Interventions -- Causal?? LO1399
Sat, 27 May 95 12:55:39

Jim Michmerhuizen, responding to John Warfield's post describing his
inspiring work with Ford, asks:

"You hesitate, I notice, to attribute any strongly "causal" [I'm beginning
to hate that word] role to your own interventions. How many options do we
have, after all: if not causal, then perhaps catalytic? Are you sometimes
tempted, as I am, to invert the whole thing and see the group as somehow
generating the agents of its own forthcoming transformation? But that way
lies madness."

Personally, I like to think of organizational interventions in the same
way I think about attempts to quit smoking. Anyone who has done it can
tell you that repeated attempts eventually lead to success. When
organizations call in consultants for interventions, they are admitting
their addiction to outmoded ways of thinking and doing and seeking ways to
kick the habit. These do not always take, but when they do, they take
off. The role of the organization and its denizens in seeking help is
much more "causal" than anything the Jonah says or does. Unfortunately,
some of the most effective consultants weaken their own effectiveness with
the claims they make for their own roles in their successes. As someone
else has said in a signature line (Barry Mallis?), the same door is the
barrier and the way through...

I am as greatly impressed by John Warfield'd apparent modesty as I am by
his evident knowledge and understanding...

Jack Hirschfeld        Can analysis be worthwhile? Is the theatre really dead?