ACTION RESEARCH AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

ACTION RESEARCH AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Case Assignment

For this assignment, first carefully review the required background materials. Make sure you are highly familiar with the main steps involved in action research and organizational development discussed in the readings. When you are finished reviewing the background materials, take a close look at the four scenarios below.

For each scenario below, think about the reasons why things did not work out well for the company in question. More specifically, think about which standard action research or organizational development step was not taken.

Your task for this assignment is not to explain what steps the organization should take—you would need to go into the company and do some lengthy action research in order to do this! Instead just review the standard action research and organizational development steps covered in the background materials and try to assess which key step was missing in the scenarios below.

Then write a 4- to 5-page paper addressing the following for each scenario:

  1. What action research or organizational step was missing and
  2. Why missing this step might have led to failure.

Make sure to discuss at least one of the required readings in your discussion of each scenario, and to cite all three of the required readings in your paper.

  1. Sales have gone down at the XYZ Widget Corporation and nobody in the organization including the CEO seems to know why. They decide to hire an organizational development consultant to do some action research. The consultant conducts interviews with all employees. In most departments, the employees simply say, “I have no idea” when asked. However, most of the employees in the sales department say it is because they are not paid enough. The consultant writes up a report recommending a large pay increase for the sales staff which is immediately implemented. However, six months later sales are still down.
  2. HN Motors is a large manufacturer of both cars and motorcycles. Given the new demand for high mileage vehicles, the company has decided to develop a car/motorcycle hybrid that has three wheels and looks like a tiny race car. However, neither the car department nor the motorcycle department wants to take the lead and the project keeps getting stalled.HN Motors decides to hire a consultant to mediate the differences between the car and motorcycle departments. During interviews with both departments, the consultant finds that the car department doesn’t want to work on the hybrid vehicle because of safety concerns.

    The consultant decides to “split the difference” between the two departments and recommends that a cross-functional team be created—with an equal number of employees from both departments—to take the lead on the project.

    After this recommendation is implemented, the consultant follows up with comprehensive interviews of members of the cross-functional team to find out why the hybrid vehicle project is still stalled. The consultant finds that all members of the team (from both the car and motorcycle departments) are unmotivated to work on this project because they don’t think the vehicle will sell and that it has potential safety problems.

    The consultant makes another recommendation that involves more research into safety problems and hybrid sales projections, but HN Motors instead decides to give up on the project.

  3. Dr. Joseph Hotshot is a leading management consultant who charges huge fees for his Extra Special Action Research System®. His patented system involves conducting a survey, using a standard set of questions, of every employee of any company that hires him. Then he conducts a special seminar to motivate the employees, modifying his motivational speeches for each client slightly based on the answers to the survey.One day the CEO of Ace Carpet Cleaning runs across Dr. Hotshot’s website and sees that he has a special 50% discount on his consulting services this month. Not wanting to miss out on this bargain, the CEO decides to hire him. All of the employees become very motivated by Dr. Hotshot’s speech and recommendations and work very hard for a few weeks. But after a few months nothing has really changed and the CEO starts to wonder if the large consulting fee was worth it even with the 50% discount.
  4. The Kooltrendy Internet software company has recently purchased Hardwrk, a competing Internet software company. Kooltrendy wants the merger to go through as smoothly as possible with minimal conflicts between employees of the two companies, so they have hired an organizational development consultant to look at ways to help ease this transition for all employees.The consultant conducts extensive one-on-one interviews with employees as well as a large-scale survey that assesses employee values and attitudes. After carefully reviewing the survey and interview data, the consultants concludes that Kooltrendy has a very fun and laid-back corporate culture whereas Hardwrk has a more competitive and serious corporate culture.

    Satisfied that they know how to fix the problem, Kooltrendy immediately decides to implement “Fun Fridays” for Hardwrk employees that involve water gun fights, costume contests, or other activities every Friday in order to bring Hardwrk’s culture more in line with the laid-back culture of Kooltrendy. However, they are puzzled to see that every Friday more and more Hardwrk employees quit and they are unsure why the “Fun Friday” solution did not work.

Assignment Expectations

  • Answer the assignment questions directly.
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.
  • Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred. If you use articles from the Internet, make sure they are from credible sources.
  • Reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations. Another resource is the “Writing Style Guide,” which is found under My Resources in the TLC portal.

Module 1 – SLP

ACTION RESEARCH AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

For the Session Long Project in this class, you will be applying the principles of organizational development to an organization you currently work for or have worked for in the past. For this first SLP, think carefully about the background readings and how they might apply to a specific organizational situation or problem that you have experienced firsthand. Then write a 2- to 3-page paper answering the following questions:

  1. What do you think the biggest problem your current organization or one of the previous organizations you worked for faces? Why do you think management has had difficulty with this problem?
  2. Do you think this problem could be mitigated by hiring an organizational development consultant based on what you’ve read in the background materials? Why or why not? Make sure to cite some of the readings in your answer.
  3. Of the action research and organizational development steps listed in the required readings, which ones do you think would be the more challenging steps that an organizational development consultant would face coming into your organization? Explain your reasoning and cite at least one of the required background readings.

SLP Assignment Expectations

  • Answer the assignment questions directly.
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.
  • Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred. If you use articles from the Internet, make sure they are from credible sources.
  • Reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations. Another resource is the “Writing Style Guide,” which is found under My Resources in the TLC portal.
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