The OD Process - Part 1

Overidentification is a common problem in organizations. Overidentification is responsible for low productivity, territorial protectionism, resistance to change, and organizational ineffectiveness. Overidentification is just one of many possible organizational problems. The following story explains the problem.

FTZ Textiles Inc. (not its real name), is a manufacturing company specializing in children's clothing. The company has five divisions, which include:

a) Manufacturing,

b) Sales,

c) Marketing,

d) Finance, and

e) Administration.

Manufacturing is the largest division at FTZ Textiles Inc. It believes its contribution through production activities keeps the company moving. Without the division's output, the company's operations would grind to a halt. The Sales division has its own set of beliefs. After all, is it not the sales division that generates the revenue for FTZ Textiles Inc.? The division believes the revenue would plummet if it were not for its efforts. The marketing division disagrees and leaves the matter at that.

The Finance division is responsible for the overall fiscal policies of the company. Under the division are the financial management, accounting, and credit control departments. The division prides itself in its prudent financial planning and management. Without the division, FTZ would be plagued with financial mismanagement and end up in winding up its operations.

On its part, the Administration division views itself as the captain that keeps the ship afloat. Its corporate planning department is responsible for the overall corporate strategy and business growth direction. The division is responsible for coordinating the FTZ Textiles Inc.'s strategy implementation through flexible planning, execution, and evaluation processes. Under its wings are the information, communication, and technology (ICT) departments. ICT's intellectual capital reinforces the division's belief that it is the one that breathes life into FTZ. It is the integrative force that holds FTZ together. Without the division, all would fall apart.

Unfortunately, the company has been experiencing operational problems of late, which has led to a steady loss of market share. Plans are underway to hire a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In the meantime, the five divisions appear to be working at cross-purposes with different personality ego-states playing out across the divisions. The incoming CEO will have to do something – and fast - to put the company back on the right track.

Fast forward: Janet, the new CEO, has been on the job for the last two months and is moving cautiously. You are an organization development (OD) expert, and Janet needs your help as an external consultant. Where do you begin, and how do you move forward? What is your role as an OD practitioner?

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