This essay sample essay on Parallel Learning Structures offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.
Merrell, Monk, and Pace, the organizational development consultant team of UOP, offers professional services in the area of organizational development intervention strategies. As a team, we assist organizations in their change initiatives through the introduction of an innovative process. Many factors drive the need for change within an organization, such as maintaining a competitive edge by meeting the needs of the changing market or rebounding from a downward trend in productivity.
Merrell, Monk, and Pace UOP are able to meet these needs through a pooled knowledge base which encompasses effective strategies that combine the power of human resource creativity and expertise with operational processes.
Teetering on the brink of seizure or privatization, the superintendent of said school district has procured the organizational development consultant group of Merrell, Monk, and Pace UOP to recommend and implement a strategy that will revolutionize the schools within the timeframe of a year.
Currently, all the schools in the district, with the exception of one, has for two consecutive years received failing marks in meeting the requirements of the “No Child Left Behind” federal initiative. Immediate action is needed to address and remedy the known issues of student academic failure, non-parental involvement, oversized classrooms, extra-curricular work overload on the teaching staff, support staff demoralization et cetera in order to create an environment focused on student achievement.
Having assessed the school districts current dilemma, Merrell, Monk, and Pace, propose the intervention strategy of parallel learning structures. “Parallel structures help people break free of the normal constraints imposed by the organization, engage in genuine inquiry and experimentation, and initiate needed changes (http://www.humtech.com/opm/grtl/ols/ols6.cfm)”. Parallel learning groups are comprised of individuals with various backgrounds or expertise that operate via minimal to no supervision within an existing hierarchical structure.
These groups do not follow the traditional bureaucratic design of change management within the existing organization but instead are designed to operate parallel to the existing structure or organizational design. It is expected that all participants openly contribute, without fear or organizational retaliation, to identify issues and implement change. Case study evidence on the success of this strategy has been said to include” improved productivity and decision making; employee satisfaction; and organizational effectiveness (http://www.humtech.com/opm/grtl/ols/ols6.cfm)
Our participants are made up of the support staff (custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc), teachers, parents, and school administration (principals, vice-principals, guidance counselors, and deans) and student leaders from the targeted school district. Our approach will allow for each and every member of each group to be equally represented. According to Zand (1974) such units are considered to be pilot groups or experimental units. For our purposes all such units can be thought of as “parallel systems” similar to a Research and Development group in a large corporation (Zand, 1974).
Since this is a vast endeavor covering the entire school district, each level of school officials, affiliates, associates and student representatives will be included in the implementation of the intervention’s first phase of gathering information on the schools districts successes, failures, concerns and issues. The number of participants is undetermined because it is important that each person in the school district have an opportunity to be represented. Secondly, a selected group of representatives from each subgroup will work with Monk, Merrell and Pace UOP to devise a strategy by which to develop a parallel system that can be free to create, be innovative and rely on their expertise and proven research in order to recommend changes in the school districts systems and functioning. Furthermore, our endeavor will seek to utilize a group of the best teachers (as recommended by the administration) to form a quality circle of lead teachers that will serve as the core of our proposed parallel system that will represent teachers.
Support staff will be selected by an equally empowered entity or method (i.e. Union representatives, professional associations et cetera). The support staff will address their issues in a similar but separate forum with each person having an opportunity to voice their concerns and share their insights. Likewise, the parent group will be comprised of parents from the school district. Participants for the parent group are expected to be from the Parent Teachers Association and other similar community organizations. Our group thought it was also imperative to include student representatives in this project and have therefore allocated a forum by which students can share their insights and offer information regarding their schooling experiences. To support the validity of our approach and intervention each person will have a voice in identifying the problems and concerns that the parallel system’s quality circle leads will address.
How the Project Will Begin
As with any intervention our group has approached the problem facing the school district by first researching and reviewing existing organizational development interventions, literature and research. More specifically, our group examined different interventions that could apply to the needs of our targeted school district. Based on research cited in this paper, parallel learning structures would decrease resistance to change through developing a parallel system and fostering an environment of creativity and innovation in an existing organization that is collectively failing according to certain prescribed standards in the “No Child Left Behind” initiative. Parallel structures help people break free of the normal constraints imposed by the organization, engage in genuine enquiry and experimentation, and initiate needed changes (French and Bell, 1999).
They provide a mechanism to facilitate innovation in large bureaucratic organizations where the forces of inertia, hierarchical communication patterns, and standard ways of addressing problems inhibit learning, innovation and change (Bushe and Shani, 1991). Therefore it is paramount that Merrell, Monk and Pace approach this endeavor in a scientific manner. Generally speaking our group will first gather the appropriate information; analyze the data; publish our findings; select our group participants to help address the issues and concerns; make recommendations for change in the school district; and then allow the parallel systems to implement those recommendations within the context of their respective organization’s hierarchy.
To monitor the progress and effectiveness of the initiative the project will utilize a pre-test and post-test format with regularly scheduled evaluations throughout the school year. Our method will first select and identify participants for our parallel systems called “leads” (synonymous with group leaders) who are individuals or groups from the representative organizational sub-groups. As consultants, we deem it necessary to also include administration in these change procedures, as their support of change management is vital to the continued success in the ‘No Child Left Behind’ requirements. However, with parallel learning structures, we understand that the role of the parallel system works in tandem with the existing hierarchy and school structure but is virtually independent in its decision making and implementation of change processes and innovations.
In order to receive decreased resistance to change and foster an environment of creativity and innovation as prescribed by the parallel learn structures approach, it is paramount that teacher, administrator, support staff member, parent and other school affiliates have a voice in some manner through a quality circles process. Quality circles are an example of parallel learning structures which have a primary focus on improving quality (Deming, 1986). Quality circles generally consist of volunteers who meet regularly to analyze and make suggestions about their concerns. Given the short time constraint our quality circles will include information gathered from various sources (i.e. surveys, group meetings, email, personal contact et cetera).