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Organization Development

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Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
VU
Lesson 25
Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions
This lecture focuses on the final stage of the organization development cycle-- evaluation and
institutionalization. Evaluation is concerned with providing feed-back to practitioners and organization
members about the progress and impact of interventions. Such information may suggest the need for
further diagnosis and modification of the change program, or it may show that the intervention is
successful. Institutionalization involves making a particular change a permanent part of the organization's
normal functioning. It ensures that the results of successful change programs persist over time.
Evaluation processes consider both the implementation success of the intended intervention and the long-
term results it produces. Two key aspects of effective evaluation are measurement and research design.
Time institutionalization or long- term persistence of intervention effects is examined in a framework
showing the organization characteristics, intervention dimensions, and processes contributing to
institutionalization of OD interventions in organizations.
Evaluating OD Interventions:
Assessing organization development interventions involves judgments about whether an intervention has
been implemented as intended and, if so, whether it is having desired results. Managers investing resources
in OD efforts increasingly are being held accountable for results--being asked to justify the expenditures in
terms of hard, bottom-line outcomes. More and more, managers are asking for rigorous assessment of OD
interventions and are using the results to make important resource allocation decisions about OD, such as
whether to continue to support the change program, to modify or alter it, or to terminate it and try
something else.
Traditionally, OD evaluation has been discussed as something that occurs after the intervention. That view
can be misleading, however. Decisions about the measurement of relevant variables and the design of the
evaluation process should be made early in the OD cycle so that evaluation choices can be integrated with
intervention decisions.
There are two distinct types of OD evaluation--one intended to guide the implementation of interventions
and another to assess their overall impact. The key issues in evaluation are measurement and research
design.
Implementation and Evaluation Feedback:
Most discussions and applications of OD evaluation imply that evaluation is something done after
intervention. It is typically argued that once the intervention is implemented, it should be evaluated to
discover whether it is producing intended effects. For example, it might be expected that a job enrichment
program would lead to higher employee satisfaction and performance. After implementing job enrichment,
evaluation would involve assessing whether these positive results indeed did occur.
This after-implementation view of evaluation is only partially correct. It assumes that interventions have
been implemented as intended and that the key purpose of evaluation is to assess their effects. In many, if
not most, organization development programs, however, implementing interventions cannot be taken for
granted. Most OD interventions require significant changes in people's behaviors and ways of thinking
about organizations, but they typically offer only broad prescriptions for how such changes are to occur.
For example, job enrichment calls for adding discretion, variety, and meaningful feedback to people's jobs.
Implementing such changes requires considerable learning and experimentation as employees and managers
discover how to translate these general prescriptions into specific behaviors and procedures. This learning
process involves much trial and error and needs to be guided by information about whether behaviors and
procedures are being changed as intended. Consequently, we should expand our view of evaluation to
include both during-implementation assessment of whether interventions are actually being implemented
and after-implementation evaluation of whether they are producing expected results.
Both kinds of evaluation provide organization members with feedback about interventions. Evaluation
aimed at guiding implementation may be called implementation feedback, and assessment intended to
discover intervention outcomes may be called evaluation feedback. Figure 36 shows how the two kinds of
feedback fit with the diagnostic and intervention stages of OD. The application of OD to a particular
organization starts with a thorough diagnosis of the situation, which helps identify particular organizational
problems or areas for improvement, as well as likely causes underlying them. Next, from an array of
possible interventions, one or some set is chosen as a means of improving the organization. The choice is
based on knowledge linking interventions to diagnosis and change management.
In most cases, the chosen intervention provides only general guidelines for organizational change, leaving
managers and employees with the task of translating those guidelines into specific behaviors and
procedures. Implementation feedback informs this process by supplying data about the different features of
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Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
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the intervention itself and data about the immediate effects of the intervention. These data, colleted
repeatedly and at short intervals, provide a series of snapshots about how the intervention is progressing.
Organization members can use this information, first, to gain a clearer understanding of the intervention
(the kinds of behaviors and procedures required to implement it) and, second, to plan for the next
implementation steps. This feedback cycle might proceed for several rounds, with each round providing
members with knowledge about the intervention and ideas lot the next stage of implementation.
Figure 36: Implementation and Evaluation Feedback
Once implementation feedback informs organization members that the intervention is sufficiently in place,
evaluation feedback begins, in contrast to implementation feedback, it is concerned with the overall impact
of the intervention and with whether resources should continue to be allocated to it or to other possible
interventions. Evaluation feedback takes longer to gather and interpret than does implementation feedback.
It typically includes a broad array of outcome measures, such as performance job satisfaction, absenteeism,
and turnover. Negative results on these measures tell members either that the initial diagnosis was seriously
flawed or that tile wrong intervention was chosen. Such feedback might prompt additional diagnosis and a
search for a more effective intervention. Positive results, on the other hand, tell members that the
intervention produced expected outcomes and might prompt a search for ways to institutionalize the
changes, making them a permanent part of the organizations normal functioning.
An example of a job enrichment intervention helps to clarity the OD stages and feedback linkages shown
in Figure 36. Suppose the initial diagnosis reveals that employee performance and satisfaction are low and
that jobs being overly structured and routinized is an underlying cause of this problem. An inspection of
alternative interventions to improve productivity and satisfaction suggests that job enrichment might be
applicable for this situation. Existing job enrichment theory proposes that increasing employee discretion,
task variety, and feedback can lead to improvements in work quality and attitudes and that this job design
and outcome linkage is especially strong for employees who have growth needs--needs for challenge,
autonomy, and development. Initial diagnosis suggests that most of the employees have high growth needs
and that the existing job designs prevent the fulfillment of these needs. Therefore, job enrichment seems
particularly suited to this situation.
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Managers and employees now start to translate the general prescriptions offered by job enrichment theory
into specific behaviors and procedures. At this stage, the intervention is relatively broad and must be
tailored to fit the specific situation. To implement the intervention, employees might decide on the
following organizational changes: job discretion can be increased through more participatory styles of
supervision; task variety can be enhanced by allowing employees to inspect their job outputs; and feedback
can be made more meaningful by providing employees with quicker and more specific information about
their performances.
After three months of trying to implement these changes, the members use implementation feedback to see
how the intervention is progressing. Questionnaires and interviews (similar to those used in diagnosis) are
administered to measure the different features of job enrichment (discretion, variety, and feedback) and to
assess employees' reactions to the changes. Company records are analyzed to show the short-term effects
on productivity of the intervention. The data reveal that productivity and satisfaction have changed very
little since the initial diagnosis. Employ perceptions of job discretion and feedback also have shown
negligible change, but perceptions of task variety have shown significant improvement. In-depth discussion
and analysis of this first round of implementation feedback help supervisors gain a better feel for the kinds
of behaviors needed to move toward a participatory leadership style. This greater clarification of one
feature of the intervention leads to a decision to involve the supervisors in leadership training to develop
the skills and knowledge needed to lead anticipatively. A decision also is made to make job feedback more
meaningful by translating such data into simple bar graphs, rather than continuing to provide voluminous
statistical reports.
After these modifications have been in effect for about three months, members institute a second round of
implementation feedback to see how the intervention is progressing. The data now show that productivity
and satisfaction have moved moderately higher than in the first round of feedback and that employee
perceptions of task variety and feedback are both high. Employee perceptions of discretion, however,
remain relatively low. Members conclude that the variety and feedback dimensions of job enrichment are
sufficiently implemented but that the discretion component needs improvement. They decide to put more
effort into supervisory training and to ask OD practitioners to provide online counseling and coaching to
supervisors about their leadership styles.
After four more months, a third round of implementation feedback occurs. The data now show that
satisfaction and performance are significantly higher than in the first round of feedback and moderately
higher than in the second round. The data also show that discretion, variety, and feedback are all high,
suggesting that the job enrichment intervention has been successfully implemented. Now evaluation
feedback is used to assess the overall effectiveness of the program.
The evaluation feedback includes all the data from the satisfaction and performance measures used in the
implementation feedback. Because both the immediate and broader effects of the intervention are being
evaluated, additional outcomes are examined, such as employee absenteeism, maintenance costs, and
reactions of other organizational units not included in job enrichment. The full array of evaluation data
might suggest that after one year from the start of implementation, the job enrichment program is having
expected effects and thus should be continued and made more permanent.
Measurement:
Providing useful implementation and evaluation feedback involves two activities: selecting the appropriate
variables and designing good measures.
Selecting Variables:
Ideally, the variables measured in OD evaluation should derive from the theory or conceptual model
underlying the intervention. The model should incorporate the key features of the intervention as well as its
expected results. The general diagnostic models described in Chapters 5 and 6 meet these criteria, as do the
more specific models introduced in Chapters 12 through 20. For example, the job-level diagnostic model
described in Chapter 6 proposes several major features of work: task variety, feedback, and autonomy. The
theory argues that high levels of these elements can be expected to result in high levels of work quality and
satisfaction. In addition, as we shall see in Chapter 16, the strength of this relationship varies with the
degree of employee growth need: the higher the need, the more that job enrichment produces positive
results.
The job-level diagnostic model suggests a number of measurement variables for implementation and
evaluation feedback. Whether the intervention is being implemented could be assessed by determining how
many job descriptions have been rewritten to include more responsibility or how many organization
members have received cross-training in other job skills. Evaluation of the immediate and long- term
impact of job enrichment would include measures of employee performance and satisfaction over time.
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Again, these measures would likely be included in the initial diagnosis, when the company's problems or
areas for improvement are discovered.
Measuring both intervention and outcome variables is necessary for implementation and evaluation
feedback. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency in OD to measure only outcome variables while
neglecting intervention variables altogether. It generally is assumed that the intervention has been
implemented and attention, therefore, is directed to its impact on such organizational outcomes as
performance, absenteeism, and satisfaction. As argued earlier, implementing OD interventions generally
take considerable time and learning. It must be empirically determined that the intervention has been
implemented; it cannot simply be assumed. Implementation feedback serves this purposes guiding the
implementation process and helping to interpret outcome data Outcome measures are ambiguous without
knowledge of how well the intervention has been implemented. For example, a negligible change in
measures of performance and satisfaction could mean that the wrong intervention has been chosen, that
the correct intervention has not been implemented effectively, or that the wrong variables have been
measured. Measurement of the intervention variables helps determine the correct interpretation of out-
come measures.
As suggested above, the choice of intervention variables to measure should derive from the conceptual
framework underlying the OD intervention. OD research and theory increasingly have come to identify
specific organizational changes needed to implement particular interventions. These variables should guide
not only implementation of the intervention but also choices about what change variables to measure for
evaluative purposes. Additional sources of knowledge about intervention variables can be found in the
numerous references at the end of each of the intervention chapters in this book and in several of the
books in the Wiley Series on Organizational Assessment and Change.
The choice of what outcome variables to measure also should be dictated by intervention theory, which
specifies the kinds of results that can be expected from particular change programs. Again, the material in
this book and elsewhere identifies numerous outcome measures, such as job satisfaction, intrinsic
motivation, organizational commitment, absenteeism, turnover, and productivity.
Historically, OD assessment has focused on attitudinal outcomes, such as job satisfaction, while neglecting
hard measures, such as performance. Increasingly, however, managers and researchers are calling for
development of behavioral measures of OD outcomes. Managers are interested primarily in applying OD
to change work-related behaviors that involve joining, remaining, and producing at work, and are assessing
OD more frequently in terms of such bottom-line results. Macy and Mirvis have done extensive research to
develop a standardized set of behavioral outcomes for assessing and comparing intervention results.
Table of Contents:
  1. The Challenge for Organizations:The Growth and Relevance of OD
  2. OD: A Unique Change Strategy:OD consultants utilize a behavioral science base
  3. What an “ideal” effective, healthy organization would look like?:
  4. The Evolution of OD:Laboratory Training, Likert Scale, Scoring and analysis,
  5. The Evolution of OD:Participative Management, Quality of Work Life, Strategic Change
  6. The Organization Culture:Adjustment to Cultural Norms, Psychological Contracts
  7. The Nature of Planned Change:Lewin’s Change Model, Case Example: British Airways
  8. Action Research Model:Termination of the OD Effort, Phases not Steps
  9. General Model of Planned Change:Entering and Contracting, Magnitude of Change
  10. The Organization Development Practitioner:External and Internal Practitioners
  11. Creating a Climate for Change:The Stabilizer Style, The Analyzer Style
  12. OD Practitioner Skills and Activities:Consultant’s Abilities, Marginality
  13. Professional Values:Professional Ethics, Ethical Dilemmas, Technical Ineptness
  14. Entering and Contracting:Clarifying the Organizational Issue, Selecting an OD Practitioner
  15. Diagnosing Organizations:The Process, The Performance Gap, The Interview Data
  16. Organization as Open Systems:Equifinality, Diagnosing Organizational Systems
  17. Diagnosing Organizations:Outputs, Alignment, Analysis
  18. Diagnosing Groups and Jobs:Design Components, Outputs
  19. Diagnosing Groups and Jobs:Design Components, Fits
  20. Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic information:Methods for Collecting Data, Observations
  21. Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic information:Sampling, The Analysis of Data
  22. Designing Interventions:Readiness for Change, Techno-structural Interventions
  23. Leading and Managing Change:Motivating Change, The Life Cycle of Resistance to Change
  24. Leading and managing change:Describing the Core Ideology, Commitment Planning
  25. Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions:Measurement
  26. Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions:Research Design
  27. Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions
  28. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Group Process
  29. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Leadership and Authority, Group Interventions
  30. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Third-Party Interventions
  31. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Team Building, Team Building Process
  32. Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches:Team Management Styles
  33. Organization Process Approaches:Application Stages, Microcosm Groups
  34. Restructuring Organizations:Structural Design, Process-Based Structures
  35. Restructuring Organizations:Downsizing, Application Stages, Reengineering
  36. Employee Involvement:Parallel Structures, Multiple-level committees
  37. Employee Involvement:Quality Circles, Total Quality Management
  38. Work Design:The Engineering Approach, Individual Differences, Vertical Loading
  39. Performance Management:Goal Setting, Management by Objectives, Criticism of MBO
  40. Developing and Assisting Members:Career Stages, Career Planning, Job Pathing
  41. Developing and Assisting Members:Culture and Values, Employee Assistance Programs
  42. Organization and Environment Relationships:Environmental Dimensions, Administrative Responses
  43. Organization Transformation:Sharing the Vision, Three kinds of Interventions
  44. The Behavioral Approach:The Deep Assumptions Approach
  45. Seven Practices of Successful Organizations:Training, Sharing Information