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10- Follow-up is scheduled and aligned with the OD interventions' steps and phases, and related interim reports. Continuous project and change management support included additional OD/HR services such as coaching, communication, team building workshops, and professional soft skills training, as well as assisted interpersonal conflict resolutions as needed.

Data collected during interviews are analyzed using content analysis utilizing rank scores. The most oftencited problems, challenges, and expectations raised by interviewees are summarized and grouped under 10 categories. Descriptive statistical method is used too. Those data are used to fine tune project’s priorities and steps. Accordingly, the methodology comprises quantitative and qualitative elements. Interviews identified trends and insights of the organizational culture, leadership and management stiles, communication issues, and what employees perceive as critical factors for organizational development.

Coding answers, using pattern recognition, and descriptive statistic methods, the most frequent answers are systemized. Figure 1 presents the topics with the highest numbers of total votes.

One of the essential elements of OD projects and critical research study is the perception about team effectiveness. In the corporate world, research shows (Rosen, 2007) that CEOs misperceive their top teams’ performance, thinking that things were going better (33-47%) than the non-CEOs did. This study reveals that perception gap at analyzed university is even significantly bigger. Figure 2 presents the team effectiveness perception gap between what employees think and what management and supervisors think.

GCBF ♦ Vol. 11 ♦ No. 1 ♦ 2016 ♦ ISSN 1941-9589 ONLINE & ISSN 2168-0612 USB Flash Drive 445 Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings ♦ Volume 11 ♦ Number 1 Figure 1: the Most Important Topics from 128 Interviews

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This figure shows the 10 category of topics with the highest numbers of total votes grouped and summarized from 128 structured interviews and followed open-question and deeper confidential discussion about what employees’ perceive as critical factors for organizational development.

Figure 2: Team Effectiveness Perception Gap

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This figure shows the perception gap about team effectiveness at the analyzed university. As the rating scores summarized from all interviews shows, the unit’s management thinks that things were going much better than employees did.

After data were collected and analyzed during the OD projects' preparation, the OD team (members of HR and each unit’s management), developed and presented the initial OD. Figure 3 presents the structural elements of the OD model adapted for implementation in the specific university environment setup.

Data collected through extensive interviews and cooperation with units’ employees, management, and upper-level leadership provided insights and priorities to determine, in the first place, behavioral changes.

The aims were organizational culture changes as enablers for further functional and structural changes.

Those OD goals were projected into planned organizational interventions and change management plan.

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This figure shows the main structural elements of the initial OD model adapted for implementation in the specific university environment setup.

The starting point is the university vision and strategy, projected to specific OD goals and interventions in core (educational) areas and support processes. Results are achieved through the OD interventions, leading and evaluating changes through the assessment-changes-feedback loop.


The OD projects' expected results were based on projected immediate and long-term effects and benefits.

After introducing OD concept, and enabling all employees and management to express their perceptions and expectations, the first and almost immediate result was achieved transparency related to OD projects.

The next and very important result was increased awareness about actual and expected OD effectiveness.

Figure 4 presents those basic and following layers of OD projects’ expected results and effects.

Some of the business, financial and infrastructural services at this university have over 100 million dollars annual business values (contracting, purchasing, financial aids, campus safety, and other shared services).

When in the early stage of the OD project improved efficiency by 1% was documented, it created a strong positive attitude: ”We are one million team.” From there, increased motivation and behavioral acceptance of changes become strong success factors. OD projects were accepted by most employees and managers.

In the process, there were some personal changes too: new talents were discovered and promoted, while some employees, supervisors, and managers faced a last chance to improve their behaviors and skills. In further developing OD model and making its implementation successful, two strategies well used in the corporate world were adapted. First, OD model was built introducing strategy maps and performance measurement. Second, Results-based Management was used as the foundation for the results' logic model.

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This figure shows layers of OD projects’ expected results and effects. The inputs by itself were also important starting results: introduced OD concept, conducted extensive interviews, and presented OD findings and an initial OD interventions plan. This was followed by a very important results: increased awareness about OD needs, expected changes and benefits. The next results’ level was achieving an organizational clarity, which led to improved team work and organizational efficiency. This positively affected both external customers (core educational departments, students) and internal interrelated services. Job satisfaction and productivity increased, supporting strategic goals and strengthening university.

Strategy maps were introduced in 2004 by Kaplan & Norton, as further development of their performance measurement system “Balanced Scorecard” (1992) and its transformation to a strategic management system (“The Strategy-Focused Organization,” 2001). Strategy maps become used as a strategy development tool and greatly helped in describing and communicating the strategy among management teams and employees.

In OD projects analyzed by this study, the strategy map approach was used to describe the logic of the OD strategy, showing the critical objectives for the four main perspectives: people, process, customers, and financial perspective/stakeholders perspective, customized for the university environment. OD projects were realized through a set of action programs (strategic initiatives).

Figure 5 presents the strategy map concept implemented in OD development at a case university, with combined and integrated critical activities, objectives and targets for each of four identified perspectives.

This OD strategy map helped communicating OD strategy and projects, and their critical activities, objectives, and targets. It provides an overview of OD activities that contribute to people’s learning and growth, improve core and support processes at university, what is critical for customers (students, and other organizational units), and what the ultimate OD objectives from stakeholders’ perspective are.

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This figure shows how the strategy map approach provides a single-page view of the logic of the OD strategy and projects. The map is visualizing the critical objectives for the four main perspectives: people, processes, customers, and financial results customized to the university environment.

This model describes how two strategic OD initiatives are realized through a set of action programs, enabling, combining, and integrating critical activities, and their results. This map also helped to plan, assign, and use related resources: people, funding, and time.


The purpose of the study is to help understanding and sharing challenges and practitioners’ experience answering the question: How to make organizational development project in university work? Universities are facing dramatic changes in their environment, affecting their strategic competitive positions and organizational effectiveness. High education is a big business, but proven and efficient business approach to strategic planning and organizational development in a university environment is still rarely used.

University leadership and OD practitioners are asking: Is it possible effectively using adapted corporate

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approaches for strategy-driven organizational development in universities? What are factual and perceived key problems and what are key success factors? What are result's logic, time-frame, and expected benefits?

This critical research study is answering those questions highlighting elements of a successfully adapted model. It presents an overview of the implementation framework for OD focused on clusters of centralized business and financial services at a state-supported mid-size northwest university. Initiating and implementing organizational development projects, and maintaining achieved changes and results in various levels, is a complex undertaking. Figure 6 presents the interrelations among key OD dimensions (structure, process, people), and specialized management practices utilized to achieve strategic-driven organizational changes.

Figure 6: the Complex Nature of OD Projects

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This figure shows OD projects’ complex nature and implementation’s dimensions. OD projects involve strategic management, change, and process management, as well as project management techniques and skills. An integrated approach, based on the proven business practices, is primarily aiming to the human, behavioral side of OD projects. Improving communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution became driving forces in enabling human resources to develop desired OD changes, especially building desired organizational culture. Those “soft” changes are fundamental success factors in developing the “hard” OD dimensions: organizational structure, technical systems, and work processes.

The OD projects initiations came from the university leadership. However, the power that lunched OD projects on the path of success came from the employees: in the first critical step, they expressed their opinions through confidential interviews and comprehensive communication about OD strategic initiatives, goals, and expected effects. The second vital step was sharing unbiased and transparent results, building trusts and increasing awareness about OD needs and priorities. The tipping point in efforts to initiate OD projects was “what-if” question, addressing the negative consequences of not changing critical elements in organizational cultures, structure, and processes, based on the university vision and strategy. Interviews identified topics that employees perceived as critical factors for organizational development. Effective communication was essential in trust building and clarifying organizational needs and goals. After analyzing topics emphasized in 128 interviews, Pareto distribution approach (80/20) was used to identify the list of topics with highest priority. Their improvements should resolve the most important problems and produce valuable and timely effects at various levels (individual, team, organizational units, the entire university). This approach defined the OD strategy and projects’ targets, and it was agreed through the bottom-up process. The next step was focused on OD projects and expected results. The results-based management approach (United Nation Development Program, 2010) provided a tool to map expected results' logic, through the value chain: inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impact. Figure 6 presents the “results house” developed using expected results at various levels, from personal to the organizational unit, and based on the value chain from immediate OD outcomes to the long-term impact.

In conclusion, this study confirmed that universities can successfully adapt and use proven business methods in strategy-driven organizational development. Leadership support, internal change agent with related business, OD, and change management experience, and an effective communication are among the GCBF ♦ Vol. 11 ♦ No. 1 ♦ 2016 ♦ ISSN 1941-9589 ONLINE & ISSN 2168-0612 USB Flash Drive 450 Global Conference on Business and Finance Proceedings ♦ Volume 11 ♦ Number 1 key success factors. The first results are increased awareness about OD needs at personal, team, and organizational unit levels. The next overarching results are steps towards organizational clarity. Those are priorities in OD and planning and implementing organizational interventions. The study’s results are implying needs and benefits for further research, and initiating OD projects at other universities.

Figure 6: Organizational Development Project Results Logic

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Inputs Organizational Development Project – Diagnoses, Organizational Interventions, Change Management This figure shows the value chain, starting from OD project’s inputs and the immediate / short-term outputs at personal, team, and organization unit’s level. Leveraging those outputs, OD projects are providing three main outcomes: increased performance (effective work), stability through productivity, and organizational adaptability for changes and growth. This should, on a mid-term to long-term basis, impact organizational capability at university, enabling effective operations and desired organizational culture at university – increasing competitiveness and growth.


Ashraf, G. (2011). Review on the Models of Organizational Effectiveness: A Look at Cameron’s Model in High Education. International Education Studies, Vol. 5, No.2; April 2012, pp. 80-87.

Cheung-Judge, M., Holbeche, L. (2011). Organization Development – A Practitioner’s Guide for OD and HR. Kogan Page Limited.

Cummings, T., Worley, C., (1997). Organization Development and Change. South-Western Publishing.,

Johns, B., Brazzel, M., Editors (2014). The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change:

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