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A MODEL OF ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT ETHICS CM. DICK DEANER Consultant INTRODUCTION Recently, introducing the topic of ethics and organization devel- opment (OD) has been a reasonably sure way to elicit argument. In the literature opinions related to the topic vary widely. On the one hand are calls for a clear statement of OD ethics in the interest of professional survival (e.g., Burke, 1989). On the other hand are assertions that OD ethics should be less clear in the interest of expedience (e.g., Bocialetti, 1989). While clearly leaning towards the former position, this author shares the interest of both. This article presents a simple model of principles with which an OD practitioner and the client system may address ethical issues in change projects. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Examinations of OD ethics usually revolve around advocated principles or values (e.g., Gellermann, 1985; Tannenbaum and Davis, 1980); Walton and Warwick, 1973). While this author believes that this view is a proper one, its application to OD theory and practice reveals serious shortcomings. First, there is some variance in the depiction of principles. Second, beyond the very obvious, little has been done relating behavior to principles. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is very little specific examination of the degree to which such principles should guide OD practitioner behavior and the profession in general. This section presents a brief historical discussion of ethics in OD, including a review of professed principles and of the ethical issues emerging in the context of planned change projects. OD Principles The strong influence of behavioral science is evident in principles
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(436) PAQ WINTER 1994 defining OD. Interpersonal values are advocated as a means of improving organizational effectiveness. A loose consensus exists that these principles include effective use of human resources, participa- tion, collaborating, democratic decision-making, regenerative inter- action, employee empowerment, employee infiuence over organiza- tion destiny, openness, authenticity, and honesty (e.g., Argyris, 1971; Beckhard, 1989; French et al, 1989; Golembiewski, 1979; McGregor, 1960). The literature is reasonably consistent in defining OD as based upon principles or values similar to those cited above. However, semantic representations of the principles vary considerably. This author suggests that these differences are not trivial. We may be suffering language-related delusions about our understanding of the very definition of OD. The profusion of language depicting OD belies the common assumption that we are in general agreement. This assumption-seldom checked-may be contributing to what has been called "social neurosis" (Burrow, 1984). Precision cmd brevity in describing our profession create communication that is more likely understood, thus reducing language-related delusions.
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