Instructor: Troy Stang
December 6, 2012
In this paper I will examine thoughts by OD theorists regarding the effects of cultural differences on the applicability and of certain types of OD interventions in multinational environments.
The mission of most Organizational Development practitioners is to assist organizations in the process of transformation chiefly made necessary by internal and external pressures such as impending financial trauma, drop-off in demand for products and services, and global competition. Organizations, like people, have blind spots: they don’t know what they don’t know. OD practitioners show leaders of organizations what they don’t know and what they can do to eliminate blind spots. Gary Brown points out in “An Experiential Approach to Organization Development” that “Some executives like to latch on to almost any new concept that promises a quick fix for their problems: •Having trouble developing new products? Try employee empowerment…; •Having a tough time competing against foreign competition? Try TQM…; •Having trouble building teamwork…Try outdoor experiential training…; •Having trouble linking a firm’s daily operations to its vision? Try open-book management…” (Brown, 2011)
OD interventions are generally not meant to be turnkey operations. Effective OD interventions assist organizations in their efforts to learn how to change over the long term. Think of the old parable: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. Effective OD interventions are about teaching organizations how to fish.
With regard to the application of OD principles internationally, I refer to a 1984 article by Alfred M. Jaeger of McGill University. In it, Jaeger refers...