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Organization development interventions for prospectors: a theoretical framework and its empirical validation.


Strategic orientation is an organizational response to the environment. Miles and Snow (1978) proposed the prospector-defender typology for firms operating in dynamic and stable environments respectively. For a prospector, maintaining reputation as innovator in product and market development may be equally or perhaps more important than pursuing strategy for high profitability (Miles and Snow, 1978). That is in contrary to a defender firm which goes with clear focus on cost and efficiency (prospector has split focus in multiple technological pursuits). Prospectors constantly involve in experimentation and creativity to define, redefine and develop markets. These priorities help them to maintain fluidity and adaptability potential towards environmental pressure. The role of the management in the prospector firm is to realize the product-market innovation potential rather than to have tight culture meant for only efficiency.

A prospector never confines to the specified range of the products so it does not routinize the operations. It endeavours for building future. A following table shows how prospectors define and deal with its problems.

Organization learning depends upon the type of the organization (Hult et al., 2003). OD interventions deployed for the specific type of learning and effectiveness. It is important for the prospector firm to learn rapidly and apply the knowledge faster (Bierly et al, 1996). For that, they need knowledge workers. Further, this requires proper flexibility to hire and retain the talent. Prospectors constantly search for market expansion. They try to reach and develop new customer groups. They usually generate the complex network form of the organization to learn and grow. Thus the scope of the organization development goes beyond the boundaries of the organization. This creates requirement for the new approach of OD practices known as trans organization development. By passing through creative and exploratory processes, they face uncertainty and absence of routinization. This increases challenges to keep employees engaged and motivated in the work.

Literature Review

Contemporary strategic human resource management (SHRM) researchers are engaged in arguments related to the nature of interaction between organization strategy and the human resource (HR) practices. A question is commonly raised, whether universal HR practice is suitable irrespective to the strategic orientation of the organization or human resources to be developed in accordance to the situation, an organization faces (Simons et al., 1999). HR practices are bifurcated as traditional or progressive (Becker and Gerhardt, 1996). Delaney and Huselid (1996) argue that progressive practices are conceptualized in terms of its impact on skills and knowledge of the employees, their motivation to work and techno- structural aspect of the work. In contrast, the traditional practices are personnel administration oriented targeting cost minimization, control over operations and legal compliances. Mintzberg (1978) and Quinn (1978) considered strategy formulation and implementation as integrated process. They emphasize the strong link between internal practices and external orientation. Shortell and Zajac (1990) identify noteworthy differences in the administrative practices of prospectors and defenders. The challenge for a prospector is to grow as knowledge-intensive organization. This leads them to develop new products and markets. The issues related to their strategy include: (1) the need to ensure an adequate supply of knowledge workers; (2) the need to identify, develop and evaluate knowledge workers and their outputs; (3) the ability to motivate and reward knowledge workers in order to maximize productivity and enhance quality; (4) the ability to structure the organization in order to facilitate transitions to new organizational forms (Despres and Hiltrop, 1995).

To ensure the proper supply of the talent, Miles and Snow (1984) expected defender to adopt 'make' orientation and prospector to follow 'buy' orientation in HR policies. So the two fold HR practices are evident in terms of progressive OD interventions and traditional OD interventions. While aligning internal OD practices with external posture of strategy, progressive OD interventions can be related to prospector strategy and the traditional OD interventions can be linked to defender strategy. Coming to prospector as knowledge organization, we can observe the scarcity of talent and its uneven spread. 'HR Focus' magazine (2008) reports that right talent is a key differentiator. Hans Bonham (2007), General Secretary, European Association of Personal Management says, "Human resources never played more important role in business than it does today. We live in the age of intellectual property and knowledge based Industries. We live in a global economy offering multiple job opportunities to individuals. HR executives must face challenges to draw on human capital as a major source of competitive advantage". Capelli (2008) recently quotes, "It still makes sense to develop talent internally where we can, because it is cheaper and less disruptive, but outside hiring can be faster and more responsive." This discussion suggests that the 'buy' orientation of the talent is best fitting for the prospectors, than make orientation. Companies like 'Dow chemicals' and 'Capital one' have adopted short term approach for hiring the talent. A survey conducted by Mckinsey & Co. (1998) over 400 corporate officers and 6000 corporate executives reports that talent should be a 'call to arms' for corporate America; "Companies are likely to engage in fight for the senior executive talent. Most of the companies are ill prepared and vulnerable. This highlights the significance of talent management as corporate strategy never before". The survey suggests that companies managing physical and financial assets have not been attentive yet on managing people. Just over 23% of the 6000 executives 'strongly agree' that their companies are able to attract the right talent. Chamber et al (1998) also reiterate that managing talent will be the source of the competitive advantage tomorrow. Dr. Peter Weill from MIT Sloan School's Center for Information Systems Research (CISR), in an interview with Frank Gens of market intelligence research organizations IDC (IDC exchange, 27/09/2005) elaborated capabilities the organizations need to possess if they were to be successful. These are: a) a platform of reliable services to provide a foundation for strategy execution which included hard-wired process and infrastructure, service oriented architecture, and a mature /modular enterprise architecture; b) the ability to deliver new projects with consistent repeatability; c) good governance; and d) business and IT alignment relationships. He mentions; "IT savvy-ness, knowledge, learning and collaboration across the organization and the development of business skills for IT people, and IT skills for the business population". The explosion of information in the twentieth century paved the plethora of possibility for new organizational forms which have been referred as knowledge-centred, knowledge-intensive and virtual organizations (Grieves, 2000). He further explains that increasingly flexible working requires for new organizational structures (including virtual organizations) to manage dynamic processes. Moreley and Garavan (1995) while deriving the key principles of organization, emphasize on continuous learning in the different way. They realize the need for organizational structure that facilitates learning. Virtual teams and Trans-organizational development (TOD) interventions ensure the learning in a dispersed, networked and technology driven structures and environment. Collaborating despite of multiple base is an advantage but managing the cross -cultural difference is the major challenge for the global virtual teams. In these teams, OD activities transit the boundaries of the organization. Literature is not much clear about positives and negatives of the virtual team. It is growing area of concern to develop a suitable intervention for the virtually formed teams. Recently Cummings and Worley (2001) mention that the term 'employee involvement' has replaced 'quality of work life'. Therefore a sound organization development system must include high involving work systems to gain productivity and employee well being. This system sustains the decentralized structure of the organization. Lawler (1992) reports that the primary design component of the high involvement work systems is to focus upon organization development strategically, to lead superior effectiveness, employee motivation and subsequent competitive advantage. He explains these systems as contrary to the traditionally designed organization. So this intervention likely to fit prospector organization. After the above discussion, interventions like talent management, trans-organizational development, virtual team, high performance work system and flexible job design appears fit for a prospector firm.


Bullock (1986) found that unfortunately there has not been a satisfactory mechanism to derive the knowledge from case studies, however, the basic unit of research in OD is case study. Bullock and Tubbs (1990) studied the models of gain sharing and concluded that case meta analysis allows the researcher to explore the pattern among OD cases. It also provides the way to test specific hypothesis/s. Recently; most of the OD case studies reported in the literature are in qualitative forms. Suri (1999) indicates that some form of synthesis is essential to enhance the practical value of qualitative research in policy making. In addition, the synthesis of individual reports can facilitate a fuller understanding of the phenomenon, context or culture under consideration. However, synthesis of qualitative researches should be interpretive rather than aggregative. Inductive and interpretive techniques should be used to summarize adequately the findings of individual studies into a product of practical value (Jensen & Allen, 1996; Noblit & Hare, 1988; Sandelowski, 1997; Sandelowski, Docherty, & Emden, 1997). Jensen & Allen (1996) and Sandelowski (1997) explains that the purpose of such qualitative synthesis is not to generate predictive theories but to gain fuller understanding over the context, events and culture under consideration. Estabrooks et al. (1994) supports the type of the researches what he calls the aggregation of qualitative studies. They argue that analysis and synthesis of multiple studies can result in contribution to theory-building much powerfully than any single study. Hammersley (1997) and Sandelowski et al. (1997) reports as, "the synthesis of evidences can allow the construction of larger narratives and more general (and generalizable) theories". Schreiber et al (1997) defined qualitative meta-analysis as aggregation of group of studies for the purpose of discovering the essential elements and translating the results in to end product. This end product transforms the original results in to a new conceptualization. Schreiber et al (1997) gave five principles of conducting qualitative Meta -analysis but did not describe the procedures and techniques to conduct it. These are the guidelines for a qualitative researcher:

* To identify the purpose and outcome of the Meta- analysis early in the process.

* To adhere to the philosophical tenets of naturalistic paradigm and make decision congruent with it.

* To make audit and decision trail, record sampling decisions, scope, strength and limitations.

* To maintain the perspective about the purpose of the study and the intended relationship of the analysis to theory development.

Noblit and Hare (1988) suggests that goal of Meta- synthesis is interpretive, not integrative. Jansen and Allen (1996) suggests about the procedure of qualitative Meta- synthesis. After the initial phase of the reading the text, the findings of the studies should be standardized via common codes and outlines, with due attention to be given to the details of individual accounts. Various studies with in each group were clustered with initial assumption about the relationship between the studies. A list of themes with key metaphor of each study is created and brought closer to the other studies. After the reciprocal transactional analysis, as suggested by Noblit and Hare (1988), these translations were synthesized, and Meta -matrix of the clusters was made more refined. Barbour (1998) points out; "qualitative researchers use contradictory evidences collected within a single method to explore the boundaries of emergent typologies or theoretical explanations." This makes data synthesis much acceptable as contradictions and exceptions contribute in developing, expanding or reformulating theories. Lincoln and Guba (1985) proposed the four factors to ensure the rigour in the qualitative meta- synthesis procedure; (a) Truth Value (b) Applicability (c) Consistency (d) neutrality. In this connection, we pursued following steps:

1. Individual cases were analyzed by two researchers independently.

2. Reviewers frequently met to analyze their reviews and came to the agreement.

3. Points of non agreement was noted and reported in the study.

4. Alternative hypothesis was created and discussed to make both side of interpretation.

The purpose of the study was to match the OD intervention with the prospector strategy. We searched the ABI / Inform complete, Google, EBSCO and Emerald data bases. Type of the OD interventions and similar terms were used in case searching. We did theoretical sampling to include the cases as per the criterion specified. Theoretical sampling involves the inclusion of new sample of the data as analysis proceeds (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). We included typical or average, extreme or deviant, critical and multi scope cases to achieve the wholesomeness. We rejected cases which have less or incomplete information and included only those cases which contain adequate data. That way, we performed rich response sampling. To find out the support for rival hypothesis, we included dis-confirming cases. We include both published and unpublished cases in this study. We developed general categories under which the information was pooled. These categories are; intervention used, initial stage, final stage and inference. We picked evidences depicting the efficacy of the intervention to increase product and market development capability of the organization. To calculate the inter- rater reliability, total possible cases of the agreement was recorded. Out of this, the number of agreements and dis-agreements were separately reported. Only those case included in the study which were approved by the both of the raters. Remaining studies was not included in the study.

Findings and discussion

Common standardized codes (Jansen and Allen, 1996) viz case name, intervention used, initial stage/requirement, final improvement/outcome, inference and contradictory or rival evidence were used to summarize the outlines of the cases. Initial stage refers the company situation before the practice of the OD intervention. It briefly includes the product- market scope of the case company. Final outcome carries the details about the post intervention situation of the company. Inference carries the evidence that narrates the impact of the intervention to align with prospector strategy. This category captures all evidence from the case depicting how OD intervention contributed to create new knowledge to increase the product- market scope. Last category explains rival evidence to develop alternative or better we call action hypothesis. This gathers the support for contradiction as against the proposition.


Strategic Management Interventions (Category-I)

OD Interventions were selected according to the classification suggested by Cummings and Worley (2001). First category, Strategic management interventions include the interventions which are designed to address the relationship between organization and its environment (Cummings and Worley, 2001). We selected cases related to talent Management (TM) & career model framework and Trans- organizational development. A brief about talent Management Intervention has been discussed earlier. Trans--Organizational Development is concerned with developing the models of inter organization collaboration.

Talent Management (TM)

At HSBC, "Emerging market creates a need for leaders who understand both local business context and global strategy" (P.201). At the Initial Stage, a need for growth strategy felt, as quoted "We are also cognizant of our need to change in order to build our business by leveraging emerging markets, new customer groups and Technology" (P.201). Final Stage showed in an internal survey depicting employee value proposition (EVP) data on Talent pool members attribute delivery, above the bench mark (P. 204). Intervention helped to identify the high potential employee with global exposure. This prepared a solid succession planning to pursue growth strategy. Capability cluster included branding and innovation challenge, entrepreneurial thinking, customer driven organization, knowledge sharing and open communication and continual learning. Outstanding performers were selected which supported the achievement culture. All of these steps contributed to the prospector strategy of market development. Intervention used here is targeted to adapt HSBC in the result focused business environment (P. 201). Evidences of flexibility and support culture to generate new services, as addressed by Company chairman Sir John Bond (P. 201) are not much elaborated in the case.

Colgate needed a comprehensive career planning system so that sufficient numbers of managers with the right skills would be available to fill forecasted job openings (P.1). "To implement the product strategies, the business units required certain reservoir of talent, skills and knowledge. This made the career planning essential at global scale (P. 419). A human resources vision was created. This vision committed to cross functional and cross national work structures. Idea sharing was recognized. Customer orientation and innovation in product, service and processes were emphasized. Since its spinoff from Signet Financial, 'Capital one' has experienced tremendous growth in both compound annual growth and employees (from 3000 to 20,000). Company realized that with such a rapid growth, talent should be a key market differentiator (P. 73). Capital one has put in place technology, processes and individual capabilities to achieve a six fold growth in the associate population in eight years, while constantly raising selectivity and talent quality (P. 87). Company "dedicated significant effort" on hiring the talent achieved six fold growth; this is in accordance to the prospector strategy. Company simultaneously follows the 'make orientation' of human resources by establishing capital one university. According to an organization estimate, 26% to 50% of executives at the organization are internally developed. However, by the performance progression plan, company managed to keep itself lean by eliminating the redundancies. Celanese demerged from Hoechst Corp. and employee strength reduced from 1, 80,000 to 9,500 (P.89). At Celanese, performance management referred as talent management (P.90). Talent upgraded in the organization and performance culture built. Cross functional, cross business and cross cultural experience is in congruent to prospector strategy. Importance of retaining talent to cope up the turbulent times was learnt (P.106). Celanese estimates that approximately 51% to 75 % of its executives have been developed internally. This is in contrast to the two 'buy orientation' of prospector's HR strategy.

Microsoft's "Share holders demanded an articulate road map for new market development which complemented the windows and office revenue base" (P.31). To execute this strategy, company reorganized functional units. This increased the need for general management talent. Company turned its focus toward building a broader range of leadership talent and implemented the career model frame work that also addressed the underlying cultural change frame work needed to execute the business strategy (P.31). This has been tremendous learning opportunity. As a platform to talent management, career framework provided and integrated architecture which aligns people, system and business processes with business strategy (P.35). Talent management platforms build for developing new market to complement the products of Microsoft. Company has shifted its focus to single product and application to multiple product, services and devices (P.32). Implementing a worldwide approach was also a challenge of its kind which pushed the company to create a structure for delivering professional specific content in each geographical region (P.35).

Trans- Organizational Development (Trans OD)

Increased difficulty in geographically diversified business led to the merger of HP and Compaq. HP Norway executives were concerned about the changes needed to make HP vision a reality in unified business model. Accenture, the OD consultant, implemented facility integration and relocation programme. This was one of the most successful relocation in the history, as claimed by the consultant. Successful integration reduced the 20% of time elapsed in internal processes. Unified image of the merged entity construed before customers. Value spread in the HP way can now be built on the successful relocation.

The two OD interventions were conducted in 1998 to build the Monsanto and MAHCO alliance (P. 1). "ME session was intended to convey information about the alliance and its Partner organizations" (P.1). "Participants in both sessions reported increased levels of mutual understanding, thereby laying the foundation for future development of trust (Page 11). Appreciative Inquiry (AI) used for transforming prospector to product innovator. "75% of AI session respondents indicated that they had made progress" (P. 1). Product renovation happened at Monsanto, as quoted "they envisioned an alliance that would increase the nutrient (protein) content of pulse crops, create nitrogen-fixating plants, and develop new insect-resistant crops, and spawn a gene revolution" (P. 2). Six years later, researchers feel that OD sessions were overly optimistic. The need for substantive and ongoing initiative would prove to be more long lasting.

In the case of Daimler and Chrysler, Integration team announced the structure and principle of post merger consolidation process. "Mercedes was reaching the limits of markets and Daimler's marquis brand name made it difficult to enter emerging and other high volume markets" (P.1). New learning freeze and Organization started mutually adapting. Organization learning occurred between the firms. Organization restructured as per product group. Dominant coalition has short life as some key executive of the integration team left. Strong reservation emerged concerning the cultural fit. German and American social culture are quite different in terms of risk taking, individualism and punctuality however the two organizations saw great opportunity in cost savings.

Team building intervention (Category -II)

Second category of the OD intervention is human processual or team Building. Due to the multilocational presence of the prospector's network partners and the rise of the information technology, Virtual team (VT) proposed to be fitting intervention for the team building. These teams help in performing creative task in a diversified, decentralized and democratized way. By the virtue of virtual teams, telecommuting is increasingly become popular as a flexible job design. Virtual work force can better serve the customers and network partners. Findings from the cases can be summarized as:

At Orange, "People in the product development function were working across boundary, across physical structure and across line of reporting in virtual teams" (P.13). "Product development was largely focused on delivery of call and network excellence" (P.12). At orange, a lack of trust was due to multi locations which hindered product development and collaboration among virtual project team. In an employee climate survey 94% of employee agreed that there is an improvement in the way they are working after the implementation of OD intervention. At orange, voice mail case study is now the bench mark for this type of learning. Moving certain prompts in the voice mail menu structure delivered a 300 percent increase in the voice mail revenue in two countries. People recognized that "innovation depends upon quality of conversation and work in collaboration" (P.17). Virtual team improved this to large extent. "Throughout the early of the mid nineties, HP's medical product group developed substantial experience and expertise using cross functional project team to develop the vast array of products and services "(P. 30). "Creating the relationship within and among the virtual teams would be vital to the success of such a complex product development and marketing effort" (P.33). "Cumulative efforts of six cross functional virtual team working together to develop and launch the system of the market place effectively shrank the normal product development cycle by 50% from 5 years to 2.5 years and resulted in to system being launched in to the market place, as planned in 1997" (P. 35). "Virtual cross functional team soon became the primary channel with in HP for delivering health care industry's solution to the market place, largely because they accelerated the process of product innovation and development and thus increased company's speed to market with new products and technology" (P. 37). Virtual team is far more dependent on clarity of objective than face to face team (P.36). Issues of right leadership and size of the team are determining factors in team performance.

Boeing Rocket dyne's Rocket engine was facing new competition in an expanding market. (P. 232). A unique type of virtual team using the computer mediated collaborative technology developed the radically new products. "Project was judged as successful achieving its objectives" (P. 238). "Team successfully designed a thrust chamber for a rocket engine made of six part instead of normal 1200 (a 200 times decrease in parts).A manufacturing cost reduction recorded from 7 million USD to 0.5 million USD (14 fold decrease). Normal first unit production cost of 4.5 million USD reduced to 47000 USD. Team member was able to achieve this as "no member was investing 15% of their time, within budget , with 10 months instead of 6 years with more than 15% reduction of the total engineering hours compared to traditional team" (Page 238, Col. 1).

Structural intervention (Category III)

OD has created new structures which are lean, flexible and pushing decision making processes. These structures also match the dynamics of markets. All of these structures are based upon high involvement design. This design is opposite to bureaucratic design where processes are slower. Findings from the cases selected are as under:

Olivetti used high involvement organization design (HIOD). As quoted, "Speed of reaction to market and change in technology is vital so we are planning research and development, manufacturing and technical support all in parallel. The only way you can organize is through work groups which have all the skills required" (P. 53). A company executive says, "We have achieved transformation in eliminating "not invented here" factor and searching for the best solution" (P. 53). Invention and experimentation started. With the de-layering and the staff cut, flatter structure is emerging. ATMI is a technology based US company developing and manufacturing specialty materials used by global semiconductor manufacturers. Its growth rate during 1994-2000 was 20%. It has discordant grouping of business with various names and cultural elements. In early 2001, it started the change process by engaging 100 managers (10%) of the work force. The group became excited about the possibility of consolidating and possibility to improve the customer offerings" (P.15). OD professionals randomly selected 350 employees from every rank and station and called them 'whole and integrated system engagement' (WISE) with a purpose to hold a conversation what ATMI's culture look alike" (P.15). In 2001, ATMI began consolidating its product, process, people and companies (P. 15). Today, it has robust sales and customer Service function, a new product development process, a performance Management system, a pro-active communication strategy, an emerging total reward system (P. 17). As quoted by the company executive, "Our organization becomes tolerant, flexible and even embracing the change. In 2004, six of our business divested, 40% of work force, but morale and productivity remain stable. Inspite of the deepest and longest depression in the semi conductor industry in 2004, our revenue grew in access of 43%. Our communication initiative continues reinforcing new business strategy" (P.17). Consumer Products Inc. identified that the biggest concentration of effort initially was in the start-ups. A significant activity also began in two of the established plants. Food Plant II in one location was a high involvement facility within a conventionally managed plant. The only established nonunion plant also began planning for a new high involvement business within the facility when it received capital for a new product line. They realized that change in large, nested, multi-level organizations is a qualitatively different phenomenon than change in single units, such as departments and plants. The assessment indicated that the large-scale change effort had not yet succeeded in fundamentally changing the character of the division as a whole, but it was having discernible impact. "Speed of new product introductions, an increasingly important measure, appears to be high in the high involvement. The high involvement systems have removed at least one layer of management, and some of these systems are extremely lean" (P.8).

In Volvo car SUV XC 90 project, a group of the southern Californian female customers met with the project team throughout the development process and "interaction has great impact in the XC 90 project" (P.144). Uncertainty component was opposed by the customer involvement so reduced to lower. Customer involvement "reduces the uncertainty that is formally associated with disruptive technology" (P. 147). The case illustrated that the role of customer involvement is much concerned with organization innovation than product innovation. Organization innovation has been the antecedent of the product innovation wherein customer generates "tacit or explicit ideas which in turn affect the product offer" (P. 148).

Human Resource Management Intervention (Category -IV)

Global presence of the prospector firm, differences in the time zones and increased competition have made flexible job design in vogue. It not only boosts the productivity but increases the quality of work life. Findings from the cases containing flexible job design are as under:

At Sun Microsystems, it costs, on an average nearly US $10000 for office space and technology support for each Sun assigned employee. But now it costs only US $6500 for a flexible employee and US $3000 for Sun assigned worker. "Today nearly half (46%) of the Sun employees take part in the open work practice. Survey data show that nearly 72% of participants are happy with the arrangements". (P.1). Sun experience provides helpful blue print for others who have content work force and want to thrive in a competitive market place. At IBM also, the ability to work flexibly is seen by employees as an added benefit. The option in place is attracting, motivating and retaining the talent and key staff. They have seen rise up to 15 % in the remote workers in the last year alone. Today over 90 % of the IBM workforce have laptop computers and ability to connect to our systems, email or instant messaging whether at the company site, at home using broadband or out using wireless network. Mobility and flexibility not only assist in the responsiveness demanded by the customers but it is key to attract and retain crucial talent and skills. Employee may be isolated. IBM/EIU survey showed that more than 44% of employees were not able to collaborate with team members (p.13).

BT continues championing the cause of flexible working for its employees by focusing on creating agile environment for its employees. Company now boasts 8000 home workers and 70% of the 90,000 employees are working flexibly. BT has saved tens of millions of pounds in terms of office space, transport, recruitment and retention. Shared learning with customers is a way of putting real HR value around over product. Nortel networks began their first tele- working programme (home base) in mid nineties. 12000 of the company's 35000 workers are now teleworkers. "The average increase in the productivity reported is 15-20%. This applied to 3000 full time workers, works out to be US $4, 50,000 per day in increased productivity." (P.1) "Nortel network is well placed to help organizations understand how they can take maximum advantage of flexible working to empower their staff." (P.3). To quote an employee at Nortel, " I have become more accustomed to role and freedom that home working gives me, I have become far more flexible too" (P. 1).

A model based on above findings, shows how OD interventions are contributing to a prospector firm.


Inter Rater Reliability

While rating and preparing Meta- synthesis schedule, many variations were possible. Case selection was done as per the criterion mentioned earlier. Both the researchers worked as raters of the cases. Evidence was collected independently by both. We usually have one week to read and collect the evidences, supporting or contradicting propositions from the case. We met on the weekends to exchange the rating of the cases and to reach on consensus. Researchers contacted authors of the cases understudy when they feel inadequacy or ambiguity of the information or they needed clarification about anything. Cases were discussed, once the response from the original author/s was received. We included only those evidences with which both of researchers were either fully agreed or partially agreed. Evidences, on which either of the researchers disagreed, were not reported in the study; however we are giving the number of the occasions herein when agreement or disagreement took place.

Concluding Discussion

Organizations use many techniques for its improvement. We combined some of them together and put a generic label on it. This study related organization's strategy typology with the generic label of OD interventions. Interventions also differ in terminology like career management which often used as human resource management intervention is also called talent management and used as strategic initiative in the organization. We found contradictory evidence in the case of Capital one and Celanese as talent was internally developed there. This appears opposite to the 'buy orientation' (Miles and Snow, 1984) of human resources. We can explain this by using Miles and Snow's (1978) own concept of 'dominant Coalition'. Dominant Coalition consists of powerful members situated in the inner circle of the complex co-coordinating mechanism of a prospector firm. A prospector develops the talent internally to trace the people for the membership of the dominant coalition. The case of the HP Norvey showed the prompt integration initiative of the HP to cope up the problem of the image conflict after its merger with Compaq. This was done, keeping in view the perspective of customers who align with the market orientation of the company. In the case of Monsanto's trans-cultural strategic alliance, authors of the case realized that "the people who were road blocks in 1998 were still road blocks in 2003. Aspects of decision making and business control were still frustrating in the alliance" (P. 107). Culture difference in the partnership can only be compensated by the senior management involvement and shifting the priority of the educative session from human resource management to strategic management. Daimler- Benz faced the challenging post merger integration issues. The outcome of the efforts of the integration team resulted more challenges than concrete success. The critical difference in the cases of Monsanto and Daimler is the engagement of top managers and ongoing OD efforts. The latter company was quite successful in learning between the firm and adapting sharply to contrasting culture of Germany and America. It adopted more reward oriented policies for its employees. This made the goal of profit more difficult. This was in accordance with Miles and Snow (1978) who indicated that prospectors may sacrifice the profitability to increase their learning and market reach. Due to the diversified operations of the prospector firm, work in co-location is seldom possible. Electronic communication between the team members is solution. Evidence shows the effectiveness and efficiency in the operations. In HP's case, virtual team became the primary channel due to its pace in establishing the coordination mechanism. It reduced the product development cycle drastically. In Boeing's case, product was developed in 10 months as done in 6 years in traditional teams. Building trust is crucial issue in sustaining the collaborative relationships. The leader's role as a facilitator is to establish the credibility of the members. He will be more effective when he encourages shared understanding instead of inter group communication using his own channel. Developing a common language is much important in creating shared understanding. In the case of Boeing, a note book was used as an artifact to evaluate the design as per member's own expertise. Each member gave his evaluation. Although the design got highest evaluation was discarded yet it helped to engage the members well and increased their mutual understanding and collaborative relationships. This process found to be very valuable. The prospector faces uncertainties as they involve in the experimentation. In the case of the Volvo, involving with the customers brought out the tacit knowledge which further reduced uncertainties. Customer can not only give suggestions regarding processes but also their presence is quite assuring. Dahlsten (2004) mentioned that customer involvement is also about organization innovation, as product innovation. In the case of the Olivetti, where this company worked in groups with alliance partners and customer, inter-organizational learning was emphasized by citing the example of Japanese who remain very responsive to the relationships and learning whether it is management systems or market development or product and production technology. Keeping in view the recent shift from the product -led to service- led business; IBM has realized the need to practice more flexibility at work place. Flexibility combined with technology, resulted in to the efficiency in costs and services. IBM and Sun both reduced costs very drastically. Flexible job design is also in-separable with managing talent. Sun's practice to provide flexible work place helped it in attracting and retaining the talent. A great majority of employee satisfaction is the indicator of this. To perform the job efficiently is more important than where it is done. However, work at home reported the serious threat of employee dis-engagement and alienation at IBM. Company dealt this situation with OD programmes.

Appendix: List of the Case Studies Used

1. Accenture (2003), Hewlett-Packard (HP): Change Management, Available at: (Accessed on 15 April, 2008).

2. APQC (2004), Capital One. Talent Management: From Competencies to Organizational Performance, Available at: (Accessed on May 14, 2007).

3. APQC (2004), Celanese. Talent Management: From Competencies to Organizational Performance, Available at: (Accessed on May 14, 2007).

4. Banucci, P., W. (2005), "Building a high performance culture at ATMI", Strategic Communication Management, Vol. 9 No. 2.

5. Berry, M. (2004), "BT homes in on flexible working", Personnel Today, Vol. Sep, pp. 12.

6. Cummings, T. and Worley, C. (2001), "Linking career Planning, Human Resource Planning and Strategy at Colgate-Palmolive", Organizational development and change, Chap. 18, pp. 419.

7. Cummings, T. and Worley, C. (2001), "Merging Mercedes and Chrysler", Organizational development and change, Chap. 19, pp. 493.

8. Dahlsten, F. (2004), "Hollywood wives revisited: A study of customer involvement in XC 90 project at Volvo Car", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 7 No. 2.

9. Ruhli, E. and Sachs, S. (1999), "Case study. The NOVARTIS mega-merger: an intraorganizational evolutionary perspective", Strategic Change, Chichester: Jun/July. Vol. 8, No. 4; pp. 217.

10. Gakovic, A. (2007), "Global talent management at HSBC", Organization Development Journal, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 201.

11. Legare, T. L. (2001), "How Hewlett-Packard used virtual cross Functional teams to deliver health care industry solutions". Journal of Organizational excellence, Vol. 20 No. 4.

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Sharadindu Pandey and Prof. RRK Sharma

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India

Corresponding Author

Sharadindu Pandey can be contacted at:
Table 1: Prospector's mechanism for environmental adaptation

Entrepreneurial Problem Solutions

How to Locate and Exploit 1. Broad and continuously developing
new product and market domain
 2. Monitors wide range of
 environmental conditions and events.

 3. Creates change in the Industry

 4. Growth through product and market

 5. Growth may occur in spurts

Engineering Problem Solutions

How to avoid long term 1. Flexible, prototypical technologies.
commitment to single
Technological process? 2. Multiple Technologies.

 3. Low degree of routinization and
 mechanization, technology embedded
 in people.

Administrative problem Solutions

How to facilitate and 1. Marketing and research and
coordinate numerous and development experts most powerful
diverse operations? members of dominant coalition.

 2. Dominant Coalition is large,
 diverse and transitory, may include
 an inner circle.

 3. Tenure of dominant coalition not
 always lengthy. Key managers may be
 hired outside or be promoted within.

 4. Planning is comprehensive;
 problem oriented and cannot be
 finalized before action is taken.

 5. Tendency toward product structure
 with low division of labour or low

 6. Decentralized control and short
 looped horizontal information

 7. Complex coordination mechanisms
 and conflict resolve through

 8. Organization Performance measured
 against important competitor, reward
 system favors marketing and research
 and development.

Source: Miles, RE and Snow, Charles C (1978), Organizational
Strategy, Structure and Process, New York, McGraw Hill.

Table 2: Schedule for Meta Synthesis

Sr. Case/year OD intervention Initial stage/ Final
No. requirement improvement/

1. HSBC Talent Growth Employee value
 2007 Management

2. Colgate Talent Global talent HR vision
 2001 Management

3. Capital One Talent Market Six time
 2004 Management differentiation employee growth
 and talent

4. Celanese Talent De-merger Talent
 2004 Management retaining and

5. Microsoft Talent New market Multiple
 2007 Management product focus

6. Novartis Trans-OD Merger Fast growth

7. HP Norvey Trans-OD Merger Efficiency

8. Monsanto Trans-OD Alliance Mutual trust
 2005 building

9. Daimler Trans-OD Integration Mutual
 Chrysler adaptation

10. Orange Virtual Team Lack of trust Conversation &
 2006 collaboration

11. HP Virtual Team Team relation Product
 2001 innovation

Table 3: Inter rater reliability

Sr. Case Possible Actual Dis-
no. agreement agreement agreement

1. HSBC 6 6 0
2 Colgate-Palmolive 6 6 0
3. Capital One 6 6 0
4. Celanese 6 6 0
5. Microsoft 6 6 0
6. Novartis 6 6 0
7. HP Norvey 6 6 0
8. Monsanto 6 5 1
9. Daimler Chrysler 6 6 0
10. Orange 6 6 0
11. HP 6 6 0
12. Boeing Rocket Dyne 6 6 0
13. Olivetti 6 6 0
14. ATMI Inc. 7 6 1
15. Consumer Product 7 6 1
16. Volvo Car 6 6 0
17. Sun Micro Systems 7 6 1
18. IBM 6 6 0
19. BT 7 6 1
20. Nortel networks 7 7 0
 Overall agreement 125 120 5
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