Organizational Change
An Ethical, Means Based, Approach to Organizational Change

Cover Page
The Purpose of this Site

Over the past twenty two years I have sought out a variety of opportunities to act as an agent of change in a variety of organizations. These opportunities have allowed me the opportunity to test out various concepts and to develop my own model to guide the critical decisions concerning how and when to act as an agent of change and to do so within an ethical context.

While I have found this model personally quite useful and effective, it is my hope that the model can be utilized by others. To facilitate this process I have made the model available through the Internet. It is my belief that if others can execute an ethical means based approach to organizational change, the nature of the discussion concerning organization will also begin to reflect this change in philosophy. This is the ultimate purpose of this site.

Project Genesis

My experiences in 1977 and 1978 are the true genesis of this paper. I was an electronic technician working under a Quality Engineer. As it turned out, this particular engineer was a master of organizational politics. First, he instituted a series of quality checks at various points in the manufacturing process. Each of these points were justified by the argument that "This is the way Control Data operates" . It is important to understand that at this period of time inspecting quality into a product was the accepted methodology to improve product quality.

One of the main directives I was given was to make sure that the product did not sit in an inspection area. If a defect was found, no matter how minor, it had to be moved back into a shelf in the production area to be repaired. The inspection steps did improve product quality but slowed the time it took to build products.

On more than one occasion the quality engineer would walk through the area with upper management pointing out that production delays were not the result of the inspection points. All of the product was in a production area, not in inspection. In fact it was pointed out that, in contrast to the production area, product moved through the inspection areas efficiently. The quality engineer argued that given the opportunity he could improve the efficiency of the production area.

After about 6 months the production manager was fired and the quality engineer was put in charge. His first action was to have the inspectors repair the minor defects and send product to the next manufacturing step. The result was a dramatic improvement in product flow. Six months later the quality engineer was given a promotion to vice-president of manufacturing.

The actions of the quality engineer did improve product quality and productivity. For this effort he was rewarded by the organization. In contrast to upper management, I was in a position to observe both the mechanics and the end result. I can claim no innocence in this matter, as I was an active and willing, though naïve, participant. As a participant and an observer I struggled with the question, did the end justify the means?


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