ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE PROGRAMS
Many people are suspicious of organizational consultants, and for good reason. Many change efforts fall into three categories:
· The fad or fly-by-night initiative, which takes up a lot of time and, often, energy, sometimes engaging the enthusiasm of a number of people, only to disappear when managers become interested in the next new thing. These pick up the reputation of being great for consulting firms, but a waste of time for everyone else. They may be well-intentioned efforts by well-trained HR groups who do not have the power or resources to get the results they need; they result of a close relationship between a consultant and an executive; the outcome of an executive with a short attention span and an interest in increasing performance; or ineffective processes of a large consulting firm.
o A subgroup of this is the initiative which really does produce good results - but whose outcome is not well publicized, so that employees think nothing has happened.
· The false front, where a change effort purporting to help everyone turns into a traditional time and motion study or an excuse to eliminate jobs or speed up the line (whether the line is real or figurative).
· The less common, but still damaging, false front, where employees' reactions to an initiative are used against them - perhaps by supervisors or unscrupulous managers, without the knowledge of well-meaning people in HR.
Ethical issues arise from the role of the change agent.
There is a long history of management consultants being used to eliminate or demean jobs. Frederick Winslow Taylor, whose name has been attached to Taylorism, was ...