ACTION RESEARCH AND ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
For this assignment, first carefully review the required background materials. Make sure you are highly familiar with the main steps involved in action research and organizational development discussed in the readings. When you are finished reviewing the background materials, take a close look at the scenario in the Case Assignment below.
Action research is the process of inquiry that is used to assist an individual or organization in solving a problem or improving a situation. For each scenario below, think about the reasons why things did not work out well for the company and more specifically, think about action research in terms of developing a plan for action.
Your task for this assignment is to explain what steps the organization should take by reviewing the standard action research and organizational development steps covered in the background materials. Try to assess which key step is missing in the scenario below.
Then write a 4- to 5-page paper using three scholarly sources from the required and optional readings list addressing the following for the scenario below:
The Perils of XYZ Widget Company
Sales have gone down at the XYZ Widget Company and nobody in the organization, including the CEO, seems to know why. They decide to hire you, an organizational development consultant, to do some action research. You and the CEO spend a lot of time discussing how to proceed and create a contract. The contract specifies that you will limit the scope to finding factors that led to the decrease in sales, come up with a plan of action within one month, and answer the following questions using the background data from the scenario below.
XYZ Widget Company has lost 20% of its market share over the past two years resulting in a sales loss of 1.5 million in 2017 and 2 million in 2018 for a total of $3.5 million. Each widget costs the consumer $29.99 to purchase, and the average customer will purchase three widgets annually. Each XYZ widget is produced for $8 dollars and is of higher quality than the competition.
One competitor (Jim’s Widgets) in the widget industry with a similar product has increased market share by 12% due to a lower production cost of $4 per unit and price to the consumer of $9.99.
The CEO of XYZ Widget Company is reluctant to lower prices and has had to eliminate commissions and bonuses of sales employees who exceed goals. In addition, seven of the 21-member sales team were laid off for non-performance of sales goals.
Develop an Action Research Strategy Plan covering the following Action Research Phases in a report to the CEO.
Data gathering and Diagnosis
What are the reasons behind the decrease in sales?
What actions or strategy (data/sales/changes) should be taken to turn sales around and regain market share?
What strategy should be taken to increase employee morale?
How long should this strategy take to complete?
Answer the assignment questions directly.
Stay focused on the precise assignment questions; don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.
Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred. If you use articles from the Internet, make sure they are from credible sources.
Case Assignments are to be prepared in Microsoft Word and should be 4-5 pages in length, in addition to a cover page (course name and number, module number, session name, student name, and date prepared) and reference list (double-spaced, 12 pt. type, Times New Roman font). The paper should include a 2- to 3-sentence introduction, body, and 2- to 3-sentence conclusion in addition to University’s cover page and a reference list page in APA format.
For a good overview of the foundational concepts of organizational development, read the following introductory book chapter. Pay special attention to the seven steps of action research, which will be a major emphasis for the Case Assignment:
Lurey-Griffin-Handbook for Strategic HRLurey, J. & Griffin, M. (2013). Section 2: Chapter 4: Action research: The anchor of OD practice. In Vogelsang, J. (ed). Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network. Saranac Lake, NY, USA: AMACOM Books, pp. 46-52. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection. Note: when looking up a book in the EBSCO book collections do not copy and paste the entire reference into the search engine. Only enter in the title of the book. If you do a search on “Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network.” this book will come up.
Now read up in more detail on action research with the following chapter. This chapter has more detail about the main steps of action research such as entry, contracting, etc. Note the names of the steps are a little different than the previous book chapter such as “action planning” instead of “planning change” or “research” instead of “data gathering and diagnosis”. But it is the same basic step-by-step approach:
Haneberg-Organization Development Basics
Haneberg, L. (2005). Chapter 3: The action research approach to change. Organization Development Basics. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training & Development. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection]
Finally, review this more detailed chapter. Pay special attention to the section on action research as applied to organizational development which starts on page 20:
McLean, G. N. (2006). Chapter 1: What is organization development? Organization Development: Principles, Processes, Performance. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. [EBSCO eBook Business Collection.’
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