One of the authors, Mr. Nakahara, has authored many books as an expert in human resources development. Blogs are also popular, so many of you may know them. Meanwhile, the other author, Mr. Nakamura, is an expert in organizational development. He is the first Japanese to complete an organizational development certificate program at an institution called NTL in the United States, and is familiar with both practice and research through organizational development consulting and training for practitioners. If both of them teamed up to write a large 400-page book, I can't help but read it.
The diversity of employees is only increasing due to work style reforms that are being promoted under the banner of "100 million active society", and the increase in the number of people who work while raising children and nursing care, and the number of foreign workers. Along with this, the importance of organizational development is being emphasized more than ever. According to the authors, an unprecedented "organizational development" boom occurred in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s, but it did not take root. This book was born out of a sense of crisis that this time it should not be repeated.
The feature of this book is that it goes back to the ideas and philosophies that were born more than 120 years ago and talks about organizational development. They were not necessarily born with the intention of contributing to organizational development. But it is very interesting how past wisdom influenced various theories of organizational development. I would like to recommend this book to those who have already learned organizational development through other books and practices in order to understand the ideas and philosophies behind them.
The main points of this book
Understanding of organizational development should be done in "three layers". The first layer is the philosophical and ideological foundation that supports organizational development. The second layer is "group psychotherapy" such as psychodrama and gestalt therapy, which had a great influence on organizational development. The third layer is "unique method of organizational development". Specifically, T group, sensitivity training, survey feedback, etc.
In the T group, group sessions where topics and issues are not decided in advance are held for about 4 to 6 days. The reason for not setting topics or issues in advance is to focus on what is happening "now-here".
History of organizational development
Three-tier model of organizational development
In this summary, Part 2 unravels the history of organizational development as to how organizational development was born and what ideas have been nurtured, and Part 3 explains the development trajectory of organizational concepts and methods of organizational development. Focus on the first half of.
The authors propose the hypothesis that understanding of organizational development should be done in "three layers". The first layer (bottom layer) is the philosophical and ideological foundation that supports organizational development. The philosophy presented in this book was not created solely for organizational development. However, it is the author's hypothesis that these philosophical and ideological foundations were necessary for the formation of the activity of organizational development.
In the second layer (upper part of the first layer) comes "group psychotherapy". "Group psychotherapy" such as psychodrama and gestalt therapy had a great influence on the development of organizational development.
Finally, in the third layer, the "unique method of organizational development" that blossomed on the philosophy of the first layer and the group psychotherapy of the second layer comes. Specifically, it is a method such as T group, sensitivity training, and survey feedback.
Layer 1: Philosophical foundation
A philosopher who will have a great influence on the later organizational development. It is John Dewey, Edmund Husserl. And there is Sigmund Freud as a psychoanalyst.
Dewey is a leading philosopher of the 20th century. In the 1900s, he made significant contributions to the humanities and social sciences, philosophy and pedagogy. He argues that "experience is the source of learning." Humans can go up one level (meta), target experiences, learn and change through reflection (reflective thinking).
Husserl, then, is a great philosopher who lived at the same time as Dewey. What he claims to be related to organizational development is that thinking begins with awareness of people's "now-here" experiences. In organizational development, we focus on the experiences and events of "now-here" and create a place to make a difference for groups and individuals.
Finally, Freud argues that "we have a world (unconscious) that we cannot usually see, and the manifestation of unconscious oppression leads to the treatment (improvement) of pathology." Organizational development is the act of facing "repressive" things that the group is not very conscious of, and solving them through dialogue.
In this way, the ideas of the three great sages are the philosophical foundation of organizational development.
Layer 2: Group psychotherapy
The authors define "group psychotherapy" as the use of "group power" to improve or treat a group or group members. "Group psychotherapy" was born around the time of World War I. Throughout the war, a large number of patients with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) were born. PTSD is a mental disorder in which a person experiences a strong shock and recalls the experience even after a lapse of time and feels a strong fear.
Against this background of the times, two typical practices that are considered to be the prototype of group psychotherapy were born. Jacob Moreno's "Psychodrama" and Frederick Perls' "Gestalt Therapy".
In psychodrama, Freud's "repression (repression experience)" is visualized through "acting" and linked to treatment by looking back in a group. Gestalt therapy, on the other hand, gives people who cannot make gestalt (a group of meaningful elements) or those who can only make one pattern of gestalt a "stimulus" for creation, such as recreating a new gestalt. It is a therapy. In both cases, when facing negative things, emotions are violently shaken, and some people may be psychologically hurt. Therefore, facilitators are required to take group discussions in a positive direction.[Must read point!] Layer 3: Kurt Lewin's original method of organizational development
The third layer of the three-layer model of organizational development is the development of original methods. In this summary, we will focus specifically on this third layer.
In the 1940s, Kurt Lewin created important concepts and tools that led to the development of organizations such as the T group. The T group is a human relations training method called "laboratory training" or non-structured "laboratory experiential learning". This was a "coincidence product" created by Levin's wit.
Levin held a two-week workshop for those who want to be leaders in promoting a correct understanding and respect for fair employment practices. Then, that night, a "review place" was set up by researchers. This is to analyze how the workshop of the day proceeded and what kind of effect it had.
One day, a non-researcher participant joined and listened to discussions based on observation reports by the researchers, and the participants themselves expressed their opinions. For example, there are discussions about how discussions should be, teamwork and division of roles. Gradually, night sessions became more exciting than daytime discussions.
This experience gave Levin a great deal of inspiration. This method is very effective as a way to look back and learn how your actions look to others and how much you contribute to the team. This place was named "T Group".
Even after Levin's death, the T-group continued to practice at NTL, which was established in Bethel, Maine, USA. In the T group, group sessions where topics and issues are not decided in advance are usually held for 4 to 6 days.
The reason for not setting topics or issues in advance is to focus on what is happening between the people who are there, "now-here". "Now-here" is a value that originated in Husserl's philosophy and was inherited by group psychotherapy such as Gestalt therapy. The T group was a training that focused on the "now-here" process and raised awareness, and became the source of organizational development.
Levin made three important inventions that had a major impact on subsequent organizational development. It is "action research," "three-stage model of organizational change," and "foundation of dynamics research for groups and organizations." Here, we will briefly explain "action research" and "three-stage model of organizational change."
First of all, "action research" is the idea of researching in the process of "researching and visualizing invisible things and returning them to the people in the field to change the field." Academic research styles are sometimes criticized as "representational violence." Data is collected in cooperation with the people in the field, and research (representation) is born, but the data generated there is not only returned to the field, but also in research and politics in a way that does not have a positive effect on the field. It will be used. Action research is the idea of preventing this. Levin made the saying, "Nothing is more practical than a good theory," which is a clear indication of the essence of action research.
Three-stage model of organizational change
Next, the "three-stage model of organizational change" is a hypothetical model that systematically changes the organization by following the three processes of "thawing-change (learning) -refreezing".
In the first stage, "thawing," the need for change and motivation increase as organizational members become aware of the current situation and become more nervous. Then, the thawed people understand and "learn" new standards of conduct, new organizational goals, and new strategic goals. Finally, in "refreezing", the contents (behavioral standards, organizational goals) learned by the members of the organization become established as a practice and become a habit.
Development of organizational development after Kurt Lewin
Birth of sensitivity training
In the 1950s, the T-group, born on the east coast of the United States, began to be practiced on the west coast. This practice has come to be called sensitivity training (ST), which focuses on changes at the individual level as well as group relationships.
T-groups usually focus on what is happening in the relationship between individuals and what is happening in group dynamics. ST, on the other hand, focused on changes at the individual level, such as overcoming individual challenges, increasing individual sensitivity, and improving individual interpersonal skills.
Systematization of diagnostic organizational development
In this era, researchers clearly envisioned the best way of organizational change. The idea was that researchers and consultants had defined the ideal image (best) of the organization and the route (best way) to reach it in advance, and it was organizational development to support that.
On the other hand, in the 1970s, influenced by contingency theory, the idea that there was no best way for organizational change began to emerge. The goodness of an organization changes depending on the situation. Therefore, management should be changed according to changes in the surroundings. Organizational development refined in this era will be systematized as "diagnostic organization development".
The basis is "survey feedback," which involves taking data, diagnosing it, and providing feedback. Then, these data are analyzed, "visualized" and returned to the organization. Furthermore, by having members talk about the results, they will be aware of their current situation and think about future actions. It can be said that this point is greatly influenced by Levin's idea of "action research."
Organizational development "winter era" and the birth of a new approach
In the 1980s, organizational development began to embrace the idea of "human resource management." As a result, efforts to manage people's motivation through recruitment and recruitment of human resources, planned personnel allocation, compensation system, welfare programs, etc. have come to be implemented as part of organizational development. Furthermore, organizational development has begun to incorporate quality management mechanisms and activities such as TQC (total quality management) and QC circles. In this way, criticisms that "organizational development is too miscellaneous" have come to be raised.
In the 1990s, organizational development gradually began to lose its identity and was swallowed up by the wave of change management called "change management." This period can be called the "winter era" of organizational development.
However, it was also an era when various new approaches such as social constructionist-based applicative inquiries and open space technology were emerging. After that, I would like to leave the current flow of organizational development to this book.
Recommendation of reading
In this book, in addition to practical examples in famous companies such as Canon and Yahoo, the thoughts and philosophies of more than 120 years ago, which are the basis of various theories and concepts of organizational development, are carefully explained. It's a great book to get a deeper understanding of how the various theories, concepts, and tools of organizational development were born. Also, if you are a beginner in organizational development or want to relearn the basics, please refer to Part 1 where "5-step practical model of organizational development" was introduced.
This book is perfect for theoretical business leaders who have been exploring to improve the performance of their organizations and that understanding only the upper side is not enough.