Organization Change and Social Organizing Strategies: Employee-Initiated Organization Development

Rod Patrick Githens
  • Human Resource Development Quarterly, December 2012, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq.21148

What is it about?

Organization development and change doesn’t always start with formal organizational leaders. As part of a larger study, I looked at how organizational members can seek change by working together to bring policy changes in their organization. In the case study, I examined a nearly 20-year effort by employees in the University of Illinois System to attain domestic partner benefits. Throughout the effort, the group of employees used different “social organizing strategies.” In other words, they brought people together using different organization methods differing goals, and differing motivations. I looked at (a) how they organized, (b) how they sought different goals, and (c) how they utilized different motivations in making a case for their proposals to decision makers. The group was forced to navigate differing structures, goals, and motivations. The process was tumultuous among the group. People differed greatly on what was best. But, in the end, the result was that a flexible approach produced a generally successful effort.

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