Approaches to Collaborative Organizational Changes

The example case of the college running indicates the complex situations that can emerge when a single leader attempts to decide an organization’s future all by themselves. The suggestions coming from students and employees constantly suppose that significant organizational changes are needed in the institution. However, the college includes numerous people, opinions of whom are equally important. In this case, it would be preferable to use Open Space Technology.

The first reason for using the method is the number of people that should participate in the conference. It is essential to encourage as many students and employees as possible so that the conference would be genuinely holistic. Open Space Technology supposes that a vast amount of people could attend a conference, about a thousand (Norum, 2005). In contrast, the Future Search approach is valid only when small groups are involved in its maintenance (Nixon, 1998).

The difference between the two is essential due to organizational matters. The first technology operates with large people number, it is self-managed. It is probably impossible to use the accurate selection and separation of groups of the second approach on a large scale. Thus, the Open Space methods seem to be proper for handling the large audiences better.

Moreover, the Open Space plan of a meeting encourages all the workers to feel valuable in the discussion process. According to Nixon (1998), the conference of this type is conducted via the voluntary efforts of its participants. Also, people sit in a circle during a meeting, and there are no dominant positions. It is valuable for the case since students would not feel suppressed by the other employees. Such conditions can encourage students to express their opinions freely and know that they would be further accounted for. Therefore, the Open Space proposes a healthy atmosphere to its participant, which is significant for the case of the college.

The issue of the video game company of the second scenario is essential for understanding another situation type that can often be met in the workplace. Precisely, confrontations between the employees of different views should be approached by organizational change meetings. In this example, only one variant of the group interaction would be helpful. Namely, Future Search is proper for a company where workers are divided into two or more camps of contrasting ideas.

Open Space Technology would not work for the case of the company for an important reason. The design of the meetings of such kind supposes that employees manage them. Several people take the initiative to discuss their opinions about the future of an organization. They perform their own sessions; these sessions are attended only by those who decided to visit them (Nixon, 1998). It is helpful for particular situations; yet, the confronting workers might choose to visit only the sessions that are performed by the stakeholders of their views. In turn, they would ignore the ideas of another group of the company. As a result, no dialogue between the factions would be conducted, and everyone would keep their initial position.

In contrast, the Future Search approach proposes the ability to achieve a compromise between the two groups of workers. Meetings are administered in advance by people who are not a part of a conflict. They may choose persons belonging to different position camps and unite them in small groups for conversation (Norum, 2005). If this is done, the workers would undoubtedly listen to the adherents of opposing views. Furthermore, they would try to achieve a compromise between their ideas. Therefore, the results of conferences organized in this manner would be more plentiful and beneficial for resolving the existing conflict.

The scenario that includes the insurance company demonstrates the issues that can emerge when a firm cannot provide a holistic approach for considering the impact of all of the employees. In this case, the workers of accounting and information feel underrepresented. Apparently, a solution to the problem should involve the use of group organizational change methods. For the sake of better results, the Future Search Technology should be used by the CEO of this company.

The method of Future Search Technology is beneficial because of the predetermined order of its meetings. The CEO or administrators of a conference can deliver the lists of employees in one group of the meeting in advance. In such a way, they can select certain worker groups and unite them (Leith, 1996). This progressive organization may help the administrators to put the workers of particular departments in separate units. Then, the sales employees who are too active in the propositions and silence others should be excluded from groups of other department workers. As a result, the underrepresented employees would be given a chance to deliver their own suggestions for the firm in their reports.

The other important factor that determines the benefits of Future Search Technology is its perfectly structured system of employees’ cooperation. One of the core conditions for a conference of such kind pronounces: “Meet under healthy conditions” (Nixon, 1998, p. 327). This circumstance is vital for workers that already feel unfavorable in their workplace. Even if the sales department employees would be placed within the same conference groups as accounting and information offices, they should receive instructions about proper behavior during meetings. Therefore, the atmosphere of respective discussion would be created to facilitate all the workers for providing their input.

The Open Space approach application in the fourth scenario is entirely erroneous. The most obvious indicator of the ineffectiveness of the method is the delay in changes’ implementations. The change is forced on the employees of the firms, which is, according to Leith (1996), a sign of structural weakness of the organization. The workers do not truly participate in the decision-making process, and those who try to bring changes are ignored. The CEO has an unhealthy influence on the employees, ultimately depriving them of conveying their vision for their future. This approach results in dissatisfaction and revolt towards changes (Leith, 1996). In brief, the dominance of the CEO’s opinion hinders the process of positive changes in the company.

Moreover, the core principles of the Open Space methods are disregarded in this case. One of such no-advance propositions rule which supposes that workers should arrive without detailed plans for what they are to propagate on meetings (Owen, 2008). Instead, the CEO predetermined the program; such an action makes the whole conference futile. The Open Space Technology includes no sophisticated planning, just the space for conversation between the employees (Owen, 2008). Yet, in this case, the requirements and expectations of the CEO ruin the atmosphere of free sharing of ideas. Thus, the CEO’s organizational attempts destroy the workers’ ability to perceive the importance and meaning of future changes.


Leith, M. (1996). Organizational change and large group interventions. Career Development International, 1(4), 19–23. Web.

Nixon, B. (1998). Creating the futures we desire ‐ getting the whole system into the room: Part I. Industrial and Commercial Training, 30(1), 4–11. Web.

Norum, K. E. (2005). Chapter 15: Future Search conversation. In Dialogue as a Means of Collective Communication (pp. 323-333). Springer Science & Business Media B.V.

Owen, H. (2008). Open Space Technology: A user’s guide (3rd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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