High-Performing Systems and the Learning Organization

High-Performing Systems and the Learning Organization
High-Performing Systems and the Learning Organization

Chapter 14

High-Performing Systems and the Learning Organization

Learning Objectives (part 1 of 2)

  • Describe system-level intervention.
  • Identify survey research and feedback process.
  • Recognize characteristics of learning organizations.
  • Recognize steps of reengineering.

Learning Objectives (part 2 of 2)

  • Describe system 4 management.
  • Explain characteristics of high-performing systems.
  • Recognize 6 phases of Grid OD program.
  • Experience and practice system approaches.

System-Wide Interventions

  • OD interventions aimed at change within total system.
  • OD is systems approach to group and interpersonal relations.
  • System wide interventions examine:
  • Organization design.
  • Organization flow patterns.
  • Interactions of individuals and groups.

Survey Research and Feedback

  • Employee attitude surveys serve two important functions:
  • Improvement tool.
  • Communication tool.

Steps in Survey Feedback

Step 1 – Top management plans survey.

Step 2 – Outside staff gives questionnaire.

Step 3 – Outside staff summarizes data and gives feedback to organization.

Step 4 – Work group diagnoses problems and develops action programs.

Results of Survey Research
and Feedback

  • Indicate positive changes in employee attitudes and perceptions.
  • Greater involvement of members produces greater change.
  • Feedback combined with other interventions results in more substantial change.

Learning Organization (part 1 of 2)

  • System-wide change program.
  • Emphasizes reduction of organizational layers.
  • Involvement of all employees.
  • Continuous self-directed learning.

Learning Organization (part 2 of 2)

  • Leads to positive change in individual, team, and organization.
  • A learning organization develops continuing capacity to adapt and change.

Approach to
Learning Organization

  • Brings together key members in collaborative process to discover problems.
  • Then develops model of new system.
  • Continuous testing of experience into knowledge accessible to whole organization.

Core Values of Learning Organizations (part 1 of 2)

  • Value different kinds of knowledge and learning.
  • Encourage communication between people with different perspectives.
  • Develop creative thinking.
  • Remain nonjudgmental of others and their ideas.

Core Values of Learning Organizations (part 2 of 2)

  • Break down traditional barriers.
  • Develop leadership throughout organization.
  • Reduce distinctions between members.
  • Every member has untapped human potential.

Characteristics of
Learning Organizations

  • Constant readiness.
  • Best knowledge available.
  • Collaboration across organization.
  • Continuous planning.
  • Improvised implementation.
  • Action learning.

Radical Redesign

  • Radical redesign of business processes to obtain drastic improvements.
  • Makes all processes more efficient to gain quantum leap in performance.
  • Emphasizes products, customer satisfaction, and improvement in processes.

Steps in Reengineering Process

Step 1. Identify key business process.

Step 2. Identify performance measures.

Step 3. Reengineer the process, organize work around process, not functions.

Step 4. Implement redesign process and continuing reevaluation.

System 4 Management

  • System 4 management model based on research of organizations.
  • Describes organizations on a continuum:
  • Bureaucratic organizations (ineffective) at one end.
  • Participative (effective) at the other.

The Four Management Systems

  • System 1 – Exploitive-authoritative (top-down, autocratic,).
  • System 2 – Benevolent-authoritative (top-down, less autocratic).
  • System 3 – Consultative.
  • System 4 – Participative.

Implications to OD

  • System 1 organizations tend to be least effective.
  • System 4 tend to be most effective.
  • OD practitioner tries to move organization from system 1 to system 4.

Figure 14.1
Profile of Organization Characteristics

Common Elements in System 4 Organizations

  • Action rather than further analysis.
  • Decisions involving subordinates, not superiors.
  • Individual accountability, not rigid policies.
  • Recognition of team and individual, not blanket expressions of thanks.

High-Performing Systems (HPS)

  • HPS calls for removal of excessive layers of organization.
  • Creates climate of participation and communication across functional barriers.

Eight Criteria Used to Examine HPS (part 1 of 2)

Perform excellently against external standard.

Perform excellently against potential.

Perform excellently to some earlier point.

Perform with significantly fewer resources than assumed are needed.

Eight Criteria Used to Examine HPS (part 2 of 2)

Doing substantially better than other systems.

Source of ideas for others.

Fulfills high level for culture within which it exists.

Only system that is able to do what it does.

Characteristics of HPS (part 1 of 2)

  • An HPS knows why it exists.
  • Commitment to purposes always high.
  • Teamwork focused on task.
  • Leadership is strong and clear.

Characteristics of HPS (part 2 of 2)

  • An HPS is source of new methods.
  • Strong consciousness that “we are different.”
  • Other subsystems often see HPS as problem because HPS produces its own standards.
  • HPS is cohesive unit.

Grid OD Program

  • Systematic approach to achieve corporate excellence by changing basic culture of system.
  • Starts with focus on managerial styles.
  • Moves through phases involving the work team and culture of organization.

Six Grid Phases (part 1 of 3)

Phase 1: Grid seminars.

  • Someone in management position attends seminar.

Phase 2: Teamwork development.

  • Begins with top manager and continues through entire organization.

Six Grid Phases (part 2 of 3)

Phase 3: Intergroup development.

  • Sessions attended by key members of 2 segments where barriers exist.

Phase 4: Development of ideal strategic model.

  • Provides skills to move to systematic development.

Six Grid Phases (part 3 of 3)

Phase 5: Implement ideal strategic model.

  • Organization divided into planning teams and model is implemented.

Phase 6: Systematic critique.

  • Examination of progress toward change goals.

OD Application
The Learning Organization at Lafarge

  • Lafarge world’s biggest cement producer.
  • Culture traced to its origins in 1833.
  • Participative management philosophy includes:
  • Key for managers to develop their people.
  • Employees share and seek experiences of others.
  • Dealing with conflict integral to teamwork.
  • Teamwork creates environment of trust and confidence.
  • Important element is training.
  • Managers required to monitor development of employees.
  • Lafarge practices intensive communication so that its worldwide businesses understand operations.

OD Application
Cisco and High-Performing Teams

  • Was top-down and highly competitive.
  • Cisco initiated massive change.
  • Revolutionary change was company’s only chance.
  • Cisco examined every part including operations, priorities, and culture.
  • Before changes Cisco was described as wild west cowboy culture.
  • Executives encouraged to compete with one another.
  • Ideas were pursued with little discipline or accountability.
  • Market changed.
  • Customer expected integrated company.
  • Engineering, manufacturing, professional services, and sales must work together.
  • Changes permeated entire company.
  • New structure is network of councils and boards.
  • Council – team who has decision-making authority on >$10 billion opportunities.
  • Boards – teams who make decisions on $1 billion opportunities.
  • Working groups – deal with specific issues for limited time.

Key Words and Concepts

  • Grid OD.
  • Defines problem areas for OD.
  • Goes through phases designed to pursue systematic change.
  • Grid phases.
  • Six phases that a typical Grid OD program goes through.
  • High-performing system (HPS).
  • Removal of excessive layers of structure within organization.
  • Encourages participation across barriers.
  • Ideal strategic model.
  • Phase 4 of Grid OD program. Model developed to achieve excellence.
  • Learning organization.
  • Continuing capacity to adapt and change.
  • Reengineering.
  • Radical redesigning processes to achieve drastic improvements in performance.
  • Survey research and feedback.
  • Collect data and give feedback to allow organizations to diagnose problems.
  • System 4 management.
  • Continuum from system 1 to system 4.
  • System 4 is ideal that organizations attempt to achieve.
  • System-level organization.
  • Structural design framework for viewing organization.

Preparations for Next Chapter

  • Read Chapter 15.
  • Prepare for OD Skills Simulation 15.1.
  • Prior to class, form teams of six and select roles.
  • Complete Step 1.
  • Read and analyze Case: The Space Electronics Corporation
  • Place Your Order

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *