Week 8: Questions
• What is meant by socio-technical systems (STS) theory? How is it relevant to human process interventions? • What is a T-group and what are its three main goals? • How does the Johari Window improve interpersonal consultation? • What is meant by ‘process consultation’ and what kinds of questions facilitate this process?
Organisation Development & Change 12-2

Interpersonal Interventions

Dr Richard Winter MNGT2035

Week 8: Questions
• What are the characteristics of a team and how can teams be classified? • What is meant by ‘team building’? Give an example of a typical team building intervention

Socio-Technical Systems (STS)
• A work organisation is a complex socio-technical system. STS theory originated at the Tavistock Institute in London and underlies many work design, employee involvement and team-based interventions. • Whenever people are organised to perform a task, there are always two interdependent parts operating: the social part (relationships between people) and the technical part (the tools, techniques and methods for task performance). In addition, this STS is open in relation to its environment.
Organisation Development & Change 12-4

Organisation Development & Change


Socio-Technical Systems (STS)
• A project group is set-up between members of the design and marketing team. The task of the team is to improve product reliability (reduce product recalls). The team reports to the Director of Customer relations – this is the team’s external environment. • The team is more likely to reach its goal if it works well as a team (supportive relations) and exchanges support, information and work methods (high task performance) – referred to as ‘joint optimisation’.
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What are T-Groups?
• T-groups (“T” for training) are unstructured small-group situations in which participants learn from their own actions • T-groups evolved from the laboratory training research of Kurt Lewin (1945) • T-groups focus on the what, how and why of interpersonal communication. • T-groups are used by consultants to help managers learn about the effects of their behaviour on others
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by developing good observation and listening skills) (2) get participants to know themselves (e. team building meetings. adventure games Organisation Development & Change 12-10 Johari Window • Technique for illustrating the quality of interpersonal communication – identifiers a person’s interpersonal style of communication • Process consultants use the model to help people process data about themselves in terms of how they see themselves and how others see them • Interpersonal communication judged more effective when there is fit (congruence) between how we see ourselves (private face) and how others see us (public face).g. by asking others for feedback) and to share aspects of themselves to others (self-disclosure) Organisation Development & Change 12-8 Diagnostic skills • Encourage participants to perceive accurately relationships between each other • The focus is on recording/observing who is taking an active role in the discussion (and who is not and WHY) • How satisfied do participants feel in the group discussion? Organisation Development & Change 12-9 Group action skills • Encourage participants to select and act out (role play) behaviors required by the situation – to learn from the experience • Aim is to support coaching/counselling skills • Common interventions are role plays. Organisation Development & Change Johari Window Unknown to Others Known to Others Hidden Spot Open Window Known to Self Unknown Window Blind Spot Unknown to Self 12-11 Organisation Development & Change 12-12 .g.Goals of T-Groups • To increase understanding about one’s own behaviour and the behaviour of others (sensitivity training) • To increase interpersonal diagnostic skills (diagnostic skills) • To support coaching and increase ability to transform learning into action (group action skills) Organisation Development & Change 12-7 Sensitivity training • Aim is to: (1) encourage participants to recognise the effects of their behavior on others (e.

synthesizing and summarising Organisation Development & Change 12-16 Process Consultation: Key Questions • How well do group members seek and give information? Ask questions? Summarize? Listen to others? • How well do group members perform ‘group maintenance roles’ such as compromising? Harmonizing? Supporting? • How well do group members solve problems? Make decisions? • How well do group members deal with power and authority issues? • How well do group members exercise leadership? Organisation Development & Change 12-17 Characteristics of a Team • Two or more members • Members contribute their respective competencies (knowledge. organised and purposeful Organisation Development & Change 12-18 . task and goal oriented. understand. questioning.2) Organisation Development & Change 12-14 Reduce Hidden Area through Disclosure to Others Open Window Known to Self Reduce Blind Spot through Feedback from Others Organisation Development & Change Unknown to Self 12-13 Process Consultation • In process consultation. (See Application 12. self-directed work teams. clarifying. quality circles. and other interpersonal interventions Organisation Development & Change 12-15 Process Consultation: How is it Done? • Consultant observes the communication processes between individuals and workgroups • Interventions used such as listening. the consultant observes individuals and groups in action – helping them learn to diagnose and solve their own problems • Often used in conjunction with teambuilding. and act upon the process events which occur in the client’s environment.Improving Communications Using the Johari Window Unknown to Others Known to Others Process Consultation A set of activities on the part of the consultant that helps the client to perceive. probing. skills) • Members actively exchange information and support towards shared goals • A team identity distinct from individual members • Structure is explicit. reflecting.

one-time task • Groups consisting of people whose work roles are interdependent • Groups with no formal links but whose collective purpose requires coordination Team Building Activities • Activities Related to One or More Individuals • Activities Oriented to the Group’s Operations and Behaviours • Activities Affecting the Group’s Relationship with the Rest of the Organisation Organisation Development & Change 12-20 Organisation Development & Change 12-19 Team Building Meetings – A set of diagnostic activities designed to understand the current structure. Works well when teams depend on each other (i. high task interdependence). restates purpose of meeting and introduces consultant • Consultant facilitates a discussion of team functioning and then gets team engaged in an activity (e. teams may have strong “internal” functioning but are not satisfying needs of customers – “external” function is poor) • Team members work through ways to improve their performance • The team makes an action plan including who will do what specific task and when • Follow up meetings are planned to ensure action plans are being carried out..e. summarizes the data and clarifies the issues team members need to consider (e.g. process. Organisation Development & Change 12-23 Intergroup Team Building • Aim is to build the working relationship between two teams.e.g.Types of Teams • Groups reporting to the same manager • Groups involving people with common goals • Temporary groups formed to accomplish a specific. task and relationship areas) – A set of relationship activities design to address and improve a specific aspect of team functioning (e. Instead of improving working relations within a group (as like a family team). Four Faces of a Team) Organisation Development & Change 12-22 Team Building Activity • Consultant reviews the findings of the activity. meeting deadlines. and effectiveness of the team (i. you focus on improving relations between teams. Organisation Development & Change 12-24 .g. sharing information) Organisation Development & Change 12-21 Team Building Activity • Typically held from 1 day to 3 days and “offsite” where all team members can focus on the purpose of the meeting • Often senior manager welcomes the team.

break-out rooms. They set up action plans. • A key focus of team building is to enhance members’ interpersonal and problem solving skills Organisation Development & Change 12-30 . Organisation Development & Change 12-28 Summary • Interpersonal interventions aim to help individuals and group members assess their social interactions (diagnosis) and devise more effective ways of working together (relationships) • Process consultants observe groups and people in action – they are skilled in helping people diagnose the causes of their problems and helping them learn to solve their own problems Organisation Development & Change 12-29 Summary • Team building consists of a series of planned activities to help groups improve the way they accomplish tasks (task focus) and to help group members get along with each other (relationship focus) – team performance maximised when the sociotechnical system is ‘jointly optimised’.g. make assignments. timing) • Step 4: The consultant introduces a few process questions for each team to answer (“what are the things about the other group that you think they do well?”. Group decides to how and when to set up an intervention meeting • Step 2: Managers meet with their respective teams to get input and get some idea of what might be accomplished at the meeting when it is held Organisation Development & Change 12-25 Intergroup Team Building • Step 3: Managers give a brief introduction and outline for the meeting. The consultant encourages members to come up with a combined list of issues that need to be addressed and to prioritize this list. acting as a meeting facilitator. • Step 9: A follow-up meeting is held to assess how things are going and to make any corrections to stay on track until goals are achieved. and (2) build a list of issues that need to be resolved. No debate is allowed. no “personal attacks”. They prioritize this list. The consultant. The teams decide on a follow-up meeting. Organisation Development & Change 12-27 Intergroup Team Building • Step 7: The teams return to their rooms to: (1) discuss what they have learned about how they are perceived.Intergroup Team Building • Step 1: Managers of the two teams believe that the working relationship between the teams could be improved – decide to involve a consultant in the process. “what are things you would like to see the other group do differently that would improve your working relationship?”) Organisation Development & Change 12-26 Intergroup Team Building • Step 5: The teams are given flipchart paper and sent into separate ‘breakout rooms’ to answer the questions • Step 6: The teams return with their responses. and set deadlines for resolution of the issues. • Step 8: The teams return and share the lists once again with each other.. Questions can be asked to clarify what things mean so everyone has a clear understanding. lays down a few ground rules (e.

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