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Things can only get better?

Things can only get better?

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Things can only get better?

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  1. Things can only get better? Where is organisational change heading and what does it mean for us and for leadership development? Dr Stefan Cantore 22nd March 2016

  2. D.Ream

  3. Conversation • What role does optimism play in your practice? • What role does pessimism play in your practice?

  4. Defining ‘Positive’ in Organisation Studies • ‘Positive’ is a unique lens looking primarily for opportunities and strengths in organisational contexts • ‘Positive’ highlights extraordinary or unexplained positively deviant performance • ‘Positive’ seeks to affirm that which fosters growth in the capacity and capability of individuals and organisations • ‘Positive’ means looking at how organisations can, as human systems, achieve their very highest potential, state of virtuousness and ultimate human satisfaction. (Cameron and Spreitzer 2012, adapted from p.2-3)

  5. Positive Organisational Change ……….. • Is emerging out of a diverse range of historic strands of thought and practice that relate to both individual and organisational change • Uses language to create a positive ‘feel’ that sits in contra-distinction to the language of problem solving and apparently rational scientific approaches. • Often adopts a social constructionist stance by proposing that social realities within an organisation are co-created and re-created by all the participants.

  6. …………… • Explicitly distances itself from positivistic and problem solving approaches adopted by other change methods • Provokes a critical response from academics and people living in cultural contexts in which positivity is viewed with scepticism • Tends to be more future orientated than retrospective • Inherently privileges an optimistic perspective that change will lead to a better life • Lacks clear definitions and agreed frameworks as it continues to develop and change.

  7. Conversation What does being positive mean for you and your colleagues?

  8. Positive Organisational Change-Theories into Practice • Appreciative Inquiry • Dialogic Organisation Development • Positive Organisational Scholarship • Innovation-inspired Positive Organisation Development

  9. Conversation Share any experiences of positive organisational change approaches? Did they work? What critique would you make of them?

  10. Fineman’s Critique Positive approaches………. • Demonstrate partisanship and lack definitional clarity • Fail to make linkages between their key concepts and specific outcomes in organisational contexts • Manifest beliefs that human beings are essentially morally good and that virtue can be found in positive attitudes and behaviour. This creates a normative moral agenda • Hold to the view that all people ultimately wish to self-realise and to express their capacities to the greatest possible extent

  11. ……….. • Falsely separate out certain feelings as positive and leading to good outcomes whilst other feelings are labelled as negative and therefore to be rejected as having any value • Tend to be culturally located particularly within the USA where individualism and self promotion are woven into the culture. This contrasts with societies shaped by Confucianism where emotional restraint and concern for familial and social relationships play a greater role • Promote a social orthodoxy about how people should behave in organisations and as consequence stigmatise those who do not behave or speak in a positive manner (Adapted from Fineman, 2006)

  12. Do Leadership Development efforts…… • Incorporate the theory and practices of positive organisational change? • Encourage understanding of the philosophical assumptions upon which organisational change approaches are based? • Open up people to recognise their beliefs about change? • Stimulate critical thinking? • Equip people and organisations to consciously test change theory and practice for themselves? • Enable individual and collective change? • Promote both/and thinking rather than just either/or?

  13. Bibliography and References • Bushe, G. R., & Marshak, R. J. (2015) Dialogic Organisation Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change. Oakland CA: Berrett-Kohler Publishers. • Cantore, S. & Cooperrider, D. (2013). Positive Psychology and Appreciative Inquiry in Leonard, H. S., Lewis, R., Freedman, A. M., & Passmore, J. Eds. The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of the psychology of leadership, change and organizational development. Chichester:John Wiley & Sons Ltd. • Cameron,K. & Spreitzer,G. eds. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organisational Scholarship. New York: Oxford University Press. • Dienstag, J. F. (2006). Pessimism. Philosophy, Ethic, Spirit. Princeton: Princeton University Press • Fineman, S. (2006). On being positive: Concerns and counterpoints. Academy of Management Review, 31(2), 270-291. • Oswick, C. Grant,D. Michelson, G. Wailes,N, (2005).Looking forwards: discursive directions in organizational change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 18: 4, 383–390. • Oswick, C. (2009). Revisioning or re-versioning? A commentary on diagnostic and dialogic forms of organization development. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 45(3), 369-374. • Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. 55(1),5-14. American Psychological Association.

  14. Thank You