Action Research (AR): A method of collaboration between a change agent and members of an organizational system.[i] Key aspects of the model are diagnosis, data gathering, and feedback to the client group, data discussion and work by the client group, action planning and action. The sequence tends to be cyclical, with the focus on new or advanced problems as the client group learns to work more effectively together.[ii]


Change capable: The ability to adapt and evolve successfully again and again, even though specific change initiatives may vary dramatically in terms of scope, depth, and complexity.[iii]


Dynamism: continuous change in the organization.[iv]


External Factors: political, economic, social, technological, ecological, competition.[v]


Force-field analysis:[vi] A qualitative tool that analyses the forces for and the forces resisting change. It implies two strategies, increasing the forces for change and decreasing the resistance to change.


Internal Factors: strategy, leadership, structure (i.e., functional, product, geographic, organization), process, physical layout, technology, culture and people, policies and practices.[vii]


Intervention:[viii] Any action on the part of the change agent. Intervention carries the implication that the action is planned and deliberate and presumably functional. Requires valid information, free choice, and a high degree of ownership by the client system of the course of action.


Management System Processes:[ix]

  1. Setting objectives

  2. Planning strategy

  3. Establishing goals

  4. Developing company [organizational] philosophy

  5. Establishing policies

  6. Planning the organization structure

  7. Providing personnel

  8. Establishing procedures

  9. Providing facilities

  10. Providing capital

  11. Setting standards

  12. Establishing management programs and operational plans

  13. Providing information control

  14. Activating people


Network Influencers:[x]

  1. Central connectors – informal go-to people who have influence with people in the organization.

  2. Information brokers – provide information.

  3. Boundary spanners – have far reaching links across groups.


Organizational development (1):[xi] The system-wide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement, and reinforcement of strategic instructions, and processes that lead to organizational effectiveness.


Organizational development (2):[xii]

  1. An effort to deal with or initiate change in organizational culture through Action Research (AR).

  2. Manifest a normative-reeducative educational philosophy because it encourages individuals and groups to reexamine core values, beliefs, and operating assumptions about themselves, other people, and the way their organizations function.

  3. Is a social technology that helps human systems remain competitive in an era where organizational operating domains are turbulent and all labor systems are wide open to the forces of change.


Organizational development (3):[xiii] Planned, long-range, involves a change agent or agents, focuses on organizational processes, tasks, and structures; addresses the development of individuals as well as organizations; and uses behavioral science techniques to generate valid data for both individual and organizational decisions.


Organizational development (4):[xiv] Is a deliberately planned effort to increase an organization's relevance and viability. OD is referred to as, future readiness to meet change, thus a systemic learning and development strategy intended to change the basics of beliefs, attitudes and relevance of values, and structure of the current organization to better absorb disruptive technologies, shrinking or exploding market opportunities and ensuing challenges and chaos. OD is the framework for a change process designed to lead to desirable positive impact to all stakeholders and the environment. OD can design interventions with application of several multidisciplinary methods and research besides traditional OD approaches.


Organizational development (5): [xv]Organizational development is a long-term effort led and supported by top management, to improve an organization's visioning, empowerment, learning, and problem-solving processes, through an ongoing, collaborative management of organizational culture-with special emphasis on the consultant-facilitator role and the theory and technology of applied behavioral science, including participant action research.


Performance audit (1) - Audit methodology (ICMA):[xvi]

This audit required an immense amount of fieldwork, as each HR element (e.g., labor negotiations, classification/compensation, and employee benefits) is multi‐faceted and full of nuance. As such, the audit team covered extensive territory in its efforts to research and examine as much key data and information as possible. During our review, the Office performed the following activities:

  • Conducted a historical examination of key events and audits/studies of the County’s HR function

  • Evaluated HRD’s policies and procedures against the State’s Local Agency Personnel Standards (LAPS)

  • Performed financial research and analysis of historical HRD expenditures, numbers and costs of positions, costing of salary and benefits mechanisms, and evaluation of potential cost savings areas

  • Interviewed nearly all HRD staff, executive and HR professional staff from most of the County’s agencies/departments, representatives from some employee labor organizations, representatives from the Retired Employees’ Association of Orange County, some former HRD executives, and representatives from some Board Offices

  • Reviewed all major employee benefits areas, including, but not limited to: significant employee benefits programs, including health plans, defined contribution plans, and employee assistance programs; performance guarantees with vendors; and policies and procedures

  • Reviewed County Classification and Compensation Plans and associated policies and procedures

  • Reviewed Labor Relations information such as Memoranda of Understanding and examined labor negotiations working papers

  • Benchmarked HR organizations and HR issues in comparable public jurisdictions

  • Examined HRD‐related databases and programs such as: OnBase document management system, CAPS Data Warehouse, CAPS+/AHRS, and the NEOGOV automated recruiting system

  • Examined HRD contracts with outside vendors for a variety of HR services

  • Developed a survey to ascertain stakeholder feedback on both HRD and the Countywide HR system


This performance audit was conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that the audit team plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on audit objectives. The audit team believes that the evidence obtained in this audit provides a reasonable basis for its findings and conclusions based on audit objectives.


Performance audit (2) - Audit methodology (Citygate):


Resources: financial, human, knowledge, technology.[xvii]


Strategic management process:[xviii]

  1. Organizational management.

Stage 1 – historical context (trends and events, directions, ideals)

  1. Situation management

Stage 2 - Situational assessment (SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)

  1. Issue management

Stage 3 - Issue agenda

  1. Action management

Stage 4 –strategic options (action sets, strategic themes)

Stage 5 – feasibility assessment (stakeholder analysis – internal/external, resource analysis)

Stage 6 – implementation (resource management, stakeholder management)


Strategic organizational change (SOC): [xix] Leverages opportunities in the external business environment through changes in the internal workings of the organization. By considering multiple dimensions of the change process, change leaders become adept at understanding where they are now, what changes need to be made, and how they can implement those changes and build in ongoing adaptation and evolution.


Strategic planning process:[xx]

Step 1. Initiating and agreeing on strategic planning process.

Step 2. Identifying organizational mandates.

Step 3. Clarifying organizational mission and values.

Step 4. Assessing the external environment; opportunities and threats.

Step 5. Assessing the internal environment; strengths and weaknesses.

Step 6. Identifying the strategic issues facing the organization.

Step 7. Formulating strategies to manage the issues.

Step 8. Establishing an effective organizational vision for the future.


Strategic principles:[xxi]

  1. Who – strategic leader makes a commitment.

  2. Why – articulate aims and purposes.

  3. Where – determine context to be managed.

  4. When – make choices about duration.

  5. What – select content of strategy.

  6. How – make decisions about process.



  1. Strengths. One or more skills, distinctive competencies, capabilities, competitive advantages, or resources that the organization can draw on in selecting a strategy.

  2. Weaknesses. The lack of one or more skills, distinctive competencies, capabilities, competitive advantages, or resources.

  3. Opportunities. Situations in which benefits are fairly clear and likely to be realized if certain actions are taken.

  4. Threats. Situations that give rise to potentially harmful events and outcomes if action is not taken in the immediate future. They must be actively confronted to prevent trouble.


T-Groups:[xxiii] Trainers and participants joined in the common task of working in a group and learning from the work at the same time.


[i]  Carnevale, David; Organizational Development in the Public Sector; Westview Press (Boulder), 2003, p. 1.

[ii] Carnevale, Op. Cit., p. 10.

[iii] Auster, Ellen; Wylie, Krista; Valente, Michael; Strategic Organizational Change – Building Change Capabilities in Your Organization, Palgrave MacMillan (New York), 2005, p. 5.

[iv] Auster, Op. City., p. 83.

[v] Auster, Op. Cit., p.36-37.

[vi]  Cumming, Thomas and Worley, Christopher; Organization Development and Change; Thomas Southwestern (Ohio), 2005, p. 664.

[vii] Auster, Op.Cit., p. 49.

[viii] Cummings, Op. Cit. 665.

[ix] Steiner, Op. Cit., p. 7.

[x]  Auster, Op. Cit., p. 104.

[xi] Cummings, Op. Cit., p. 666.

[xii]  Carnevale, Op. Cit., p. 1-3.

[xiii] Bolman, Lee and Deal, Terrence; Reframing Organizations – Artistry, Choice and Leadership; Jossey-Bass (San Francisco), 1991, p. 171.


[xv] French, Wendell and Bell Jr., Cecil; Organization Development: Behavior Science Interventions for Organization Improvement, University of Washington (Seattle), 1999, p.___.
Wendell L. French Cecil H. Bell,Jr.

[xvi] Danely, Steve; Performance Audit of Human Resources Department of Orange County, California; ICMA, 2011.

[xvii] Auster, Op.Cit., p. 94.

[xviii] Steiner, George; Strategic Planning – What Every Manager Must Know; Free Press (New York), 1979, p. 167.

[xix] Auster, Op. Cit., p. 6.

[xx] Bryson, John; Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations; Jossey-Bass Publishers (San Francisco) 1988, p. 48.

[xxi] Nutt, Paul and Backoff, Robert, Strategic Management of Public and Third Sector Organizations, Jossey-Bass Publishers (San Francisco) 1992, p. 410.

[xxii] Nutt, Op. Cit., p. 432-433.

[xxiii] Bolman, Op. Cit., p.165.