WEEK 9 BLOG: OD approach to change in DuPont Case Study

The organizational change is an empirical observation in an organizational entity of variations in shape, quality or state over time (Robbins, 2001), after the deliberate introduction of new ways of thinking, acting and operating (Roeber, 2000). The general aim of organizational change is an adaptation to the environment (Palmer et al, 2008) or an improvement in performance (Tushman and Romanelli, 2005) and the multi-national firm, DuPont is no exception. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel (DuPont Online, 2009). It is noted that organizational development (OD) approach to change is effectively illustrated within the DuPont case study.

It is noted that organization development (OD) is a long-term planned change effort, involves a consultant, is a system-wide effort and utilizes a repeated process of data collection, diagnosis, action planning, intervention and evaluation (Oxman and Smith, 2003). The similar trend is observed in DuPont where organizational changes are seen as doing the regular business of the enterprise. Similarly, the changes at DuPont are long-term and system-wide with an attempt in improving overall organization effectiveness instead of looking for solutions to specific problems (Palmer et al, 2008). In addition, similar to the organizational development (OD) approach, the change management is not rubric used to either accomplish or explain what was going on when the firm decided to shut down its Orlon manufacturing operations and shifted the plant to China. Similarly, slower, incremental change often associated with a traditional OD (Robbins, 2001) is also seen in DuPont which believes in developing people and continually improve.

Tushman and Romanelli (2005) explains that in the organizational development (OD) approach, the changes are brought into the system not because of the need to address any particular problem but as a result of a firm’s desire to continuously improve. The similar trend in observed in DuPont which do have any planned change initiatives but it system-wide efforts to continuously improve. Similarly, it is noted that instead of contemporary change management model, DuPont is using local, widely used, everyday, and common sense model of work performance. This has helped DuPont to achieve gradual improvements (Tichy, 1999). In addition, the changes are implemented at DuPont as experiments which are tried and watched closely (palmer et al, 2008). The management believes that after a designated time, if the change is not working as hoped, then they stops the change implementation which is very similar to the organizational development (OD) approach (Oxman and Smith, 2003).

The discussions above clearly lead to the conclusions that organizational development (OD) approach to change is effectively illustrated within the DuPont case study. This is primarily due to the fact that DuPont treats change as continuous improvements without any change management interventions. Furthermore, it can be concluded that the changes at DuPont has elements of OD interventions where the changes at DuPont are long-term and system-wide with an attempt in improving overall organization effectiveness instead of looking for solutions to specific problems. However, it can be concluded that this approach seems to be working with DuPont however more contemporary change management approaches may be more appropriate in order to stay competitive in the globalized and highly competitive industry.

Reference List

DuPont Online 2009, ‘learn about DuPont’, accessed on 10th September, 2009, http://www2.dupont.com/Our_Company/en_US/.

Palmer, I, Dunford, R & Akin, G 2008, Managing organizational change: a multiple perspectives approach, 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill Irwin, New York.

Oxman, JA and Smith, BD 2003, “The limits of structural change”, Sloan Management Review, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 77-82.

Robbins, S. P. 2001, Organizational Behavior, 9th edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Roeber, RJC 2000, The Organisation in a Changing Environment, Addison-Wesley, MA.

Tichy, NM 1999, “The Growth Imperative” Leader to Leader, vol. 14, pp. 24-29.

Tushman, M.L. and Romanelli, E. 2005, “Organizational evolution: a metamorphosis model of convergence and reorientation”, Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 7, no. 2, pp.171-222.

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