WRITE UP ON

ETHICAL ISSUES IN ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

SUBMITTED BY:Shweta S Bhandari Roll no-005 IV Semester

Professional Ethics: Ethical issues in OD are concerned with how practitioners perform their helping relationship with organization members. Inherent in any helping relationship is the potential for misconduct and client abuse. OD practitioners can let personal values stand in the way of good practice or use the power inherent in their professional role to abuse (often unintentionally) organization members. Ethical Guidelines: To its credit, the field of OD always has shown concern for the ethical conduct of its practitioners. There have been several articles and symposia about ethics in OD. In addition, statements of ethics governing OD practices have been sponsored by the Organization Development Institute, the American Society for Training & Development and a consortium of professional associations in OD. The consortium has jointly sponsored an ethical code derived from a large-scale project conducted at the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology- The project's purposes included preparing critical incidents describing ethical dilemmas and using that material for professional and continuing education in OD, providing an empirical basis for a statement of values and ethics for OD professionals, and initiating a process for making the ethics of OD practice explicit on a continuing basis. Ethical Dilemmas: Although adherence to statements of ethics helps prevent the occurrence of ethical problems, OD practitioners still encounter ethical dilemmas. Figure 1 is a process model that explains how ethical dilemmas can occur in OD. Fig1

The antecedent conditions include an OD practitioner and a client system with different goals, values, needs, skills, and abilities. During the entry and contracting phase these differences may or may not be addressed and clarified. If the contracting process is incomplete, the subsequent intervention process or role episode is subject to role conflict and role ambiguity. Neither the client nor the OD practitioner is clear about respective responsibilities. Each party is pursuing different goals, and each is using different skills and values to achieve those goals. The role conflict and ambiguity may produce different types of ethical dilemmas in O. D. practice stemming from the actions of either the consultant or client or both: • Misrepresentation, • Misuse of data • Coercion • Collusion • Promising unrealistic outcomes • Deception and conflict of values and • Professional/technical ineptness.
 Misrepresentation: Misrepresentation occurs when OD practitioners claim that an

intervention will produce results that are unreasonable for the change program or the situation. The client can contribute to the problem by portraying inaccurate goals and needs. In either case, one or both parties are operating under false pretenses and an ethical dilemma exists. Misrepresentation is likely to occur in the entering and contracting phases of planned change when the initial consulting relationship is being established. To prevent misrepresentation, OD practitioners need to gain clarity about the goals of the change effort and to explore openly with the client its expected effects, its relevance to the client system, and the practitioner's competence in executing the intervention.
 Misuse of Data: Misuse of data occurs when information gathered during the OD process is

used punitively. Large amounts of information are invariably obtained during the entry and diagnostic phases of OD. Although most OD practitioners value openness and trust, it is important that they be aware of how such data are going to be used. It is a human tendency to use data to enhance a power position. Leaking inappropriate information can be harmful to individuals and to the organization. It is easy for a consultant, under the guise of obtaining information, to gather data about whether a particular manager is good or bad. When, how, or if this information can be used is an ethical dilemma not easily resolved. To minimize misuse of data, practitioners should reach agreement up front with organization members about how data collected during the change process will be used. This agreement should be reviewed periodically in light of changing circumstances.
 Collusion: An example of collusion would be the consultant agreeing with key client to

schedule a team-building workshop when it is known that a certain departmental head would be on vacation. If O. D. interventions are perceived as methods for “getting” anyone, the O.D process is doomed to fail.
 Coercion: Coercion occurs when organization members are forced to participate in an OD

intervention. People should have the freedom to choose whether to participate in a change

program if they are to gain self-reliance to solve their own problems. Management should not decide unilaterally for members. However, freedom to make a choice requires knowledge about OD. Many organization members have little information about OD interventions, what they involve, and the nature and consequences of becoming involved with them. This makes it imperative for OD practitioners to educate clients about interventions before choices are made for implementing them. Coercion also can pose ethical dilemmas for the helping relationship between OD practitioners and organization members. Inherent in any helping relationship are possibilities for excessive manipulation and dependency, two facets of coercion. An effective way to resolve the first aspect of the dilemma is to make the change effort as open as possible, with the free consent and knowledge of the individuals involved. The second facet of coercion that can pose ethical dilemmas for the helping relationship involves dependency. To resolve dependency issues, consultants can openly and explicitly discuss with the client how to handle the dependency problem, especially what the client and consultant expect of one another. Another approach can be by changing the client's expectation from being helped or controlled by the practitioner to a greater focus on the need to manage the problem. Such a refocusing can reinforce the understanding that the consultant is working for the client and offering assistance that is at the client's discretion.
 Promising unrealistic outcomes: Obviously, this is unethical & counter-Productive the

temptation to make promises in order to gain a client contract can be great, but the consequences can be reduced credibility of the consultant and the reduced credibility of the key client within the organisation as well as the O. D field. Thus, the values underlying ethical O. D. practice are: honesty, openness, voluntarism, integrity, confidentiality, the development of people and the development of consultant expertise, high standards & selfawareness.
 Deception and value Conflict: This ethical conflict occurs when the purpose of the

change effort is not clear or when the client and the practitioner disagree over how to achieve the goals. The important practical issue for OD consultants is whether it is justifiable to withhold services unilaterally from an organization that does not agree with their values or methods.
 Professional/Technical Ineptness: This final ethical dilemma occurs when OD practitioners

try to implement interventions for which they are not skilled or when the client attempts a change for which it is not ready. Critical to the success of any OD program is the selection of an appropriate intervention, which depends, in turn, on careful diagnosis of the organization. Selecting an intervention is closely related to the practitioner's own values, skills, and abilities. In solving organizational problems, many OD consultants emphasize a favorite intervention or technique, such as team building, total quality management, or self managed teams. They let their own values and beliefs dictate the change method, Technical ineptness dilemmas also can occur when interventions do not align with the ability of the organization to implement them. Again, careful diagnosis can reveal the extent to which the organization is ready to make a change and possesses the skills and knowledge to implement an ethical dilemma that arises frequently in OD

Ethical dilemmas and the OD Process Isolation of ethical dilemmas at various stages of the OD process requires examination not only of the relationship between the consultant and the client system but also of how this relationship changes as OD progresses. The process relational model illustrates 10 stages of OD that deal with the conceptual framework of most organizational change methodologies (i.e., diagnosis, intervention, evaluation, etc.). Moreover, it focuses more fully on the role relationship between the parties involved (i.e. initiation, clarification, termination, etc.). Also implicit in the process relational model is the consultant-client system relationship in any organizational change effort-a relationship that represents a collection of continuous interrelated activities in which both the consultant and the client system play their part or role in order to reach a predetermined outcome. Figure2. A Process Relational Model of Organizational Development

Table 1 depicts 10 stages of change, the appropriate role behaviors for consultants and client systems, and the possible ethical dilemmas that can occur at these various stages. Each of the 31 ethical dilemmas belong to the major categories of ethical dilemmas previously discussed. Implicit in the various dilemmas is the notion that ethical dilemmas are produced not only by consultants but by client systems as well. Also implicit is the notion that several of the dilemmas mentioned are closely related to other dilemmas at the various stages of change. The utility of Table 1, therefore, is to isolate the occurrence of these dilemmas at specific stages of change, as the nature of the relationship between the client system and the consultant changes.

Table1. Organizational Development Change Stages, Appropriate Role Behaviors, and Possible Ethical Dilemmas Stage Purpose Role of Role of Client Dilemmas Consultant System
1) Initiation
First information sharing To provide information on background, expertise and experience To provide information on possible needs, relevant problems, interest of management and representative groups To provide a detailed history of special problems, personnel, marketplace, internal culture, and organizational politics To specify whose needs are to be addressed, objectives, and possible evaluative criteria or endstate outcomes To assist consultant in data collection Misrepresentation of the consultant's skill base and background Misrepresentation of organizational interest

2) Clarificati on

Further elaboration of initiation stage

To provide details of education, licensure, operativevalues, optimum working conditions

Inappropriate determination of who the client is Avoidance of reality testing Inappropriate determination of value orientation Inappropriate structuring goals, of the relationship Inappropriate definition of change problem Collusion to exclude out-side parties Avoidance of problems Misuse of data Distortion and deletion of data Ownership of data Voluntary consent Confidentiality

3) Specificati on/agreem ent

Sufficient elaboration of needs, interest, fees, services, working conditions, arrangement s To obtain an unfiltered and undistorted view of the organization' s problems and processes pinpointing change targets and criterion To establish the specific goals and strategies to be used

To specify actual services, fees to be charged, time frame, actual work conditions

4) Diagnosis

To collect data concerning organizational problems and processes and to provide feedback

5) Goal setting/ac tion planning

To agree mutually with the client system on the goals and

To agree mutually with the consultant on the goals and strategies

Inappropriate choice of intervention goal and targets Inappropriate

strategies to be used

to be used

choice of operative means Inappropriate scope of intervention

Stage
6) Systems interventi on

Purpose
The intervention into ongoing behaviors, structures, and processes

Role of Consultant
To intervene at specific targets, at a specific depth

Role of Client System
To invest the energy and resources required by planned intervention

Dilemmas
Assimilation into culture Inappropriate depth of intervention Coercion vs. choice, freedom, and consent to participate Environmental manipulation

7) Evaluation

To determine the effectiveness of the intervention strategies, energy, and resources used, as well as the consultantclient system relationship To modify change strategies, depth, level, targets, or resources utilized if necessary

To gather data on specified targets and report findings to the client system

To analyze the evaluation data and determine effectiveness of the intervention

Misuse of data Deletion and distortion of data

8) Alteration

To make alteration to meet original goals, or to develop new mutual goals and strategies with client system To specify the parameters of the continuation and the maintenance of relationship

To make known needs and expectations, and to provide the context for a modification of the original agreement, if necessary To provide or allocate the of resources required to maintain or continue the intervention

Failure to change and lack goals, of flexibility Adoption of inappropriate strategy

9) Continuati on/mainte nance

To monitor and maintain ongoing strategies, provide periodic checks, the continue intervention

Inappropriate reduction of dependency Redundancy of effort Withholding of services

based on original or altered plans and strategies

10) Termina tion

To have the consultant disenfranchise self from the client system and establish a long term monitoring system

To fulfill the role agreed on in previous stages and evaluate overall effectiveness from feedback from the client system

To determine the organization's state of health and whether it has developed the adaptive change process

Inappropriate transition of change effort to internal sources Premature exit Failure to monitor change

The Ethical dilemmas at different OD Stages
1. INITIATION STAGE-The stage of initiation often is impaired by various types of

misrepresentation. Here, inaccurate information may be provided by either the consultant or the client system, resulting in either misrepresentation of the consultant's background or skill base or misrepresentation of organizational interest.
2. CLARIFICATION STAGE -Three different dilemmas may arise in this stage. Problems in

determining who the real client is and the inappropriate determination of value orientations are of frequent mention. The avoidance of reality testing on the part of both the consultant and the client system may occur if there is difficulty or a lack of effort in raising issues that might hamper the change effort.
3. SPECIFICATION/ AGREEMENT STAGE –At this stage the finite structuring of the

relationship occurs. At this point the ethical dilemma involves the degree of specificity concerning the range of services to be offered, the fee structure, a tenable time frame, resources to be used, and accountability for services and resources. Similarly, inappropriate definition of the change problem may result in ambiguity concerning the problems to be addressed whose problems they are and by what means they are to be dealt with. Collusion of parties also may occur in the specification/agreement state.
4. DIAGNOSIS STAGE- A wide variety of ethical issues may occur in the diagnosis stage.

Avoidance of diagnosing known problems occurs when the consultant and client system perceptually defend against their own inability or unwillingness to solve a problem. Of greater frequency in the diagnosis stage is the misuse, as well as the distortion and deletion, of data. Deletion and distortion of data also may result in a misleading diagnosis, thereby rendering the intervention ineffective. Ownership of the data is a frequent dilemma as well,

wherein survey feedback or process observation is not shared with all contributing members. Similarly, the question of voluntary con-sent of organizational members and insured confidentiality appears to be a frequent problem.
5. GOAL SETTING/ ACTION PLANNING STAGE - In the stage ethical problems include the

choice of a change goal and targets, the choice of operative means, and the scope of the intervention. Here the major categories of collusion of parties, technical ineptness, and value and goal conflict are apparent. These dilemmas result in inappropriately choosing goals, targets, depth, and change method because of lack of skill, lack of objectivity, or differing needs and orientations
6. SYSTEMS INTERVENTION STAGE -In systems intervention, the assimilation into the

organization's culture presents a range of ethical considerations for the consultant. These dilemmas result in the consultant's losing the objectivity of a third party position by incorporation of inappropriate values, adherence to inappropriate norms, or development of a psychological state in congruence with the activities to be addressed by the change effort. This dilemma of inappropriate depth results in change efforts that cannot provide for adequate or effective change. The dilemma for coercion to participate in OD activities. Here resides the potential for involuntary change or psychological or professional harm to organizational members. There also exists the possibility of environmental manipulation through the involuntary change in personal attributes, structure, or organizational process, without awareness or participation of organizational members.
7. EVALUATION STAGE-The misuse, deletion, or distortion of data may occur in the

evaluation stage. Here, evaluation data are distorted or deleted in a manner that results in personal, professional, or organizational harm. The misuse of evaluation data is frequent in cases in which the major motivation for collecting and reporting evaluation data is to advance the personal interest of consultants on internal parts of the client system. 8. ALTERATION-The dilemmas at this stage are failure to change (or lack of flexibility) and the adoption of an inappropriate new strategy. Each can be seen to occur typically in an intervention in which alteration is necessary for full effectiveness of the intervention effort. Failure to change and a lack of flexibility can be caused by over adherence to the specifications of a contract, the lack of skill or expertise, or the lack of resources. Further, the adoption of an inappropriate new strategy may result from pressure to pro-duce change in light of nonsupportive evaluation data.
9. CONTINUATION/MAINTENANCE STAGE-Three specific ethical dilemmas occur at this

stage. Reducing dependency is a difficult issue for most consultants to encounter. The reduction of effort and withholding of consultant services from the client system also are difficult. Of specific ethical interest is the consultant's continued intense helping relationship or service.

10. TEMINATION STAGE-In the termination stage of change, a variety of dilemmas may

occur. Value and goal conflict, as well as technical ineptness, may result in the transition of change to inadequately prepared or unskilled internal parties, premature exit, or the failure to monitor change longitudinally. Of specific difficulty is the determination of (1) when internal sources are cap-able of responsibly carrying through the long term aspects of a change effort and (2) whether the internal parties have developed the necessary processes to diagnose and solve problems. Improper assessment of a client system can lead to premature exit on the part of the consultant, which may result in the broader issue of responsibility to the client.

Conclusion With the demand for and acceptance of OD programs and practitioners increasing rapidly, the ethical issues surrounding OD's practice should now receive increased attention. Its popularity in educational curriculum for practitioners serves as evidence for increased exposure by investigation and research. Because of the interdisciplinary values and backgrounds comprised in the OD field, ethical consonance among practitioners and consumers alike requires diligent effort. If OD is ever to be accepted as a legitimate science as well as a profession, then principles guiding the actions of those providing OD services must no longer be ignored.