Understanding Situationality using the Kepner-Tregoe Method in the Company Democracy Model to increase Employee Engagement and Knowledge Contribution
Authors: Evangelos Markopoulos, Jens Refflinghaus, Marven Roell, Hannu Vanharanta
Abstract: Driving sustainable and successful change towards achieving democratic organizational culture a company has to evolve through the 6 levels of the Company Democracy Model which needs to be supported by two foundational and prerequisite enablers. The first one is the critical thinking skills to build an alignment on a meta-level / logic-level / thinking level for effective and efficient communication and actions. Effective actions and communication require clear thinking which requires thinking processes. The second one is the Change Management tools and skills to drive the change. However the integration and activation of these two enablers seem to be the challenge on the first level in the company democracy model who seeks critical thinking to become change agents. This paper integrates the concepts of critical thinking and change making with the introduction of the problem solving Kepner-Tregoe (KT) Method in the Company Democracy Model. Critical Thinking is approached as the applied thinking processes to gather, organize, analyse, confirm, and communicate information in order to solve concerns and issues in an effective, unbiased and self-reflected mode that first seeks to understand and then to act. Therefore, it is the prerequisite for effective and efficient actions. This necessary exchange of information can more targeted and effortless if achieved through a democratic organizational culture which equips each member in an organization with the same logic/thinking, to reveal their intellectual capital by focusing on how to think, not what to think. Effectively thinking requires understanding the concern and the situation that creates a need to act. The concept of situationality, as introduced in the Company Democracy Model (CDM) is further supported in this paper with the KT problem solving methods to identify the core nature of a specific situational concern that enables or disables people’s thinking. The paper defines and analyses the situational concerns which can be categorized in five areas such as understanding a situation, deviation cause, alternatives selection, risk reduction and change enhancement.The identification of the situationality helps finding a thinking approach which leads to an idea that is transformed into an innovative process, product or services. This can be considered a fundamental approach for effective and efficient actions within democratic organizational cultures. Furthermore change management lies in the capability to assess a situation in which people interact, understand the mechanics of the system that forms individual or groups behaviour, and develop activities to manage these mechanics that change human behaviour. Therefore, the challenge of the first level of the company democracy model which is understanding human behaviour is based on the effectiveness of critical thinking capabilities in a systematic human performance model. The elements of the performance environment influence the performance of any person. These elements operate as a system, influencing performance as it happens. The paper presents the five performance system core elements which deal with the environment infrastructures (processes, workflows, expectation and priority setting) the capabilities and willingness of the performer, the demonstrated or desired response/ behaviour, the consequences which follow the behaviour and the performance feedback given to the performer. The paper uses the Aristotelian golden mean to effectively balance this employee performance, and identity imbalances that feed the development of corrective actions and impact behavioural change.
Keywords: Company Democracy, Problem Solving, Human Behaviour, Performance, Innovation, Management, Situationality, Critical Thinking, Change Management.
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