Queen's University IRC

Organizational Design

Key Learnings for Building our Future

Canada’s Pandemic Response: Key Learnings for Building our Future

What if the entire population becomes vulnerable due a pandemic? COVID-19 took the world by surprise, then by storm, compelling us to adapt to new realities which considerably impact our individual, social and professional lives. The Canadian Federal Government, responsible for leading the pandemic crisis response, had to take effective and swift action in a rapidly shifting environment, driven by a new and mysterious threat. Implementing a multitude of effective responses across the country during COVID-19 posed a significant challenge for the Federal Government with regards to speed, agility and performance, and they proved up to the task, using an action learning, collaborative and iterative approach.

Peel Region Butterfly Project

Dementia Care Innovation in the Region of Peel

The first article in this series focuses on the Region of Peel’s bold decision to pilot and implement a ground breaking approach for dealing with people living with dementia. This model of care has proven effective at dramatically enhancing residents’ quality of life and wellbeing, their family’s satisfaction and involvement, as well as employee engagement, fulfillment and retention, all while reducing the number of incidents, and creating more positive relationships all around. Key information for this piece comes from an interview with Mary Connell, Project Manager for the Butterfly Initiative Implementation at the Region of Peel.

How Alberta is Eradicating Homelessness through Systems Thinking and Transformation

How Alberta is Eradicating Homelessness through Systems Thinking and Transformation

Homelessness is often viewed as a daunting, if not a wicked problem. Yet, Alberta has shown the way to solutions that deliver results. In contrast with other Canadian jurisdictions who favour municipal approaches, Alberta broke new ground in 2009 by defining an ambitious vision for the entire province: Ending homelessness in 10 years, instead of simply ‘managing’ or ‘reducing’ it.

Workplace In Motion Summit Proceedings

Queen’s University IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit Proceedings

The world of work is changing, and the most successful organizations and practitioners are those that understand how these changes impact the way they do business. To help them do so, and to foster further dialogue, Queen’s IRC hosted the Workplace in Motion Summit. This report elaborates on the most important questions, issues, and themes identified by Summit participants going forward.

Network Mapping as a Tool for Uncovering Hidden Organizational Talent and Leadership

Network Mapping as a Tool for Uncovering Hidden Organizational Talent and Leadership

This article will focus on the practice of social network mapping within organizations to deliberately leverage and engage intra-organizational sets of informal connections that are less “hard-wired” than formal organizational working relationships. In particular, the article will highlight the applications of the tool to identify hidden talent and leadership within the organization to support succession planning initiatives and diagnose internal communication and decision making blockages.

A Team’s Journey to Manage Culture More Effectively in a Unionized Environment

Successfully Changing Workplace Culture with the Boundary Theory

Organizational culture isn’t like a sports car. It cannot instantly change directions and make a hairpin turn. Instead, it’s more like a tanker ship that takes time and planning to put on the right course. If you think about how your organization or team arrived at the culture it currently has, it’s unlikely you can point to a single event, or even a few moments, that explain your current culture. Instead, it is the slow changes that happen, unnoticed at the time, which better explain how most organizational cultures develop.

A Model for the New World of Work

Is Your Workplace in Motion?

Do you encourage collaboration between departments? Are you ready for a changing demographic in your workforce? Do you know how technology will change your organization in the future? This past spring, Queen’s IRC hosted a summit to explore our workplaces in motion. We invited people to come together to reflect, share and re-imagine how their workplaces could become more transparent, integrated and inspiring. Through an old world – new world lens, we explored how four inter-related trends, are shaping the new employee, the new work, and the new workplace.

Summit Chair Brenda Barker Scott

Getting Ahead of the Shift: Summit Inspires Thoughtful Conversations About the Changing World of Work

With an impressive line-up of guest speakers and facilitators, the Queen’s IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit brought together over 100 leaders in HR, OD and LR from across the country to engage in conversations about the workplace of the future, and the trends that are driving new models for organizational planning. The Summit, held on April 16 in Toronto, featured a number of themes, including: Talent: How do we engage, retain and motivate a new generation of workers? Transformation:  How can organizations transform without trauma?

Is Transparency a Recipe for Innovation?

Is Transparency a Recipe for Innovation?

Innovation is a key driver in organizational sustainability, and yes, openness and transparency are a recipe for innovation. But, according to Tapscott and Williams, “when it comes to innovation, competitive advantage and organizational success, ‘openness’ is rarely the first word one would use to describe companies and other societal organizations like government agencies or medical institutions. For many, words like ‘insular,’ ‘bureaucratic,’ ‘hierarchical,’ ‘secretive’ and ‘closed’ come to mind instead.”

Designing for Collaboration in Organizations

Designing for Collaboration

Collaboration is emerging as a core organizational competence, and indeed an imperative, in today’s interconnected work context.  Despite the need, collaborative results often fall short of the intended ideals.  What if, instead of attempting to overcome elements of inertia, we shift our efforts to designing holistic systems that enable collaboration?  Below, I argue that collaboration is a design challenge.  To enable more fruitful collaboration in our organizations, we need to design for it.

The Government of Alberta’s Organizational Design Journey

The Government of Alberta’s Organizational Design Journey

In early 2013, the Government of Alberta (GoA) Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education’s review of their organizational structure began. This was part of an overall GoA-wide commitment to reviewing ministry structures. The intent was to ensure that the roles within the organization and branch/divisional structures, aligned with the current and future business needs. The executive team supported this approach and agreed that the Queen’s IRC’s model of organizational design, or the 4-D’s, was the process the department would use to complete the reviews.

The way forwar in employment relations

The Way Forward in Employment Relations

The idea of co-operation seems to be one that exists only in children’s books with no real place in the business world. However, to survive in the times that we live in the more successful organizations, and indeed nations, are embracing the values of co-operation. The study sought to determine the relevance of utilizing the tools of co-operation such as social dialogue in a dynamic setting. 

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.
 

Encouraging Collaboration in the Workplace: Lessons from the Government of Alberta

In 2009, the Alberta government's Connie Scott was a trailblazer, a forerunner in a new learning program that would change the way she and her community would look at their work.

Scott, now a manager of HR Strategies in Enterprise and Advanced Education, was in the first cohort of Queen's IRC HR Business Partner Certificate Program, a curriculum custom-designed for the Alberta government.

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.

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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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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