Case Study – “Change at DuPont” Leading Organizational Change Jun 2, 2011 Abstract A popular cliche stated that, “Nothing is permanent except change”. As such, it is imperative for organizations to have a smooth transition from constancy to revolutionary. Organizational Development, Appreciative Inquiry, and Sense making have a profound embedment on the DuPont scenario, and was seen as compatible and synergistic to each other. The scenario shows that these new trends have a better and positive effect in the change transition of an organization rather than using traditional public solving skills.
Keywords: Change, Organizational Development, Appreciative Inquiry Sense making Problem solving Questions: 1. To what extent are the following approaches to change embedded in the DuPont story (justify your answer, providing specificexamples): 2. In your opinion, how compatible are these three approaches? Why? What evidence is there in the DuPont story to support your answer? As a change manager, to what extent could you utilize insights from each approach? 3. c. Imagine you are an OD practitioner brought into DuPont at the time of the Orlon manufacturing operation closure.
Describe the steps you would take to help manage this change based upon action research. 4. Describe a fictional large-scale change that could affect DuPont. You will address this change from both a problem-solving approach and an appreciative inquiry approach. You will explain the change to a group of DuPont employees from each approach (two different change explanations). Compare and contrast the steps taken in each approach. Which approach do you think would work better from the point of view of the staff? Why? How easy/difficult will it be to adopt this approach? What broad conclusions can be drawn?
The Different Approach to Change The DuPont scenario presented the three approaches to change in varying degrees. For instance, the case illustrated Organizational Development when the Leadership Core Team were instructed to introduce change as an experiment; something to be tried and tested and if not viable, could be stopped. It tackled Appreciative inquiry when the local meaning of effective supervision, high performance, and other positive traits of the company was “illuminated”, given due credit, and finally, used as a foundation for making improvements, hence, the prelude to the required change.
Seel (2008) agreed to this by defining Appreciative Inquiry as looking at what works well and uses that as a foundation for future development. The scenario demonstrated Sense-making in the part where Tom said that everything is an experiment. In a sense, he is saying that if one treats changes in life as an experiment, the meaning and significance of it to the people increases and eventually becomes a good thing. The Compatibility of Difference The approaches go hand in hand.
First, OD will help in solving things gradually, one problem at a time, so that the organization could eventually learn to solve the problem by themselves, without any external person. Burnes (1996); Cummings & Worley (1997) enforced this by noting that OD is theoretically based on the eventual withdrawal of consultants. Dunphy and Stance (1988) on the other hand, stated that OD promotes a planned approach to organizational change, incremental changes, as well as methodical and systematic transitions.
One could then delve more on the organization’s positive aspects instead of the negative ones, which is what Appreciative Inquiry is. This transpired when DuPont employees used their best traits as the foundation for positive changes. Finally sensemaking took place when Tom said, “By interpreting the possible results before they happen, all outcomes can be positive. Even if things do not go as hoped, what does happen can yield learning. All experiments are successes at one level or another. ” As a change manager I will use the three approaches as they are bring about a synergistic effect to each other.
Changed based on Research First, I will make a personal, or I am given a team, a team research why the Orlon Manufacturing operations closed, and discuss the data we have gathered together, as collective minds could provide more quality inputs than single, separate minds working together to solve a single predicament. After consolidating all the gathered and collected data, I will involve the rest of the employees in the review and feedback process, as I believe it will give me a rich source of new ideas that I would have never guess if I only did it by myself.
A Fictional Change Perhaps the best fictional large-scale change I could think of is what if Tom Harris himself would suddenly resign. Using the five-step problem solving process noted by Okojie (2006), I will first confer to the DuPont employees and will ask them to identify the problem with me (which is the resignation of Tom Harris, which will deprive them of a great leader). We could then analyze the problem, and judge how grave or serious is this problem, or what could have been the cause.
It might have been brought by the ever increasing pressure of his job, or if accepted a higher paying job with less responsibilities. We then identify our decision criteria, by asking conferring to them how they will make the decision when it is time to decide, and how to weigh the criteria we have identified. Should we arrive at one solution, we will not stop there and we would still find for more solutions. Perhaps we need only to talk things out to Tom, or we could do something to push this up higher and convince the top management to see this case and do their best not to let Tom go by offering good concessions.
Finally, we shall decide on the best decision, which is to let Tom be, as it was his choice, and he did it as a matured person. Using the Appreciative Inquiry approach, I will NOT focus on Tim’s departure, or the reasons for his leaving. I will concentrate more on empowering the employees by making them realize that yeah, they have lost a good leader, but he left great followers that are the employees, and the best way to show their appreciation to Tim is to work better and with more commitment.
I will endeavor to make Tom’s leaving as a point of inspiration, not a source of desperation. Comparing the two, one would notice that the problem solving approach is simply focusing on the problem itself, which is a negative. Therefore, if one started with a negative, certainly it will end negatively as well. However, Appreciative Inquiry started in a positive note, so the odds of its end product being positive as well is very high indeed.
As a consultant, I think the Appreciative Inquiry would work better and will be welcomed by the employees more enthusiastically, as it works on what is already present and the best in the organization, and not on what is depressing and lacking. This only shows that despite the advantages of problem solving in trying to advance changes in an organization, new trends such as Organizational Development, Appreciative Inquiry, and Sensemaking is more favorable. References Burnes, B. (1996). Managing Change: A Strategic Approach to Organisational Dynamics, 2nd edn. , Pitman, London.
Cummings, T. G. & Worley, C. G. (1997). Organizational Development and Change, SouthWestern College Publishing, Ohio. Dunphy, D. C. & Stace, D. A. (1988). ‘Transformational and Coercive Strategies for Planned Organisational Change: Beyond the OD Model’. Organization Studies, 9(3), pp. 317-334. Okojie, P. (2006). The Five Step Problem Solving Approach. Retrieved from http://e-articles. info/e/a/title/The-Five-Step-Problem-Solving-Approach/ Seel, R. (2008). Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry. Retrieved from http://www. new-paradigm. co. uk/introduction_to_ai. htm