Tuesday, May 10, 2011

OD Experts Anyone???

So I was talking to one of my colleagues about the state of the university and posed a question about the efficacy having psychologists with expertise in organizational behavior conduct an assessment of the institution, much like a therapist assesses a patient. I remember from graduate school my Organization Theory professor telling us that organizations are just people writ large. I also recall commenting to a past president that if she wanted to leave a real legacy at the university, she would need to change the corporate culture of the institution, essentially do something to modify its behavior. It appears that presidents come to CSU with expectations of constructing new buildings with little regard for changes to the core of the university. What might a year-long observation and analysis by OD experts of Chicago State University reveal? Would the experts observe that communication is poor? Might they discover there is no culture of accountability? Might they observe that leadership has been negligible? Might they find there is no morale problem with rank and file employees because there is no morale? Might they find a faculty that believes it has been neglected, ignored and overlooked in matters that are central to the sound operation of a university? Might they observe a culture of administrative paternalism that routinely contributes to low retention and graduation rates? Might the high turnover of administrative personnel catch the attention of observers? And if only a fraction of these observations were true, what would they recommend the university do to address them? I don’t think we would need a team of experts to assess the university AND at this point in its downward spiral, could that hurt? Since incoming administrations have a peculiar predilection of not listening to faculty, outside experts might be the only hope of rescuing a drowning university.

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