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Diagnostic and Dialogic Approaches to Data Collection for Organizational Development Practitioners

7 pages
1712 words
University of Richmond
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This essay aims to compare and contrast the diagnostic and dialogic approaches to data collection for OD practitioners. In the recent past, there has been sequential commentary as well as controversy in regard to the form of organization development. Nowadays, individuals tend to look against the existing critical OD system and here the question of whether dialogic or diagnosis OD arises. This essay, therefore, enables the reader to conceptualize and describe the techniques of collection of information capturing for organization development (OD) practitioners critically analysing the differences and similarities that exist between the foundation forms commonly referred to as diagnostic and dialogic OD. In this essay, we are trying to expose the possibility that there are differences as well as similarities in the forms of OD by means of theoretical and philosophical locations. This essay, therefore, presents organisational development practice as an evolving one, with the clear contrast of the dialogic OD approach to the conventional diagnostic approach by comparing the fundamental assumptions

on people, social systems, alongside change found in both forms

Main body 1 (200-250 words)

Organizational development (OD) refers to a process of applying behavioural science and theories to develop, improve and enhance the strategies, structures, and procedures that facilitate organisational effectiveness (Cummings and Worley, 2014). French and Bell (1999: 26) also note that OD is a systematic, all-encompassed effort supported by top management that aims to improve the organisational efficiency and dynamics, deriving from human relations perspective. OD is processed with designed intervention in the process of daily operation that originated from the 1950s along with the increasing number of behavioural researches (Bushe and Marshak 2009: 355). Kurt Lewin, the father of OD, has proposed a three-stage changing process in interpreting organizational changes and laid the foundation for action research (Burnes 2009). Then, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the emergence of new technology and shift in global business models, the violation in the external environment urged organizations to implement changes. Through that, managers and behavioural researchers have been led to developing new techniques and processes in an attempt to enhance the competitiveness of organizations and their adaptability of the external changes (Van de Ven and Poole 1995, p. 530). For example, the concept of the learning organization was pinpointed by Senge (1990) and gradually became an important field of OD researches in the 21st century. In this paper, two major strands of OD, diagnostic and dialogical approaches will be reviewed.

Diagnostic OD (650-700 words)

Diagnostic OD dominates the current arena of organisational change theory. It is defined as the unique OD strategy towards action investigation as an information-based dynamism technique presuming the occurrence of a target, discernible existence from which research can be based to generate viable information to impact change.

Diagnostic OD is a simple procedure that involves data collection, diagnosis, plan, intervention, and assessment. It aims to enhance the uniformity between organizational structure, procedure, strategy, employees, and culture. It is, therefore, a complex dynamic process that initiates at the patients individual sickness record and culminates in a way that can be categorized.

To proceed to the organizational development, diagnostic OD utilizes management psychology as well as other implicit theories and techniques to achieve the pre-set organizational objectives. It emphasizes the importance of formal working groups, including the management and employees and their interactions.

It is a cycle of diagnosis and problem-fixing. One of the prominent features of diagnostic OD is building the concept and methodology of organizational development on the sufficient diagnosis and practical verification.

It also considers OD as an incremental process with activities that involve certain target and dynamic changes. Classic OD emphasizes that the individual parts of the organization are interrelated and interdependent. Thus, the management and operation events in the organization are not isolated. The changes taking place in one department or one aspect can evidently influence the process of other departments or aspects. Therefore, it advocates that OD practitioners should consider the jobs of each part with coordination in the entire system. Diagnostic OD highlights the improvement of a process to fix the current issues organizations are facing while applying effective communication, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict management, empowering and career designing to acquire new knowledge and skills to achieve organizational goals (Kellett & Dalton 2001, p.25).

It is arguable that on one of the main task of change in the diagnostic approach is the development of valid date (Heracleous & Barrett 2001, p. 761). The legit data is assumed to reflect on the underlying target reality, a wider structure which underlies the outer issues that OD consultants and individuals perceive. This objective of the comprehensive research can be the answer to the ODs new several fields of consulting culture to be identified as a scholarly discipline. Most of the writings and OD journals outline the purpose of information collection is well explained as a diagnosis. Therefore, there is an existence of organization development as an institution that requires examination before describing remedies. Diagnosis is a highly desirable, if not essential, precursor for informed and effective organization development and change . . . interventions (McCulloch & Cronshaw, 2008, p. 89).

The main motive in the diagnostic approach is to put emphasis on the behaviour change, and what people should do, the interventions are implemented with the problems identified from objective data. Moreover, the validity of the data is discoverable by of help rational and analytic procedures.

It is arguable as per Van de Ven and Pooles (1995) that most of the Diagnostic OD involvements can be conveniently performed as physical doctrines. Dynamics in the teleological process involve recognition of desired objectives and then carefully planning to meet them

Bushe and Marshak (2009) have questioned the development of this traditional approach and pinpoint that diagnostic OD consider the OD similar to medical science, in which the data collected are used to benchmarked to a pre-existing model to identify the issues existed in the organization.

There are a number of assumptions made that lay a basis for the diagnostic OD practices and thinking. It is assumed that organizations behaviour is as a result of the underlying target reality such as forces and factors influencing the present condition. Similarly, changes in the organizational can be tabled, envisioned and directed by processes to willing fully relocate from one semi-stable equilibrium to another (Heracleous & Marshak 2004, p. 1301). Moreover, it is assumed that there is collaboration between the consultant and the organization members, but the consultant distinct himself so that he can act as an independent and neutral facilitator of diagnostic OD.

Dialogic OD (650-700 words)

Dialogic OD refers to the sequence in the evolution of organization dynamics theory, from the organizations thoughts as an organism that is adaptable to their surroundings to organizations as communication where people as well as the organizational deeds as due to self-organizing, socially initiated validities developed and maintained by the existing narrations, and conversation whereby individuals validate their experiences.

The major practises that fall into the dialogic approach include appreciative inquiry, future searches, and open space (Lawrence & Lorsch 1969, p. 21). These methods are established on the assumption that the organisational changes are facilitated accordingly with the changes in the daily conversations within (p.360). Therefore, it can be observed that the dialogic approach prioritises the narrative practices. This approach reckons the importance of positive experiences in an organisation as well as the experiences accumulated from the problem identifying and fixing the process to promote the growth of the organisation.

In contrasting both, Diagnostic and dialogic approaches have different assumptions on the regarded nature of reality (Kersten 2000, p. 239). The diagnostic OD holds a unitary view of reality; while dialogic OD considers that the reality is built on the premises of social construction and social negotiation and thus holds a multiple-reality perspective.

Dialogical OD treats organisation as a meaning-making system (Bushe and Marshak).' This is achievable in a number of ways such as changing the conversation partaker, changes of how individuals have the conversation as well as the patterns.

Bushe and Marshak (2009, p.354) note that dialogic OD derives from common vision to make the process of organizational changes in an appealing' manner. The data collected in dialogical approach aims to provide lens regarding how the members in an organization interpret a particular situation in OD. It is a process for all the participating parties in the dialogue can exchange opinions based on the engagement. New ideas and opinions can emerge during the communication, which can enhance the relevance of data collection and application in OD.

When data is collected in dialogic approach, it does not necessary means that it actually characterizes the fact. Instead, the data signifies the prevailing perspectives in the organisation and the interpretation of members of the organisation.

Appreciative inquiry is proposed by Cooperrider in the 1980s on the upcoming forms of OD. Cooperrider in his idea on effective dialogue notes that appreciative inquiry aims to explore the highlights in people and organisation assuming that there are dynamics in the communications that obviously occur in an organization causing an ultimate transformation. It constructs an unconditional affirmative question on what is expected and possible of the new form of OD. The researcher further avows that appreciative inquiry carries the connotation of cooperation to regard an organisation as an organic system.

Unlike emphasizing on diagnostic OD to enhance and enable individuals in contrary to issue expertise advice, the dialogic OD has a role in a consistent offering of advice. Just as the diagnostic OD consultant does, the Dialogic OD consultant's professionalism is in internalising the people's civic acquisition alongside giving change and making decisions and enhancing situations that accommodate organizational objectives and OD principles. The fundamental assumption followed in the process in use by the Dialogic OD consultant in the implementation of the task, however, seems somehow different in comparison to the Diagnostic OD.

There are basic assumptions made in Dialogic organizational development. The behaviour of the organizations is socially developed legibly; due to the prevailing inter actions of the group, individuals and interested parties. Procedures of inquiring can cause a status quo and develop awareness, unknown knowledge as well as narratives with capabilities to transform the organization. Moreover, the daily social reality is simultaneously generated and regenerated through the people's interaction. As a result, transformational dynamics are caused where there are basic shifts in language and conversation patterns that promote emergence another possibility. Finally, the Dialogic OD consultant works tog...

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