Monday, February 16, 2009

Organizational Development and Unorganized Development

I have been reviewing the notes I have taken from the organizational observations and interviews. I was not really surprised by the disconnect I am witnessing between different subgroups within the same organization, which is a high school. The dissonance that seems to be present between subgroups appears in my place of employment and at the elementary schools I have taught at and done research in. There is a human tendency to isolate and settle into a routine that best suits the immediate needs being faced by members of the group. It is easy to lose sight of specific missions or goals and in the daily processes of getting priority issues taken care of. The members of the group I am presently observing appear to do a very efficient job of what they are asked. The disconnect occurs when services and communications are compromised and begin to break down at the individual, or classroom level.

I am not quite prepared to make a statement at this time for recommendation of actions to be taken. The reflection that I am becoming more concerned with is what part I can play in pulling the information out of players within the group I am studying. I have convinced myself that there will be a need to do another round of research. My preference is to arrange for several short personal interviews. If that is not a possibility, then I would be satisfied with an electronic interview through email. Specifically, I would like to know what problems different individuals perceive to exist. What I think I see and what I am truly seeing may be entirely different things.

I put the title of Unorganized Development up because of the evolution of organizations that is not of the intentional variety. There is development occurring at a personal level that certainly transcends specific authorities and becomes reality. I suppose this would be a form of tacit knowledge that morphs into explicit knowledge. When a leader recognizes the transformation of knowledge and directs the event into a tangible and specific direction, change occurs in a timely manner.


learning in real time said...

Interesting observations!

While it is concerning to consider the apparent disconnect you described - especially in an educational setting - it is not necessarily surprising.

Have you been able to conduct the personal interviews you indicated a desire to arrange? If so, I am eager to hear about how they went... and your next steps!

Steve Rotondo said...

Due to extremely tight schedules for myself and Technology staff, I have not been able to arrange more than one personal interview. I finally opted to send a short questionnaire to the Technology Department Coordinator. I asked:

1. Could you describe the level of satisfaction you perceive the teachers and administration in your district to have with your services?

2. Do you feel there are any disconnects in communication between departmental organizations such as administration and the technology staff?

3. What changes (if any) would you like to see made within your organization regarding organizational development?

I have not received any response from this email. I spent two hours on two visits compiling information from an interview and observation of a staff meeting that will give me some valuable input, however, as I attempt to synthesize my notes, I am not comfortable with the depth of information I have accumulated. There are mostly descriptions of what people do and generalized policies, but no true insight is being brought to mind as I list basic facts and functions.

There is a way things are done, it is very straight forward, and the view I am seeing is strictly from a service-based operation with clear, well-defined goals. There is more of a set up and maintenance routine than interacting with teaching and administration routine (at least with the use of the technology). This may not be the staff that I should be asking about disconnects for teachers and admin. Asking the teachrs and admin staff would probably be best but it is unlikely tracking down these individuals would be a chaotic process with time running out.

I feel I might be better served continuing forward with a study of the agency I did my original Ed 403 Pinata on regarding Drug and Alcohol Counseling and the learning that is or is not occurring within the levels of organization and chain of command there. I have a much better understanding of the dynamics of that organization and have spent enough time in the organization to develop a more objective view of what is going on. I believe I have done enough information gathering and synthesis of information to introduce my most recent decision to jump ship on this project and follow through with where I have an equally strong start in research. Live and learn.