Roles and styles of Organizational Development Consultants (ODCs)

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Change remains one of the most unavoidable phenomena on earth and companies, firms and organizations find themselves subject to it. The art of planning for a well-managed, organizational change that is initiated from the top echelons to the bottom of a firm using knowledge on behavioral science is what experts in business refer to as organizational development. This is important since it lays down the strategies, role allocation and goals of individuals all with a view of achieving the set targets. The people who engage in these activities are referred to as organization development consultants.

Components of Roles and Styles

Organizational development consultants play certain roles and using a wide array of styles which can be best utilized given different circumstances which may be at work. According to Block, the roles of consultants could be grouped as expert, collaborator and pair-of hands role. Expert role, this approach is commonly used in the scenario where a given customer has insufficient time and lack of knowledge on how to best handle a situation. Under this dispensation he experts are the drivers of change and are expected to rise up to the occasion. Another role which can be a played by these consultants is collaborator role, this is characterized by client-consultant joint working. It gives the client a higher understanding their organizational capacity. Lastly the pair of hands role that entails a client giving the consultant totally responsibility to undertake the problem identification and find solution to organizational problems.

On the other hand Lippitt and Lippitt narrowed down the roles ranging from nondirective
to directive. They postulated that on the non-directive end a consultant could be an objective observer; here the consultant asks questions to the client so at to identify the important issues and make decisions. A consultant could also play the role of a fact finder, where they deal with the collection of data and inspire proper thinking to the clients. As a Trainer and educator the consultant is best poised to give basic education to a client and thus impart the much needed technical know-how. Lippitt and Lippitt also argued that a consultant can be an advocate; they are free to give views and guidelines that will aid in reaching working solutions for a firm. As a joint problem solver, Lippitt and Lippitt saw that the consultant would be actively involved in the decision making process by offering alternative solutions, analysis of the solutions and making an action plan (Lippitt & Lippitt, 1978)

Generally the consultants in organizations can use several styles in their approach to work, acceptance, catalytic, confrontational and prescriptive styles. Acceptance style is inclined towards offering of emotional support and embracing a nonjudgmental mode of operation. Confrontational consultants make known to their clients in black and white the shortcomings of their functioning. Evidence based diagnosis obtained by directly helping a client is what Blake and Mouton called a catalytic style. Lastly, when a consultant initiates data collection, analysis and presents the solution to a client he/she makes us of the prescriptive style.

Compare and Contrast

Block’s and Lippitt and Lippitt’s roles show quite unique differences. While Lippitt and Lippitt sort to approach the whole issue with either a consultant using a directive or non-directive approach Block maintain a normal and specific approach. Lippitt and Lippitt isolated a continuum of roles since a consultant which in truth is more exhaustive in practical terms. This also gives a wide array of options to use according to the prevailing circumstances and upon discussion with the client. However, the two methods are all aimed at offering a lastly solution to development planning in organizations.

The styles to be used by consultants can be widely contrasted. For instance, acceptance and confrontational styles; the consultant has to best access the client prior on settling on either of the two. Some clients may not like being confronted directly thus hampering the problem identification process. The catalytic when compared to the two is more focused on being part of the solution (Rhodes & McGuire, 2013).

In conclusion, the styles and roles of organizational development consultants are all aimed at performance enhancement of a firm. Careful consideration ought to be used upon the role to play and also the style to be used.

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