Management Development/ Organisation Development at UKAEA Essay
Modern day organisations place a significant demand on the management at various levels to perform. Many Organisation Behaviour scientists / consultants and practitioners define performing organizations as learning organizations(Senge 1994) that continuously change their strategy, structure, skills, communication patterns, personnel policies etc. so that the organisations are ever so prepared to deal with any market demand. Management Development/ Organisation Development emphasise precisely this learning that enhances the ability of the management to handle all situations and contingencies (Gilley & Eggland 1989). Carefully planned MD/ OD interventions take into account organisation conflict, organisation culture, and change management (Louis 2001) so that the resultant organisation becomes more functional and effective in dealing with the new challenges placed by the market. MD/ OD interventions can include but are not limited to designing and conducting workshops, seminars, training programmes (Rouda & Kusy, Jr., 1995).
Total Quality Management for Organizational Change and Development as described by Gummer and McCallion (1995) is an example of a company wide intervention. Many organisations that implement organisation wide MD/ OD initiatives (Beckhard 1969) do look at other initiatives like Action Research (Rothwell, Sullivan & McLean 1995), individual roles and responsibilities; job design (McLagan 1989: 49-59); skill development; rearranging work groups;
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UKAEA background (CPCR 2007):
UKAEA is a world leader in decommissioning and regenerating nuclear sites. UKAEA is currently in the process of decommissioning Dounreay, a nuclear site in northern Scotland. A broad range of activities are employed to promote staff understanding and develop leadership skills using leadership programme as a change management tool(McNamara 2008) to achieve UKAEA goals at Dounreay. Collaboration across the organisation is believed to be the number one driver to delivering the new framework at Dounreay (CPCR 2007).
About Dounreay in Scotland
Opened in 1955, Dounreay led the world in the research and development of fast reactor technology. Restoring the 140 acre site is one of the most complex nuclear decommissioning tasks in the world, with the site’s history presenting significant challenges. The clean-up operation is due for completion by 2036 at a projected cost of £2.9 billion.
The assignment on hand:
Delivering decommissioning at Dounreay with minimal disruption and to the best satisfaction of all concerned – the employees, the UK government, NDA, UKAEA and the consultants CPCR themselves.
Available Options for UKAEA and CPCR:
CPCR and UKAEA considered various options for a successful decommissioning activity. They looked at various prevailing MD/ OD theories, models and frameworks which have relevance to the existing situation for direct application. Specifically they looked at Hofestede and Kuckhohn-Strodbeck frameworks for understanding organization culture and Burke-Litwin model for Organisational Change (Burke and Litwin 1992). Other relevant aspects of organizational change like the following were also considered:
Force field analysis ; targets of change; revolutionary and evolutionary models of change; resistance to change; phases in Organization Development(McLean 2005) – Entry, Contracting, Diagnosis, Feedback, Planning the change, Intervention, Evaluation and Termination; and OD Interventions – Human Process intervention; Structural and technological interventions; Human Resource Management interventions(Cummings and Worley 2005); and Strategy Interventions.
To understand conflict management, Conflict Episode model was looked at. The model defines conflict processes as occurring in three different phases viz., Latent conflict, Manifest Conflict and a Conflict aftermath. CPCR’s own Scan, Relate and Act Model and Collaborative Leadership Inventory (CLI) were also looked at for use in the organisation change process (CPCR 2007).
Organization culture is a very complex intermix of deep rooted values, physical artifacts and basic assumptions, norms and the do’s and don’ts that uniquely define an organization. There are different dimensions of an organization culture, different levels at which people experience an organization and see organizational culture from different perspectives. The various dimensions in an organization culture are levels, pervasiveness, implicitness, imprinting, political, plurality and interdependency (Champoux 2002). Artifacts, Values and Basic assumptions are three different levels at which an organization can be seen with different levels of visibility – Artifacts present high visibility while basic assumptions the least. Organizations can also be seen from three different perspectives – integration perspective, differentiation perspective and fragmentation perspective. Organisation Behavior consultants provided various frameworks for understanding organisational culture.
Hofstede’s (2005) framework includes various dimensions such as: Individualism vs. collectivism; Power distance etc. Kuckhohn-Strodbeck’s (1961) framework talks about Relationship to Nature; Time Orientation; Trust and Control etc. All these dimensions have direct correspondence and utility to the organizational context.
There are various dimensions in organization culture like pervasiveness, plurality, implicitness, politics, interdependency etc and various levels like artifacts, values and basic assumptions. The dimensions and levels correspond to various degrees of visibility of the organization culture.
Conflicts seem to be inevitable in the modern day organizations. Conflict resolution, rather, conflict reduction, seems to be the main focus of the present day organizations. Conflicts can be functional or dysfunctional. However, it is the functional conflict that the modern organisations and managers seek to nurture. Factors such as individual tolerance for conflict, leadership style impact the outcomes of conflict resolution/ conflict reduction.
Conflicts can take place at various levels including interpersonal level, intragroup level and intergroup level. One of the models of conflict processes is defined by the Conflict Episode model which models three different phases – Latent conflict, Manifest Conflict and a Conflict aftermath (Pondy 1967: 296-320). Conflict Management is successful when the manager or supervisor, seeking to reduce or increase or maintain the conflict, understands the current level of conflict, the manager’s / supervisor’ perception of conflict or conflict frame, manager’s / supervisor’s tolerance for conflict and most importantly the leadership style or the orientation to the conflict. Conflict frames, the perceptual sets, vary along three dimensions – Relationship-Task, Emotional-Intellectual, and Co-operate-Win. The five different conflict orientations – dominance, collaborative, compromise, avoidance and accommodative – bring different behavioral patterns to a conflict episode and affect the conflict aftermath differently. A person who seeks to gather all the information from the group in a conflict, who sincerely wants to satisfy the expectations of all the stakeholders using a democratic and collaborative leadership style, may use a Collaborative conflict orientation to reduce/ solve conflicts. Some of the latent conflicts that are major sources of conflict are scarce resources; organizational differentiation; ambiguous jurisdiction of roles and responsibilities; communication barriers.
Change management is the most difficult but one of the most important aspects of modern day manager’s / organization’s responsibility. Implicit in change management is the requirement for understanding organization culture, conflict reduction and various tools and techniques available for change management. Organisations have to understand and contend with latent differences and peculiarities posed by different cultures. Many useful concepts and techniques are available for modern day organizations to successfully understand and manage change((Rouda & Kusy, Jr., 1995): Force field analysis of the forces for and against the organizational change; targets of change ( who needs change , targets of change and priorities for change); revolutionary and evolutionary models of change; resistance to change; phases in Organization ; and OD Interventions. Human process interventions seem to provide the best framework for understanding and managing change effectively. The frameworks offered by Kuckhohn-Strodbeck and Hofstede and the Burke-Litwin model seem to provide an effective way of understanding organisation culture.
UKAEA and CPCR Approach to meeting the challenges:
UKAEA recognised that in order to deliver more effectively the decommissioning programme at Dounreay and meet the requirements of its new customer, the NDA, a new organisational structure would be required. As well as ensuring the right structure was in place, UKAEA also acknowledged that strong leadership supported by a robust organisational development (OD) programme was essential to ensure the successful delivery of the decommissioning programme.
In light of this, UKAEA appointed a steering group to manage the organisational change, encompassing representatives from UKAEA, and its business partners, AMEC and CH2MHill, to improve leadership skills and implement the OD programme.
UKAEA chose CPCR as a consultancy partner that would help the senior management team enhance their leadership skills, creating a more consistent approach when dealing with people issues in light of the forthcoming changes.
It was decided that the public body needed external input to ensure its people received the support they needed to manage the new and challenging environment.
Putting the OD programme in place
In order to meet the decommissioning goals of UKAEA, CPCR worked closely with the UKAEA steering group to identify a new organisational structure at Dounreay. CPCR worked with UKAEA at an early stage in the project, using a variety of OD tools to bring about organisational development and culture change at Dounreay to ensure that the existing management team was fit to implement an effective decommissioning programme.
CPCR kicked off the programme by using the Burke-Litwin Model to examine key aspects of organisational change and performance. The model provides a link between the wider institutional context and the nature of change within an organisation, examining the following aspects of organisational change: External environment; Mission and strategy; Leadership;
Organisational culture; Structure; Systems; Management practice; Work unit climate; Task and individual skills; Individual needs assessment as indicated by Rouda and Kusy (1995:255); Motivation(Nicholson 2003); Individual and organisational performance.
The model was also used to identify transactional processes for enhancing performance amongst staff working at lower levels in the organisation. By considering both the strategic and operational aspects of change management, CPCR was able to adopt a collaborative approach which engaged staff across all levels of the organisation.
The findings provided CPCR with sufficient data to define the re-structured organisation and identify new teams within the revised structure and profiling the skills needed for each role.
The recruitment process for the roles in the new organisation proved a dual challenge for the CPCR team, faced with assessing the skills of the existing Dounreay workforce as well as the relative skills of applicants based at other nuclear sites around the country.
Assessment centres were hosted by 4 assessors and 3 CPCR facilitators, with eight candidates assessed per day. In total sixty nine candidates were assessed over 4 days.
Assessment took place using the Scan, Relate and Act Model developed by CPCR to assess leadership performance. The model considers leaders’ ability to continuously scan and interpret the world around them, making sense of the bigger picture. It also considers how leaders balance the short term issues with long term issues and needs of internal and external stakeholders.
Secondly, the model examines how leaders establish and maintain effective relationships with people both inside and outside the organisation, achieving a sense of collaboration with their people. Finally, the model considered whether leaders have the necessary skills to implement solutions and bring about effective performance in others.
The senior management team were required to complete a self assessment questionnaire based on a set of the leadership competencies developed from the Scan, Relate and Act model. It also involved feedback from their line manager’s staff, peers and those outside the organisation with whom they had an established working relationship.
Other exercises were also employed, including a group discussion, presentation and interview, a role play and a psychometric test. The assessors were trained by CPCR to listen, observe, interview, record, classify and evaluate the evidence gained from all the exercises. Candidates were also required to complete the Collaborative Leadership Inventory (CLI), a tool developed by CPCR which helps identify an individual’s leadership strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of each session, each candidate’s performance was discussed and analysed by the assessors, with CPCR facilitating the discussion. The evidence collected from the assessment centres was used as the basis to allocate successful candidates to specific roles in the organisation. This was achieved by facilitating decisions between management team and employees focusing on the core values, goals and overall restoration strategy of UKAEA and the steps being taken at Dounreay to meet UKAEA decommissioning targets.
The management team at Dounreay recognised that adopting an open, collaborative leadership style was a key factor in managing changing effectively. A new performance management system was implemented which would allow the workforce to be assessed against the new criteria going forward.
CPCR worked closely with the UKAEA steering group throughout the project to achieve the ultimate goals of culture change and organisational development. Despite a challenging timescale, CPCR working in conjunction with UKAEA has helped Dounreay achieve its goals within just six months. A new organisational structure is in place, complete with new teams and effective performance management systems.
Management Development / Organisation Development rely heavily on people communication. Effective communication is vital for successful implementation of any MD/ OD intervention. Through the case study many issues involved in MD/ OD implementation are understood. The most important being culture, communication, conflict and change management. Managers leading teams – small or big – need to be aware of their own personal leadership styles, tolerance for conflict and deep understanding of the culture of the target group/ organization for successful interventions (Bunker & Alban1992).
Today’s organizations can no longer be defined in local and closed perspectives. The increased globalization of financial markets and their impact on organizations across continents seem to provide opportunities as well as challenges to modern day managers and consultants. Improved ways to understand organization culture, increased understanding and preparation to deal with organizational conflicts and manage change in a timely, systematic and effective manner need not be overemphasised for improved Organisational Performance (Gilley and Maycunich 2000).
Many organizations do tend to implement MD/ OD interventions in a phased manner or as a big bang approach depending upon the situation including budgets, preparation on the part of the senior management etc. There is always the advantage of being there and doing that in the past. There is no substitute to experience. If there is the benefit of hindsight, more time would be dedicated to planning phase. Many MD/ OD interventions fail because of lack of planning and preparation on the part of the consultant/ change agent as well as the senior management.
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