Carnegie Mellon University

Organizational Development

You and Your Organization

As a manager, you are more than likely accountable for a variety of tasks and responsibilities. In order to complete these tasks and responsibilities, you may have a team of individuals share in those obligations. It is important to know how your role as manager and supervisor influences the success of your organization operating as a cohesive unit.

Mission Driven — Values Oriented

Do the members of your organization know and work towards your organizational mission? Have you identified shared values that each member strives to instill in their work? Regardless of the size of your group, identifying your shared purpose and collective approach to fulfilling your responsibilities allows each member to align their work to the work of others. Wanting to develop a mission and values statement for your organization? Consider utilizing Professional Development Services to assist you with facilitating this process for you and your organization's members.

Building Trust

Creativity, innovation and change are all characteristics of CMU. Each of these characteristics requires an individual to take risks, become vulnerable and step out of their comfort zone. Employees need to know they are in an organization that encourages this risk taking and one that is built on trust among its members. As the manager, you play a key role in building trust within your organization. Explore FocusU for resources on building trust within your organization.

The Journey of an Organization

Your organization will go through a series of changes as members come and go. Understanding the process in which a group develops enables you to provide the support that is needed at each stage of development. The five stages of group development are adopted from the the research of Tuckman [pdf]:

Group members are getting to know one another and have a desire for acceptance from the group. Members are gathering impressions of one another along with the rules and expectations of the organization. Members will look to the group leader for guidance and direction and demonstrate dependence on the leader.
This is often identified as the conflict or competitive stage. As members work towards organizing tasks, conflicts inevitability arise. Individuals have to bend and mold with one another to complete the tasks of the organization. Individuals will jockey for different roles within the organization. Some individuals will dominate the situation while others may remain silent. During this stage, the group leader needs to stay the course, clarify roles and responsibilities while allowing the group to proceed through this important stage.
Group members begin to acknowledge the contributions of one another and cohesion emerges. Members are willing to change opinions based on the facts shared by other members and by asking questions. Trust among group members begins to develop. Leadership is shared across the group and cliques begin to disappear. The group leader supports this stage by promoting trust and cohesion among the members and by demonstrating confidence in shared leadership across the organization.
At this stage, group members achieve interdependence. Members can work independently, in small groups or as one unit and achieve the organization's objectives. Roles adjust based on the needs of the situation and members demonstrate the flexibility needed to achieve this. Members are able to focus on both the tasks of the organization and the relationships among its members. Group loyalty is high. The group leader's role is diminished by the productivity and cohesion of the group members.
This stage is prompted by the coming or going of group members or the conclusion of a shared task. A planned conclusion usually includes recognition of participation and achievement. Group members can experience anxiety during the period of disengagement and express concern about the future. The group leader's role is to facilitate the ending of a task or the loss of a group member and the disengagement of the group.