Prior to beginning this assignment, read Chapter 3 in the course textbook. You may want to review Chapters 1 and 2 in your course textbook for assistance, too.

Review the guidelines found in Table 1.1 (OD realities and misconceptions) to establish the reasoning for OD interaction. In addition, pay special attention to the criteria for determining the validity of an OD problem. Understanding the process is crucial to becoming a successful OD consultant. Watch the following videos, 

What Should Consultants Do?

 (Links to an external site.)

Handling a Complainer

 (Links to an external site.)
, to gain perspective on responsible consulting.

There are many ethical responsibilities within the field of the OD consultant. Suppose that you are just beginning your practice as an external OD consultant and an organization approaches you to help them address an issue or change within their company. Before accepting the job, it is important for you to determine whether the problem is an actual OD issue or an internal matter that is better addressed within.

Explain the process for evaluating an organizational condition to determine if the action required is OD-related. Define the specific criteria for determining the core of the problem and the potential solution.

After assessing the request, there are times that you will find the problem is not an OD concern. Prepare a response to the organization stating why the problem is not OD, why you are not the right person for the job, and what options they might have to remedy their problem.

Once your research is complete, begin preparing your paper. The paper must be four to five pages of content (excluding the cover and reference pages). You must include a minimum of three scholarly, peer-reviewed, or credible sources that provide qualified information related to the role of the OD practitioner. In addition, include the course textbook as a scholarly resource to support theory and concepts related to OD strategy. Remember that Wikipedia is not a qualified resource. Use the 

Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources

 (Links to an external site.)
 document for additional guidance. During the construction of the paper, be specific and refrain from making assumptions. Describe all aspects of the search components listed below.

In your paper,

· Explain the process to determine the validity of the problem.

· Define specific criteria for OD consulting.

· Prepare an appropriate response to the organization regarding their issue.

The Responsible Consulting paper

· Must be four to five double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references and formatted according to 

APA Style

 (Links to an external site.)
 as outlined in the Writing Center’s 

APA Formatting for Microsoft Word

 (Links to an external site.)


· Must include a separate title with the following:

· Title of paper

· Student’s name

· University of Arizona Global Campus

· Course name and number

· Instructor’s name

· Date submitted

· Must utilize academic voice. See the 

Academic Voice

 (Links to an external site.)
 resource for additional guidance.

· Must include an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Your introduction paragraph needs to end with a clear thesis statement that indicates the purpose of your paper.

· For assistance on writing 

Introductions & Conclusions

 (Links to an external site.)
 as well as 

Writing a Thesis Statement

 (Links to an external site.)
, refer to the Writing Center resources.

· Must use at least three scholarly, peer-reviewed, or credible sources in addition to the course text.

· The 

Scholarly, Peer-Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources

 (Links to an external site.)
 table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.

· To assist you in completing the research required for this assignment, view this 

University of Arizona Global Campus Library Quick ‘n’ Dirty

 (Links to an external site.)
 tutorial, which introduces the University Library and the research process, and provides some library search tips.

· Must document any information used from sources in APA Style as outlined in the Writing Center’s 

APA: Citing Within Your Paper

 (Links to an external site.)


· Must include a separate reference page that is formatted according to APA Style as outlined in the Writing Center. See the 

APA: Formatting Your References List

 (Links to an external site.)
 resource in the Writing Center for specifications

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Learning Outcomes

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

De�ine consultants and clients.

Describe the types, roles, and styles of OD consultants.

Identify the competencies of consultants.

Outline the elements of a good consulting contract.

The employees of the QuickCo shipping department are at each other’s throats. The department’s 10 employees have always worked long hours striving to �ill
customer orders on time. But over the past year or so, the workload has increased and the pressure to keep up has become incessant. The employees have strong
personalities, and as multiple orders start backing up, their stress levels rise, their tempers �lare, and they say disrespectful things. People are on edge,
interpersonal con�licts have developed, and no one seems very happy.

The supervisor of the department, Ned, is an easygoing guy who has taken a laid-back approach to the mounting stress levels and con�licts. His mantra is “Let’s not
get emotional here. We’ve got work to do, so let’s get back to it.” Ned’s avoidance strategy is not helpful. The festering discontent and con�licts are reducing the
department’s ability to ship accurate orders on time. Absenteeism is up, morale is down, and people do not communicate with or help each other as they used to.
When problems arise, no one speaks up because of the bad feelings that have developed and the resignation that Ned will not do anything about it anyway. So
resentment builds.

Ned is feeling pressure from other departments as customers’ complaints about inaccurate and late orders mount. The manufacturing manager, Sarah, calls the
shipping department supervisor into a meeting.

“Ned, your department’s performance for accurate, on-time delivery is plummeting,” Sarah says. “I looked back at the order procurement for the past year, and
your trend has been steadily downward. The past quarter is even worse. Customer complaints are rising, and other department heads are complaining. What is
going on here?”

The OD Consultant 3

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

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Cameron Whitman/iStock/Thinkstock

Work on the QuickCo shipping dock was disrupted by
interpersonal con�licts.

Ned replies, “We work like crazy, Sarah, but no one is working together. We are busier than
normal but should have the staff to get the work done. There are long-simmering interpersonal
con�licts, and we aren’t working together like we used to. I keep telling everyone to get over it
and get the job done, but no one seems to be listening.”

“It sounds like you need some help to get to the bottom of this problem,” says Sarah. “Let’s go
see Jack in OD.”

Ned and Sarah set up a meeting with Jack. Although he has heard about the con�licts in the
department, during their �irst meeting, Jack asks a lot of questions until he has a good idea of
what is going on. Jack asks Ned point-blank, “What are you doing or not doing that might be
contributing to the problem?”

Ned acknowledges, “I don’t have the patience or time for con�lict and just want everyone to get
along and do the work.”

Jack then asks, “Are you willing to do the work to �ix this, even if it means that you might have
to change or be more hands-on with con�lict resolution?”

Ned replies, “I won’t like it, but we have to do something. I’m in.”

Jack also asks Sarah if she will back Ned up on addressing this change. Once the two of them agree, Jack emphasizes, “I can work with you, providing we have an
equal partnership. We all need to share the responsibility for diagnosing the problem and taking the necessary action to solve it.”

The three agree to work together on �inding a solution to the interpersonal con�licts and productivity issues in the shipping department. Before making an
intervention, Jack wants to gather data, so he reviews the performance trends and customer complaints and interviews the members of the department
individually. Once Jack has completed his data collection and analysis, he sets up another meeting with Ned and Sarah.

“Ned and Sarah, you have a dysfunctional team on your hands,” Jack says. “They have no ground rules, collaboration, or means of handling con�lict. Everyone needs
to be more understanding and respectful toward each other. It would also be helpful to create some guidelines for how the team wants to operate and manage
con�lict. Ned, you also need to take a more active role in resolving issues.”

Jack presents a few options to Ned and Sarah, and they settle on taking the group through a facilitated process to address communication and team effectiveness.
They also agree that Ned could use some individualized executive coaching to help him learn behaviors that would be more productive for dealing with con�lict.
They set up a time to make the intervention. To prepare, they have all of the department members take a behavioral-styles inventory so the team has data on
individual differences. They then schedule a meeting at which they will share the inventory results and their interpretation.

As the meeting begins, everyone is tentative, their arms crossed. Ned kicks off the meeting by thanking everyone for their hard work and acknowledging that there
are problems. He emphasizes that everyone has participated in creating the problems and that everyone must help solve them. He also admits his own role in the
problems and reveals that he is working on improving his managerial skills to be more effective. Ned has everyone’s attention. Then Jack delves into presenting and
interpreting the results of the inventory everyone has taken. The group becomes animated and even seems to enjoy sharing the differences among one another. The
ice is broken, and people start to let their guards down a bit.

The group takes a break, and next the agenda shifts to more serious issues. The group spends some time identifying strengths and weaknesses of the team and lists
things that would make the team more effective. By the end of the session, the team has come up with a tangible plan about how to be more effective and what
speci�ic actions team members will take with each other. People are talking again and have agreed not to suffer in silence when they become upset.

Everyone goes back to work and tries to apply the new standards for team interaction. Jack works with Ned to make sure the agreements from the meeting are
upheld. Ned also continues to work with his coach to change his behavior and becomes more proactive and sensitive to con�licts when they arise. Jack also keeps in
touch with Sarah to make sure she is supporting Ned’s efforts and getting the results she needs for departmental improvement.

The intervention has a dramatic effect: The percentage of orders shipped on time increases quickly, and customer complaints plummet. Why? Because all of the
stakeholders were involved in a process that

1. created mutual understanding and insight about member differences and similarities,
2. jointly articulated the problems,
3. collectively devised a plan for dealing with them, and
4. was visibly supported by management.

As discussed in Chapter 1, participative activities usually result in buy-in because people want a say in things that affect their work lives. Although there will still be
challenges as the group relearns how to function together, Ned, Sarah, and Jack facilitated an OD intervention that was collaborative, data based, and problem
focused. The ability of Ned and the shipping department employees to resolve future con�licts will be the true test of whether the intervention was successful and
helped the department build new capacity for dealing with problems.

The success realized by the QuickCo shipping department was due in part to the work of the OD consultant, Jack, who helped Ned and his team identify and address
their problems in a way that was relevant, timely, and respectful. This chapter is about OD consultants: the different types, roles, and styles of consultants; their
competencies and skills; and the contracting process consultants engage in when working with clients.

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3.1 De�ining Consultants and Clients

Chapters 1 and 2 introduced organization development and change. This chapter focuses on the people who practice OD, generally known as consultants. In
Chapter 1, we de�ined an OD consultant as a person who practices OD. This person may be an internal employee or external to the organization. We de�ined
an OD consultant as a practitioner of OD who has specialized knowledge of the action research process and facilitation skills to lead organizations through
planned change. In reality, the terms practitioner and consultant are used synonymously in OD.

See Who Invented That? Management Consulting.

Who Invented That? Management Consulting

Arthur D. Little created the �irst management consulting �irm in 1886 at the same time management was also emerging as a �ield of study. At the time,
Little focused on technical research and later shifted to management consulting. Frederick Winslow Taylor started an independent consulting practice
in Philadelphia in 1893; however, he is better known as the creator of scienti�ic management, or Taylorism (a method of analyzing and synthesizing
production work for ef�iciency). The consulting industry did not factor prominently as a resource organizations turned to for help until the late 20th
century with the rise of major, global consulting �irms in the 1980s and 1990s.

You can learn more about these �irms and their services at http://www.stormscape.com/inspiration/website-lists/consulting-�irms (http://www.sto
rmscape.com/inspiration/website-lists/consulting-�irms) , which lists the 50 major consulting �irms and links to their websites. Forbes also has compiled a
listing of the most prestigious consulting �irms at the following link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/vickyvalet/2019/03/19/americas-best-manage
ment-consulting-�irms-2019/#1a22845b3d00 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/vickyvalet/2019/03/19/americas-best-management-consulting-�irms-2019/#1a
22845b3d00) .

Consultants Are Helpers, In�luencers, and Persuaders

Consultants are often described as helpers (Lippitt & Lippitt, 1986; Schein, 2011). Schein (2011) commented,

Helping is a basic relationship that moves things forward. We take helping so much for granted in our ordinary daily life that the word itself often
comes up only when someone is said to have “not been helpful” in a situation where help was taken for granted. (p. ix)

Consulting is about helping—speci�ically about providing “helpful help,” rather than “unhelpful help” (Schein, 2011, p. 1). Simply, consultants specialize in
creating understanding and trust with their clients via relationships.

Consultants also need to in�luence the OD process as they do not have positional power to delegate the activity that has to occur to implement change. They
also need to be persuasive about what routes of action might work more effectively in the organization. Peter Block (2011), considered a master of OD
consulting, explained:

A consultant is a person in a position to have some in�luence over an individual, group, or organization but [who] has no direct power to make
changes or implement programs. A manager is someone who has direct responsibility over the action. The moment you take direct responsibility, you
are acting as a manager. (p. 2)

Jack, the consultant in the QuickCo vignette, had little power over the shipping department and could not simply march in and give orders. But Jack and Ned
were able to collaboratively intervene in a way that addressed the problems, and they developed new insights and skills to help the department handle future
issues. Cockman, Evans, and Reynolds (1996) noted that consultants are

people who �ind themselves having to in�luence other people, or advise them about possible courses of action to improve the effectiveness of any
aspect of their operations, without any formal authority over them or choosing not to use what authority they have. (p. 3)

Consultants are also persuaders. Although they have little power to implement change, they compensate by developing persuasive skills to promote change
with their clients. These skills include prevailing on a person or organization to adopt a course of action through advising, urging, or providing compelling
evidence. One example of persuading the client might be using the organization’s own performance data to show information that would motivate change,
such as retention statistics, quality performance, or product rankings. A consultant might also persuade a leader to examine and perhaps change his or her
leadership style using feedback from employees.

“A consultant is one who provides help, counsel, advice, and support, which implies that such a person is wiser than most people” (Burke, 1992, p. 173). OD
wisdom is developed through learning OD theory and process and having the ability to explain it to the client and persuade the organization to change its

Consider This

Think about people who have helped you. What about them made you seek or accept their help? They are likely people who made you feel that they
understood you and you could trust them (Schein, 2011). Now think about people who are “unhelpful.” How are they different from helpers?

Think about the helping, in�luencing, and persuading behaviors you have either used yourself or observed in your work and life. How can you use them
more often in your own practice?

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Mediaphotos/E+/Getty Images Plus

A consultant works with clients to agree on parameters for
the consulting agreement.

Consultants Work With Clients

Consultants work for a person, team, or department, any of which can be a client. Block (2011) de�ined a client as anyone who

1. attends the initial OD planning meeting,
2. sets objectives for the project,
3. approves any actions to be taken,
4. receives the report on the results of the consultant’s work, and
5. is signi�icantly affected by the OD effort.

Consultants seek to accomplish at least three things when working with clients, according to Block (2011): establishing a collaborative relationship, solving
problems so they stay solved, and ensuring that both the business problem and the relationship with the client are given adequate attention. The QuickCo
vignette highlights how these goals can be achieved.

Schein (1997) took a broader view and distinguished six types of clients:

1. Contact clients: Individual(s) who make the initial contact with the consultant to
request services, ask a question, or raise an issue

2. Intermediate clients: Individuals or groups participating in data collection, meetings,
and activities related to the OD project

3. Primary clients: Individual(s) who ultimately “own” the issue subject to OD
consulting. They are also usually the ones who pay the bills or budget for the

4. Unwitting clients: Members of the organization or system who are affected by the
intervention but are not aware of it

5. Indirect clients: Members of the organization who know about and are affected by
the OD intervention but are unknown to the consultant

6. Ultimate clients: The community, wider organization, and other stakeholders affected
by the intervention

When beginning a relationship with a client, a consultant must �irst determine the identity of
the primary client. That is why Schein’s (1997) typology is helpful. Novice consultants often
mistake contact clients for primary clients. Let us say you are a consultant who is called by a
department manager to help the organization do strategic planning. The manager was
tasked with making the �irst contact because she recommended you as a potential consultant
during a management team meeting. Her recommendation was based on some consulting you provided to a nonpro�it organization she belongs to. The person
making contact was the contact client because she requested services. The primary client in this case would be the top executive of the organization whose job
is to set strategy.

The primary client worked with you to create a strategic planning process that was inclusive and involved a cross-section of representatives from the business
who attended meetings and developed surveys to share with a randomized segment of the organization. These were intermediate clients, who participated in
the process in some way, possibly from business units across the organization that were affected by the problem. During the strategic planning process, the
employees who were not aware of and did not participate in the process were the unwitting clients. The employees who were aware of the process but did not
participate in any way were the indirect clients. Finally, the stakeholders of the organization—such as the community, other company divisions, or suppliers—
were the ultimate clients because they were affected in some way by the strategies created.

Burke (2017) de�ined the ultimate client differently. He held that the ultimate client is the behavior in organizations represented by people’s interactions,
relationships, and interfaces. He argued that these interactions are representative of the realities of organization life, and thus they were the focus of his
consultancy. He focused his OD practice on how the organization manages subordinate relationships: managing up, managing laterally, and managing unit
interfaces. Change happens through these relationships, and understanding their related issues and challenges ultimately helps the OD process.

Regardless of the type of client a consultant encounters, it is important to build a trusting relationship. If a client does not trust a consultant, it will be dif�icult
for meaningful, impactful OD to occur. Think of someone you trust and note the reasons. Chances are you identi�ied interpersonal attributes such as honesty,
dependability, responsibility, respectfulness, and believability. You also might have listed competencies such as expertise, experience, or being a recognized
authority. These elements help build trust with the client.

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Some companies choose to retain internal
consultants, whereas others hire external
consultants on an as-needed basis.

3.2 Types, Roles, and Styles of OD Consultants

Steele (1969) likened OD consultants to detectives, noting the following shared attributes of each:

They have temporary involvement in a system.
They focus on data gathering and problem solving.
They offer the potential for “dramatics.”
They are oriented toward action and excitement.
They rely on experts.
Their work involves juggling several stimulating cases simultaneously.

Today, Steele’s comparison still rings true as we consider the challenging, exciting work of implementing planned change in organizations. This section begins
by distinguishing the two types of consultants—internal and external—introduced in Chapter 1. It then identi�ies a variety of roles of consultants and explores
various consultant styles.

Internal and External Consulting Types

OD consultants can be classi�ied by type according to their relationship with the organization. People act as
an internal consultant if they are a permanent member of the organization who facilitates OD, whether or
not that is their sole or primary responsibility. For example, an internal consultant might work for the
organization as a full-time, permanent employee with a client base of organization members and
departments. Some internal OD consultants might have responsibilities that are broader than just OD, such
as managing the human resource function or designing and delivering training. Others will be dedicated to
providing OD services full time.

If, in contrast, someone has a temporary relationship with the organization and is not an insider or
permanent employee, he or she is an external consultant. A consultant may be self-employed or work for a
consulting �irm that provides services to a number of organizations and industries. Organizations usually
contact external consultants when the needed consulting expertise is not available in-house. An example
would be an organization that hires an external diversity expert to develop an inclusive recruitment and
retention plan in the event that no one inside the organization has such expertise.

Advantages of Internal and External Consulting
Advantages for the internal consultant include possessing privileged historical and contextual organization
knowledge that usually provides deep insight into its problems and challenges. Internal consultants typically
have built long-standing, trusting relationships with other organization members.

External consultants also have advantages. Their temporary status gives them more leeway to take risks than
internal consultants, and they enjoy higher prestige and ready credibility due to their unique peripheral

Disadvantages of Internal and External Consulting
Internal consultants may be more vulnerable to organization politics; for example, if they are working on an
unpopular change initiative, there may be backlash or undermining of them and future projects. They could also be pressured to divulge con�idential
information or take sides when individuals involved in the OD process disagree. Internal consultants are also more likely to be taken for granted because their
skill set is readily available for the organization to use. Internal consultants have to live with the OD interventions they create, including maintaining
relationships with other organization members who may not like the changes they have helped implement. These realities might cause internal consultants to
be more personally invested in an intervention’s success but also more timid about taking necessary risks.

External consultants, on the other hand, have less insight into the organization and are rarely able to see the long-term impact of their efforts. Table 3.1
provides a more exhaustive list of the pros and cons of internal and external consulting. There are more pros and cons associated with internal consultants.

Table 3.1: Pros and cons of internal and external consulting

Internal consultant pros Internal consultant cons

They have knowledge of the client and organizational problems.
They have insight into the organization’s history, politics, and
They likely share similar values with the client.
They know where to �ind information and resources.
They understand the client and can predict reactions and behaviors.
They have an established reputation.
They have other colleagues internally who may be helpful.
They can monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of OD intervention.

They belong to the culture they are trying to change (this could also
be a pro).
Their department’s image may follow them (it helps if it is a good
Their image may be a liability.
Their services may be mandated by the organization.
They may have insights they must keep con�idential.
They may be challenged by con�identiality issues.
They may be part of the problem.
They may not be comfortable consulting outside their rank.
They may have to confront people with whom they work.
They may be discounted as a prophet in their own land.
They may fear that giving bad news could adversely affect their
advancement prospects.

External consultant pros External consultant cons

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Their entry timeline is usually short.
They are viewed as novel.
Their outsider status allows them immediate prestige and credibility.
Their capacity to take risks is high.
They have a neutral, objective viewpoint on the organization.
They do not need to fear repercussions of addressing dif�icult issues
or people.

They do not receive ready trust.
They have limited knowledge of the client or organization history,
culture, and politics.

Block’s Consultant Roles

Block (2011) identi�ied three roles played by consultants: expert, pair-of-hands, and collaborator. They apply whether the consultant is internal or external.

Expert Role
When clients have a problem and lack the time and interest to deal with it, they often turn to a knowledgeable consultant who serves in an expert role by
telling them what to do. For example, if two employees are on the warpath with each other, the client might hire a consultant who has expertise in con�lict
mediation. Or if an organization wants to administer a survey, it might contract with an expert to conduct it. When consultants play the expert role, clients
expect them to provide answers and usually give them authority to �ix the issue.

Pair-of-Hands Role
When clients have a task that needs to be completed and want someone else to do it, they are seeking a consultant to play the pair-of-hands role. Usually,
clients seeking this type of consulting devote little time to or take little interest in the problem at hand. Instead, they hire a consult and tell him or her what to
do, such as facilitate a meeting or implement a process.

Neither the expert nor the pair-of-hands role is ideal. A collaborative approach is generally preferred for its mutuality and effectiveness.

When the client and consultant mutually engage in and share responsibility for the OD effort, they are involved in collaborative consulting. The clear bene�it
of collaborative consulting is that it helps clients diagnose their own problems and build capacity to become independent of the consultant. When a consultant
helps clients learn the OD action research process and build capacity to solve problems and implement change in the future, the consultant has successfully
completed a sustainable intervention. In the QuickCo vignette, Jack functioned in this role. See Table 3.2 for additional descriptions of these three types of

Table 3.2: Comparison of Block’s consulting roles

Expert role Pair-of-hands role Collaborator role

Consultant plays an active role, while manager is

Consultant assumes passive role. Consultant and manager are interdependent.

Consultant makes decisions about how to

Manager decides how to proceed and consultant
follows manager’s direction.

Decision making is bilateral.

Consultant controls information and intervention. Manager selects procedures for data collection
and analysis.

Data collection and analysis are joint efforts.

Technical control rests with the consultant. Control rests with the manager. Control issues become matters for discussion and

Collaboration is not required. Collaboration is not really necessary. Collaboration is considered essential and
permeates project.

Two-way communication is limited. Two-way communication is limited. Communication is two-way.

Communication is from the consultant to the

Consultant makes recommendations to manager. Consultant and manager share a give-and-take
role in an equal partnership, facilitated by

Consultant plans and implements main events. Manager speci�ies change procedures for
consultant to implement.

Implementation responsibilities are determined
by discussion and agreement.

Manager judges after the fact. Manager evaluates results and judges from a

Manager participates in a joint evaluation with

Consultant’s goal is solving immediate problem. Consultant’s goal is to make the system more
effective by the application of specialized

Goal is long-term problem solving—ensuring
problems stay solved.

Source: Adapted from Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used (2nd ed.), by P. Block, 1999, New York, NY: Pfeiffer.

Lippitt and Lippitt’s Continuum of Consulting Roles

In their 1986 book The Consulting Process in Action, Lippitt and Lippitt observed that consultant behaviors could …