UNITARY DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY AND ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT, VOL. 2: A MODEL OF DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING FOR CHANGE, AGILITY AND RESILIENCE
Myles Sweeney BA (Psychol.), MBS (Finance), PH.D (Business & Economic Psychol.)
To all Developmentalists, the failure rates for Developmental Interventions across the paradigms of Psychology, Organizational Science and Economics that range from 75% to 100% and verified beyond doubt for organizations in five dense pages in Managing Change by Burnes (2017, x-xiv), should be truly shocking; and while alarming in their own right, they also signal a fundamentally paradigmatic problem that is acknowledged across the board, e.g., in Economics where the leading Developmentalist Jeffrey Sachs refers to the paucity of the models of human-nature available to it, and on which Economics is actually based. Furthermore, across each domain, the same fundamental remedy has been prescribed – i.e., “Learning”, whether it is as Learning Life, Learning Organization, Learning Region, Learning Economy or more recently by Nobel Economist Joe Stiglitz, Learning Society which he even refers to as the only viable Government strategy. However, even though there is such external demand – as well as internal demand from prominent Psychologists such as Dan McAdams who have called for an integration of the theories from various schools to generate a normative model of personality and developmental learning – no such model has been devised – until now!
UDT is a model that not only answers the need in Psychology, but is equally valid and operationalizable across each of these paradigms, i.e., for developmental analysis and intervention for people, organizations, societies and economic systems such as nations when each are defined as Micro-, Meso- and Macro- Socio-Economic Systems as well as sub-systems such as Teams or Regions. The modeling for each of the three levels of system is presented in four different volumes with Vol. 1 dedicated to the Psychology behind the model and what it brings to the discipline in practice; Vol. 2 shows how its application to Organization Development advances prevailing practice; Vol. 3 addresses Societal systems such as Family, Education and Justice; and Vol. 4 does the same for Macro-Economic Development.
The model comprises a sequence of Developmental Phases through which humans naturally learn developmentally, and these phases correspond with – but also complete – existing models, whether that learning is the natural development of a young person or a developmental intervention in an organization. The model also shows how learning stalls in well-established patterns of corresponding Habituation Stages such as Groupthink in organizations which corresponds to Identification Habituation for individuals growing up within restrictive parameters of a parent’s identity. These Phases are grouped into seven Levels and from Immaturity to Maturity, they are called Inversion, Critical, Equilibrial, Operational, Complexity, Creativity and Leadership. The ultimate Level is divided into the Phases of Integrative Leadership and finally Regenerative Leadership which encompasses the ultimate expression of Maturity which is the Regenerative Eco-System whether referring to a family with that Level of parenting or an organization that seamlessly and without friction facilitates Spin-Off Enterprises, M&As, etc.
Along these Phases, Construct Capabilities that are significant to a system’s purpose can be assessed, and development occurs prescriptively along these Capabilities. Failure rates are shown to be either due to interventions being overpitched relative to the previously undiagnosable Learning Level/Change-Capacity of the system, or through missing any of the Phases. UDT diagnosis optimizes Traction for interventions which also gain Sustainability from the normatively prescribed Phases. Such methodology can be used in stand-alone interventions, or to guide and offer structure to post-modern approaches such as “Dialogue” methodologies.
Construct Validity is shown in the degree to which UDT corresponds with modelling from across schools such as Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, Cognitive Psychology, and Humanist Psychology and also developmental modelling across Organizational Science and Economics. For example, in Psychology, uniquely, the three Stages of Level (1) correspond to DSM-5’s three Clusters of Personality-Disorders and adds value to understanding them. More importantly for OD, it is shown how this Level of Habituated Mindset/Culture is always a permanent drag on development in a process called Inversion that also finds common ground with established theory, and is very clearly observable in the demise of organizations, and the only defence is the internal processes of Regenerative Leadership which cyclically refreshes the developmental process for Capabilities.
Other issues that are elaborated include Linear, Lateral and Integrative Mindset/Culture
with each associated with different Phases of Development and Habituation patterns along the hierarchy. Newly understood is the fact that all human systems are existentially either Linear or Lateral and must build Integrative capacity as well as remaining aware of their underlying biases. While Linearity brings positives such as Purpose and Discipline, its negatives include features such as 1-Dimensionalism, Exclusive Goal Focus, Command and Control, and Red Tape across the Levels such as Self-Destructive Exploitation (1a), Autocracy (2a), Silos (2b), and finally, Bureaucracy (4b) which is the highest Level of Maturity available to Linear-based Culture, which is averse to Change and Creativity. Laterality has strengths related to Change, Social Conscience and Creativity, but is associated with deficits such as Neurotic obstruction of Goal achievement (1b), Paralysis by Analysis (1c), Chronic Inclusiveness (3), Over-Connectedness (5) and Creativity without market connectedness (6).
Most significantly, Culture which is regularly cited as the main intrinsic reason for OD/CM failure and has only been so poorly understood as, e.g., “the way we do things around here” is newly defined in terms of Habituated Stages which correspond to those Cultures described in the most advanced modeling on the subject, but of course, as with all Construct Correspondence, the UDT model fills in gaps and offers a complete and operationalizable solution to the Culture problem. This line of research also critically shows that the UDT Phases are positively correlated with Returns and Productivity for organizations and nations alike. This also suggests that Culture Change which typically focuses on personal issues like Values, Assumptions, Beliefs, becomes another normative praxis-based OD intervention focusing on maturing Capabilities.
UDT similarly transforms the concept of Agility which is shown as its highest three Levels. A a case study of an exemplar Agile Company is examined in detail to show how the organization’s Philosophy, Growth Patterns and prevailing functionalities map onto essential elements of the UDT modeling which ultimately offers a methodology to achieve such Agility for all organizations through their own planning, effort and intrinsic progression rather than trying to simply copy elements of such Complexity. Only 22% of organizations reach these Levels which average 30% premium, but a critical fundamental insight is the finding that systems functioning in the non-Agile Division of the Model (i.e., 78% of organizations) have limited intrinsic Integrative capacity and therefore must begin every CM/OD intervention at the beginning of the normative process rather than use a simple Next-Step strategy which is the typical prevailing approach.
It is also shown how the UDT diagnosis can predict Resilience and how its developmental process builds the espoused combination with increased Agility whereby Resilience progresses from planned responses through the Phases to a capacity at Level 7 for an organization to re-invent itself as required in the face of adversity, and surely, this is the key lesson about Resilience from the Covid Pandemic. Case studies are offered to show how the UDT modeling of maturation and inversion corresponds with historical examples of both successful growth and degradation, as well as good and bad interventions.
For organizations, the model is used in 3 ways: as a Discussion Tool or simple Catalyst for change; as a process of discrete Change Management; and as a more systemic diagnostic-and-developmental intervention for e.g., Team Development, Organization Development, Digital Transformation, M&A Integration, etc.; and examples are offered where the model has been successfully used for each of the three levels of intervention.