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Organization Development

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Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
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Lesson 27
Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions
Institutionalizing interventions:
Once it is determined that a change has been implemented and is effective, attention is directed at
institutionalizing the changes--making them a permanent part of the organization's normal functioning.
Lewin described change as occurring in three stages: unfreezing, moving, and refreezing. Institutionalizing
an OD intervention concerns refreezing. It involves the long-term persistence of organizational changes: to
the extent that changes persist, they can be said to be institutionalized. Such changes are not dependent on
any one person but exist as a part of the culture of an organization. This means that numerous others share
norms about the appropriateness of the changes.
How planned changes become institutionalized has not received much attention in the OD literature.
Rapidly changing environments have led to admonitions from consultants and practitioners to "change
constantly," to "change before you have to," and "if it's not broke, fix it anyway." Such a context has
challenged the utility of the institutionalization concept. Why endeavor to make any change permanent
given that it may require changing again soon? However, the admonitions also have resulted in
institutionalization concepts being applied in new ways. Change itself has become the focus of
institutionalization. Total quality management, organization learning, integrated strategic change, and self-
design interventions all are aimed at enhancing the organization's capability for change. In this vein,
processes of institutionalization take on increased utility. This section presents a framework identifying
factors and processes that contribute to the institutionalization of OD interventions, including the process
of change itself.
Institutionalization Framework:
Figure 37 presents a framework that identifies organization and intervention characteristics and
institutionalization processes affecting the degree to which change programs are institutionalized. The
model shows that two key antecedents--organization and intervention characteristics--affect different
institutionalization processes operating in organizations. These processes, in turn, affect various indicators
of institutionalization. The model also shows that organization characteristics can influence intervention
characteristics. For example, organizations having powerful unions may have trouble gaining internal
support for OD interventions.
Figure 37: Institutionalization Framework
Organization Characteristics:
Figure 37 show that the following three key dimensions of an organization can affect intervention
characteristics and institutionalization processes.
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Organization Development ­ MGMT 628
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1. Congruence. This is the degree to which an intervention is perceived as being in harmony with the
organization's managerial philosophy, strategy, and structure; its current environment; and other changes
taking place. When an intervention is congruent with these dimensions, the probability is improved that it
will be institutionalized. Congruence can facilitate persistence by making it easier to gain member
commitment to the intervention and to diffuse it to wider segments of the organization. The converse also
is true; many OD interventions promote employee participation and growth. When applied in highly
bureaucratic organizations with formalized structures and autocratic managerial styles, participative
interventions are not perceived as congruent with the organization's managerial philosophy.
2. Stability of environment and technology: This involves the degree to which the organization's
environment and technology are changing. Unless the change target is buffered from these changes or
unless the changes are dealt with directly by the change program, it may be difficult to achieve long-term
intervention stability. For example, decreased demand for the firm's products or services can lead to
reductions in personnel that may change the composition of the groups involved in the intervention.
Conversely, increased product demand can curtail institutionalization by bringing new members on board
at a rate faster than they can be socialized effectively.
3. Unionization. Diffusion of interventions may be more difficult in unionized settings, especially if the
changes affect union contract issues, such as salary and fringe benefits, ob design, and employee flexibility.
For example, a rigid union contract can make it difficult to merge several job classifications into one, as
might be required to increase task variety in a job enrichment program. It is important to emphasize,
however, that unions can be a powerful force for promoting change, particularly when a good relationship
exists between union and management.
Intervention characteristics:
Figure 37 shows that the following five major features of OD interventions can affect institutionalization
processes:
1. Goal specificity. This involves the extent to which intervention goals are specific rather than broad.
Specificity of goals helps direct socializing activities (for example. training and orienting new members) to
particular behaviors required to implement the intervention. It also helps operationalize the new behaviors
so that rewards can be linked clearly to them. For example, an intervention aimed only at increasing
product quality is likely to be more focused and readily put into operation than a change program intended
to improve quality, quantity, safety, absenteeism, and employee development.
2. Programmability. This involves the degree to which the changes can be programmed or the extent to
which the different intervention characteristics can be specified clearly in advance to enable socialization,
commitment, and reward allocation. For example, job enrichment specifies three targets of change:
employee discretion, task variety, and feedback. The change program can be planned and designed to
promote those specific features.
3. Level of change target. This concerns the extent to which the change target is the total organization,
rather than a department or small work group. Each level of organization has facilitators and inhibitors of
persistence. Departmental and group changes are susceptible to countervailing forces from others in the
organization. These can reduce the diffusion of the intervention and lower its ability to impact organization
effectiveness. However, this does not preclude institutionalizing the change within a department that
successfully insulates itself from the rest of the organization. Such insulation often manifests itself as a
subculture within the organization.
Targeting the intervention to wider segments of the organization, on the other hand, also can help or
hinder change persistence. A shared belief about the intervention's value can be a powerful incentive to
maintain the change, and promoting a consensus across organizational departments exposed to the change
can facilitate institutionalization. But targeting the larger system also can inhibit institutionalization. The
intervention can become mired in political resistance because of the "not invented here" syndrome or
because powerful constituencies oppose it.
4. Internal support. This refers to the degree to which there is an internal support system to guide the
change process. Internal support, typically provided by an internal consultant, can gain commitment for the
changes and help organization members implement them. External consultants also can provide support,
especially on a temporary basis during the early stages of implementation. For example, in many
interventions aimed at implementing high--involvement organizations, both external and internal
consultants provide change support. The external consultant typically brings expertise on organizational
design and trains members to implement the design. The internal consultant generally helps members relate
to other organizational units, resolve conflicts and legitimize the change activities within the organization.
5. Sponsorship. This concerns the presence of a powerful sponsor who can initiate, allocate, and
legitimize resources for the intervention. Sponsors must come from levels in the organization high enough
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to control appropriate resources, and they must have the visibility and power to nurture the intervention
and see that it remains viable. There are many examples of OD interventions that persisted for several years
and then collapsed abruptly when the sponsor, usually a top administrator, left the organization. There also
are numerous examples of middle managers withdrawing support for interventions because top
management did not include them in the change program.
Institutionalization Processes:
The framework depicted in Figure 37 shows the following five institutionalization processes that can
directly affect the degree to which OD interventions are institutionalized.
1. Socialization. This concerns the transmission of information about beliefs, preferences, norms, and
values with respect to the intervention. Because implementation of OD interventions generally involves
considerable learning and experimentation, a continual process of socialization is necessary to promote
persistence of the change program. Organization members must focus attention on the evolving nature of
the intervention and its ongoing meaning. They must communicate this information to other employees,
especially new members. Transmission of information about the intervention helps bring new members
onboard and allows participants to reaffirm the beliefs, norms, and values underlying the intervention. For
example, employee involvement programs often include initial transmission of information about the
intervention, as well as retraining of existing participants and training of new members. Such processes are
intended to promote persistence of the program as both new behaviors are learned and new members are
introduced.
2. Commitment. This binds people to behaviors associated with the intervention. It includes initial
commitment to the program, as well as recommitment over time. Opportunities for commitment should
allow people to select the necessary behaviors freely, explicitly, and publicly. These conditions favor high
commitment and can promote stability of the new behaviors. Commitment should derive from several
organizational levels, including the employees directly involved and the middle and upper managers who
can support or thwart the intervention. In many early employee involvement programs, for example,
attention was directed at gaining workers' commitment to such programs. Unfortunately, middle managers
were often ignored and considerable management resistance to the interventions resulted.
3. Reward allocation. This involves linking rewards to the new behaviors required by an intervention.
Organizational rewards can enhance the persistence of interventions in at least two ways. First, a
combination of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards can reinforce new behaviors. Intrinsic rewards are internal
and derive from the opportunities for challenge, development, and accomplishment found in the work.
When interventions provide these opportunities, motivation to perform should persist. This behavior can
be further reinforced by providing extrinsic rewards, such as money, for increased contributions. Because
the value of extrinsic rewards tends to diminish over time, it may be necessary to revise the reward system
to maintain high levels of desired behaviors.
Second, new behaviors will persist to the extent that rewards are perceived as equitable by employees.
When new behaviors are fairly compensated. People are likely to develop preferences for those behaviors.
Over time, those preferences should lead to normative and value consensus about the appropriateness of
the intervention. For example, many employee involvement programs fail to persist because employees feel
that their increased contributions to organizational improvements are unfairly rewarded. This is especially
true for interventions relying exclusively on intrinsic rewards. People argue that an intervention that
provides opportunities for intrinsic rewards also should provide greater pay or extrinsic rewards for higher
levels of contribution to the organization.
4. Diffusion. This refers to the process of transferring interventions from one system to another. Diffusion
facilitates institutionalization by providing a wider organizational base to support the new behaviors. Many
interventions fail to persist because they run counter to the values and norms of the larger organization.
Rather than support the intervention, the larger organization rejects the changes and often puts pressure on
the change target to revert to old behaviors. Diffusion of the intervention to other organizational units
reduces this counter implementation force. It tends to lock in behaviors by providing normative consensus
from other parts of the organization. Moreover, the act of transmitting institutionalized behaviors to other
systems reinforces commitment to the changes.
5. Sensing and calibration. This involves detecting deviations from desired intervention behaviors and
taking corrective action, institutionalized behaviors invariably encounter destabilizing forces, such as
changes in the environment, new technologies, and pressures from other departments to nullify changes.
These factors cause some variation in performances preferences norms, and values. To detect this variation
and take corrective actions, organizations must have some sensing mechanism. Sensing mechanisms, such
as implementation feedback, provide information about the occurrence of deviations. This knowledge can
then initiate corrective actions to ensure that behaviors are more in line with the intervention. For example,
if a high level of job discretion associated with a job enrichment intervention does not persist, information
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about this problem might initiate' corrective actions, such as renewed attempts to socialize people or to
gain commitment to the intervention.
Indicators of Institutionalization:
Institutionalization is not an all-or-nothing concept but reflects degrees of persistence of an intervention.
Figure 37 shows five indicators of the extent of an intervention's persistence. The extent to which the
following factors arc present or absent: indicates the degree of Institutionalization
1. Knowledge. This involves the extent to which organization members have knowledge of the behaviors
associated with an intervention, it is concerned with whether members know enough to perform the
behaviors and to recognize the consequences of that performance. For example, job enrichment includes a
number of new behaviors, such as performing a greater variety of tasks, analyzing information about task
performance, and making decisions about work methods and plans.
2. Performance. This is concerned with the degree to which intervention behaviors are actually performed.
It may be measured by counting the proportion of relevant people performing the behaviors. For example,
60 percent of the employees in a particular work unit might be performing the job enrichment behaviors
described above. Another measure of performance is the frequency with which the new behaviors are
performed. In assessing frequency, it is important to account for different variations of the same essential
behavior, as well as highly institutionalized behaviors that need to be performed only infrequently.
3. Preferences. This involves the degree to which organization members privately accept the organizational
changes. This contrasts with acceptance based primarily organizational sanctions or group pressures.
Private acceptance usually is reflected in people's positive attitudes toward the changes and can be
measured by the direction and intensity of those attitudes across the members of the work unit receiving
the intervention. For example, a questionnaire assessing members' perceptions of a job enrichment
program might show that most employees have a strong positive attitude toward making decisions,
analyzing feedback, and performing a variety of tasks.
4. Normative consensus. This focuses on the extent to which people agree about the appropriateness of
the organizational changes. This indicator of institutionalization reflects how fully changes have become
part of the normative structure of the organization. Changes persist to the degree members feel that they
should support them. For example, a job enrichment program would become institutionalized to the extent
that employees support it and see it as appropriate to organizational functioning.
5. Value consensus. This is concerned with social consensus on values relevant to the organizational
changes. Values are beliefs about how people ought or ought not to behave. They are abstractions from
more specific norms. Job enrichment, for example, is based on values promoting employee self-control and
responsibility. Different behaviors associated with job enrichment, such as making decision and performing
a variety of tasks, would persist to the extent that employees widely share values of self-control and
responsibility.
These five indicators can be used to assess the level of institutionalization of an OD intervention. The
more the indicators are present in a situation, the higher will be the degree of institutionalization. Further;
these factors seem to follow a specific development order: knowledge, performance, preferences, norms,
and values. People must first understand flew behaviors or changes before they can perform them
effectively. Such performance generates rewards and punishments, which in time affect people's
preferences. As many individuals come to prefer the changes, normative consensus about their
appropriateness develops. Finally, if there is normative agreement about the changes reflecting a particular
set of values, over time there should be some consensus on those values among organization members.
Given this developmental view of institutionalization, it is implicit that whenever one of the last indicators
is present, all the previous ones are automatically included as well. For example, if employees normatively
agree with the behaviors associated with job enrichment, then they also have knowledge about the
behaviors, can perform them effectively, and prefer them. An OD intervention is fully institutionalized only
when all five factors are present.
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