Organizational Development on Kindred Todd and the Ethics of OD Case Study


Topic: Organizational Development

Words: 1000 Words


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Kindred Todd had just finished her master’s degree in organization development and had landed her first consulting position with a small consulting company in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The president, Larry Step chuck, convinced Todd that his growing organization offered her a great opportunity to learn the business. He had a large number of contacts, an impressive executive career, and several years of consulting experience behind him. In fact, the firm was growing; adding new clients and projects as fast as its president could hire consultants. A few weeks after Todd was hired, Step chuck assigned her to a new client, a small oil and gas company. “I’ve met with the client for several hours,” he told her. “They are an important and potentially large opportunity for our firm. They’re looking to us to help them address some long-range planning issues.


From the way they talk, they could also use some continuous quality improvement work as well.” As Todd prepared for her initial meeting with the client, she reviewed financial data from the firm’s annual report, examined trends in the client’s industry, and thought about the issues that young firms face. Step chuck indicated that Todd would first meet with the president of the firm to discuss initial issues and next steps. When Todd walked into the president’s office, she was greeted by the firm’s entire senior management team. Team members expressed eagerness to get to work on the important issues of how to improve the organization’s key business processes.


They believed that an expert in continuous quality improvement (CQI), such as Todd, was exactly the kind of help they needed to increase efficiency and cut costs in the core business. Members began to ask direct questions about technical details of CQI, the likely timeframe within which they might expect results, how to map key processes, and how to form quality- improvement teams to identify and implement process improvements.


Todd was stunned and overwhelmed. Nothing that Stepchuck said about the issues facing this company was being discussed and, worse, it was clear that he had sold her to the client as an “expert” in CQI. Her immediate response was to suggest that all of their questions were good ones, but that they needed to be answered in the context of the long-range goals and strategies of the firm. Todd proposed that the best way to begin was for team members to provide her with some history about the organization. In doing so, she was able to avert disaster and embarrassment for herself and her company, and to appear to be doing all the things necessary to begin a CQI project.


The meeting ended with Todd and the management team agreeing to meet again the following week. Immediately the next day, Todd sought out the president of her firm. She reported on the results of the meeting and her surprise at being sold to this client as an expert on CQI. Todd suggested that her own competencies did not fit the needs of the client and requested that another consultant—one with expertise in CQI—be assigned to the project. Larry Stepchuck responded to Todd’s concerns: “I’ve known these people for over ten years.


They don’t know exactly what they need. CQI is an important buzzword. It’s the flavor of the month and if that’s what they want, that’s what we’ll give them.” He also told her that there were no other consultants available for this project. “Besides,” he said, “the president of the client firm just called to say how much he enjoyed meeting with you and was looking forward to getting started on the project right away.” Kindred Todd felt that Stepchuck’s response to her concerns included a strong, inferred ultimatum: If you want to stay with this company, you had better take this job. “I knew I had to sink or swim with this job and this client,” she later reported.


As Todd reflected on her options, she pondered the following questions:


  • How can I be honest with this client and thus not jeopardize my values of openness and honesty?
  • How can I be helpful to this client?
  • How much do I know about quality-improvement processes?
  • How do I satisfy the requirements of my employer?
  • What obligations do I have?
  • Who’s going to know if I do or don’t have the credentials to perform this work?
  • What if I fail?


After thinking about those issues, Todd summarized her position in terms of three dilemmas:


  1. A dilemma of self (who is Kindred Todd?),
  2. A dilemma of competence (what can I do?),
  3. And a dilemma of confidence (do I like who I work for?).


Q1: According to your opinion, what decision should be taken by TODD in above mention circumstances? Write you answer and submit.