Tuesday, February 9, 2010

B = f(P × E),

where behavior (B) equates to the function (f) of the person (P) multiplied by (×) his or her environment (E). His formula implies that individuals are not isolated entities “behaving” in a vacuum; rather, they interact with and are shaped by what is going on around them. As many OD practitioners know—sometimes from painful experience— attempting to change a person’s attitudes or behavior in isolation from the environment may limit long-term success. Like alcoholics who go away to get
“clean,” often to relapse on returning to their family system, individuals in organizations “sent away to be changed” usually revert to their former patterns of behavior on re-entry to the work situation. Lewin’s advice still applies:

instead of trying to change the individual, it’s better to focus on changing elements in the larger system that would more likely modify their behavior permanently.

however, many OD practitioners have realized that, in focusing
on the whole system, the necessary and valid attention on the individual
may have suffered. Therefore, it is time to reconsider the individual, the very
present but under-valued element in the classic OD formula, within the larger

Such person-centered OD interventions, to be discussed in this chapter, include the following:

• Training programs that include elements aimed at individuals, conducted
either in-house or off-site, as part of an OD intervention;

• Mentoring, which focuses on career planning and performance counseling
and is usually carried out by someone from within the client system; and

• Coaching of individuals by someone from inside or outside the client

Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Consultants ~ William J. Rothwell
William J. Rothwell (Editor), Roland Sullivan (Editor)

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