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Work is a distinctively human activity although other animals carry out a great number of work-like activities. The direct links between instincts and actions appear as they are in order to be broken by man. While animals other than man are generally limited to living in the world as they find it, man is capable of altering the features of his environment so that life will be more secure, more satisfying, or more pleasurable (Neff, 1968). The entire aggregate of human culture, for better or for worse, is a product of the work. Without work, it is difficult to say how we would have become human (Neff, 1968, p. 259). The range of things humans of various ages can do is indeed extensive. However, the things that one individual will actually do in time and space he or she occupies throughout his or her life are considered limited.
Development of Work Pattern
Patterns of choices, concerning how one spends his or her time and energy are the result of conscious thoughts and intentions and the plans he or she possesses. The definition of a ‘worker’ and the demands of work change as a person moves through the developmental stages. However, the significance of work as a basic dimension of being human is unchanged. In order to participate fully in his or her own humanness, an individual must be able to work. People must be able to plan fully based on their environment so that their life will be more secure, satisfying, and pleasurable from their own point of view. Studies suggest that counselors will be called upon to assist persons with the dimension of their existence. They will help them when they pass from one developmental stage to another as the definitions and demands of their work change. Counselors will be available for these people when they experience deficits within themselves, which prevent them from having a significant impact on their environments; and/or when they encounter unyielding environments, which block their efforts to live a sheltered, gratifying, and delightful life (Katz, & Kahn, 2003, p. 39).
Many counselors work in institutions, which assist individuals of various ages as their major reason for existing in becoming more fully functioning workers in schools, colleges, and economic opportunity centers where they offer employment services and vocational rehabilitation services. A counselor in training can rightfully regard work as the most important content area of counseling (Gilmore, 1978).
In the case study of a Health Company whereby the researcher is expected to present a work plan for the organizational diagnostics on employee benefits, the researcher shall apply various methodologies as a project leader and part of the Second Chance Consultants Team. These methodologies shall include both qualitative and quantitative measures. Under qualitative measures, there will be use of focus groups, interviews, case studies, and content analyses. Under quantitative measures, of particular importance to the team and this specific task will be the use of HLM, which is relevant because this particular topic is one whereby organizational levels affect the respective individuals.
However, before getting into the finer details of what shall specifically be entailed by the aforementioned methodologies, it is prudent to begin by introducing the work plan. In any type of organizational diagnostics, there are three main stages, namely the entry stage, the data collection stage, and finally the feedback stage (Alderfer, 1968, p. 337). Whereas these stages are very distinct and clearly apparent to the external observer, they are also recursive, which means they are not mutually exclusive and that they are relational. Consequently, at the entry level, there will be some data entry analysis conducted, and feedback given. At the data collection level, there will also be some data entry accompanied by feedback. However, in the feedback stage, there will be entry and data collection going.
The second chance counseling team is well aware that its predecessors made a mess while attempting to diagnose the issues of employment benefits at the Health Co. Therefore, the team knows this as one of the resistances that it needs to overcome. A key indicator of the likelihood of provision of excellent service as a counseling consultant is the cooperation of the client. It makes sense that the second chance counseling team should woo employees and management at Health Co. into a state of mutual trust. Consequently, the measures that will be taken to achieve this sense of trust are discussed in the next section of this work plan.
Measures to overcome Potential Resistance
The first question in the clients’ mind is the competence of the team that is before them. As a result, the first measure to be taken up by the team concerning boosting Health Co. members and stakeholders’ trust will take the form of orientation.
At the appropriate moment, the team will formally introduce itself to the employees and leaders of Health Co. As the project leader, this orientation will be one of the critical steps towards establishing a healthy working environment. At the orientation, it will be important to educate the client on the field of organizational or industrial psychology, which constitutes the area of specialization for the consulting team. That strategy will include a definition of the term I – O psychology, which, as per Guion (1975), denotes “the scientific study of the relationship between man and the world of work in the process of making a living” (At page 118). Alternatively, Blum and Naylor (1968) define it as “simply the application or extension of psychological facts and principles to the problems concerning human beings operating in the context of the business industry” (p. 4). Having given this brief introduction to explain the scope of our field, the next step would be to give the members and leaders the team’s credentials.
Consequently, during team set up, I would ensure that I incorporate all the various competencies achievable in the field of I-O psychology and available at the disposal of the firm (Katz, & Kahn, 2003, p. 98). This would go a long way in instilling positive confidence among the clients. Finally, in an effort to learn from the mistakes of the predecessor psychologists, I would immediately begin the building of symbiotic relationships that are characteristic of the systems’ approach, which is full of integrated processes and relationships. Organizational behavioral theory indicates that more success is likely to be achieved by any organization if those in charge of policy formulation involve all the tenets of employees and other staff to attract, motivate, and retain employees. This strategy simply translates into the fact that the more the employees and the staff are involved in the diagnosis of the employee benefits, the more the resultant diagnosis will be readily acceptable to those in the various positions within Health Co. upon whom the policy will be applicable.
It is important to note that the systems approach will be applicable in these diagnostics. The systems approach refers to an integrated system that has its basis on a myriad of techniques including those of Gregory Bateson, Margaret Mead, Kenneth Boulding, and Ludwig Berlanffy among other like-minded experts in the field (Katz, & Kahn, 2003, p. 14). The systems theory pin points individuals, groups, or organizations as the homeostasis. For this reason, it is favored as one of the most recommended approaches in dealing with organizational issues of motivation, compensation, behavioral patterns, and cognitive patterns among others. It works in a similar manner to the three steps of organizational diagnostics. In fact, it is possible that it is indeed the genesis of the organizational diagnostics formula. The first step in the systems approach involves the examination of the various expectations, needs, desires, and characters of all those that are involved. Consequently, at all times, it is important for the second chance counseling team to bear in mind the respective expectations and goals of the client, which are inclusive of the Health Co. stakeholders.
The systems approach is helpful to the individual, organization, or group involved in gaining a level of self-awareness that subsequently becomes part of the remedy or treatment to the issues being addressed in the first place (APA, 2009). This goal is accomplished by educating the individual, group, or organization on the respective members’ roles and contributions towards the functioning of the entire entity in the optimum condition. Such education is empowering since it enlightens those involved into a sense of appreciation for the respective members’ contribution. This means a markedly lower number of conflicts that will be reported within the group as the various group members seek to cooperate to ease each other’s burdens.
How the technique operates is by the identification of the respective members’ specific behavioral patterns and their specific reactions to these behavioral patterns. In short, if looked at from the perspective of an office vignette in which Jack and Jill are rival sales representative, a systems approach would have Jack looking into Jill’s behavioral patterns and taking the time to notice his reactions to the same while Jill does the same on his behavioral patterns and his reactions to the same. This breeds a sense of self-awareness that does away with the default conflict source that is a scapegoat in a conflict scenario to shoo the blame off the actual perpetrator and in the process ending up in the wastage of a lot of time and resources while settling differences.
Subsequently, Jack and Jill now know each other’s behavioral patterns and their respective reactions to the same. Next, upon the dawning of this comprehension, it is possible to initiate a reform that will allow them to conform to their respective behavioral patterns into more friendly and productive patterns. This mean that they will change their behaviors to accommodate each other better as they have achieved a better understanding as to why each of them acts the way he or she does. The result of this process is manifested in the improvement of employee interrelations as the respective members of staff develop more positive, trustful, and thus more secure relationships among each other,. This situation in turn improves their general wellbeing, which is reflected in the overall organizational performance in the form of a low turnover ratio, increased productivity, and evidence of self-drive among the employees (APA, 2009). The systems approach has been peer reviewed. As a result, it remains approved or recommended as the ideal solution to group dynamics. This case provides a working justification for choosing the systems approach in the diagnostics of the Health Company’s situation. Therefore, the next segment of this work plan outlines the three respective aforementioned stages of organizational diagnostics:
Entry refers to the first point of meeting of the client and the consultant. It is the determinant of whether the consultant stands a chance to proceed with the diagnosis. Therefore, the consultant needs to make a lasting impression (Levinson, 1972, p. 201). It is also the point at which the consultant first encounters the subject of his or her review. This interaction will take the form of information obtained through observations, documentation, and conversations. At this point, there will be feedback as the client addresses and/or portrays to the consultant concerning his or her expectations. The information spoken above will be gathered. At the same time, data collection will also be taking place at this level.
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The facts gathered at the point of entry is critical during the progress of the diagnosis as it forms the hypothesis of the statistics gathered later during the information assembly and opinion stages. An important decision that will be arrived at in the entry stage will be the specific units of the organization that will be the primary target of the consultant’s attention. Here, the second chance consultant and the Health Co. CEO will have drafted the scope of the diagnosis. However, upon encountering the entire group of employers and employees who are inclusive of the management, the consultants will determine according to their expertise the working sample. Finally, at the close of the entry stage, the consultant and the client may formally acknowledge the terms of an existing working contract. Alternatively, they may simply indicate that they are moving on to the next phase of the diagnosis. However, as the project leader of SCC, I will push for written contracts to indicate the team’s exact terms of reference. By so doing, I will cover our backs concerning unrealistic client expectations.
The goal of the data-gathering phase of the diagnosis is simply to assemble facts on the customer’s structure for later release to the consumer at the opinion period. Whereas this sounds simple enough, the data collection stage is the most complex of the diagnosis process. At this point, the consultant has to come up with a feasible data mining methodology that will collect relevant information accurately, comprehensibly, and in a customized manner that is appropriate to the nature of the organization in question. In this case, with reference to the Health Co. as stated in the introductory segment of this work plan, the SCC team plans on utilizing a mixed research methodology that inculcates both qualitative and quantitative measures (Bowers, & Franklin, 1972, p. 47). The rewards of applying a mixed approach are innumerable. However, the most obvious or most apparent is the mitigation of the respective (qualitative versus quantitative) methods, shortcomings, or rather the cancelling out of these limitations. As such, the quantitative measure proposed by the SCC team is the HLM, which is especially useful when examining the effects of organizational systems on individuals or groups within the organization. The qualitative approaches to be used in this diagnosis include the use of interviews, focus groups, context analyses and questionnaires. The various pros and cons are outlined below:
The researcher used the interview and questionnaire methods of facts gathering.
According to (Alderfer, & Brown, 1972, p. 452), “Face-to-face interviews have a distinct quality of enabling the researcher to develop rapport with potential participants and therefore gain their co-operation besides allowing the researcher to clarify ambiguous answers and where appropriate, seek follow up information”. In this research on the effect of mother tongue, the interview sessions, which included organizational managers as a set of focus groups, proved to be far more enlightening than the questionnaires that were fixed and that required the respondent to remain within the bounds of the questions asked. Advantages of questionnaires include the fact that information can be collected from a large sampling block in diverse regions. In addition, questionnaires uphold confidentiality besides minimizing interview bias. However, they have several disadvantages that include the issue that the response rates can be very low. Moreover, there is lack of contact, which eliminates chances of clarifying misunderstandings. Worse still, there are no clear reasons that can be given for incomplete responses. The main issue that this research experienced in the process of administering questionnaires in a survey that was meant to unravel the mystery behind employee turnover was the lack of details (Alderfer, & Brown, 1972, p. 452). The respondents answered the questions that were put to them vaguely at best or with minimal explanations. As a result, this was dangerous for the accuracy of the results as they could easily be misinterpreted.
Gilmore suggests that every counselor needs a substantive framework, which will allow him or her to answer two questions. For instance, the interviewer may demand answers for the following set of interview
- In what ways or what are the various reasons that make what is being talked about important to discuss?
- Are there other things, which also should be discussed?
This framework is used for organizing and evaluating counseling content and must be sufficiently flexible to allow the counselor to determine its unique configuration. The counselors need a flexible framework, which is substantive to anchor and/or support the bits and pieces that give a person’s life beauty and meaning and sufficiently malleable (alterable) to accommodate the unique shapes and themes of people’s individually patterned lives. The counseling process can therefore be structured into several sections. Section 1 will involve organizing the content of counseling. Every counselor has some internal scheme for processing and interpreting the contents of his or her interactions with clients, which he or she has developed during the course of living his or her own life (Gilmore, 1973). Susan Gilmore emphasized the need to examine one’s own interpretive schemata, which brings on board the idea of being systematic about the way one thinks about the content of a counseling interaction, which needs not to result in one being coldly analytical, impersonally objective, authoritarian, or rigid.
However, not being systematic in ones thinking, planning, and self-evaluation puts him or her and the client at the mercy of good faith and good fortune. By virtue of holding a professional role, a requirement is presumed on the counselor that he or she has examined and developed ways of thinking about human behavior. This will allow him or her to process and interpret the specific content of a particular counseling interaction in a manner that yields a clear and complete understanding of the individual with whom he or she is interacting. An example of a classification scheme that would help to organize the content of counseling includes the two questions, which are; in what way is this content important to discuss? What else is important to discuss? On the other hand, the second section examines the purpose of counseling in details together with presenting the general purpose of counseling, which is being defined as helping people of all ages and in a variety of settings to cope constructively with the business of being human. The three dimensions of human existence with which counselors can be of particular assistance are work, relationship, aloneness, developmental stages, developmental tasks, and coping mechanisms (Sullivan, 1954). All of them must be brought into focus.
Feedback is the final stage of the diagnosis process. It involves breaking down the results of the diagnosis to the client after what has been observed is finally analyzed. Several tools are used while following through the work plan. The first tool will be communication. Through the implementation of specifically outfitted dialogue, the consultant will get the client to divulge personal information that resonates with colleagues. This strategy enhances their understanding of each other’s dispositions as well as behavioral patterns. In the end, the relationships between the respective parties end up in a better state. This meets the overall objective of the consultants and that of clients that contracted their services: to improve the overall performance, job satisfaction, job safety, health, and wellbeing of the employees.
Alderfer, C. (1968). Comparison of questionnaire responses with and without preceding interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 52(1), 335-340.
Alderfer, P., & Brown, L. (1972). Designing an Empathic Questionnaire for Organizational Research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 56(2), 456-460.
APA. (2009). A systems approach to enhancing care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Bowers, D., & Franklin, J. (1972). Survey-guided development: Using human resources measurement in organizational change. Journal of Contemporary Business, 1(1), 4 -55.
Katz, D., & Kahn, R. (2003). The Social Psychology of Organizations. New York, NY: Word Press.
Levinson, H. (1972). Organizational diagnosis. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Sullivan, H. (1954). The psychiatric interview. Norton, 1(1), 34.