated professional

employees who have exhibited great resolve and

sheer hard work through the transition process,

and continue to do so as we create a ‘world-class’


Fundamental changes, on the other hand, are directed at significantly altering how the

organization operates. They tend to involve several organizational dimensions, includ-

ing structure, culture, reward systems, information processes, and work design. They

also involve changing multiple levels of the organization, from top-level management

through departments and work groups to individual jobs.

Planned change traditionally has been applied in situations involving incremental

change. Organizations in the 1960s and 1970s were concerned mainly with fine-tuning

their bureaucratic structures by resolving many of the social problems that emerged

with increasing size and complexity. In those situations, planned change involves a

relatively bounded set of problem-solving activities. OD practitioners are typically

contracted by managers to help solve specific problems in particular organizational

systems, such as poor communication among members of a work team or low cus-

tomer satisfaction scores in a department store. Diagnostic and change activities tend

to be limited to the defined issues, although additional problems may be uncovered

and may need to be addressed. Similarly, the change process tends to focus on those

35CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

organizational systems having specific problems, and it generally terminates when the

problems are resolved. Of course, the change agent may contract to help solve addi-

tional problems.

In recent years, OD has been increasingly concerned with fundamental change. As

described in Chapter 1, the greater competitiveness and uncertainty of today’s environ-

ment have led a growing number of organizations to alter drastically the way in which

they operate. In such situations, planned change is more complex, extensive, and

long term than when applied to incremental change.


Because fundamental change

involves most features and levels of the organization, it is typically driven from the top,

where corporate strategy and values are set. Change agents help senior executives cre-

ate a vision of a desired future organization and energize movement in that direction.

They also help them develop structures for managing the transition from the present to

the future organization and may include, for example, a program management office

and a variety of overlapping steering committees and redesign teams. Staff experts also

may redesign many features of the firm, such as performance measures, rewards, plan-

ning processes, work designs, and information systems.

Because of the complexity and extensiveness of fundamental change, OD profes-

sionals often work in teams comprising members with different yet complementary

areas of expertise. The consulting relationship persists over relatively long time periods

and includes a great deal of renegotiation and experimentation among consultants and

managers. The boundaries of the change effort are more uncertain and diffuse than

those in incremental change, thus making diagnosis and change seem more like dis-

covery than like problem solving. (We describe complex strategic and transformational

types of change in more detail in Chapters 20, 21, and 22.)

It is important to emphasize that fundamental change may or may not be develop-

mental in nature. Organizations may drastically alter their strategic direction and way

of operating without significantly developing their capacity to solve problems and to

achieve both high performance and quality of work life. For example, firms may simply

change their marketing mix, dropping or adding products, services, or customers; they

may drastically downsize by cutting out marginal businesses and laying off managers

and workers; or they may tighten managerial and financial controls and attempt to

squeeze more out of the labor force. On the other hand, organizations may undertake

fundamental change from a developmental perspective. They may seek to make them-

selves more competitive by developing their human resources; by getting managers

and employees more involved in problem solving and innovation; and by promoting

flexibility and direct, open communication. The OD approach to fundamental change

is particularly relevant in today’s rapidly changing and competitive environment. To

succeed in this setting, firms such as General Electric, Kimberly-Clark, ABB, Hewlett-

Packard, and Motorola are transforming themselves from control-oriented bureaucra-

cies to high-involvement organizations capable of changing and improving themselves


Degree of Organization

Planned change efforts also can vary depending on the degree to which the organi-

zation or client system is organized. In overorganized situations, such as in highly

mechanistic, bureaucratic organizations, various dimensions such as leadership styles,

job designs, organization structure, and policies and procedures are too rigid and

overly defined for effective task performance. Communication between management

and employees is typically suppressed, conflicts are avoided, and employees are apa-

thetic. In underorganized organizations, on the other hand, there is too little constraint

or regulation for effective task performance. Leadership, structure, job design, and

policy are poorly defined and fail to direct task behaviors effectively. Communication

36 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

is fragmented, job responsibilities are ambiguous, and employees’ energies are dis-

sipated because they lack direction. Underorganized situations are typically found in

such areas as product development, project management, and community develop-

ment, where relationships among diverse groups and participants must be coordinated

around complex, uncertain tasks. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

In overorganized situations, where much of OD practice has historically taken place,

planned change is generally aimed at loosening constraints on behavior. Changes in

leadership, job design, structure, and other features are designed to liberate suppressed

energy, to increase the flow of relevant information between employees and manag-

ers, and to promote effective conflict resolution. The typical steps of planned change—

entry, diagnosis, intervention, and evaluation—are intended to penetrate a relatively

closed organization or department and make it increasingly open to self-diagnosis and

revitalization. The relationship between the OD practitioner and the management

team attempts to model this loosening process. The consultant shares leadership of the

change process with management, encourages open communications and confronta-

tion of conflict, and maintains flexibility in relating to the organization.

When applied to organizations facing problems in being underorganized, planned

change is aimed at increasing organization by clarifying leadership roles, structuring

communication between managers and employees, and specifying job and departmen-

tal responsibilities. These activities require a modification of the traditional phases of

planned change and include the following four steps:


Identification. This step identifies the relevant people or groups who need to be

involved in the change program. In many underorganized situations, people and

departments can be so disconnected that there is ambiguity about who should be

included in the problem-solving process. For example, when managers of differ-

ent departments have only limited interaction with each other, they may disagree

or be confused about which departments should be involved in developing a new

product or service.

Convention. In this step, the relevant people or departments in the company are

brought together to begin organizing for task performance. For example, depart-

ment managers might be asked to attend a series of organizing meetings to discuss

the division of labor and the coordination required to introduce a new product.

Organization. Different organizing mechanisms are created to structure the newly

required interactions among people and departments. This might include creating

new leadership positions, establishing communication channels, and specifying

appropriate plans and policies.

Evaluation. In this final step, the outcomes of the organization step are assessed.

The evaluation might signal the need for adjustments in the organizing process or

for further identification, convention, and organization activities.

In carrying out these four steps of planned change in underorganized situations, the

relationship between the OD practitioner and the client system attempts to reinforce

the organizing process. The consultant develops a well-defined leadership role, which

might be autocratic during the early stages of the change program. Similarly, the con-

sulting relationship is clearly defined and tightly specified. In effect, the interaction

between the consultant and the client system supports the larger process of bringing

order to the situation.

Application 2.2 is an example of planned change in an underorganized situation.

In this case, the change agent is a person from industry who identifies a multifaceted

problem: University research that should be helpful to manufacturing organizations is

not being shaped, coordinated, or transferred. In response, he forms an organization to

tighten up the relationships between the two parties.






application 10.3application 2.2

Planned Change in an Underorganized System

The Institute for Manufacturing and Automation

Research (IMAR) was founded in 1987 in Los

Angeles by a group of manufacturing indus-

try members. In its earliest stages of develop-

ment, one person who had a clear picture of the

obstacles to manufacturing excellence was Dale

Hartman, IMAR’s executive director and former

director for manufacturing at Hughes Aircraft

Company. He and several other industry associ-

ates pinpointed the predominant reasons for

flagging competitiveness: needless duplication of

effort among manufacturing innovators; difficul-

ties in transferring technological breakthroughs

from university to industry; frequent irrelevance

of university research to the needs of industry;

and the inability of individual industry members

to commit the time and funds to research projects

needed for continued technological advances.

Hartman and his colleagues determined that

organizations should create a pool of funds for

research and concluded that the research would

most efficiently be carried out in existing uni-

versity facilities. They worked through at least

several plans before they arrived at the idea of the

IMAR consortium. The U.S. Navy had been inter-

ested in joint efforts for innovations in artificial

intelligence, but its constraints and interests were

judged to be too narrow to address the problems

that Hartman and the others identified. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Networking with other industry members—TRW,

Hughes, Northrop, and Rockwell—and two uni-

versities with which Hughes had been engaging

in ongoing research—the University of Southern

California (USC) and University of California, Los

Angeles (UCLA)—this original group formed a

steering committee to investigate the viability of

a joint research and development consortium.

Each of the six early planners contributed $5,000

as seed money for basic expenses. The steering

committee, based on experience in cooperative

research, determined that a full-time person

was needed to assume leadership of the consor-

tium. Members of the committee persuaded Dale

Hartman to retire early from Hughes and take on

IMAR’s leadership full-time. Hartman brought

with him a wealth of knowledge about barri-

ers to innovation and technology transfer, and a

solid reputation in both industry and academia

that was crucial for the success of multiple-sector

partnerships. As a former Hughes networker, he

knew how to lobby state and federal government

sources for funds and legislation that promoted

industry innovation. He also knew a host of tal-

ented people in southern California whom he

would persuade to become IMAR members.

In his 30 years in manufacturing, Hartman found

that university-driven research had not pro-

duced a respectable yield of usable information.

University research was frequently irrelevant to

industry needs and seldom provided for transfer of

usable innovation to the plant floor. Industry was

only tangentially involved in what the university

was doing and Hartman saw little opportunity

for the two sectors to benefit from a partnership.

Therefore, it was determined that IMAR would

be user-driven. Industry would set the agenda by

choosing projects from among university propos-

als that promised to be of generic use to industry

members, and it would benefit by influencing the

direction of research and receiving early informa-

tion about research results.

In the next several months, the steering commit-

tee and Hartman met regularly to define common

research needs and locate funding sources. They

sought industry sponsors from high-technology

companies with an understanding of the prob-

lems in manufacturing research and a desire to

do more than merely supply money. They wanted

members who would be willing to get involved in

IMAR’s programs. Furthermore, they wanted all

members to be able to use the results of IMAR’s

generic research while not competing directly with

each other. Finally, they decided that they wanted

a relatively small membership. If the membership

grew too large, it might become unwieldy and

thus obstruct efforts to get things done.

IMAR’s industrial advisory board was formed with

six industrial organizations represented—Xerox,

Hughes, TRW, Northrup, IBM, and Rockwell—in

addition to USC and UCLA. Members were to

pay $100,000 each and make a three-year com-

mitment to IMAR. With initial objectives in place

and a committed membership, Hartman was

already searching for additional funding sources.

He was successful in getting a bill introduced in

California’s state legislature, later signed by the

38 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

governor, that authorized the state department

of commerce to fund IMAR $200,000. Moreover,

IMAR was able to tie into the Industry–University

Cooperative Research Center Program (IUCRCP)

of the National Science Foundation (NSF) by

forming an industry–university consortium called

the Center for Manufacturing and Automation

Research (CMAR). NSF funded CMAR with a $2

million grant and a five-year commitment. NSF

funding in particular was sought because of the

instant credibility that NSF sponsorship gives to

such an institute. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

NSF requested that several more universities be

added to the consortium. In addition, an NSF eval-

uator was to be present at all IMAR meetings and

conduct ongoing evaluation of CMAR’s progress.

IMAR already had UCLA and USC among its

members and now added four university affiliates

to work on research projects: the University of

California, Irvine; University of California, Santa

Barbara; Caltech; and Arizona State University.

The IMAR steering committee then voted to fund

research projects at an affiliated university only if

it involved cooperation with either USC or UCLA.

Each of the four university affiliates was paired

with either USC or UCLA. Each affiliate univer-

sity was selected because it provided expertise in

an area of interest to IMAR’s industrial member-

ship. Arizona State, for example, had expertise

in knowledge-based simulation systems in indus-

trial engineering, a field of special concern to

IMAR’s membership. IMAR funded a number of

projects, including projects between the affiliated

universities, between joint investigators at USC

and UCLA, and independent projects at USC and

UCLA. Figure 2.3 shows IMAR’s structure.

CMAR operated under the auspices of IMAR

with the same board of directors serving both

consortia. There are two codirectors of CMAR:

Dr. George Bekey, chairman of the Computer

Science Department at USC, and Dr. Michel

Melkanoff, director of UCLA’s Center for Integrated

Manufacturing. As codirectors they had an indi-

rect reporting relationship to Dale Hartman. Their

responsibilities included distributing the research

funds and serving as the focal point on their

respective campuses. Questions from project team

members are directed to one or the other codirec-

tor, depending on the project. Each of the codi-

rectors takes responsibility for managing project

team members and providing rewards, such as

reduced course loads, to research professors wher-

ever possible.

The codirectors further work to encourage infor-

mal ties with industry members. For example,

Dr. Bekey initiated efforts to have IMAR represent-

atives regularly visit others’ facilities to encourage

them to cooperate and share ideas. That practice

further deepens each industrial member’s commit-

ment to IMAR because the representatives were

associating with one another and other colleagues

in the workplace. In the event that an industry

or university representative left, an associate was

more likely to be there to take his or her place.

Further, Bekey noted that the association between

industry and university helped industry to over-

come its short-term orientation and helped uni-

versity people appreciate applied problems and

manufacturing needs.

IMAR’s board of directors set the research agenda

at annual reviews in which it made recommenda-

tions for topics to be funded. IMAR took these rec-

ommendations and translated them into “requests

for proposals” that were circulated among the

participating university members. CMAR’s codi-

rectors then solicited proposals from the univer-

sity membership. Researchers’ proposals were

evaluated and ranked by industry representatives

and then passed back to the industry advisory

board, which made final determinations on which

projects would be funded. Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Not only did IMAR engage in research projects,

such as microelectronics, digital computers, lasers,

and fiber optics, it worked to resolve critical

problems for manufacturing innovation research.

One area of study was technology transfer. IMAR

established a pilot production facility that Hartman

called “a halfway house for manufacturing.” The

facility permitted basic research to be brought to

maturity and was capable of producing deliverable

parts. The facility also engaged in systems-level

research in such areas as management and sys-

tems software, and provided an excellent training

ground for students.

Another strength of IMAR was its affiliation

with an NSF evaluator who was appointed to

follow the progress of the industry–university

cooperative research center. Dr. Ann Marczak

was IMAR’s initial NSF evaluator. NSF conducted

regular audits of the 39 IUCRCPs it sponsored

and made information available about survey

results, others’ reports of what works, and so

39CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

forth. Dr. Marczak served a valuable function

to IMAR as an objective source of feedback.

After her first evaluation, for example, Marczak

recommended that a project team be formed to

conduct ongoing progress assessment for each

of the research projects IMAR sponsored. The

evaluator’s findings also served as NSF’s means of

determining how well each of the funded centers

was performing. A center was judged successful if

after five years it could exist without NSF funds.

NSF also evaluated each center in terms of how

much industry money its projects generated, how

much additional money the center generated in

research projects, the number of patents granted,

Organizational Structure of the Institute for Manufacturing

and Automation Research (IMAR)

[Figure 2.3][Figure 2.3]


Industry Advisory Board

Executive Director

Center for Manufacturing

and Automation

Research (CMAR)

National Science

Foundation Evaluator






Project Project

Industry Advisory Board

4040 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

products produced, and the satisfaction of faculty

and industry participants.

After two years of operation, IMAR had dealt

with many of the problems that so frequently

plague collaborative research and development

efforts among organizations. It had a well-defined

purpose that was strongly supported by its mem-

bers. It was well structured and had a good

balance of resources and needs among its mem-

bership. Formal and informal communication

networks were established. It had strong leader-

ship. Members of IMAR respected Hartman for

his technological expertise and skills as a net-

worker. Hartman had a strong sense of IMAR’s

mission. After a discussion with him, one got the

sense that there was not an obstacle he would

not overcome. His vision continued to inspire

commitment among the IMAR membership. As

one member put it, “You end up wanting to see

what you can do for the cause.”

Not only did IMAR have the commitment of a

full-time leader and strong feedback from its

NSF evaluator, it involved user-driven research.

Although the research was basic, it was chosen

by the users themselves to benefit all members of

the consortium. If the research had been applied,

it would have been more difficult for members to

find projects yielding information that all of them

could use. The involvement of multiple universi-

ties further provided the talent of top researchers

in diverse areas of technological expertise. Finally,

NSF was furnishing a large proportion of the

funding for the first five years as well as regular


Domestic vs. International Settings

Planned change efforts have traditionally been applied in North American and

European settings, but they are increasingly used outside of these cultures. Developed

in Western societies, OD reflects the underlying values and assumptions of these cul-

tural settings, including equality, involvement, and short-term time horizons. Under

these conditions, it works quite well. In other societies, a different set of cultural values

and assumptions can be operating and make the application of OD problematic. In con-

trast to Western societies, for example, the cultures of most Asian countries are more

hierarchical and status conscious, less open to discussing personal issues, more con-

cerned with “saving face,” and have a longer time horizon for results. These cultural

differences can make OD more difficult to implement, especially for North American or

European practitioners; they may simply be unaware of the cultural norms and values

that permeate the society.

The cultural values that guide OD practice in the United States, for example, include

a tolerance for ambiguity, equality among people, individuality, and achievement

motives. An OD process that encourages openness among individuals, high levels of

participation, and actions that promote increased effectiveness is viewed favorably.

The OD practitioner is also assumed to hold these values and to model them in the

conduct of planned change. Most reported cases of OD involve Western-based organi-

zations using practitioners trained in the traditional model and raised and experienced

in Western society.

When OD is applied outside of North America or Europe (and sometimes even

within these settings), the action research process must be adapted to fit the cultural

context. For example, the diagnostic phase, which is aimed at understanding the

current drivers of organization effectiveness, can be modified in a variety of ways.

Diagnosis can involve many organization members or include only senior executives;

41CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

be directed from the top, conducted by an outside consultant, or performed by internal

consultants; or involve face-to-face interviews or organizational documents. Each step

in the general model of planned change must be carefully mapped against the cultural


Conducting OD in international settings can be highly stressful on OD practitioners.

To be successful, they must develop a keen awareness of their own cultural biases, be

open to seeing a variety of issues from another perspective, be fluent in the values and

assumptions of the host country, and understand the economic and political context of

business in the host country. Most OD practitioners are not able to meet all of those cri-

teria and partner with a “cultural guide,” often a member of the client organization, to

help navigate the cultural, operational, and political nuances of change in that society.


Despite their continued refinement, the models and practice of planned change are still

in a formative stage of development, and there is considerable room for improvement.

Critics of OD have pointed out several problems with the way planned change has

been conceptualized and practiced.

Conceptualization of Planned Change

Planned change has typically been characterized as involving a series of activities for

carrying out effective organization development. Although current models outline a

general set of steps to be followed, considerably more information is needed to guide

how those steps should be performed in specific situations. In an extensive review and

critique of planned change theory, Porras and Robertson argued that planned change

activities should be guided by information about (1) the organizational features that

can be changed, (2) the intended outcomes from making those changes, (3) the causal

mechanisms by which those outcomes are achieved, and (4) the contingencies upon

which successful change depends.


In particular, they noted that the key to organiza-

tional change is change in the behavior of each member and that the information avail-

able about the causal mechanisms that produce individual change is lacking. Overall,

Porras and Robertson concluded that the information necessary to guide change is only

partially available and that a good deal more research and thinking are needed to fill

the gaps. Chapters 12 through 24 on OD interventions review what is currently known

about change features, outcomes, causal mechanisms, and contingencies.

A related area where current thinking about planned change is deficient is knowl-

edge about how the stages of planned change differ across situations. Most models

specify a general set of steps that are intended to be applicable to most change efforts.

However, the previous section of this chapter showed how change activities can vary

depending on such factors as the magnitude of change, the degree to which the client

system is organized, and whether the change is being conducted in a domestic or an

international setting. Considerably more effort needs to be expended identifying situ-

ational factors that may require modifying the general stages of planned change. That

would likely lead to a rich array of planned change models, each geared to a specific

set of situational conditions. Such contingency thinking is greatly needed in planned


Planned change also tends to be described as a rationally controlled, orderly process.

Critics have argued that although this view may be comforting, it is seriously mislead-



They point out that planned change has a more chaotic quality, often involving

shifting goals, discontinuous activities, surprising events, and unexpected combina-

tions of changes. For example, executives often initiate changes without plans that

clarify their strategies and goals. As change unfolds, new stakeholders may emerge

42 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

and demand modifications reflecting previously unknown or unvoiced needs. Those

emergent conditions make planned change a far more disorderly and dynamic process

than is customarily portrayed, and conceptions need to capture that reality.

Most descriptions of planned change typically describe a beginning, middle, and end

to the process. Critics have argued that planned change models that advocate evalu-

ation and institutionalization processes reinforce the belief that the organization will

“refreeze” into some form of equilibrium following change.


In the face of increasing

globalization and technological change, it is unlikely that change will ever “be over.”

Executives, managers, and organization members must be prepared for constant

change in a variety of organizational features that are not obvious in most models of

planned change.

Finally, the relationship between planned change and organizational performance

and effectiveness is not well understood. OD traditionally has had problems assessing

whether interventions are producing observed results. The complexity of the change

situation, the lack of sophisticated analyses, and the long time periods for producing

results have contributed to weak evaluation of OD efforts. Moreover, managers have

often accounted for OD efforts with post hoc testimonials, reports of possible future

benefits, and calls to support OD as the right thing to do. In the absence of rigorous

assessment and measurement, it is difficult to make resource allocation decisions

about change programs and to know which interventions are most effective in certain

situations.Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change

Practice of Planned Change

Critics have suggested several problems with the way planned change is carried out.


Their concerns are not with the planned change model itself but with how change

takes place and with the qualifications and activities of OD practitioners.

A growing number of OD practitioners have acquired skills in a specific technique,

such as team building, total quality management, AI, large-group interventions, or gain

sharing, and have chosen to specialize in that method. Although such specialization

may be necessary, it can lead to a certain myopia given the complex array of techniques

that define OD. Some OD practitioners favor particular techniques and ignore other

strategies that might be more appropriate, tending to interpret organizational problems

as requiring the favored technique. Thus, for example, it is not unusual to see consul-

tants pushing such methods as diversity training, reengineering, organization learning,

or self-managing work teams as solutions to most organizational problems.

Effective change depends on a careful diagnosis of how the organization is function-

ing. Diagnosis identifies the underlying causes of organizational problems, such as poor

product quality and employee dissatisfaction, or determines the positive opportunities

that need to be promoted. It requires both time and money, and some organizations

are not willing to make the necessary investment. Rather, they rely on preconceptions

about what the problem is and hire consultants with skills appropriate to solve that

problem. Managers may think, for example, that work design is the problem, so they

hire an expert in job enrichment to implement a change program. The problem may

be caused by other factors such as poor reward practices, however, and job enrichment

would be inappropriate. Careful diagnosis can help to avoid such mistakes.

In situations requiring complex organizational changes, planned change is a long-

term process involving considerable innovation and learning on-site. It requires a

good deal of time and commitment and a willingness to modify and refine changes as

the circumstances require. Some organizations demand more rapid solutions to their

problems and seek quick fixes from experts. Unfortunately, some OD consultants are

more than willing to provide quick solutions.


They sell prepackaged programs for

organizations to adopt. Those programs appeal to managers because they typically

Assignment: Leading Planned Evidence-Based Change


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Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

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Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

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