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Skill Assessment: Practitioner Style Matrix


Skill Assessment: Practitioner Style Matrix

Skill Assessment: Practitioner Style Matrix

To prepare:

Review the “OD Skills Simulation 4.1: Practitioner Matrix” located in Chapter 4 of the course text (attached below

Examine characteristic approaches to a practitioner-client relationship.

Distinguish your own personal practitioner style in relation to the characteristic approaches you have examined. Skill Assessment: Practitioner Style Matrix

Complete the surveys and exercises in the “OD Skills Simulation 4.1:Practitioner Style Matrix” to find out your primary and backup practitioner styles.

With these thoughts in mind:

Submit your Total Scores for each Practitioner Style in the “OD Skills Simulation 4.1: Practitioner Style Matrix.” Use Tables 4.2 and 4.3 to determine your scores. You should have 5 scores total, one for each style.

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OD Skills Simulation 4.1

Practitioner Style Matrix


A. Purpose

The role of the OD practitioner is both difficult and challenging. The practitioner style matrix has been designed to give you information about your characteristic approaches to a practitioner-client relationship. This information may serve to reinforce existing strengths, or it may indicate areas that need improvement. In either case, the data from the survey should prove helpful in learning more about your style.

Many people may be involved in trying to bring about change. They probably do not operate under the guise of “practitioner” but are more commonly referred to as managers, teachers, social workers, ministers, parents, and so on. Even now you may be a practitioner in some aspects of your life, and at some time in the future you will most certainly be a practitioner. That is, you are now trying to initiate and implement change in an individual or organization, or are trying to do so. This sur- vey will help you gain some insights into the ways you implement change.

B. Procedures

In order to conserve class time and ensure that you have as much time as you need, Steps 1 through 4 should be completed be- fore class.

Step 1. This survey includes 10 situations that call for responses. Each of the situations presents five alternative ways of responding. Because you will be asked to rank these five responses to the situation, it is important for you to read through all the responses before answering. Once you have read through all five responses, select the one that is most similar to the way you think you would actually behave or think in such a situation. Place the letter corresponding to that response (a, b, c, d, or e) somewhere on the “Most Similar” end of the 10-point scale appropriate to the intensity of your feeling. Next, select the response that is least similar to the way you would actually act or think. Place the letter corresponding to that response some- where on the “Least Similar” end of the scale. Complete the answers by placing the remaining three responses that reflect your actions or thoughts for those responses within the range of previously selected most-least points.

As an example, the answer to a situation could be:

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The Practitioner Style Matrix Survey

In answering these questions, think about how you would actually handle or act in the situation or how you think about change and the nature of change.

1. As a practitioner relating to a client, I will

a. support the client in working out its goals aimed at high morale.

b. generally set ground rules and then leave it up to the client.

c. join with the client in identifying the goals of the change program and then jointly work through the alternatives.

d. try to develop a friendly relationship, while suggesting change goals.

e. provide expertise and use logic to convince the client.

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2. As a practitioner, change in a client can best be initiated when

a. I avoid involving too many people.

b. the logic for the change is pointed out and results emphasized.

c. the client first has a good opinion of me and then I urge changes.

d. I help the client to gain self-confidence and satisfaction.

e. the client makes a choice for change on the basis of mutual needs and goals

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3. If I am talking with a client, I usually

a. try to be supportive by letting the client do most of the talking.

b. try to let the client talk and then slowly sell the client on my methods of change.

c. try to be sure the client understands the logic of the decision.

d. participate equally in the conversation and attempt to reach a shared conclusion.

e. say very little and only present my opinion when asked.

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4. To achieve change in the client, I feel that

a. the client has to be convinced that the plan for change has benefits as well as employee satisfaction. b. the client and the practitioner can mutually agree on alternatives.

c. the change and its implementation are left up to the client.

d. the client decides what change is needed with support given by the practitioner.

e. the change is to be logically presented by the practitioner.

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5. If I have made a suggestion or proposal and someone reacts negatively to it, I am likely to

a. accept the client’s position and search for mutual agreement.

b. suggest the best course of action and make a logical case for what will happen if that course of action is not followed.

c. allow the client to fully express his or her ideas and go along with what the client thinks.

d. point out the requirements of the situation but avoid becoming involved in fruitless argument.

e. search for a compromise position that satisfies both points of view.

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6. A client will probably be more accepting of changes if I

a. emphasize the rewards and downplay any disadvantages.

b. discuss how the change will result in increased personal satisfaction and simultaneously provide help and support.

c. leave the responsibility to the client for taking a course of action he or she deems appropriate.

d. explain how not carrying out the change will effect the bottom line.

e. as an active participant along with the client, plan for the change.

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7. As a practitioner, a decision to change is most effective when I

a. tell the client logically what is expected and how to best accomplish the change.

b. gain the approval and friendship of the client to get acceptable changes.

c. actively participate with the client in setting the change goals.

d. point out the need for change but leave the situation open to the client to make his or her own decision whether or not to change.

e. allow the client to take responsibility for the changes while giving personal support.

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8. In evaluating my effectiveness as a practitioner, the criterion I normally use is

a. the degree to which the client complies with the change as well as the amount of pushing from me needed to gain


b. the client’s performance as measured by goals jointly set by the client and myself.

c. the client’s evaluation of his or her performance.

d. a moderate degree of satisfaction of the client so that there is compliance in meeting change requirements.

e. a high level of morale in the client as well as a friendly relationship between the client and myself.

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9. In evaluating the client’s performance, I should

a. look at evaluation as a mutual responsibility.

b. use a standard evaluation form to ensure objectivity and equal treatment among persons.

c. present my ideas, then allow questions, but casually push for specific improvement.

d. compare performance with quantitative productivity standards and specify the corrections that need to be made.

e. encourage the client to make his or her own evaluation with my moral support.

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10. As a practitioner, if there seems to be a personality conflict, I usually

a. try to ignore the conflict.

b. confront the client and use logic to gain acceptance of my position.

c. try to relieve tension and smooth over differences.

d. try to explore differences, resolve conflicts, and reach mutual goals.

e. try to find areas of commonality, maintain morale, and seek compromise.

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Step 2. Scoring instructions for Table 4.2

In Step 1, you wrote your answers (a, b, c, d, and e) above a number. For each of the 10 situations, look at the questionnaire to determine what number value you assigned to that letter and then place the number in the appropriate columns of Table 4.2. The sum of each of the five columns is your score for each of the practitioner styles. There is further explanation of the five styles in Step 4.

Step 3. Scoring instructions for Table 4.3:

1. Transfer the numerical sums from the score sheet in Table 4.2 to column 3 of Table 4.3 by rearranging them from highest to lowest score.

2. In column 2, write the appropriate word description of Approach to Change beside the score. 3. Take the difference between the scores in column 3 for your first and second choices and record it on the first line of column 4. Then take the difference for your second and third choices and record it on the second line of column 4. Continue taking the differences between the third and fourth choices, and the fourth and fifth choices. The difference be- tween the scores indicates the likelihood that you will shift styles: a low score (1–10) suggests switching, a high score (over 20) suggests resistance to shifting.

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Time suggested for Steps 2 and 3 if class members need assistance in completing Tables 4.2 and 4.3: 15 minutes.

Step 4. You have just completed and scored your practitioner survey. Following is a brief explanation of the five styles.

The analyzer style. This practitioner style has maximum concern for the efficient accomplishment of the change goals and little concern about whether the people involved in implementing the goals are personally committed to them. The analyzer style sees people as a means to accomplish the change and believes they must be closely guided and directed because they lack the desire or capacity to change. A practitioner using this style tends to use an expert-based style and sets demanding performance standards as a method of implementing change.

The cheerleader style. The practitioner using this style has minimum concern about whether the stated change goals are accomplished but maximum concern that the people involved in the change program are personally committed to and happy with the change. There may be as many change programs as there are people, because the cheerleader-style practitioner encourages members of a system to design and implement their own programs of change. The emphasis is on morale and friendly relationships.

The stabilizer style. This practitioner style has very minimum concern for goal accomplishment and also has minimum concern for the people involved. The practitioner does not care to get involved and is only biding time until new orders come down. Change is viewed as a disruption of a well-ordered and secure environment.

The persuader style. This practitioner style has moderate concern for achievement of the change goals and that the people implementing the change are committed to the change goals. As a result, the practitioner using this style is not consistent and often shifts the emphasis from concern for change goals to concern for the people involved in the change program. The practitioner believes that too rapid a change will be disruptive and, therefore, attempts to implement change in small steps that allow people to become gradually accustomed to the changes and avoid conflict.

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The pathfinder style. The practitioner using this style constantly strives for achievement of the change goals by other people in the change program and, at the same time, has maximum concern that the people involved in implementing the change are personally committed to the change and to the vision of the future.

You may now plot your average style scores on the graph in Table 4.4. Complete the bar chart by shading in the score for each style. This provides a profile of your scores.

A person does not operate using one style to the exclusion of others. The purpose of the scoring in Steps 2 and 3 was to give you an indication of the importance you place on each of the five styles. The difference between your primary and backup styles indicates the strength of your preference and how quickly you will fall back on another style. Little difference between scores could indicate a tendency to vacillate between styles or vague thoughts about how to handle change. A large difference could indicate a strong reliance on the predominant change style.

This survey should be used as a point of departure for further reflection and observation concerning the way you at- tempt to change and influence other people. To obtain a better understanding of your change style, try to become aware of how you handle change in your associations with class members, friends, peers, and work associates. It may also be helpful to observe other people when they try to change or influence your behavior and to become aware of how you react to their change methods.

Step 5. Discuss the five practitioner styles in class. Do the scores for your primary and backup change styles seem congruent with the way you think you operate in change situations? Share your scores with class members with whom you have been working and get their feedback. Does this feedback correlate with your scores on the survey?

Time suggested for Step 5: 30 minutes.

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