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Imagination and Innovation: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Facilitate Positive Organizational Change

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As contemporary organizations face challenges in the implementation of change efforts, new methods in evaluation and training and development help aid the process. Appreciative Inquiry is an affirmative research approach that focuses on the positive aspects of an organization and what makes it work rather than what problems it may have. Consortium X is composed of four individual organizations working collectively to facilitate positive organizational change. An Appreciative Inquiry evaluation was conducted with the organizations of Consortium X. The responses from the participants who completed the Appreciative Inquiry survey were analyzed and seven themes emerged: (1) interpersonal conflict; (2) managing change; (3) teamwork; (4) listening skills; (5) guest service; (6) leadership; and (7) feedback. A manual was designed to develop upon these seven themes with seven individual lesson units. These lesson units contain lessons, activities, worksheets, and evaluations pertinent to the theme. The manual was reviewed by three professionals, the Dean of Instruction from a California college, the CEO of a television production company in Los Angeles, and the CEO and Principal Consultant at a Los Angeles consulting firm. The evaluations supported the use of the manual as the product of the Appreciative Inquiry evaluation and as a tool to aid in facilitating positive organization change at Consortium X.

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Imagination and Innovation: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Facilitate Positive Organizational Change

  1. 1. IMAGINATION AND INNOVATION: USING APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY TO FACILITATE POSITIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE Daniel A. Byerley A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Communication and Dramatic Arts Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, Michigan April, 2011
  2. 2. ii Accepted by the Faculty of the College of Graduate Studies, Central Michigan University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master‘s degree Thesis Committee: Wendy Papa, Ph.D. Committee Chair Michael Papa, Ph.D Faculty Member William Dailey, Ph.D. Faculty Member April 12, 2011 Date of Defense Roger Coles, Ph.D. Dean College of Graduate Studies May 2, 2011 Approved by the College of Graduate Studies
  3. 3. iii "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." -Walt Disney- "From the very beginning, we have always sought to reach out to one another… to bridge the gaps between us...to communicate." -Spaceship Earth, EPCOT Center-
  4. 4. iv This thesis is dedicated to Mom and Papa, my mother, and my family and friends. Thank you for always believing in me and helping make my dreams come true.
  5. 5. v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to acknowledge the help and support that the members of my thesis committee have provided. Dr. Wendy Papa, Dr. Michael Papa, and Dr. Bill Dailey, your valuable direction from the beginning, consistent positive support, multiple reviews of the documents, and contributions to the final product were essential to my success not only as a thesis advisee but also as a scholar. Throughout the process, these faculty members provided their specific knowledge of communication to help me in my journey of making this thesis what it is today. Finally, I wish to acknowledge the support of Central Michigan University in producing this work.
  6. 6. vi ABSTRACT IMAGINATION AND INNOVATION: USING APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY TO FACILITATE POSITIVE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE by Daniel A. Byerley As contemporary organizations face challenges in the implementation of change efforts, new methods in evaluation and training and development help aid the process. Appreciative Inquiry is an affirmative research approach that focuses on the positive aspects of an organization and what makes it work rather than what problems it may have. Consortium X is composed of four individual organizations working collectively to facilitate positive organizational change. An Appreciative Inquiry evaluation was conducted with the organizations of Consortium X. The responses from the participants who completed the Appreciative Inquiry survey were analyzed and seven themes emerged: (1) interpersonal conflict; (2) managing change; (3) teamwork; (4) listening skills; (5) guest service; (6) leadership; and (7) feedback. A manual was designed to develop upon these seven themes with seven individual lesson units. These lesson units contain lessons, activities, worksheets, and evaluations pertinent to the theme. The manual was reviewed by three professionals, the Dean of Instruction from a California college, the CEO of a television production company in Los Angeles, and the CEO and Principal Consultant at a Los Angeles consulting firm. The evaluations supported the use of the manual as the product of the Appreciative Inquiry evaluation and as a tool to aid in facilitating positive organization change at Consortium X.
  7. 7. vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ...............................................................................................1 Purpose....................................................................................................2 Literature Review .....................................................................................4 Change and Organizations............................................................4 Reactions to Change ...................................................................11 Appreciative Inquiry ...................................................................18 Summary.....................................................................................23 II. A CASE STUDY OF CONSORTIUM X...........................................................25 Consortium Overview.............................................................................25 Appreciative Inquiry Evaluation.............................................................25 Study Design...............................................................................26 Process .......................................................................................29 Results....................................................................................................31 Summary ................................................................................................39 III. DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRAINING MANUAL ..........................................41 Lesson Unit Rationale ............................................................................42 Summary ................................................................................................46 IV. EVALUATION .................................................................................................47 Synopsis .................................................................................................47 Evaluation of the Manual .......................................................................48 Strengths.....................................................................................48 Limitations..................................................................................50 Summary ................................................................................................52 APPENDICES...............................................................................................................54 REFERENCES............................................................................................................164
  8. 8. 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION As time has progressed, change has become the norm for organizations (Armenakis, Harris, & Mossholder, 1993; Fox & Amichai-Hamburger, 2001; Kunda & Van Maanen, 1999; Sande, 2008; Wanberg & Banas, 2000). This includes volatile organizational environments both externally and internally (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006). Change is the ―mantra of our times‖ (Wanberg & Banas, 2000, p. 65) and the only constant is change (Sande, 2008; Wanberg & Banas, 2000). Preskill and Catsambas (2006) argue that organizations are never stagnant – they are always facing and reacting to various internal and external pressures. In order for organizations to survive, they must embrace change that reflects turbulent environments, chaos, rapidly changing markets, and technological revolutions (Kunda & Van Maanen, 1999). It is a very personal and complex challenge that requires each organizational member to think, feel, and do all things differently (Duck, 1993). Organizational leaders and researchers must continually evaluate their organizational environments in order to facilitate internal change and respond to external change appropriately. When it comes to investigation and implementation of change, Preskill and Catsambas (2006) argue that asking questions is fundamental to an organization‘s overall health, success, and ability to adapt to change. These questions should challenge assumptions, affirm successes, foster organizational members‘ imagination and innovation, and most importantly embrace emotions resulting from change. Questions that create energy and excitement, rather than questions that search for fault and accusation, promote future organizational success. To embrace these ideals and help
  9. 9. 2 facilitate change, the process of Appreciative Inquiry can be used to investigate the needs, wants, and future goals of organizational members (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006). This thesis will focus on a specific group of organizations that desire an investigation into ways to help facilitate a change effort that originates from organizational members. By using the process of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), organizational members help create their own vision of what the organization should be and aid the researcher in creating a training and development manual specifically tailored to those organizations‘ members. The organizations in focus are all hospitality organizations based in the Mid-Michigan area (individually referred to as Company A, Company B, Company C, and Company D, and collectively called Consortium X hereafter). Consortium X has requested assistance to investigate the various communication challenges and opportunities in future change efforts and tools to help ensure successful implementation. Purpose This project is intended as an applied communication thesis with the purpose of providing a tool for the four organizations that comprise Consortium X. This tool will help Consortium X implement change and deal with the communication related challenges often associated with the implementation of change. Consortium X may use this thesis as a training and development tool for current and possible future organizational change efforts. In addition to Consortium X, other organizations implementing change and facing an ever-changing workforce may also find the information useful.
  10. 10. 3 This thesis is organized in the following way: Chapter I is the introduction followed by a literature review on organizational change, reactions to change, and emotions. It introduces the concept of Appreciative Inquiry as a positive way to create lasting organizational change. Chapter II describes the case study concerning Consortium X and the four organizations that compose Consortium X. Next, Chapter II details the process and the results of the Appreciative Inquiry performed with members of Consortium X (from management to entry level employees). This will include details of why the particular Appreciative Inquiry survey questions were chosen. Chapter II includes a summary of the key needs, values, and ideas that organizational members revealed through the Appreciative Inquiry process and those found within the literature. Afterward, discussion and use of a tool will be suggested to help with the implementation of change. Chapter III explains the steps taken to develop the tool for Consortium X and its four member organizations – a training and development manual derived from the specific needs and wants of organizational members discovered through the Appreciative Inquiry process. Finally, Chapter IV discusses assessments of the manual and limitations for its use.
  11. 11. 4 Literature Review This literature review includes relevant discussions of organizational change and the evaluation and investigation approach known as Appreciative Inquiry. First, this review looks at overall organizational change and its effect on organizational members. Secondly, a discussion of organizational culture and its connection to change efforts across an organization is presented. Next, a section examines organizational members‘ various reactions (including emotional) to change efforts and strategies to help ensure effective change. Finally, this review gives an overview of Appreciative Inquiry as a positive vehicle for organizational change. Change and Organizations It is difficult to convince people to accept change. This rings true for organizations and their members as well. According to Duck (1993), change is a very personal challenge that requires each organizational member to think, feel, and do all things differently. Within the past two decades, organizations have faced more change than ever (Armenakis, Harris, & Mossholder, 1993; Fox & Amichai-Hamburger, 2001; Kunda & Van Maanen, 1999; Sande, 2008; Wanberg & Banas, 2000); and in today‘s world, the only constant is change (Sande, 2008; Wanberg & Banas, 2000). Whether that change is a minor change of policy or a complete overhaul of organizational values and direction, it is the organization‘s members that have to be sold on the idea. Organizational members are the people who are the core of the change process—the ones who must adopt and adapt to change (Shum, Bove, & Auh, 2007). They are the people who, as both subjects of change and agents of change, represent the organizational world. Unfortunately, humans are creatures of habit; thus, they are
  12. 12. 5 naturally wired to resist change (Kunda & Van Maanen, 1999; Naidoo, 2010; Wanberg & Banas, 2000). Historically, organizational members would have strong ties to their organizations due to bargains or social contracts such as: a career as payment for loyalty, personal identity as payment for commitment, and meaningful work if one was dedicated in their performance (Kunda & Van Maanen, 1999). At one point in time, members would have publicly displayed pride in their organizations and a passion for their work. Unfortunately, as time passes, corporations and other organizations have been challenging these social contracts through reengineering, layoffs, downsizing, outsourcing, and renegotiated contracts. Kunda and Van Maanen (1999) argue that some organizations are stressing the importance of employability instead of guaranteed employment. For example, organizational members will develop the skills necessary to be hired by someone else if their current employers discover that they are no longer needed. According to Wanberg and Banas (2000) it would seem that as changes are made, even the long-tenured employees are stripped of their roles, or their roles so rapidly change, that they are no longer performing the tasks they were originally hired to do. The current condition of the job market has even turned some organizations into treating their managerial staff as transient, all in the name of competitiveness, profitability, and cost consciousness. As a result, one can easily see the effects that external conditions have on organizational members‘ willingness to change in an environment of constant flux (Bryson, 2008). These internal effects of an organization have drastic impacts on the way members see their organizational world. This world is created from organizational
  13. 13. 6 culture and is imbued with emotion. This organizational change has the ability to create emotional responses as employees experience first-hand the effects of the organization‘s transformation (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). Harris and Ogbonna (1998) argue that all too often, it is the employees that are at the receiving end of the consequences of change. The following section discusses these personal impacts, their connection to the creation of organizational culture, and the emotions of employees during the implementation of change. At times, organizational members can feel a loss of territory, become uncertain about what the future has in store, and fear personal failure associated with change (Wanberg & Banas, 2000). Often, the assumption is that employees will accept change as willing agents and respond positively to management‘s initiatives (Harris & Ogbonna, 1998). This is not necessarily the case, as we can see that employees and other organizational members have varied responses to change. Smollan and Sayers (2009) have found that the cultural change of an organization provokes emotional reactions, which are often strong. According to Wanberg and Banas (2000) emotional reactions (such as sadness, anger, disbelieve, and distrust) can stem from a multitude of responses: such as the perceived outcomes, processes used to implement change, speed, timing, the nature of the leadership team, employees‘ personalities, and emotional intelligence. Duck (1993) describes change as being fundamentally about organizational members‘ emotions and values – their personal beliefs and feelings about situations. These deep-rooted values exist at the core of organizational member‘s mindset and ultimately lie within human cognition (Klie, 2008; Pizer & Hartel, 2005; Schein,
  14. 14. 7 2004). Eaton (2010) argues that creating the right environment for change is not something accomplished overnight – one is dealing with beliefs, assumptions, and emotions that have been ingrained on a daily basis over the span of many years. Organizational culture is a system of shared meanings, with a set of beliefs, values, assumptions, customs, rules, and traditions (Klie, 2008; Pizer & Hartel 2005, Schein, 2004). According to Harris & Ogbonna (1998), organizational culture is embedded in the subconscious and cannot be easily changed by leadership. It creates the symbolic character, rituals, and embedded meanings of organizations. Armenakis, et al. (1993) states that socially, organizational members will use reference points in the culture around them to communicate the clues regarding the meaning of events and circumstances facing an organization. One of the largest shortcomings of organizational change efforts occurs when organizations fail to recognize the strength of the culture that has been communicated by members within it. This cultural strength is the extent to which all organizational members hold the same values toward the organization and their role in it. It shapes the behavior and communication of its members in many overt and covert ways (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). Harris and Ogbonna (1998) argue that the stronger the organizational culture, the harder it is to implement change. In order to fully grasp how employees and organizational members‘ organizational culture affects their reaction to change, it is important to understand how culture is socially constructed. Organizations convey and transmit the values that construct a member‘s perception of the culture in a variety of ways. Culture creates emotions and values while providing for organizational members to express themselves socially in accepted ways inside the organization itself. This culture is the ―glue‖ that
  15. 15. 8 holds members together (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). It may gradually change and evolve or be deliberately determined, be expressed in mission statements or on company websites, or even be included in orientation and training sessions (Kunda & van Maanen, 1999; Russ, 2009). Also, cultural elements may be communicated through meetings, management briefings, annual performance reviews, and even informal conversations. According to Schein (1990), culture is how a group learns to solve its problems over a period of time – while integrating the external environment into internal problems. This occurs to organizational members at multiple levels such as behavioral, cognitive, and emotional processes. For example, Marty Sklar, vice president and principal creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering once told organizational members that: ―From the beginning, starting with Walt Disney, we have had five things that make me proud to be part of this Company: high-quality products, optimism for the future, great storytelling, an emphasis on family entertainment and great talent, passion and dedication from our Cast Members‖ (Disney.com, 2010). Examples like this shed light onto the culture communicated through affective language and personal narrative, while provoking emotions in the members of an organization through the visualization of the company‘s direction, values, and mission. According to Ewing (2009), the communication that occurs between employees both on the same hierarchal level as well as cross-hierarchy have an effect on the construction of culture. Wilson (2010) cautions leaders from following the simple notion that organizational change occurs only as a top-down or bottom-up approach. Strandgaard, Pedersen and Dobbin (2006) argue that employee discourse socially
  16. 16. 9 constructs the organizational culture. The accompanying social processes also help to construct the meaning (Gossage, 2010). Deal and Kennedy (1982) define this as the cultural network (the primary and informal communication within an organization). While the members have the power to create their own meaning and culture through social interaction (Gossage, 2010) and stories (LaGuardia, 2008), the meaning they create is the meaning they are then controlled and constrained by (Allen, 2003). Deal and Kennedy (1982) identified the characters that create a cultural network. Storytellers are those who tell stories in order to gain influence and power and impart legends of the organization onto others. Priests are the designated keepers of the organization‘s values and keep track of the history of the company like an encyclopedia – helping other members remember the company‘s direction and equally important past. The whisperers are those who have power ―behind the throne‖ (p. 90) and their source of power is the boss‘ ear. Deal and Kennedy (1982) argue that ―Anyone who wants something done will head to the whisperers‖ (p. 90). Gossips are those who know all the details about everyone right now. They are not expected to be completely accurate, but are always expected to be entertaining and can at times help provide the real side of a story that has gone awry. Secretarial sources are usually the first people organizational members desiring information turn to. They are most reliable because they are part of a relatively non-involved network of employees and are therefore unbiased sources. Spies often start out as storytellers. Spies are the well liked and have access to many people— helping them keep tabs on the organizational culture. Finally, Deal and Kennedy (1982) describe the last characters in social networks: cabals. Cabals are a group of two or more people who band together in order to get ahead in the organization. They are useful for
  17. 17. 10 helping promote members as well as provide protection. All of these characters utilize and influence the role of communication in the socialization of organizational culture. Consideration must also be placed on the subcultures that exist in an organization. If we view culture in pluralist terms, these can range from different categories such as department, professional identity, ethnicity and gender, as well as different value systems. According to Harris and Ogbonna (1998), the behavior and responses of employees is often the result of their perception of, and involvement in, not only the overall culture but also the subcultures of an organization. Some of the most profound subcultures are based on location, hierarchal position, and service conditions. Armenakis, et al. (1993) discovered that subcultures could have a profound effect on the implementation of change, polarizing the organizational members‘ beliefs and attitudes; thus, preventing acceptance to change. The values portrayed during an organizational change will also be one of the driving factors in helping to facilitate change. Organizational members will be more likely to support organizational change when it aligns with their own values (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). For example, Smollan and Sayers (2009) found that some of the resistance to change was due to the new organizational culture appearing to be less participative than the status quo. It is important to acknowledge the role that organizational culture plays in both the facilitation and the implementation of organizational change. For change to be handled and implemented effectively, the emotions of members that accompany a change, must be handled sensitively (Smollan & Sayers, 2009; Harris & Ogbonna, 1998).
  18. 18. 11 Reactions to Change According to Elsmore (2001), change on a large scale is accomplished on the long-term and will often cause pain and stress, especially when it is implemented and communicated in a top-down manner. For example, Ryan (2005) found that when a company moved in a cultural direction that was perceived to be going against the current culture (such as a people-driven culture to one looking out for the shareholders), numerous negative reactions were found. When organizational members believe in the values of an organization, their reactions to change tend to be more positive. Research provides evidence that organizational members respond more positively to change and become more actively involved with implementation of the change when their emotions were acknowledged and treated with respect. Organizational change researchers ask many questions during their search for how change can and should be implemented. Some of these questions are: How do organizational members socially construct change efforts? How do they react to change? What stages of acceptance vary across the organization? The next section offers a few models developed by researchers that discuss some of the various answers to these questions. Harris and Ogbonna (1998) provide a few reactions that employees may have when confronted with change. The first and foremost goal organizations implementing change should strive for would be active acceptance. This occurs when organizational members adopt, agree with, and participate in the change efforts. The second goal would be general acceptance whereby employees somewhat agree to the change but still hold on to some of the old ways. Third is dissonance where employees are confused at the
  19. 19. 12 individual level, which may result in inactivity or inconsistent actions. Fourth is an undesirable response, general rejection, where members have broad disagreement with change tinted with mistrust of the change efforts. Last, and the most undesirable, is active rejection where there is what Harris and Ogbonna (1998) describe as recognizable attempts to prevent change from occurring. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, most organizational members will be in the middle of the two extremes. Isabella (1990) explained a manner in which many organizational members interpret the events that surround change as it happens. According to Isabella (1990), members perceive the events in four stages. First, is anticipation where organizational members interpersonally communicate through gossip and rumors, which in turn socially constructs their perception of the reality of the situation. Next is confirmation, where members experience events that create a more conventional frame of reference where they establish logical associations that then create a better understanding of events. Culmination occurs when members, as well as the agents of change, compare new events and conditions to the old in order to determine which should be kept and which should be lost. Finally, Isabella (1990) argues that organizational members go through aftermath where members—especially leadership— review and evaluate the results and consequences of change. Jaffe, Scott, and Tobe (1994) offered a final, four-stage model that illustrates the effect change has on some organizational members. First is denial where members refuse to accept change and believe it to be unnecessary. Resistance follows, with members withholding participation, attempting to postpone change, and trying to convince policymakers to stop change efforts. Exploration then occurs when members experiment
  20. 20. 13 with new behaviors to test the effectiveness of new results, which hopefully is followed with commitment, where members fully embrace the proposed change. All of these models attempt to explain the process of implementing organizational change and shed light on the notion that change occurs in small steps that take a long time to accomplish. According to Armenakis, et al. (1999), some efforts of an organization to bypass the multiple steps, as well as the social and cognitive processes that members go through, often fail. The mistake of misunderstanding organizational members‘ reactions can often negate the entire process of implementing change altogether. Erwin and Garman (2009) argue that resistance to change is characterized by multi-dimensional facets that include: how members react to change (behavioral), how they think about the change (cognitive), and how they feel about the change (affective). Organizational members operate in all three of these dimensions simultaneously. In the affective dimension in particular, Erwin and Garman (2009) agree that members can experience emotions such as elation, anxiety, anger, fear, stress, enthusiasm, and apprehension. Understanding the impact the perception process organizational members go through when change is implemented will undoubtedly aid in the change process and ultimately lead to a greater understanding of the organizational culture. For example, organizational members will react negatively and emotionally when they believe that the manner in which change is implemented is unfair, when organizational support is not provided, and when they felt it would be unsafe to voice their dissatisfaction with a
  21. 21. 14 change (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). The next section reviews how the affective culture of the organization impacts daily communication among its members. The affective culture of an organization molds and shapes the manner in which emotions are experienced and communicated. This plays a vital role not only during everyday organizational life, but also during organizational change (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). As examined earlier, organizational culture plays an important role in both creating the varied emotions during change and impacting their expression and communication. The affective culture is what Smollan and Sayers (2009) refer to as the many ways in which emotions are taken for granted in organizations. There are four main ways in which organizational change, organizational culture, and emotions are interconnected according to Smollan and Sayers (2009): First, organizational change can trigger emotions. Second, emotion lies in the heart of organizational culture, therefore organizational change is very emotional. Third, the affective culture of an organization impacts the communication and expression of these emotions. Fourth, specific elements of a culture have an impact to how employees react to change. As discussed earlier, the literature and research on organizational change argues that change, especially cultural change, can create emotional reactions. Smollan and Sayers (2009) argue that the affective culture of an organization directs organizational members to how emotions are to be communicated, experienced, and regulated. Ultimately, all organizational culture is imbued with emotion (Klie, 2008). In order for an organizational culture to be healthy, Pizer and Hartel (2005) argue, emotional
  22. 22. 15 expressiveness should be encouraged and supported while at the same time emphasis is placed on the emotional elements of the organization. Emotional labor is essential to be able to lead and implement change. Those who are responsible for change efforts have a duty to support their ideas with the appropriate type of emotion in order to sell the change to organizational members (Fox & Amichai- Hamburger, 2001). This takes what Huy (1999) describes as emotional intelligence— where an organizational leader or member is able to recognize his or her emotional states, as well as those of the people around them, in order to communicate in a manner that helps solve problems and regulate behavior. Leaders can then have the capability to monitor, recognize, discriminate, and attend to the emotions manifested in the organizational members. Unfortunately, all too often, leadership concentrates on only what can be seen, the rational behavior, and only uses rational methods to push a process forward, forgetting and neglecting the underlying motivations for human behavior—the non-rational sphere that includes emotions (Fox & Amichai-Hamburger, 2001). Unfortunately, not all emotions are supported in all organizations (Duck, 1993). According to Fineman (2008), emotions become cultural privileges when some are classified as appropriate for display and others are inappropriate. At times, organizational members feel that they cannot communicate the emotions that they wish to due to the affective culture of the organization—especially when it comes to change. Bryant and Wolfram Cox (2006) argue that members may feel the need to hide their emotions about organizational change due to their perception that it would be seen as unwelcome resistance. Often, when programs of change are being implemented and even
  23. 23. 16 management does not agree with the changes, they feel the need to hide their feelings to pretend to comply with the changes. Fox and Amichai-Hamburger (2001) argue that organizational leadership must communicate with emotions by fully supporting and acknowledging the emotional and cultural influences of their employees. They point out that a majority of corporate organizational life is full of rational charts, presentations, meetings, analysis, calculations, and logical examinations. There is no room for emotions when all of these influences must be attended to—and therein lies what Fox and Amichai-Hamburger define as the fault of organizational leadership. Many leaders see emotions as a burden they have to deal with, not as the potential tool for securing commitment and willingness. For many members of an organization, emotional management is part of the perceived professional image of the manager—all defined by the organizational culture. For example, some managers may feel that emotional expression is a part of upper- management culture, but when around subordinates, they must be emotionally shutdown. In a study conducted by Smollan and Sayers (2009), one manager indicated her frustration with the organization‘s affective culture. She would cry on occasion and was told she was a ―bit soft‖ and she had to promise herself she would not do it again because of the ―macho culture‖ (p. 447). Sometimes however, the affective culture is positive, such as when one of the participants indicated that emotional support from upper- management provided a degree of comfort. An often unspoken rule in organizations is the need to control what are perceived as inappropriate emotions and that this socially constructed set of rules often leads to conflict between what employees expect and what leaders deliver (Smollan & Sayers, 2009).
  24. 24. 17 Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, and Sowa (1986) argue that organizational members collectively create global beliefs pertaining to their overall perception of organizations. These beliefs drive organizational members to be more committed in the values and mission of organizations, especially important when implementing change. To aid in the support and implementation of change, organizations can provide members suitable levels of tangible and psychological support. Huy (1999) argues that organizations should be able to respond appropriately to the emotions and needs of employees to help facilitate organizational change. Emotional responses to specific elements of an existing organizational culture help form the members‘ responses to change. These existing perceptions of the organization are reflected in their reactions to leadership‘s implementation of change. A change in the values of an organization will often undermine a member‘s sense of identity (for example, when a manager loses their status). At the initial stages of change, people will often resist it. For many organizational members, the manner in which their leaders respond to their emotions is a key feature in how they reacted to organizational change (Smollan & Sayers, 2009). According to Fox and Amichai-Hamburger (2001), individuals first feel and then only after having felt, will they justify their feelings. This justification can lead to embracing change, or resistance. In order to fully support these emotions during change, the culture of an organization must be willing to adapt in ways that fully reflect the dreams and desires of how organizational members wish to see the organization after the change has been implemented. How people communicate about their organization with other organizational members, shapes their impression of and own personal actions at work (Krattenmaker, 2001).
  25. 25. 18 To discover how to create a change-ready culture that supports the emotions and efforts of organizational members, social scientists have been researching across disciplines to discover how to not only support the emotions and efforts of organizational members, but also allow them to feel a part of the change process. More recently, researchers have been incorporating more positive-psychology perspectives (research focused on issues such as optimism, creativity, and emotional intelligence) into their research of organizations. This has led to the development of a new research initiative labeled positive organizational scholarship (POS) (Skinner & Kelley, 2006). POS focuses on the idea that organizations are able to function more effectively when communicating across and about the factors that make the organization a positive place, rather than factors associated with negative aspects of the organization (Roberts, Spreitzer, Dutton, Quinn, Heapy, & Barker, 2005). With the rise of POS, a research method has emerged that has been successfully applied to organizational change research for three decades now. This method is called Appreciative Inquiry. Appreciative Inquiry Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is an affirmative research approach that focuses on the positive aspects of an organization and what makes it work rather than what problems it may have (Berrisford, 2005; Skinner & Kelley, 2006; Whitney & Schau, 1998). AI is based on social constructionism – the theory that people (as well as organizations) create reality as they know it through their own interpretation of, and communication about, the world they live in (Krattenmaker, 2001). Berrisford (2005) states that AI allows for the use of structured communication to generate a collective image of a better organizational future. According to Skinner and Kelley (2006), AI has the ability to facilitate the
  26. 26. 19 change process in a way that holds true to the values and beliefs of organizational members, and ultimately mirror the culture, as those members socially understand it. AI assumes that an organization‘s culture (and dominant stories) changes and evolves as the organization does. Whitney and Schau (1998) argue that the communicated culture of an organization tells members what they can and cannot do as well as what to expect from the organization as a whole. According to Whitney and Schau (1998) and Krattenmaker (2001), organizations tend to change in the direction of what they study. Using the basic tenets of AI, an organization can begin to ask questions that lead to solutions instead of problems. If an organizational leader is constantly asking for ―solutions to problems‖, his or her employees will be searching for problems to bring back to them. If, according to Berrisford (2005), they break the cycle of negative thinking and instead, who asks for moments of greatness and why/how we arrived at those moments, employees will then be on the lookout for great moments. After their search, they will most likely return with explanations answering how employees became happy and how they maintain that happiness as well as productivity. Skinner and Kelley (2006) agree that AI is based on three main assumptions. The first assumption is that every organizational member has a talent that is unique to them and that they do something well. Collectively, members have major contributions to offer to not only other organizational members but major stakeholders as well. The second assumption is that the culture and organizational members‘ perceived images of the future are socially constructed. These images have the ability to guide member behavior in times of change as well as stability. The final assumption is the power of
  27. 27. 20 positive thinking. According to Whitney and Schau (1998), asking members what they see works well in the organization, instead of what does not, focuses attention on the positive aspects of the organization. By assuming the very best in people and organizations AI offers positive processes and communication for organization change. Appreciative Inquiry starts by identifying the topic that will drive the research and questions being asked. This is called the affirmative topic choice. The questions being asked are vital to the AI process (Krattenmaker, 2001; Preskill & Catsambas, 2006). Therefore, the topic is important because it determines what exactly an organizational researcher should focus on when using AI. As mentioned earlier, it is also vital that the questions be presented in a positive tone and manner representative of AI‘s affirmative nature (Skinner & Kelley, 2006). Once the topic is chosen, the four-step AI cycle is begun. This 4-D process assumes that change occurs through thoughtful inquiry and dialogue (Whitney & Schau, 1998) and consists of discovery, dream, design, and destiny. Discovery is the intensive search into the best aspects of an organization. According to Whitney and Schau (1998), discovery gives emphasis to what is working well in the organization instead of what is not. This normally involves writing questions, creating interview guides, conducting interviews, and even focus groups (Skinner & Kelley, 2006). In this stage of the AI process, organizational members are often asked to give anecdotes and personal narratives that reflect the best experiences they have had in their organization. Since members‘ understandings of an organization are created through the way they think and communicate about the organization, the discovery phase opens a window into their thoughts and internal meanings regarding the organization (Krattenmaker, 2001). According to Whitney and Schau (1998), personal interviews with
  28. 28. 21 organizational members can help explore a member‘s beginnings with the organization, their daily work, their appreciative stories, and their dreams for the organization‘s future. This democratic process concludes with stories being shared among all participants for the collective discovery of underlying themes and common threads that run through them all. The Dream stage of AI consists of organizational members reflecting on the things they have learned from the discovery stage. They reflect and imagine what could be if those remarkable experiences became the norm. Whitney and Schau (1998) agree that it is a time for members to explain their dreams and wishes about their work, their work relationships, and their organization – as well as their role in it. Skinner and Kelley (2006) state that this step requires that members fully immerse themselves into the AI process and begin to see their greater purpose. The desired result of this stage is an image or strategic goal that will then direct organizational members‘ individual efforts toward the organization‘s greatest potential. This is ultimately a realignment of what might be. Design is where organizational members use the discoveries and dreams developed in the first two stages to be able to identify the qualities needed in order to achieve those dreams. Described by Whitney and Schau (1998) as a high-involvement process, the design stage gives organizational members a change to be an integral part of the change process. In this stage, participants are asked to write down design statements – ideas that describe the ideal organization. In the past, these statements have been about many concepts, such as: work environment, interpersonal relationships, structure, power dimensions, etc. These statements are important to AI because they help define what the
  29. 29. 22 organizational should be (Skinner & Kelley, 2006). Whitney and Schau (1998) argue that by involving the organizational members in the change process from the very beginning and allowing them to help create actual policies and implementations, members are quickly reoriented toward the change efforts. The Destiny phase of Appreciative Inquiry involves the actions that will enable the organization to reflect and become what was dreamed and discovered in the beginning stages. Often, as with longer studies and implementations, the destiny phase results in actual structural changes to the organization. This final stage uses the design statements to help build a better organization (Skinner & Kelley, 2006) – a ―new‖ organization that members have been a key part of the change process since the beginning. Some may criticize AI for asking questions that are too broad. According to Preskill and Catsambas (2006), by asking the positive questions specific to an AI evaluation, organizational members will be more open in their responses and the resulting data has the ability to be more useful. Some organizational researchers may use traditional approaches to evaluation that might only reveal problems and gaps in performance. Preskill and Catsambas (2006) argue that AI‘s approach seeks to discover successes and peak experiences. Both approaches have the capability to discover an organization‘s problems, but AI discovers how things work when they work well – insight into the dynamic and fluid systems of an organization. At its core, AI‘s process includes choosing appropriate perspectives and language. Traditional approaches to qualitative interviewing and surveys can still provide rich data, but AI‘s approach provides ―sincere and systematic study of success [that] can lead
  30. 30. 23 [researchers] to discoveries about goals, desired outcomes, indicators, evaluation use, and recommendations for improvement‖ (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006, p. xviii). Summary This literature review has come to a very important conclusion: implementing organizational change is not an easy task. It requires handling of a complicated, sensitive mission through several stages and different tasks. This is referred to as change management and according to Sande (2008), is an ongoing, repeatable process. According to Eaton (2010), organizations must look long-term (mostly because it will take a long time) and that they must ensure consistency across all communication channels and leadership. Smollan and Sayers (2009) argue ―if employee engagement [during change] is to be authentic, organizations need to craft cultures that are sufficiently strong enough to embrace change without altering their fundamental ethos and to develop an acceptance that emotions are a natural part of organizational culture and organizational change‖ (p. 451). According to Bird (2009), management must recognize the stress and emotional changes involved with change to organizational members. Actively managing the change process will not only allow for greater awareness of the nature and scope of changes, but of member‘s reactions to change. Bird (2009) found that the emphasis of listening skills, coaching rather than simply telling, and leading rather than directing were great starts to gaining employee trust and helping implement change. It is vitally important that organizations build a culture that can embrace a change-ready environment (Shum et al., 2007)—a culture that not only embraces change, but also is cognizant of organizational members‘ emotions and the strength of the culture
  31. 31. 24 beforehand. Appreciative Inquiry discovers how to create a change-ready culture that supports the emotions and efforts of organizational members. AI allows for organizational members to dream and discover ways in which the organization works well and how they can become agents of change – placing change in the direction that they feel is the ―right‖ direction. An ideal organizational change would occur in a direction that aligns with organizational members‘ values, their socially constructed culture, and maintains support for their emotions and efforts.
  32. 32. 25 CHAPTER II A CASE STUDY OF CONSORTIUM X The preparation and implementation of organizational change is not an easy task. Now that the general problems and concerns of organizational change have been addressed, this chapter narrows the focus within Consortium X. This chapter discusses the Appreciative Inquiry approach, the results from surveys with organizational members and leaders, and the analysis of emerging themes. This all leads toward the development of a manual for future use within Consortium X (to be discussed in chapter III). Consortium Overview The following is a brief description of the four organizations that comprise Consortium X: Company A is a sports bar and grill located in Mid-Michigan. It has three members of management and 30 part-time or full-time employees. Company B is a bar and nightclub located in Mid-Michigan. It has two members of management and 30 part-time or full-time employees. Company C is a restaurant and bar located in Mid-Michigan. It has two members of management and 24 part-time or full-time employees. Company D is a themed restaurant that also includes a lounge, music, and a full service bar located in Mid-Michigan. It has two members of management and 25 part- time or full-time employees. Appreciative Inquiry Evaluation Appreciative Inquiry has a powerful impact on the way people think and act. Preskill and Catsambas (2006) argue that AI allows organizational members to look back
  33. 33. 26 to past successes in order to achieve peak experiences because they know they are possible. Consortium X is looking for more effective communication among its organizational members (especially during implementation of change) and the resources in which to train and help motivate its employees. Appreciative Inquiry offers researchers a tool to evaluate an organization, design interviews, surveys, and guides, develop training systems, and effectively manage an organization‘s capacity for change (Preskill & Catsambas, 2006). Study Design Surveys are the most often used data collection method within organizations. According to Preskill and Catsambas (2006), surveys usually consist of a predetermined set of questions distributed via email, mail, or handed to individuals. Surveys were used for this particular study and this comes with many advantages. Preskill and Catsambas (2006) argue that when using surveys, the questions are presented in the same manner to all participants, with no interpretation bias from the researcher, thus reducing chances of researcher bias. They agree that many participants may feel more comfortable responding to a survey than to a face-to-face interview. Russ-Eft and Preskill (2001) offer another advantage: that surveys may increase the chances of receiving a representative sample. Some researchers argue that there are some disadvantages to surveys as well. Some participants may not choose to respond for various reasons including but not limited to, the feeling that they do not have time to complete the survey (Czaja & Blair, 2005). Preskill and Catsambas (2006) argue that even if participants find the time to complete the survey, they may not benefit from an attentive listener and nonverbal
  34. 34. 27 feedback. Preskill and Catsambas (2006) agree however, that by delivering the survey online, these disadvantages can be minimized. The survey measure (Appendix B) created for this project consists of mostly open-ended appreciative questions. The use of surveys directed at organizational members aligns with the argument posed by Deal and Kennedy (1982) that in order to study organizational culture and change, one must interview company people and diagnose culture from the inside. The main researcher adapted many of the survey questions from an AI study using Internet-delivered surveys conducted by Preskill and Catsambas (2006). The project‘s Appreciative Inquiry topic chosen is positive organizational change. This affects the types of questions posed to participants and directs them toward a response as such. The first two sections of questions ask participants to describe their personal evaluation of the organization they are a member of (Company A through D), including some experiences where they felt most engaged and effective. This provides the framework for the first phase of an Appreciative Inquiry evaluation, which strives for an intensive look at the best aspects of an organization, the Discovery phase. For example: Starting back at the time you began working at your organization … What first attracted you this organization? What were your initial impressions when you joined? How have your impressions changed since then? What keeps you here? If you work here, you have probably experienced some ups and downs, some high points and low points. Think about a time that stands out to you as a high point – a time when you felt most involved, most effective, most engaged. It might have been recently or some time ago. What was going on? What were the most important factors of your organization that helped to make it a high-point experience (for example: leadership qualities, rewards, structure, relationships, skills, etc.)?
  35. 35. 28 What was especially important/memorable about this experience for you? Important to any AI evaluation is questions regarding organizational members‘ values. The following stage reflects the Dream phase of appreciative inquiry. According to Preskill and Catsambas (2006), questions concerning values highlight organizational members‘ successes and their wishes for the future. They argue that these types of questions are an essential part of a survey conducted over the Internet and help provide insight into the dreams members have for their organization. The third section on the survey includes these value questions: Think about the nature of your work at your organization… What aspect of your work do you value most (for example: most interesting, most meaningful, most satisfying)? Describe one outstanding or successful achievement or contribution of which you are particularly proud. What made it outstanding? What unique skills or qualities did you draw on to achieve this result? What organizational factors helped to create or support your achievement? What is the single most important thing that your organization has contributed to your life, professionally and/or personally? In order to facilitate the third phase of the AI evaluation, Design, questions regarding what the organization should be and what organizational members desire it to be are posed. The following section empowers members across the organization to design a new organization where the dreams and discoveries they made in the first sections of the survey have the ability to become a reality. For example: As an organization, there are many changes we can make now and in the future to improve and evolve with the times. However, there are some core strengths, values, and ways of working that we should continue and keep doing, even as we change in the future. What are three things your organization does best that you would like them to keep doing – even as things change in the future? What three wishes would you make to heighten the vitality and health of your organization? What part could you/do you want to play in making these wishes materialize?
  36. 36. 29 Process Based on the above reasoning, the survey and its questions were formed. The main researcher distributed surveys through the online interactive Web site Survey Monkey (http://surveymonkey.com). Consortium X management and the main researcher delivered notices via email, the social networking site of Facebook, and printed fliers in order to advertise the voluntary surveys to members of all four organizations. Only organizational members from the one of the four organizations composing Consortium X were able to participate. The collective surveys are referred to as the Appreciative Inquiry evaluation because they use positive questions regarding values, past successes, and imagined futures to build a comprehensive look at organizational member‘s desires for the future of the organization. The main researcher divided the results into their respective organization (A through D) and completed a qualitative analysis of emerging themes. The collected surveys are in essence the transcripts of interviews from which a qualitative data analysis will begin. Through data analysis, the researcher examined the themes present across the interviews. The main researcher then combined these themes into a coherent whole that helped suggest the overall culture (Rubin & Rubin, 2005), and revealed the themes reflecting the AI evaluation. This was accomplished in several steps as outlined by Rubin & Rubin (2005). During the first stage of data analysis, the researcher processed the surveys through what Rubin and Rubin (2005) refer to as recognition. This initial phase examined and revealed the concepts, themes, events, and topical markers present in the surveys. The concepts are the words or ideas that reflect the AI evaluation organizational
  37. 37. 30 members reveal through the surveys. Rubin and Rubin (2005) state that the themes are the summary statements explaining what is happening in the organization. The events identified in the analysis will be the occurrences that have happened as revealed through the surveys. Finally, the topical markers (nouns such as places and people) helped string all of the AI evaluation data together. The second phase of the data analysis was accomplished by synthesizing and clarifying the different interviews – and included an explanation of what was meant as well as a synthesis of the overall narrative (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). As themes began to emerge and combine with similar themes, the data analysis became what Rubin and Rubin (2005) refer to as the elaboration phase. The final phase was the coding phase (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). In this phase, the researcher placed labels on each concept and theme present in the survey that related to the goals of the AI evaluation. Additionally, in this phase, the researcher systematically labeled the concepts, themes, events, and topical markers in order to fully examine them across the surveys/interviews as a whole. According to Rubin and Rubin (2005), these codes align with a coding structure. This coding structure was defined in regards to the content and data discovered as well as its relevance to the AI process. Finally, the main researcher sorted the data by grouping together all of the data units previously defined with the same label. This grouping formed the themes that then in turn aided the development of the subsequent training and development manual for Consortium X. This manual includes information resulting from multiple sources: literature on organizational change, training and development handbooks, organizational change activity books, and information specific to the results of the AI investigation of
  38. 38. 31 Consortium X. The manual is divided by the key themes that emerged from qualitative analysis of the AI results. The manual discusses these themes in detail, with reference to organizational change literature and texts. Each section offers explanations as to why that particular information is important and provides activities, training exercises, and a list of resources that can help the organization and its members meet the objectives of each section. There are also evaluations to help gauge where the organization is when it comes to the key issues. Each of the activities included in the divided sections has instructions for organizational members as well as for organizational leaders helping with the training and development session. The manual facilitates the final stage of AI process: Destiny, and bring the AI process full circle. Results Respondents from Consortium X completed 32 surveys on the website SurveyMonkey.com. Their responses ranged from one sentence answers to fully developed paragraphs detailing their experiences in the past and present as well as wishes and ideas for the future. The following is an overview of the responses as they related to their corresponding sections in the survey. The first two sections of the survey asked participants to describe their personal evaluation of the organization and describe experiences where they felt most engaged and effective. Answering the question of what first attracted employees to the organization, about half of the respondents said that they ―just [needed] a job to make money during college‖ while the other half said they were drawn to the ―fun,‖ ―high-class,‖ and ―youthful atmosphere‖. The second part of section one asked what participants‘ initial impressions were when they joined the organization. This section had a heavy emphasis
  39. 39. 32 on the relationships that employees first developed with other organizational members with such responses as: ―Everyone was very friendly.‖ ―I enjoy the people I work with and feel like everyone was willing to help one another to get the job done right.‖ ―Friendly co-workers and managers.‖ ―Tight knit group of friends and employees that had fun both in and out of work.‖ This section also included the first responses that hinted toward conflict and references toward leadership: ―I felt like there were several different people telling me how to do things different ways.‖ ―Disorganized, slow.‖ ―Overwhelming at late night.‖ ―When I first joined I loved the job but not so much the people I worked with.‖ When asked how their impressions had changed since first being hired, many respondents referenced a lack of teamwork and instances of conflict, such as: ―There has been some disagreement between employees and a lack of communication and cooperation between employees and managers.‖ ―Everyone is still really nice but not so helpful anymore.‖ ―…there is a lot of unnecessary drama between co-workers.‖ Some respondents felt that their impressions of management also changed: ―I‘m not moving anywhere some lazy co workers poor management, feel I am being used.‖
  40. 40. 33 ―[There are] a few more duties, still nothing I can't handle, but there‘s no recognition.‖ ―Managers can show you disrespect and threaten to fire you over trivial things which can aggravate me.‖ Realizing that their impressions may or may not have changed since their date of hire, the respondents were also asked what keeps them at their organization. Some said that the flexible hours and the money was enough to keep them at Consortium X, but many stated references to the positive relationships they have developed with other organizational members: ―I enjoy the people that I work with.‖ ―I love my co-workers.‖ ―My coworkers are my friends.‖ ―Besides the paycheck, I love the friendships I've made here, some of the girls are like family.‖ The second main section of the survey asked participants to think back to a time in their work with Consortium X that was a ―high point‖; they were then asked to describe it in detail by answering a few questions. The following are some of the responses participants gave when asked about their particular ―high point‖. Through their stories, they referenced themes of teamwork and communication: ―The best time I had at work was during one of the tailgates and we were completely slammed. We had ticket after ticket hanging up in the window and food flying everywhere. Five o'clock rolled around and our replacements came in and instead of everyone leaving we stayed and helped them finish up the order. At the end of the rush everyone that had come in at five said thanks for staying and that we all did a great job finishing up the orders.‖ [emphasis added] ―There was a day that I felt like I was on top of my game. My manager and I were the only [ones working] during a lunch rush and we got busy really fast.
  41. 41. 34 I managed to keep my manager and I on top of the food orders by communicating … what needed to go out, what needed to be cooked, etc.‖ [emphasis added] ―High points happen when we are all getting along, helping each other out, everyone is in a good mood, we‘re busy, and having a good time.‖ [emphasis added] When asked about the most important factors of their organization in helping to create positive experiences, participants responded by focusing on the power of feedback from management and other employees: ―For me personally I would say that when other employees give me positive feedback I feel like I am doing better and that actually puts me in a better mood.‖ ―After a successful lunch, my manager congratulated me on my ability to keep both him and I on track. It was the best feeling to be noticed for your abilities and work.‖ ―What made it a high point was that our manager was involved with the employees and acknowledged our hard work.‖ Other participants stated that teamwork and communication was essential to their best experiences at the organization: ―Teamwork, communication, experience.‖ ―Having good relationships with co-workers make for a high-point experience because it makes it feel like a team effort, and not just one person doing all the work.‖ ―Teamwork. Relationships. Good moods.‖ ―Good experience in dealing with people and Communication skills.‖ After asking about the organizational factors that created this experience, participants were asked what made this moment or experience extra memorable and important to them. Many of the respondents answered with statements addressing
  42. 42. 35 leadership and feedback: ―The most important thing from this experience is that a manager/boss does notice your work ethic and abilities to do the job and that they go out of their way to congratulate and let you know that you are doing a great job. It keeps me motivated.‖ ―It was really nice to hear you‘re doing good because it was something new to me and you don't get told you‘re doing a good job very often at my work.‖ ―It showed how much of a difference a good manager can make in an employee‘s work ethic and motivation.‖ The third main section of the survey asked participants to think about the nature of their work at Consortium X. The first question asked what aspect of their work they valued most. The responses to this question focused on the relationships that organizational members had with other organizational members and with guests (customers). Phrases such as ―I like the customers‖; ―the relationships I have with my customers and coworkers‖; and ―giving the best service possible,‖ describe some of the aspects employees valued most while working at Consortium X. When asked to describe one outstanding or successful achievement or contribution that they (the organizational member) were proud of, many of the responses were guest- focused: ―I liked that one time I got a compliment on my cooking skills which helped the server get a larger tip.‖ ―Getting notes from customers about how well they liked my customer service always makes me feel successful.‖ ―My achievements and success are always guest based, in that providing an outstanding experience for them is reason enough for me to feel proud.‖ When asked what made that achievement so outstanding, participants responded with answers such as ―making more money‖ or ―pay raise‖, alluding to the need and
  43. 43. 36 desire for more monetary payment for service to the organization. When the guests themselves were involved in a situation, the responses focused less on money and more toward feedback and feeling recognized for good work: ―What made it outstanding was that it picked up my coworkers spirits and made them work a little bit harder.‖ ―Just getting recognition for working hard.‖ ―The server was rewarded with a better tip. The fact that good food helps creates a happy customer is what, in return, makes the waitress happy. It‘s a never ending cycle.‖ ―The fact [that the guest] took their time to write an appreciation [note] makes it outstanding.‖ The next question in this section was about the unique skills or qualities organizational members drew upon to make that achievement outstanding. Many responses referenced experience, organization, patience, and overall better guest service with answers such as: ―Being personable and having fun with my customers.‖ ―Being friendly, nice, and patient helps a lot in the service industry.‖ ―Customer service and caring about the well being of our customers.‖ ―Just hard work and [being] friendly with the guests.‖ When asked about the organizational factors that helped contribute to this success, some participants skipped this question, wrote ―none‖, ―n/a‖, or simply said ―eh…‖. However, some respondents referenced the teamwork and support of fellow organizational members as well as guest service with responses such as: ―What help create this achievement was the ability of my coworkers to listen to me and look at me for advice or help. They look for a sense of direction and leadership.‖
  44. 44. 37 ―Each situation provides unique factors. Part of what makes an individual great in this profession is being able to read your guest and provide the type of service they require.‖ ―The support and help from co-workers.‖ The final question of this section asked about the single most important thing that Consortium X has contributed to their life personally. Besides the usual response of ―money‖ or ―a job‖, some participants explained that they have gained new relationships, friendships, and that meeting new people was the most important aspect added to their life. In addition, some organizational members responded with references to gained experience and leadership skills with answers such as: ―I always feel like I gain experience, personal aspects, and knowledge during jobs. Adding another to the list is just helping me grow as an individual.‖ ―My organization has helped improve my ability to lead and organize. I have greatly improved my leadership skills due to this job.‖ ―They [the organization] have helped me become a great server, they have given me confidence, and I have made great friends at my job.‖ The fourth main section of the survey asks for responses in regards to the participants‘ particular organization (A through D) as well as to Consortium X overall. Specifically, the participants were asked to identify the great things the organization does as well as some possibilities for improvement to evolve with the times. The first question of the final three asked about the three things that the respondents‘ organization does best that they would like to see the organization continue to do even as things change in the future. Many of the responses provided can be broken down into three main themes: flexibility of management in regards to scheduling (e.g. ―understanding of schedules‖ and ―they are always good about scheduling people
  45. 45. 38 according to their needs‖); teamwork (e.g., ―trying to keep us all working as a team‖); and finally, guest service (e.g., ―keep the great food, drink specials‖, ―create memorable experiences‖, ―great service‖, and ―continue customer service‖). The second question asked for participants to think of three wishes they had to heighten the vitality and health of their organization. One of the reoccurring themes emerging from responses to this question was more pay and a better tipping system for wait staff. Focusing more on the interpersonal aspects of the responses, three main themes emerged from the participants‘ answers: references to management, interpersonal conflict among coworkers, and the need for teamwork. In reference to management, organizational members touched upon concepts such as: stronger leadership (e.g., ―better management skills‖); increased communication (e.g., ―I wish management could listen to what I have to say, listen to the employees because they have great ideas‖); the ability to take charge of a situation; more employee recognition (e.g., ―It is nice to be praised, but I am not sure that it happens often enough‖); and finally, more trust (e.g., ―I wish the management would trust us a little more‖). When describing instances of interpersonal conflict and desire for more teamwork, participants responded with answers such as: ―At times I feel as though we don't get along well as a team- I wish we could have ways to get closer and trust each other.‖ ―Some of the girls need to find a way to get along because gossip and fighting make a tough job even harder.‖ ―No one seems to be able to listen to each other when we have issues, needs, or even when shifts are able to be picked up... It's sad that sometimes we can't stop to listen for 5 minutes to each other.‖
  46. 46. 39 After describing their three wishes, the last part of the survey asked participants how they would make these wishes materialize. Many respondents skipped this question completely and one respondent expressed concerns that they were cautious about giving feedback: ―Mine and the rest of the staff‘s comments, ideas, feedback and/or concerns are not wanted nor permitted without retaliation and threats. It is best to keep your head up and your attitude as one of being a team player.‖ Others though, expressed that they would ―practice what they preached‖; ―make a suggestion to supervisors‖; ―respect managers and follow protocol‖; and finally even ―[take] on more responsibilities and work as a shift leader to help produce a cohesive work environment.‖ Summary The responses were fairly well thought-out and to the point. The advantages of the survey being delivered online are evident in the honest and frank responses from some of the participants. However, the online nature of the survey may have limited the richness of the data because follow-up and probing questions could not be posed. In addition, some managers told the researcher that certain employees felt that the survey did not ask the appropriate questions to generate feedback. It may have been a limitation to this study in using the Appreciative Inquiry approach as some organizational members expressed to the researcher that it was a ―waste of time‖, ―incredibly fluffy and worthless‖, as well as ―pointless to their needs‖. Future communication research in organizations resembling that of Consortium X (e.g., bars, sports bars, pizza parlors, etc.) should find investigative approaches that more closely resemble the needs of those organizations. Overall the surveys provided enough
  47. 47. 40 data to compile a list of themes that aid in the development of the manual for use by Consortium X. The next section describes the process of discovering these themes and the overall creation of the manual.
  48. 48. 41 CHAPTER III THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRAINING MANUAL Seven distinct themes emerged from the analysis of survey results: (1) interpersonal conflict, (2) managing change, (3) teamwork, (4) listening skills, (5) guest service, (6) leadership, and (7) feedback. These seven themes comprise the different mini-lessons and activities of the training manual, labeled as ―units‖ (Appendix B). This chapter discusses the development of the manual specific to Consortium X and provides a rationale for the information, activities, and worksheets created or chosen for each unit of the manual. The creation and use of the manual completes the fourth part of Appreciative Inquiry, the Destiny phase, wherein management and employees continue to develop the ideas created in the first three stages. The development of the manual began with setting objectives for each section and then providing tools that would help the users (facilitators, trainers, or management) meet each objective. The objectives came from the literature and the Appreciative Inquiry evaluation. The objectives were designed so outcomes could be assessed and were created with specific consideration to the needs, wants, and desires organizational members portrayed through their survey responses. Before presenting the seven units, the manual includes an introduction explaining how the manual is divided up and how facilitators may use it. The next section includes ―trainer instructions‖ as an overall tool for assistance with adult learning styles, training session guidelines, and essential communication during facilitations. Next is a series of icebreakers to help trainees get engaged and help newly hired employees get acquainted
  49. 49. 42 with each other. The final section of the introduction features a short and personal open- ended assessment of trainees‘ skills and achievements. After the introduction, the main manual is divided into three sections. Section one includes units for all organizational members. This section includes lessons and activities that all employees from front-line to executive leadership can utilize. The second section includes learning units specific to organizational leadership. The final section (Section Three) includes post-training evaluation. The following explains the rationale for the lesson units in sections one (Units 1-5) and two (Units 6 and 7). Lesson Unit Rationale Unit 1 focuses on interpersonal conflict. This theme was chosen due to the multiple responses from organizational members on the Appreciative Inquiry survey. Employees referenced many instances where conflict is present in their organization with responses such as: ―At times I feel as though we don't get along well as a team- I wish we could have ways to get closer and trust each other.‖ ―Some of the girls need to find a way to get along because gossip and fighting make a tough job even harder.‖ ―…there is a lot of unnecessary drama between co-workers.‖ The objectives for this section are as follows: Organizational members will be able to (a) define interpersonal conflict; (b) contrast verbal aggressiveness and argumentation; (c) determine positive and negative effects of conflict; and (d) determine effective ways to resolve different conflict types. The first three objectives are met through the mini-lesson on interpersonal conflict. The final objective is achieved by the activity for Unit 1, a problem-solving skills audit.
  50. 50. 43 Unit 2‘s theme was managing change. This theme was chosen because it was the Appreciative Inquiry topic and the main concept for the evaluation used on the survey. The objectives for this section are: Organizational members will be able to (a) identify typical problems associated with change processes; (b) identify strategies management may use to implement change; and (c) identify reasons why some employees may resist change. To help organizational members identify and achieve these objectives, the manual provides a lesson on organizational change and multiple activities such as personal inventories of change abilities and methods of developing skills to help facilitate change processes. Unit 3 focuses on teamwork. Multiple respondents addressed the need for teamwork with answers such as: ―The best time I had at work was during one of the tailgates and we were completely slammed. We had ticket after ticket hanging up in the window and food flying everywhere. Five o'clock rolled around and our replacements came in and instead of everyone leaving we stayed and helped them finish up the order. At the end of the rush everyone that had come in at five said thanks for staying and that we all did a great job finishing up the orders.‖ ―High points happen when we are all getting along, helping each other out, everyone is in a good mood, were busy, and having a good time.‖ ―Having good relationships with co-workers make for a high-point experience because it makes it feel like a team effort, and not just one person doing all the work.‖ The objectives for this unit are: Organizational members will be able to (a) effectively brainstorm for the best possible solutions to problems; (b) utilize a problem-solving sequence to solve issues as a team; and (c) determine what makes a group a team. The first objective is achieved through one of the three activities named ―Brainstorming in
  51. 51. 44 Teams‖, the second and third objectives were met through the lesson on teamwork presented in the unit. Unit 4 focuses on the theme of listening skills. Bird (2009) argued that the emphasis on listening skills was essential in gaining employee trust and helping implement change. Many participants responded with references to listening, for example: ―No one seems to be able to listen to each other when we have issues, needs, or even when shifts are able to be picked up... It's sad that sometimes we can't stop to listen for 5 minutes to each other.‖ The objectives for this unit are: Organizational members will be able to (a) identify the process of active listening; (b) define the stages of listening; (c) compare and contrast empathic and objective listening; and (d) recognize active listening and the techniques needed to succeed in active listening. These objectives are met through the listening lesson and the exercises assessing personal listening skills, team listening, and communication skills. Unit 5 focuses on the theme of guest service. When respondents were asked what their organization did well and should continue to develop, many referenced guest service with responses such as: ―keep the great food, drink specials‖, ―create memorable experiences‖, ―great service‖, and ―continue customer service‖. Other participants responded with: ―Getting notes from customers about how well they liked my customer service always makes me feel successful.‖ ―My achievements and success are always guest based, in that providing an outstanding experience for them is reason enough for me to feel proud.‖ This unit is particularly important to Consortium X as it comprises four hospitality organizations. The objectives for this section are: Organizational members will be able to
  52. 52. 45 (a) actively listen to the needs and wants of guests; (b) identify standards of excellent guest service; and (c) review their own level of guest service. The first objective is met through the lesson provided and the final two are achieved with the activity ―My Guest Service Quotient‖. Unit 6, which is the first unit of Section Two: Organizational Leadership, centers on the theme of leadership. Organizational members who responded to the survey referenced leadership multiple times. Some of those responses were: ―I‘m not moving anywhere some lazy co workers poor management, feel I am being used.‖ ―Managers can show you disrespect and threaten to fire you over trivial things which can aggravate me.‖ The principal researcher decided that a unit identifying current leadership skills and ways in which to build those skills would be beneficial to Consortium X‘s needs. The objectives for this unit are: Organizational leaders will be able to (a) define the roles of leadership; (b) develop methods to lead teams; (c) refine their roles as mentors; and (d) identify ways to empower employees. The objectives for the unit are met not only through the lesson on leadership, but also through the five activities which aid management and future leaders in the organization sharpen and develop their skills. The final unit of the training manual is Unit 7 and is based on the theme of feedback. This theme was chosen because of the many references to feedback and recognition in responses from participants in the Appreciative Inquiry evaluation. Some of those responses were:
  53. 53. 46 ―The most important thing from this experience is that a manager/boss does notice your work ethic and abilities to do the job and that they go out of their way to congratulate and let you know that you are doing a great job. It keeps me motivated.‖ ―Just getting recognition for working hard.‖ ―It was really nice to hear you‘re doing good because it was something new to me and you don't get told you‘re doing a good job very often at my work.‖ The objectives for this section are: Organizational leaders will be able to (a) identify methods of employee empowerment; (b) develop positive methods of delivering feedback; and (c) utilize steps for creating positive feedback. These three objectives are met through the lesson and activity which helps assess management‘s view of feedback, their utilization of it, and concepts they can improve upon. After all seven units, Section Three consists of post-training evaluations to help evaluate the content of the training sessions. Both evaluations are handout/copy-ready and include open-ended questions regarding the lessons, activities, and topics addressed. Using the feedback provided by trainees, facilitators for Consortium X can adapt, change, modify, and ultimately improve this tool for future use. Summary The manual consists of three main sections, prefaced by an introduction to orient the facilitator. The manual was created by focusing on the needs of Consortium X as guided by the responses from participants during the Appreciative Inquiry evaluation. Each unit in the manual consists of training objectives that are each achieved through lessons and activities. Instructions for each unit of worksheets and activities are provided. Because of the nature of the manual, a separate user‘s guide was not needed (see Appendix B).
  54. 54. 47 CHAPTER IV EVALUATION The purpose of this thesis was to develop a manual that organizational members and leaders of Consortium X may use to facilitate positive organizational change, aid in the training of new hires, and provide for the continuous development of current employees. This chapter includes a synopsis of the thesis as well as evaluations of the manual for Consortium X. The evaluations provide insight into the effectiveness and usefulness of the manual and its limitations. Synopsis Chapter I of this thesis reviews the literature on organizational change, with information on change and organizations, reactions to change, and a look into the positive evaluation tool Appreciative Inquiry. Change is a constant in organizations and often results in negative emotional reactions by organizational members. Appreciative Inquiry is an evaluation tool that looks at the positive ways an organization works and also identifies hopeful changes for the future of an organization. Chapter II is a case study of the organizations used for this thesis (collectively referred to as Consortium X). The four organizations used in formation of the manual are described as well as the Appreciative Inquiry Evaluation study design and process. This chapter reviews and summarizes responses from survey participants. Chapter III explains the development of the training manual – the rationale for each lesson unit, how it was created, and the manner in which objectives were met. It lists the three sections of the manual, the seven units (which were a result of Chapters I
  55. 55. 48 and II), and the overall composition of the tool. The objectives for each unit are met through activities, lessons, and worksheets concerning the topic of the particular unit. After the development of the training manual for Consortium X, three individuals evaluated the manual. Each evaluator commented on the strengths of the manual and provided ideas for improvement. The following sections in this chapter explain the findings and implications of the evaluations. Evaluation of the Manual In order to determine the effectiveness and usefulness of the lessons, worksheets, and activities that comprise the training manual for Consortium X, three professionals were asked to evaluate it. To determine the effectiveness of the manual as a learning tool, Stephen Eaton, the Dean of Instruction for Bakersfield College in California, evaluated the manual from an educational and curriculum development specialty. To determine the manual‘s usefulness as an organization-wide tool, Danny Mannina, CEO of Cinemap Productions in Los Angeles, evaluated the manual in consideration of its adoption as a training and development tool. Finally, to evaluate the manual as a training and development tool, Paul Wolcott, CEO and Principal Consultant at Seventus Consulting Firm in Los Angeles, provided detailed feedback. Each evaluator was sent the manual and asked to evaluate it based on usefulness and effectiveness. Strengths All three evaluators of the manual were interested in the contents of the manual and found it to be well constructed, well organized, and accessible to both organizational members and management alike. Each evaluator provided a list of the manual‘s strengths.
  56. 56. 49 This section focuses on each evaluator and includes summary paragraphs detailing what each found as the manual‘s biggest strengths. Stephen Eaton, the Dean of Instruction for Bakersfield College, found the manual to be a well organized and uncomplicated tool to help managers improve their leadership skills and to facilitate the acceptance of change within their industry. He notes that the biggest strength of the manual is the many exercises that provide organizational members an opportunity to gain insight into their own perceptions about change and reactions to change implementation. Eaton stated that the creator of this manual understands the need for adult learners to engage in exercises that allow them to participate in the educational process. He noted that the worksheets have several useful applications and are adaptable to those involved in the exercises. Eaton explained that the creator of this manual gives some narrative regarding communication and change theory, but does not overwhelm the participants or reader with that theory; instead, the exercises move quickly to practical application. Danny Mannina, the second evaluator and CEO of Cinemap Productions, stated that the manual is a well-constructed device that is succinct, dynamic, and has a positive application to a real-world setting. Mannina categorized his evaluation into three main points. His first main point is that the manual is comprehensive. Mannina argued that the manual covers many foreseeable variables of interpersonal communication in a workplace setting. He stated that it details what an individual‘s wants/needs are and puts them in the context of a multivariable team situation. Mannina‘s second point is that he found it to be accessible. He argued that both a ―fresh out of college‖ student and a ―20 years in the industry‖ professional can use the tool and both will have complete ease in
  57. 57. 50 understanding and implementing the prescribed evaluations. He found the manual to be written in a dialogue that ―all ends of the professional spectrum can appreciate and respect‖ stating that the author‘s natural enthusiasm ―shines through‖. The third main strength Mannina details it that the manual is succinct. Mannina stated that ―though it touches on a far-reaching spectrum of workplace scenarios, dialogue, approaches, and implementation, the project does not, at any point, meander or lose focus.‖ The third professional to evaluate the training manual for Consortium X was Paul Wolcott, CEO and Principal Consultant at Seventus Consulting. Wolcott also found the manual to be well organized, with a relatively simple structure. He stated that the provision of both management and non-management content increases the flexibility of the program. Finally, he argued that the inclusion of trainer instructions helps less- experienced facilitators to better understand elements of the program, their foundations, and how to deliver the program for increased success. Limitations Although the evaluators identified multiple strengths, there are also limitations that need to be addressed. The limitations suggested by the evaluators focused on the addition of more materials as well as content that focuses on more experienced facilitators. Several of the limitations could be resolved by adding additional focus to the introduction of materials and units, the addition of social media and web content, and better evaluative measures to measure whether the objectives of each unit were met or not. Eaton suggested that the addition of supporting materials would be helpful. He appreciated that the author moved quickly to practical exercises and did not burden the user with too much supporting research. Depending on the consortium or organization‘s
  58. 58. 51 make-up and the facilitator‘s talents, providing example situations for discussion or video links for multimedia examples might engage the participants more fully. He added that even beginning scenarios for role-play and video would provide the facilitator more avenues for ensuring that management and employees have a fuller understanding of how conflict and change can manifest themselves in the workplace. Mannina stated that the ―packaging‖ of the materials might limit the project‘s broad appeal. He argued that the success of the project lies in its ability to be both understood and implemented by a far-ranging group of people. He recommended that instead of stating ―…these helpful overviews will aid an inexperienced or new trainer…‖ that the manual should set up the evaluations by stating that they are especially appropriate not only for new trainers but also for the following three groups: 1. Established trainers, managers, and workplace leaders who are finding it difficult to communicate with their crew and seek pertinent materials to evolve their interpersonal communication skills. 2. Workplace teams looking to build group morale and improve overall efficacy and function amongst its individual team members. 3. Workplace pairings and/or teams experiencing a group dynamics meltdown and need clear and understandable tools to exact positive change and resolve conflict. Having established these four groups early on, potential facilitators using the manual will better understand it to be a valuable tool for the entire lifetime of their project. Mirroring Eaton‘s suggestion of added multimedia tools, Mannina also suggested that, in the ―age of the Internet‖, the target audience could use a final section on multimedia and videos to build upon the evaluations.
  59. 59. 52 The final evaluator, Wolcott, made suggestions for improvement of the manual as well. He explained that the manual lacks content for less experienced facilitators to both use in the moment or leverage in preparation to clarify, enrich, or better explain concepts or topics. He also stated that there is an imbalance between the degree to which the sections are introduced/explained as compared to the amount of interpretation, guidance and/or debrief that is provided. Agreeing with the other two evaluators, Wolcott added that a section of multimedia would prove beneficial in the engagement of trainees. Summary The manual was found to be practical and helpful, and each evaluator felt that even with its limitations, it could be implemented immediately, without amendment. Although it was found to be helpful, well organized, accessible, and succinct, there were some limitations offered by evaluators. The limitations could be overcome with the inclusion of additional materials (e.g., multimedia, videos, e-books), more descriptive instructions and overviews, and mini-lessons for less-experienced facilitators. Each evaluator found the manual to be well written with multiple real-world applications. Based on the feedback of the evaluators, the manual creator made three adaptations to the final manual for Consortium X. First, the inclusion of a final section of multimedia examples (e.g., video clips and activities from feature films) counter the limitations suggested that multimedia and discussion of television and film examples relating to lesson units be included. Second, a revised introduction to the manual was added that responded to Mannina‘s need for an introduction to evaluations by stating that they are especially appropriate not only for new trainers but also for three more groups: (1) Established trainers, managers, and workplace leaders who are finding it difficult to
  60. 60. 53 communicate with their crew and seek pertinent materials to evolve their interpersonal communication skills; (2) Workplace teams looking to build group morale and improve overall efficacy and function amongst its individual team members; and (3) Workplace pairings and/or teams experiencing a group dynamics meltdown and need clear and understandable tools to exact positive change and resolve conflict. Finally, Wolcott expressed concern that the manual lacked content for less experienced facilitators. To counter this limitation, the manual creator added a section addressing common issues with facilitating, adult learning styles, training session guidelines, and essential communication during facilitations (labeled as ―Trainer Instructions‖).
  61. 61. 54 APPENDICES
  62. 62. 55 APPENDIX A APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY ORGANIZATIONAL SURVEY 1. Starting back at the time you began working at your organization … What first attracted you to this organization? What were your initial impressions when you joined? How have your impressions changed since then? What keeps you here? 2. If you work here, you have probably experienced some ups and downs, some high points and low points. Think about a time that stands out to you as a high point – a time when you felt most involved, most effective, most engaged. It might have been recently or some time ago. What was going on? What were the most important factors of your organization that helped to make it a high-point experience (for example: leadership qualities, rewards, structure, relationships, skills, etc.)? What was especially important/memorable about this experience for you? 3. Think about the nature of your work at your organization… What aspect of your work do you value most (for example: most interesting, most meaningful, most satisfying)? Describe one outstanding or successful achievement or contribution of which you are particularly proud. What made it outstanding? What unique skills or qualities did you draw on to achieve this result? What organizational factors helped to create or support your achievement? What is the single most important thing your organization has contributed to your life, professionally and/or personally? 4. As an organization, there are many changes we can make now and in the future to improve and evolve with the times. However, there are some core strengths, values, and ways of working that we should continue and keep doing, even as we change in the future.
  63. 63. 56 What are three things that your organization does best that you would like to see them keep doing – even as things change in the future? What three wishes would you make to heighten the vitality and health of your organization? What part could you/do you want to play in making these wishes materialize? Measure adapted from: Preskill, H. & Catsambas, T. (2006). Reframing evaluation through appreciative inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. • • •
  64. 64. 57 APPENDIX B THE TRAINING MANUAL
  65. 65. 58 A Manual for Consortium X: Conflict, Leadership, and Guest Service Daniel Byerley Central Michigan University
  66. 66. 59 Table of Contents Introduction Trainer Instructions Icebreakers Session Opener Section One: All Organizational Members Unit 1: Interpersonal Conflict Unit 2: Managing Change Unit 3: Teamwork Unit 4: Listening Skills Unit 5: Guest Service Section Two: Organizational Leadership Unit 6: Leadership Unit 7: Feedback Section Three: Post-Training Evaluation Training Evaluation Follow-Up Interview Section Four: Multimedia Activities Training Manual References

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