Queen's University IRC

Organization Development

Developing Organizations - A Metaphorical View

Developing Organizations – A Metaphorical View

Can organizations be designed to grow people? With the emphasis on talent and knowledge management in today’s uber-competitive business context, the assumption certainly seems to be yes. The reality, however, is that many organizations fail to develop or tap the competence of their people. Referring to the problem of pervasive disengagement amongst today’s workforce, Gary Hamel (2012) laments that organizational systems are more likely to “frustrate extraordinary accomplishment than to foster it” (p. 137).

Organizational Design 4-D process - Queen's IRC

Organizational Design: Trusting in the 4-D process

The structure of any organization is key to its ability to function productively. In my role of chief executive officer for the Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta (PARA), I was concerned that our organizational form wasn't aligned with our intended function. My challenge was to take a group of volunteer resident physicians through a design process that would enable our organization to more effectively live its mission: representation for physicians completing further training in a residency program; advocacy for excellence in education and patient care; and optimal working conditions and personal well-being for all its members.

Exploring Teamwork in Fast-Paced, Dynamic Environments

Building Teams: Exploring Teamwork in Fast-Paced, Dynamic Environments

Teamwork is the way we work in organizations. In our highly dynamic work environments, people are challenged to collaborate, almost daily, in service of efficiency, quality and innovation goals. Often, these challenges require coworkers from different units and with diverse skills, to quickly group and flexibly regroup as projects unfold. Unfortunately, most organizations are not designed for fluid, cross-boundary collaboration. To the contrary, the legacy of the formal hierarchy, with tightly defined job boundaries, serves to thwart, rather than promote teamwork across boundaries.
 

Internal Coaching: An Organizational Perspective

Internal Coaching: An Organizational Perspective

A number of years ago, I proposed the idea to the organization I worked for that we should consider having an internal coach. There were a number of reasons why I thought this would be a good idea, not only for the organization, but also the individuals, and taxpayers (as we were public sector), and finally for me. From an organizational standpoint, we had been using external coaches for a few years and in some cases had realized some value. The problem with external coaching was that it is: a) Expensive  b) Harder to access, and c) External coaches in many cases did not understand our business.

Mastering Organizational Design with the IRC

About seven years ago, while working in our human resources branch, my manager recommended that I take a couple of the Queen’s Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) Organization Development (OD) certificate courses. Thus began a journey, which this year, culminated in me being awarded a Queen’s IRC Master Practitioner in Applied Organizational Development certificate and standing …

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From the Inside Out

Designing Organizations: From the Inside Out

It's a familiar story. While organizational design is not new – for centuries leaders have experimented with the best way to structure their kingdoms, armies, churches, factories, and governments – our track record has been less than stellar. Intuitively, we know that organizational design must enable employees to be more innovative, service oriented, connected, and efficient.

Teaming for Today's Complex Challenges

Teaming for Today’s Complex Challenges

While teams have traditionally focused on their own insular work and processes, today's teams must take a whole-systems perspective and engage system players in the learning journey. Accordingly, they are more focused on getting a holistic understanding of the challenge, securing required resources and expertise, and defining the process members will follow.

Carol Beatty, Queen's IRC Facilitator

Demystifying Organizational Strategy

People management professionals are often exhorted to become more knowledgeable about business strategy but many are discouraged by the jargon and the apparent complexity of the field. While it is true that a radical rethink of your organization's strategy involves creativity and specialized skills, most regular strategic planning exercises do not require that level of sophistication.
 

Brenda Barker Scott, Queen's IRC Facilitator

Enabling Fruitful Learning in Organizations

Take this challenge. Ask fellow employees if they have ample opportunity to learn and apply what they learn at work. Chances are their answers will be varied, with many answering with a sometimes or it depends. This is a conundrum. One does not have to look far to find support for the notion that learning in organizations is a critical capability.

Organizational Learning: A Literature Review

While a comprehensive model for organizational learning (OL) remains elusory, the wide web of scholarly conversation and debate has spurred rich insight into the central questions of how and what people learn in organizational settings. This paper is aimed at exploring some of those debates, with a view to identifying a complementary set of factors …

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Organization Development Primer: A Review of Large Group Interventions

Large group interventions are designed to help people collaborate effectively by thinking and acting from a whole-systems perspective. “Whole systems” refers to the way an organization operates internally through its processes and externally through its relations to customers and other stakeholders. There are a number of core values underpinning all whole-systems change methodologies.

City of Regina’s Blueprint for Change

At the City of Regina, two related factors have been driving the successful restructuring of its Community and Protective Services Division. The first is the Queen’s IRC Blueprint for Diagnosing Organizational Effectiveness, which has provided the map for change. And the second is the enthusiasm for the Blueprint tool from the City’s senior management. “The …

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New Brunswick’s Hothouses and Pipelines

In 2007, a variety of groups in New Brunswick interested in the viability and success of the province got together to create a plan for sustainable economic renewal. Faced with massive emigration, erosion of their natural resource-based economy, and poor academic standings, New Brunswick was ready for change. “Maritime provinces are at a crossroads”, commented …

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Beyond Clever – Leadership in a Different Key

“One of the paradoxes of improvisation is that it’s a mixture of two opposites—tremendous discipline and regimen balanced by spontaneity, listening, and playing in the moment.” – Gary Burton, vibraphone player Despite our efforts at definitional packaging, something remains elusive about the notion of leadership, something that is unaccounted for when we are done with …

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Bah Kumbaya

Respect, not superficial goodwill, is the key to inspired teamwork, says Dr. Shawna O’Grady, Associate Professor of Management at Queen’s School of Business. Great teams work hard at keeping members aligned and making the most of creative conflict. We spoke recently with Shawna about the challenges of creating and sustaining a collaborative work environment. When …

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The Rigour of Requisite Organization

Requisite Organization (RO) is a science-based management theory that traces organizational dysfunction to poor structure and systems rather than underperforming employees. According to RO adherents, the way to fix dysfunction is to fix the system. That means having crystal clear management accountability, setting compensation and employee capability to job complexity, and ensuring the proper number …

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Energizing Organizational Readiness

At its core, facilitating organizational change is about energizing the right people to design and execute smart strategies. As sociologist Philip Selznik says: “Strategies take on value only as committed people infuse them with energy.” Simply put, all organizational change is envisioned and enacted by committed, engaged, and at times, adventurous people. While energized people …

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Leveraging Your Learning Power

We spoke to an educational dream-team about best practices in facilitating learning – and harnessing new knowledge to help overcome an organization’s most pressing challenges. Sharing their views are Allyson Thomson of the Ontario Ministry of Finance; her executive sponsor Assistant Deputy Minister Marion Crane; and Queen’s IRC Facilitator Brenda Barker Scott. Allyson Thompson, Senior …

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Building a Learning Organization

Françoise Morissette is an Queen’s IRC Facilitator, accredited coach, and Organizational Development consultant. In the following Q & A she discusses how executives who sponsor education for their employees can ensure that valuable knowledge actually gets applied in the workplace. Do executive sponsors typically get good returns on their educational investments in employees? A lot …

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Non-cash Incentives: How Effective Are They in Canadian Organizations?

The current operating environment, characterized by mandates to control costs, challenges organizations to find innovative ways to reward their employees. Motivational and compensation research indicates that money is not an employee’s primary motivation to work; firms, therefore, are turning to the practice of non-cash incentives such as incentive travel. This research examines the effectiveness of …

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