Developing a Human Activity System (HAS) Map

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An explanation of what a HAS Map is; steps to develop a HAS Map; and ways to improve HAS Mapped problem situations.

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Developing a Human Activity System (HAS) Map

  1. 1. Developing a Human Activity System (HAS) Map An explanation of what a HAS Map is; steps to develop a HAS Map; and ways to improve HAS Mapped problem situations. David Alman Version 2 January 2014
  2. 2. What is a Human Activity System? “A Human Activity System (HAS) includes interrelated, interacting, and interdependent parts, viewed from different perspectives, that describe a situation as a whole.”
  3. 3. Three basic HAS Concepts 1. A HAS Model HAS Model Factors Meaning: Values, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, norms, culture, “rights” Social Relations: Leadership styles, behaviours, relationships, conflicts, disputes, collaborations, power, influence, social networks. Material Environment (Natural & Built) Including fuel, water, temperature, lighting, workspace, building conditions. Human Design : Management systems, practices, processes, standards, procedures, reporting structures, policies, rules, roles, competencies. Outcomes of the problem situation. Social Relations Leadership styles, behaviours, relationships, conflicts, disputes, collaborations, power, influence, social networks. Meaning Values, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, norms, culture, “rights” Outcomes of the problem situation Material Environment (Natural & Built) Including fuel, water, temperature, lighting, work space, building conditions Human Design Management systems, practices, processes, standards, procedures, reporting structures, policies, rules, roles, competencies
  4. 4. Three basic HAS Concepts 2. HAS Map factors reset as Perspective Levels 2. HAS Map factors reset as Perspective Levels e.g. Human Activity System (HAS) Map Perspective Levels Perspective Levels Meaning Referential Level Human Design Governance Level HAS Factor examples reset as Perspective Levels Referential Level Values, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs that cause appreciation of particular priorities and intentions and not others (HAS Meaning) Governance Level How things are organised, directed, structured such as plans, organisation structures, accountability reporting (HAS Human Designed) Social Relations Transactional Level Environmental Transactional Level Transactional Level Outcomes Outcomes Level Outcomes Level How people and processes and the physical environment interact (HAS Social relations and Physical environment) Consequences (intended and unintended) (HAS Outcomes)
  5. 5. Three basic HAS Concepts 3. The HAS Map Framework The two previous concepts of: 1) a HAS Model and 2) Perspective Levels are integrated to form 3) The HAS Map framework within HAS Maps (please see diagram example).
  6. 6. What Problem Situations can a HAS cover? A wide range of problem situations can be assessed and addressed through Human Activity System (HAS) Mapping, including: In Human Resource Management (HRM): • • • • • Accidents & Incidents; Harassment & bullying & (environmental) stress related matters; Grievance & conflict management issues; Role and workplace performance & productivity Change management program performance In IT and IM • • • • Implementation of IT frameworks e.g. ITIL IT changes Project management performance Client complaint management In Organisational Services • • Service quality and efficiency Customer/client satisfaction and risk exposure
  7. 7. Steps to develop a HAS Map Step 1. What’s the problem situation? Step 2. Develop a HAS Map using HAS Map Perspective Levels Step 3. Identify causes of failure Step 4. Risk Assessment to reset HAS Map. Step 5. Revise Human Activity System Map
  8. 8. Step 1. What’s the problem situation? Step 1 Gather the problem situation as a story, including consequences and key issues: Consequences: Staff have been facing increased customer dissatisfaction over the last few months. This has increased employee absenteeism, dissatisfaction, and turnover. Key issues  Customer complaints have caused employee stress and distress, and associated increased employee disengagement, and absenteeism.  Staff have raised their concerns with supervisors and more senior management both formally and through e-mails and group meetings. No action is perceived to have been taken by management.  Employees have also highlighted and expressed the view that the current customer service policies and standards are poor and better offered by a competitor that is in the next building. This is ignored by senior management whose view is that everyone works for a successful company that values “pride of service” and “quality of service” as a priority. Employees also point out that their competitor’s priority is “speed of service” and “meeting customer needs” that seems to meet customer expectations. Additional Notes    Step 1 . Gather the story (to be used to develop the HAS Map) based on the following question about a problem situation’s events: What led/lead to what? Step 2. Start a HAS Map by working out the story’s outcomes, and then progressively work up through Transactional, Governance, and Referential Perspective Levels. Step 3. Once a HAS Map is developed, bold words in “What’s the problem situation? A Story” s (above) reflect 3 aspects affecting the “Story” in terms of Interpersonal Conflicts; Work Constraints; and unmet or violated expectations From this “Conflict”; Constraint” and “unmet expectations” can be marked onto the HAS Map to indicate failure causes.
  9. 9. Step 2. Develop a HAS Map using Perspective Levels Human Activity System (HAS) Map Perspective Levels Perspective Levels Perspective Level examples (based on HAS factors) Referential Level Values, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs that cause appreciation of particular priorities and intentions and not others (HAS Meaning factor) Governance Level How things are organised, directed, structured such as plans, organisation structures, accountability reporting (HAS Human Designed factor) How people and processes, and the physical environment interact Transactional Level Outcomes Level (HAS Social Interaction and Physical environment factors) Consequences (intended and unintended) (HAS Outcomes)
  10. 10. Step 2. Develop a HAS Map using HAS Map Perspective Levels Human Activity System Map Purpose: Identify Customer Service staff issues. Referential Level Governance Level Transactional Level Current customer service policies emphasised by the executive: • Pride of service • Quality of service Customer service policies and standards implemented Customer service staff concerns raised with supervisors and management but no change is supported, and concerns ignored Customer service staff are stressed as they are not meeting customer expectations. Staff feel their concerns about current service policies are ignored and morale has dropped. Absenteeism has increased Outcomes Customer complaints increasing, and customer expectations unmet Customer Service staff leaving
  11. 11. Step 3 Identify causes of failure • Constraints: “Anything that limits a system's higher performance relative to its purpose” Lisa Scheinkopf “Thinking for a change: Putting the TOC Thinking Processes to use.” • Conflict: “when two or more people or groups perceive that their values or needs are incompatible” Tillett and French “Resolving conflict: A practical approach”. • Unmet expectations: “A violation or unfulfillment of a positive, valued expectation” John Mitrano “That’s not fair!: The social construction of organizational (in)justice among professionals”.
  12. 12. Step 3. Identify causes of failure Human Activity System Map (with underlying causes of failure in red ink) Purpose: Identify Customer Service staff issues. Referential Level Governance Level Transactional Level Outcomes Current customer service policies emphasised by the executive (Constraint): • Pride of service • Quality of service Customer service policies and standards implemented Customer service staff concerns raised with supervisors and management but no change is supported, and concerns ignored(Constraint) Customer service staff are stressed as they are not meeting customer expectations. Staff feel their concerns about current service policies are ignored and morale has dropped (Conflict). Absenteeism has increased Customer complaints increasing (Unmet expectations) Customer Service staff leaving (Unmet expectations)
  13. 13. Step 4 Risk Assessment to reset HAS Map Perspective Level Causes of failure Risk Assessment Alternative options Referential Executive support current policies Current policies increase loss of customers and sales Customer service policy themes endorsed by executive: • Service meets customer needs • Consistent service quality standards Governance Managers and supervisors do not question reported problems of Customer Service Policies Lack of dialogue (and records) can cause additional conflict with employees, and not improve customer service. Management and supervisors regularly meet with staff to address staff concerns and improve customer service issues. Transactional Employee stress and morale dropping Absenteeism, drop in confidence, and loss of staff Customer service staff encouraged to meet customer expectations. Customer issues not addressed are reported to management to identify service improvements, and change service standards. Outcomes Customer complaints increasing Loss of customers and perception of services Customer service and expectations monitored and addressed Customer Service staff leaving Employee resource losses Address Customer Service staff concerns and complaints.
  14. 14. Step 5 Revise Human Activity System Map (revisions in red ink) Purpose: Identify Customer Service staff issues. Customer service policy themes endorsed by executive: Referential • Service meets customer needs Level • Consistent service quality standards Governance Level Transactional Level Outcomes Customer service policies and standards implemented Management and supervisors regularly meet with staff to address staff concerns and improve customer service issues. Customer service staff encouraged to meet customer expectations. Customer issues not addressed are reported to management to identify service improvements, and change service standards. Customer service and expectations monitored and addressed Customer Service staff retained
  15. 15. Lessons learned from using a HAS Map • The “whole” problem situation is looked at to develop a sustainable solution, not a local “quick fix” solution that focus only on immediate consequence causes. • Different perspectives that caused unintended consequence outcomes are explored, not limited to a single perspective that can hide potential future problem situations. • Systemic, non linear, cause and effects are identified, not limited to linear systematic causes (e.g. linear “why because” tree). • Failure causes arise from constraints; conflicts; and unmet expectations that need to be identified and addressed.
  16. 16. HAS Map Examples The following HAS Maps example how diverse problem situations can be addressed • Performance Issue: Customer Contact Centre Issues • Health & Safety Issue: Workplace injury • Employee Grievance: Employment entitlement • Employee Grievance: Workplace Harassment complaint • Performance Issue: IT Division Performance issues
  17. 17. References • • • • • • • David Alman Human Activity System (HAS) Mapping http://www.slideshare.net/davidalman/humanactivity-system-has-mapping Rosalind Armson Growing wings on the way: Systems thinking for messy situations (2011). Triarchy Press. John Mitrano (1997) “That’s not fair!: The social construction of organizational (in)justice among professionals”. University of Texas Press. Naiker, Hopcroft, and Moylan. Work domain analysis: Theoretical concepts and methodology http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a449707.pdf Lisa Scheinkopf “Thinking for a change: Putting the TOC Thinking Processes to use.” (1999). St Lucie Press. Tillett and French “Resolving conflict: A practical approach” (2007). Oxford University Press. David Patching Practical Soft Systems Analysis (1990). Pitman Publishing.
  18. 18. About the author David Alman lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and is the business owner of Proventive Solutions, which offers services in Organisational Health. Organisational Health is a broad overview term that refers to assessing and improving performance and well being of both an organisation and its employees, recognising there is a nexus between the two. Further author articles, blogs, and slides, can be found on the Proventive Solutions Google Site. Please refer to https://sites.google.com/site/proventivesolutions/ This powerpoint is part of a body of work on Systems Thinking with a common base around the idea of looking at, and addressing, situations through different “Perspective Levels”. Other articles in this body of work include: Human Activity System (HAS) Mapping at http://www.slideshare.net/davidalman/human-activity-system-has-mapping and http://en.calameo.com/read/0014509349aed27553fc3 Multilevel System Analysis : An introduction to Systems Thinking http://www.slideshare.net/davidalman/multilevel-systemanalysis and http://en.calameo.com/read/001450934d8a5a5d9b090

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