Any organizations come to the point when change is necessary. However, to discern the exact nature of change, to gain propositions about it from different perspectives, and to implement it correctly, various approaches are used. On the way of introducing changes, an organization might face different obstacles: resistance of employees, erroneous methods of implementation, or linear thinking of top management (Leith, 1996). These difficulties could be prevented through the use of extensive group communication. Precisely, Future Search and Open Space techniques were proposed during the end of the past century, and still work today (Nixon, 1998). Importantly, I had the experience of work as a Platoon Sergeant with the Military Police, where various issues could be resolved through the use of these methods.
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The first issue of the Military Police Department in Alaska concerns the unequal distribution of administrative responsibilities among the units. It is required that the unit where I worked should report to two battalions instead of one, as was with other units. This factor created an additional bureaucracy for the organizations, annoying and disturbing the workers. The problem with communicating the issue to the supervision department was complicated by complex requirements for such appeals. However, the issue could be resolved via the Future Search methods. Hence, organizational changes are needed and should be planned after an extensive discussion during the conference.
A Future Search conference in my organization would include different levels of organization. For beforehand preparations and planning, people that specialize in management should participate. Indeed, some military representatives would be beneficial for the initial understanding of the problems, but they do not have to take responsibility for the logistics and arrangements for the conference.
According to Norum (2005), a Future Search conference should consist of several groups with eight different staff members. I propose that it should be three or four such groups since only a few police officers wish to propose solutions while authorities are reluctant to provide numerous employees. In total, it would be about thirty people in the discussion. Thus, the conference would unite administrators, authorities, and military police officers.
An additional remark about the details of such conference maintenance should be added. Military organizations tend to respect order and status, while the conference conditions are somewhat different from the typical situation in the police. To prevent this, administrators might take precautions so that all the discussion participants could freely express their opinions and propositions. A round table variant of arrangement seems to be the most suitable for creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. Therefore, achieving the state when all participants are equally important is a first-rate task for the administration.
The other important and quite disturbing issue of the workplace was the arctic environment-related everyday matters. Since my battalion was located at Fort Greely, Alaska, I had to endure the adverse weather conditions, as well as my colleagues. Cold may be extreme in this place, and issues arising from it significantly hinder the work. For example, a current patrol vehicle was not proper for the Alaskan environment. Next, some barracks were not appropriately substantiated with protection from cold weather. Also, since the climate is hostile, especially during winters, physical activity such as training was reduced to a minimum.
Yet, a few workers were discussing the problem and some solutions for them: to replace the vehicles, to enhance the livings, to introduce climate-control facilities. Unfortunately, due to the hierarchical structure of the military organizations, these individuals had not reached authorities. In this situation, Open Space methods would help find solutions to these difficulties. Since this method involves a large number of people for discussion, it would be suitable for the issue.
as little as 3 hours
The Open Space technique is more straightforward in an organization than Future Search. Namely, it requires a minimum of preparations and maximum potential for people interested in enhancing the organization. The conference is done through an invitation of the employees for panel meetings. They can choose the narrow topics themselves and choose the meetings for participation (Owen, 2008). The initial planning of the conference would involve a few persons that can organize the process of gathering people and keep order.
These should be people from administrative and executive departments to keep a balance of equal participation. In turn, for the conference, ten to fifteen members of units or departments would be invited. The adverse Arctic environment is significant for all workers so that as many of them as possible must take part in discussing the probable solutions. This would take about five hundred to eight hundred employees. Also, I think that visiting the conference should not require wearing uniforms so that everyone would feel comfortable and equal. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the atmosphere of extensive discussion of peers and invite numerous persons.
To conclude, both Future Search and Open Space techniques are applicable and beneficial in military organizations such as the police. Although my workplace was not an example of a corporate organization, its issues could be treated with the methods for such companies. The issue of poor quality of administration should be resolved through the small conference in Future Search style. In contrast, day-to-day living in the Arctic environment is an issue for discussion by a large group via the Open Space technique.
Leith, M. (1996). Organizational change and large group interventions. Career Development International, 1(4), 19–23. Web.
Nixon, B. (1998). Creating the futures we desire – getting the whole system into the room: Part I. Industrial and Commercial Training, 30(1), 4–11. Web.
Norum, K. E. (2005). Dialogue as a means of collective communication. Springer Science & Business Media B.V.
Owen, H. (2008). Open space technology: A user’s guide (3rd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.