Understanding decisions made during the initial stages of OD interventions
Bohannon, Richard Randall
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Competitive pressures, technological advances, mergers and acquisitions, and global expansion fuel the need for organizations to initiate successful change. The failed rate of change initiatives is appalling - greater than 50 percent and possibly as high as 75 percent. Although several factors have been found to influence success and failure there is a gap in our understanding about the influence of the early decisions on success or failure of a change initiative. This study examines how understandings of decisions made by the change agent and the OD practitioner during the early stages of a change initiative shape perceptions of success or failure. This study was a basic qualitative inquiry seeking to understand how the decisions made during the initial stages of an OD initiative are interpreted and understood by the OD practitioner and the change agent. This study drew from the concepts, models, and theories of organizational development and change. The data from the interviews were transcribed and analyzed by constant comparative analysis. The first conclusion was that the congruent understanding of the decisions made by the change agent and the OD practitioner suggests the change initiative might result in the desired results. It was also found that face-to-face feedback meetings may have contributed to the understanding of decisions by the OD practitioner and the change agent. The second conclusion of this study, indicate four factors that were perceived by the research participants that could differentiate their view of success or failure of change initiatives emerged from the data - the close working relationship with the OD practitioner, education and training, the exercise of organizational leadership, and the effects of continuous communication. Further study was recommended in the global community to ascertain whether those findings might agree with the findings of this study. Further research could also explore whether there is a link to understandings of the decisions made by the change agent and the OD practitioner to the success or failure of change initiatives.