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DuPont Case Study

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The root problem/key issues facing DuPont are closing of the Orlon Plant without creating a change management rubric that would frame the changes being made. Management did not meet with the employees to obtain feedback as to how the changes would affect them and causing management to miss the language and culture already established by its workers.

Case Questions

1. To what extent are the following approaches to change embedded in the DuPont story (justify your answer, provide specific examples): a. OD b. Appreciative inquiry c. Sense-making a. OD – Organizational Development speaks to the focus of the interpreter or coach change manager in this case. The coach as change manager concentrates more on the capabilities of the individuals in the organization, than on the specific processes (Palmer, I., Dunford, R., Akin, G. 2009). Tom displayed coach change manager characteristics when he sought out the academic community to assist in introducing DuPont’s managers to new ideas and rebuild its work culture. This revealed Tom’s commitment to a systematic diagnosis, of the whole organizational system and puts the focus on humanistic, democratic, and developmental aspirations (Palmer, pg 209). b. Appreciative inquiry – a method of problem solving that was pioneered by David Cooperrider in the mid 1980’s speaks to reviewing what is going well within in an organization and builds upon them.

This approach recognizes and values the current contributions as well as explores and discovers new possibilities within the current corporate culture.( http://www.mindtools.com). An example of this is when managers discovered that workers were using a NASCAR metaphor as the created culture and language that they worked by. This discovery helped mangers realize that there was a set of norms and teamwork that already existed that they were not able to see before. This gave a management a language in which to introduce change for improvement (palmer et al., pg 211). c. Sense-making draws from the interpreter image of the change manger.

It requires us to look for explanations and answers in terms of how people see things rather than structures or Sensemaking suggests that organizational issues – ‘strategies’, ‘breakdowns’, ‘change’, ‘goals’, ‘plans’, ‘tasks’, ‘teams’, and so on are not things that one can find out in the world or that exist in the organization. Rather, their source is people’s way of thinking (W Weick, K. E. (1995).. Sense-making is an ongoing process affecting activities with frame of an organization (palmer l., pg 211). DuPont now equipped with the language for introducing change give managers and first-line managers a new understanding to interpret change and capitalize on the strengths, to expand and develop existing good practices and to make problems with in the organization less of a problem even if unsolved (pg. 212).

2. In your opinion, how compatible are these three approaches? Why? What evidence is there in the DuPont story for your answer? As a change manager, to what extent could you utilize insights from each approach? In my opinion, the three approaches are compatible to a certain degree. There a similarities in each of the three approaches have a common goal to focus on joint envisioning of the future. Each approach acknowledges what is working well and building for there. To was not looking for solutions to specific problems within the organization but he was looking improve upon what was already there within the frame of the organization. The bulletin to employees emphasized “Gib Akin is here “to help us appreciate and develop what goes right, assisting us in building on our strengths, to make the plant better for everybody” (palmer pg. 211). This is the underline theme of each approach.

3. Imagine you are an OD practitioner brought into DuPont at the time of the Orlon manufacturing operation closure. Describe the steps you would take to help manage this change based upon action research. One of the first steps I would have taken as the plant was closing was to develop a change management rubric and meet with the managers to create a collaborative dialogue. I would also meeting with employees to explain why the plant was closing and what effect this would have.

That meeting would also gather feedback from employees to understand the work culture and how the employees work. As a Organization Development Practitioner I would take that information obtained to create a change management strategy that included a language that would create buy-in from the employees, assist in transitioning to new techniques and behaviors. This would involve a three stage process change by unfreezing, changing and refreezing (pg 195). Basically, removing the controls of how the company operates to identify the need for change, restructure areas/departments that have been identified and applying new process, culture, and language within corporate operations.

Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Akin, G., (2009). Managing Organizational Change (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Source: Example from W Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. P. 61-62.

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