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Organisational Role Analysis

Bringing into being new role and organisational capacities

Organisational role analysis is designed for CEOs, senior managers and leaders of organisational transformation programs. It provides an opportunity to explore role issues, to develop insights and initiatives, and to implement strategies for the organisations that they lead.

Organisational Role Analysis (ORA) is personalised confidential one-to-one consulting. Its focus is real role and organisational issues, and opportunities that one faces. It happens through a series of reflective sessions best held away from the workplace.

Frequently Managers start an ORA in order to explore in confidence a pressing issue or problem that needs resolution, e.g. tensions within a group, lack of clarity of roles. This often leads on to the exploration of other challenges and opportunities that are arising in the role. Each session of the ORA begins from what the Manager wants to discuss.

Between sessions, the Manager can test out ideas and actions formulated in a session, and make observations that become material for subsequent sessions.  Therefore, the overall process is iterative, where insights progressively sharpen and actions become increasingly effective. (Refer to the diagram below).

ORA diagram

The Method

The method was first formulated in the U.K. in the 1970s at the Tavistock Institute and Grubb Institute. It is under continual development and refinement through practice in many countries including Australia.  The method is based on the insight that each of us has in mind, a dynamic image of the organisation of which we are a part, and it is out of this image we plan and act at work. This dynamic image is called the Organisation–in-the-Mind. It is unique to each person, and it is built up of thoughts, feelings, intuitions, impressions, assumptions and relationships developed at work.  During the consultancy, the client and consultant work together to bring this dynamic image more into conscious awareness. This process helps trigger powerful insights, as it is mobilizing, and consciously using, organisational intelligence.

The Value

The experience and results are as varied as the individual clients and their situations, but in general clients appreciate:

  • Reflective space away from the workplace for the exploration of problems, and their resolution
  • Confidentiality and freedom to explore what cannot be easily talked about inside the organisation
  • The approach of the consultant that makes use of feelings, intuitions, ideas and other data, i.e. organisational intelligence,  in order to put together a more complete picture of the situation
  • Clarification, framing, and helping to resolve underlying issues in the business
  • New insights into leadership and creativity
  • A way of understanding organisational culture and its links with business strategy and leadership
  • Opportunities to re-think, design and implement new organisational structures and roles.

The Program

The program usually consists of six or eight 1.5-hour sessions with a Consultant, one or two weeks apart. It can be extended, broadened to involve others, and be used in the design of change programs. 

Client Comments

During 2005 Organisational Role Analyses were carried out with two Internal Consultants / Managers working with the Transformation group that services Customer Sales & Service in Telstra. The ORAs highlighted issues about direction and focus, gaining traction in one’s role, appreciating one’s own consultancy strengths, developing authority for task, and the management of boundaries with internal client groups, and one’s colleagues.

“The ORA helped develop confidence in my ability to do it in my own way, and not how others did it”. 
Craig James

“The opportunity to participate in the ORA work was an experience that has continued to be helpful long after the activity and has resulted in increased effectiveness of how I take up my role. The work was helpful in initiating a long process of learning through revealing emotions, feelings, symbolic themes and conflicts. The work enabled me to experience a conscious awareness of my current behaviour and explore the impact it was having.  As a result, I have increased my capacity for self correction and consequently impacted how I take up my role.
I found the ORA work incredibly challenging and equally rewarding”.
Tracey Willett

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© Centre for Socio-Analysis 2007