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Organization assessment by Harry Levinson

Book Summary - Organization Assessment (A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Consulting) by Harry Levinson

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Organization assessment by Harry Levinson

  1. 1. Organizational Assessment A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Consulting Book Summary
  2. 2. Purpose of the Book • To help formalize and professionalize the organization consultation role, whether for organizational assessment or change efforts • To assist managers who want to sharpen their assessment skills in order to understand their own organization
  3. 3. Introduction • An Organization as a whole is a system of interrelated subsystems. It is also a component of larger systems – an industry, a community, an economy • Organizations like other living organisms is an “open” system. It must maintain a equilibrium: a) among its internal subsystems b) between itself as a system and other systems, and c) between itself and the larger systems of which it is a part Organization analyses must therefore lend themselves to understanding the organization is an active, unique, living entity
  4. 4. Attributes of a Comprehensive Organization Assessment Should be a / an: 1. ordered, systematic gathering of information 2. evaluation of the relationship of the organization with other systems with which it interacts 3. Undertaking that establishes what the organization stands for – i.e. organizational purpose 4. Movement from fact to inference to interpretation. Basic data are the facts, inferences are the extrapolations drawn from facts, and interpretations are the meanings formulated from those inferences. 5. Device for training managers and executives to better understand their organization and to continuously assess their managerial efforts through the use of specialized measures
  5. 5. Broad Overview of Org Assessment Phases Gathering Information – Genetic & Factual Data Tentative Inferences  To provide a cross- sectional view of the organization at a given point of time against the context of its history(genetic data), environments as well as factual data  To describe the organization in detail based on data gathered  To understand the “why” of the problems delineated Recommendations  To provide recommendations which then become the basis for the organization to debate its options and make choices 1. FACTS 2. INFERENCES 3. INTERPRETATIONS The basic question for every consultant regardless of the reason for a consultation request is, Where is the pain?
  6. 6. Phase 1: FACTS A. Identifying Information 1. Organization Name 2. Location 3. Type of Organization 4. Organization Affiliation 5. Size (financial condition, # of employees, stockholders) 6. First Overall Impressions I. Genetic Facts How The Organization Got To Be the Way It Is II. Descriptive Data & Analysis Description and Analysis of the Organization as a Whole B. Historical Data 1. Events leading to the initiation of the assessment 2. Problem of the organization as stated by key figures (long-range, short-range) 3. Background of the organization (key development phases, major crises experienced, Product-Service History, Organizational traditions) A. Structural Data 1. Formal Organizational Structure 2. Plant and Equipment / Work Environment 3. Financial Structure 4. Human Capital (# of employees, tenure, turnover, etc.) 5. Structure for managing Human Resources 6. Policies and Procedures B. Process Data 1. Communication Systems 2. Management Information Systems 3. Current and Previous Studies in, and Reports to, the organization
  7. 7. Phase 2: INFERENCES A. Current Organizational Functioning 1. Organizational perceptions (leadership, direction, dominant foci of interest, assessment of the discrepancy between reality and perceived reality) 2. Organizational knowledge (methods of obtaining new knowledge, degree of receptivity to new knowledge, use of knowledge & dissemination) 3. Organizational language (symbols, slogans, themes, language of policies, customs) 4. Emotional atmosphere of the organization (prevailing mood, intra-organizational variability) 5. Organizational action (energy level, qualities of action – i.e. planning, timing, degree of flexibility & persistence, effectiveness) III. Inferences drawn from Analytic Data B. Attitudes and Relationships 1. Relationships with Others (Assessment of the range, depth and constancy with all stakeholders - clients, competition, employees, shareholders, legislative bodies, suppliers, etc.) 2. Relations with things and ideas (quality and intensity of relations to plant, equipment, raw material or supplies, product, services. Handling authority, power and responsibility) 3. Intra-organizational relationships (key people in organization, how functional groups interact)
  8. 8. Phase 3: INTERPRETATIONS A. Organizational Integrative Patterns 1. Appraisal of the effect of the environment on the organization (historical, current and anticipated) 1. Appraisal of the organization and overall effectiveness B. Summary and Recommendations 1. Present Status 2. Explanatory Formulation (Genetic, Dynamic) 3. Prognostic Conclusions 4. Recommendations IV. Analyses and Conclusions: Interpretations from Inferences
  9. 9. The Assessment Procedure 1. Leadership interviews that is representative of those parts 2. All Employees to be questioned by printed form (Survey) 3. Sample of employees to participate in focus groups 4. Observations of people at work 5. An examination of already available records and relevant data 6. Interviews with key stakeholders outside the organization - i.e. suppliers, former employees, external staff of the parent (if applicable), etc.
  10. 10. Sample Questions – Leadership Interviews Sample Questions I B  Tell me about the organization. How did it get to be the way it is? II A  What do you do here?  If you were going to hire someone for your job, what kind of person would you hire?  With respect to helping a person along, how does (the organization) get people started? What happened to you when you started? How much and what kind of training do people get?  How do you find out how you are doing?  What happens when problems come up? (Give me some examples)  What are the main rules here that everyone has to follow? III A  What sort of place is this to do your job? Why?  How does the organization keep up with what’s going on elsewhere? What kinds of things is it most interested in keeping up with? Does the organization make use of the information available?  What ways are there to find out what’s going on around here? III B  Tell me about the people here. How are they to work with?  What does the organization say it stands for?  How does it get its message across?  What do outsiders think of your organization? Why? (please specify)  What future do you see for this organization? Why?
  11. 11. The Five-Step Agenda of the Consultant’s Closing Presentation 1. What did the consultant do? 2. What did he/she find? 3. What did he/she learn? 4. How does he/she understand what was learned? 5. What does he/she recommend doing about it?