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Problem Solving in Organizations A Methodological Handbook for Business Students.

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内容提示: This page intentionally left blank Problem-solving in OrganizationsThis concise introduction to the methodology of business problem-solving (BPS)is an indispensable guide to the design and execution of practical projects in realorganizational settings. The methodology is both result-oriented and theory-based,encouraging students to use the knowledge gained on their disciplinary courses, andshowing them how to do so in a fuzzy, ambiguous and politically charged, real-lifebusiness context. The bookprovide...

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This page intentionally left blank Problem-solving in OrganizationsThis concise introduction to the methodology of business problem-solving (BPS)is an indispensable guide to the design and execution of practical projects in realorganizational settings. The methodology is both result-oriented and theory-based,encouraging students to use the knowledge gained on their disciplinary courses, andshowing them how to do so in a fuzzy, ambiguous and politically charged, real-lifebusiness context. The bookprovides an in-depth discussion ofthe various steps in theprocess of business problem-solving. Rather than presenting the methodology as arecipe to be followed, the authors demonstrate how to adapt the approach to specificsituations and to be flexible in scheduling the work at various steps in the process. Itwill be indispensable to MBA students who are undertaking their own fieldwork.Dr Joan Ernst van Aken is Professor of Organization Science at the Departmentof Organization Science and Marketing of the Faculty Technology Management,Eindhoven University ofTechnology, The Netherlands.Dr Hans Berends is Assistant Professor in the Department ofOrganization Scienceand Marketing of the Faculty Technology Management, Eindhoven University ofTechnology, The Netherlands.DrHansvanderBij is AssistantProfessor in the DepartmentofOrganization Scienceand Marketing of the Faculty Technology Management, Eindhoven University ofTechnology, The Netherlands. Problem-solving inOrganizationsA Methodological Handbook forBusiness StudentsJoan Ernst van AkenHans BerendsHans van der Bij CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESSCambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São PauloCambridge University PressThe Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UKPublished in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New Yorkwww.cambridge.orgFirst published in print formatISBN-13 978-0-521-86976-8ISBN-10 0-521-86976-5ISBN-13ISBN-10 0-511-27777-6978-0-511-27777-1© Joan Ernst van Aken, Hans Berends and Hans van der Bij 20072006Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521869768This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.hardbackeBook (EBL)eBook (EBL)hardback ContentsListoffiguresListofboxesPrefacepageixxxiPart IFundamentals11Scope and nature ofthis handbook1.1Objectives and target audience1.2 Design-focused and theory-based business problem-solving1.3 How to use this handbook33452Problem-solving projects in organizations2.1The nature ofbusiness problem-solving projects2.2 The basic setup ofa problem-solving project2.3 Quality criteria for problem-solving projects7712153Design-focused business problem-solving3.1Introduction3.2 Characteristics ofdesign-focused business problem-solving3.3 Problem-solving strategies3.4 Choosing a problem-solving strategy3.5 Designs and designing3.6 Designing social systems3.7 Paradigmatic starting points17171719212227304Theory-based business problem-solving4.1Theory-based problem analysis and solution design4.2 Solution concepts for business problem-solving4.3 Developing knowledge for business problem-solving33333436v viContentsPart IIThe problem-solving project395Intake and orientation5.1General setup5.2The intake process5.3The orientation process5.4Describing the problem context5.5Problem definition5.6Assignment and deliverables5.7Project approach5.8Project costs and organization5.9Problem-solving projects in different formats5.10 Example41414245464650515556586Theory-based diagnosis ofbusiness problems6.1Introduction6.2Empirical exploration and validation ofthe businessproblem and its causes6.3Theoretical analysis6.4Process-oriented analysis6.5The diagnostic story6.6Alternative approaches6.7Final remarks63636470757879817Solution design7.1Introduction7.2The deliverables ofthe problem-solving project7.3The design process7.4Solution design7.5Solution justification7.6Solution design: the International Imaging Systems case838383848790928Change plan design and the actual change process8.1The timing ofchange plan design8.2Change plan design8.3The change process989899104 viiContents8.48.5Change plan design: the International Imaging Systems caseChange plan design: the importance ofdevelopingorganizational support1061109Evaluation, reflection and termination9.1Introduction9.2Project-oriented evaluation9.3Learning for the future9.4Scientific reflection9.5Personal and professional development9.6Project termination and reporting113113114119122124125Part IIIOn methods12710Qualitative research methods10.1Qualitative versus quantitative10.2 Unit ofanalysis10.3 Case selection10.4 Qualitative data collection methods10.5 Qualitative methods ofanalysis10.6 Selecting a method12912913013313413714111Searching and using scholarly literature11.1Introduction11.2 Types ofpublications11.3 Focusing a literature review11.4 Searching literature11.5 Integrating ideas and findings14314314414814915212Quality criteria for research12.1Introduction12.2 Controllability12.3 Reliability12.4 Validity12.5 Recognition ofresults12.6 Concluding remarks155155157158163166167 viiiContentsPart IVConclusion16913Concluding remarks171ReferencesIndex174181 Figures2.13.13.23.3The regulative cycle (Van Strien 1997)Process, object and realization designA general model for a design processSynthesis-evaluation iterations (loop A) and specification-designiterations (loop B), which are started ifthe answer on question S(‘change specifications?’) is ‘Yes’.The empirical cycle (after De Groot 1969)The learning or reflective cycle (after Van Aken 2004)Example ofa preliminary cause-and-effect diagramGeneral structure ofconceptual project design for the diagnosis inBPS projectsResults ofincident analysis at ABC ResearchInformation processing model (adapted from Tushman (1978) andDaft and Lengel (1986))An example ofa process diagram (Gerards 1998)Ishikawa diagram for a group ofpatients with chronic obstructivepulmonary diseases (Gerards 1998).The key activities in actual designing: synthesis-evaluation iterationsNumber ofdamaged and missing products over a two-year period(data from a logistic service provider; Van Meurs 1997)page 132424263636494.14.25.15.252746.16.274776.36.478857.19.1116ix Boxes5.15.25.3Example ofthe use ofan external explorationExamples ofbusiness problems and corresponding assignmentsExamples ofparts offour exploratory interviews regarding the ABCResearch caseExample ofproject proposalAn indirect validation ofa business problemMultiple sources ofevidenceProject implementation profilepage4344596066695.46.16.29.1121x PrefaceThis handbook gives the methodology for problem-solving in organizationsor, in other words, for business problem-solving. Its target audience consistsofgraduatebusinessstudentsaimingto develop theircompetencesinbusinessproblem-solving, notjustonthebasisofwrittencasesbutinareal-lifecontext.Junior management consultants or researchers involved in problem-solvingwithin the framework ofAction Research may also find the methodology ofthis handbook useful.The theory in this handbook can best be mastered through an extensiveclassroom course, although it may be possible to study the material in a moreaccelerated version for those able to back it up with self-study and fieldwork.As well as addressing the theories, training should be provided on issues suchas problem definition, developing a project proposal, problem analysis, andsolutiondesign.Ideally,trainingintheclassroomshouldbefollowedbyfurtherdevelopment ofcompetences by actual problem-solving in the field.Since its scientification, the field of business and management has devel-oped into a respectable social science. This has led to the idea that the corecompetence of the business graduate is undertaking good research and thatfieldwork for a business student should reflect this. However, we feel thatthe core competence of the business graduate is business problem-solving.Business problem-solving is very different from business research. There aremanybooks on business research methodology, which is quite similarto moregeneral social science research methodology. They give the methodology foranalysing, describing and explaining that what is, focusing on the develop-ment of (usually general) knowledge. In business problem-solving, on theother hand, the focus is on designing thatwhatcan be, or thatwhatshouldbein order to improve the performance ofa specific business system on one ormore criteria. In order to be able to design abusiness system, or to redesign anexisting one, one must analyze the present one and the possible causes ofitsxi xiiPrefaceless than satisfactoryperformance. For that, manyclassic (and non-classic forthatmatter) methods ofsocial science research can help. Butproblem analysisis onlythe firstpartofbusiness problem-solving, andanalysis shouldbe in theservice ofthe design ofsolutions (and the necessary change plans). Thereforethe methodologygiven here is design-focused: problem-solvingprojects aim atthe design ofa sound solution and at the realization ofperformance improve-ment through planned change, and not merely at sophisticated analyses orsmart reports.The methodology of this handbook is also theory-based. In practice,problem-solvinginorganizationsisoftenundertakeninacraftsman-likefash-ion, basedon business experience andinformedcommon sense. The method-ology presented in this book is theory-based: based on state-of-the-art liter-ature, on the type ofbusiness systems and type ofproblems in question, andon the methods to be used in solving business problems (without, ofcourse,discounting offcommon sense and experience).Ourapproachbuildsonthetraditionsofrationalproblem-solving.Thetypeofproblems best suited to this approach should have a significant technical-economic content. Atthe same time we recognize thatorganizations are socialsystems, thatthe realization ofimprovements in business system performanceentails organizational change, and that effective organizational change doesnot only need technical-economic interventions (like the presentation of apromising solution for a problem), but political and cultural ones as well.Therefore our focus is not only on technical solution design, but also on thedesign ofthe change process needed to realize the performance improvement,and on the development oforganizational support for a solution and changeplan.The prime objective ofproblem-solving projects for students is to developtheir core competence, that is their competence in business problem-solving.These projects should, of course, also serve the interests of client organiza-tions by supporting their problem-solving. For university or college super-visors, student problem-solving projects can also provide valuable input totheir research. The problem in question will normally be within the scopeof their sub-discipline in business, and they can use their business con-tacts to find organizations with problems within their specific research area.Student problem-solving projects can then provide supervisors with usefuladditional insight into current business issues and often also some empiricaldata. xiiiPrefaceFieldproblem-solvingcan be averyimportantelementin abusiness courseprogramme as it aims to develop the core competence ofthe student. But it isdone in a terrain with more pitfalls and booby traps than a university library.We hope that the methodology given in this handbook will help the studentto navigate this difficult but important and interesting terrain.Joan Ernst van AkenHans BerendsHans van der BijEindhoven, January 2006 Part IFundamentalsIn Part I we discuss the general background ofproblem-solving in organiza-tions. We start bydescribing the characteristics and general setup ofproblem-solving projects, which aim to improve the performance ofa certain businesssystem on one or more performance indicators in the real world. We comparethis with business research projects, which aim to develop general knowl-edge. We then discuss the characteristics of the methodology for businessproblem-solving presented in this handbook, and compare this with otherproblem-solving strategies. As design is a key activity in our approach, weprovide some general design theoryplus some theoryon social system design.Finally, we discuss the various sources of knowledge to be used in businessproblem-solving, and the development ofgeneral design knowledge throughscholarly research. 1Scope and nature of this handbook1.1 Objectives and target audienceThis handbook gives a design-focused and theory-based methodology forbusiness problem-solving projects, be they large or small, driven by one ora group ofbusiness students in consulting roles. Our methodology has beendeveloped for university business programmes such as MBA programmes,for which the development ofstudent competences to solve real-life businessproblemsisakeyobjective. Or, inotherwords, forbusinesscoursesthataimtoeducate professionals. The core competence ofthe scientistis research, butforprofessionals such as doctors, lawyers and engineers, it is problem-solving inthe field. For the business student the development ofthat competence can besupported byin-house courses on problem-solving methodologyand coursesbased around written case-studies, but in our opinion its key componentshould be business problem-solving (BPS) in a real-life context. This can beachieved either by a trainee within a company taking on a BPS project ofsixmonthsorso, orasasmallerprojectundertakenbyagroup ofstudentsvisitinga companyon a fewoccasions to do their analysis and present their proposals.This handbook can be used in a general classroom course to prepare forbusiness problem-solving fieldwork, and subsequently as a sourcebook forpreparing and running actual field projects. It can also be used as additionalreading (possibly with one or more classroom training sessions) for a disci-plinary course aiming to combine theory with the application ofthat theoryin practice.The methodology of this handbook has been developed based on morethan ten years’ experience in supervising business problem-solving projectsby students ofthe techno-MBA course at Eindhoven University ofTechnol-ogy. These included short group assignments in BPS in the field, but mostwere six- to nine-month graduation projects, aimed at further developing3 4Fundamentalsstudents’ competences in theory-based BPS. The business problems to besolved typically had a significant technical-economic content. However, thishandbook deals with the conceptual and technical setup ofthe project itself,notwithmethodsrelatedto thecontentoftheproblem. Unlikemanybooksonconsulting (see for example Albert 1980; Kubr 1996), this book does not havesections on problem-solvingin differentdisciplinarycontexts. Typicallyin thecontextofauniversitycourse,universitysupervisorswillprovidestudentswiththe necessary disciplinary support. Chapter 3 provides further discussion onthe nature and application ofour methodologyfor business problem-solving.1.2 Design-focused and theory-based business problem-solvingAswillbediscussedinmoredetailinChapter2,aBPSprojecttypicallyconsistsofan analysis and design part, an organizational change part, and a learningpart, during which the organization learns to realize improved performanceon the basis of the designed solution. The methodology presented in thishandbook focuses on the design of the solution for the business problem,the design of the change process needed to realize that solution in new oradapted roles and procedures, and the analyzes needed to make those designs.Hence the term ‘design-focused’. We will only briefly discuss the change andlearning part, reflecting the actual practice ofbusiness students undertaking abusiness problem-solving project. Typicallytheywill focus on the two designs(and work on organizational support for these designs), but will leave the –possiblyquiteprotracted–changeandlearningpartstotheorganizationitself.Therefore our focus is largely on the design part ofthe BPS project.‘Theory-based’ means that in this approach problem-solving is not donein a craftsman-like way, largelyrelyingon one’s own experience and informedcommonsense. Rather,itistheory-based,usingstate-of-the-artliterature. Theliterature to be used in business problem-solving entails two complementaryaspects:– objectandrealizationknowledge: knowledgeoftheobjectofproblem-solving,that is, knowledge oforganizations and management in general, and ofvar-ious business systems and functions such as marketing, operations, innova-tion and finance in particular; and knowledge ofthe realization ofbusinesssolutions through planned change;– processknowledge: that is, knowledge ofapproaches and methods to be usedin the analysis and design of business solutions and change plans, from 5Scope and nature of this handbookproblem definition to decision-making on proposed solutions and changeplans.This handbook focuses on the second category, that of process knowledgefor business problem-solving. It also discusses some elements of realizationknowledge in the context ofchange plan design, but it does not discuss objectknowledge as this will be provided by the disciplinary courses ofthe businessprogramme, supported by the university supervisors ofthe BPS project.‘Theory-based’ does not, of course, mean copying theory into particu-lar cases. Theory is by definition general and must always be contextualizedfor use in actual problem-solving. Theory-based in BPS within an academicprogramme specifically means the comprehensive, critical and creative use oftheory:– comprehensive: because problem-solving should be based on a systematicreview ofthe existing literature on the issues in question;– critical: because one should judge the value and limitations ofexisting liter-ature, among other things on the basis ofthe evidence given (for instancethedesignofbusinesssolutionsmaybeinformedbymanagementliterature,as long as one is aware ofits limitations);– creative: because one should not just use theory, but aim to build upon it,play with it, and add to it in order to produce appealing designs.Theory-based design can be seen as design on an academic level, in whichtheory is very important, but at the same time with an awareness ofits limi-tations.1.3 How to use this handbookThis handbook provides theory on how to set up and drive a BPS project. Itshouldbeusedinacomprehensive,criticalandcreativeway.Bycomprehensivewe mean that the theory should not be used as a menu by which readerspick and choose certain elements. Rather the approach as a whole shouldbe followed. At the same time the theory should be used critically, as faras is appropriate for the business problem in question. Chapter 3 supportsthe critical use by discussing the limitations of this theory and the types ofproblems for which it can be used. The creative use means that the approachgiven in this bookis notsimplyto be copied, butthatitis to be contextualized.The approach given in this handbook should be regarded as a ‘design model’;a general model to be used as the basis for the design of the specific setupof a BPS project for a specific setting. The approach of this handbook is a 6Fundamentalskind of ‘norm process’; a well-tested example of how to do it, described interms of a ‘standard setting’. In reality no setting is standard, so one alwayshas to make one’s own, specific project design. At the same time one shouldbe able to justify any deviation from the norm process on the grounds ofthe requirements ofthe specific setting, or on the grounds ofthe recognizedlimitations ofthe norm process itself.Although in our experience graduate students are quite able to use a hand-book such as this in self-study, to prepare and manage their BPS projects inthe field, a good way to learn this approach is to follow a classroom courseusing this book. We use it in a course consisting ofa few explanatorylectures,self-study, and a number oftraining sessions in which written case studies areused to train for activities such as problem definition, designing a problem-solving approach, and preparing a project proposal. However the real learn-ing experience should be in the field: defining problems, capturing data andexploring solutions in the messy, political and sensitive world ofreal-life busi-ness, thus developingthe tacitknowledge needed to applythe codified knowl-edge ofthe business programme. No written case study can give the studentthat learning experience. Even students with previous business experience,who tend to tackle problems on the basis of their experience and commonsense, can benefit from this theory-based, design-based approach to businessproblem-solving. 2Problem-solving projects in organizations2.1 The nature of business problem-solving projectsThe objective of this handbook is to discuss the methodology of business-problem solving (BPS) projects, carried out by business students. Examplesofsuch projects are:– improving the delivery performance ofthe spare part inventory control ofa capital goods company;– developinga costcontrol system for adistribution centre ofapostal service;– improving the performance ofa recentlyintroduced e-procurement systemfor a small company;– developing a decision support system for the allocation of resources toresearch and design projects for a small, high-tech company;– developingasystemformeasuringtheperformanceofamarketingandsalesdepartment;– improvingthe effectiveness andefficiencyoftrainingcourses forthe humanresources management department ofa large company;– developing a system for measuring the reliability ofnew software in a soft-ware development department;– improving the qualitycontrol system ofa production department byintro-ducing statistical process control.Business problem-solving projects are started to improve the performanceofabusinesssystem, departmentoracompanyononeormorecriteria. Ultimatelyitshouldimpacttheprofitofacompany(oracomparableoverallperformanceindicator ifit is a not-for-profit-organization), but usually the actual objec-tives of a BPS project are of a more operational nature, related to the effec-tiveness and/or efficiency ofoperational business processes. The approachesdiscussed in this handbook can generally also be used for business improve-ment projects of a more strategic nature, although we do not discuss the7 8Fundamentalsadditional technical-economic, political and social complexities of suchprojects here.BPS projects are undertaken to improve the performance ofa certain busi-ness system or organizational unit. With respect to the logic of their setupwe will follow the classic problem-solving cycle as elaborated in the regulativecycle by Van Strien (1997). This regulative cycle has five basic process steps(see figure 2.1 below):– problem definition;– analysis and diagnosis;– plan ofaction;– intervention;– evaluation.This is the logic of the regulative cycle from the perspective of the student.From the perspective of the client organization a full BPS project has threeparts:– a design part, in which a redesign ofthe business system or organizationalunit is made based on the problem definition, analysis and diagnosis; achange plan for introducing the redesign; and the development ofan orga-nizationalsupportstructure forthe solution andchange plan (steps 1, 2 and3 ofthe regulative cycle);– a change part, in which the redesign is realized through changes in organi-zational roles and routines, plus the possible implementation ofnew toolsor information systems (step 4 ofthe regulative cycle);– a learningpart, in which the client organization learns to operate within thenewsystem andwiththenewinstruments, andlearnsto realizetheintendedperformance improvement. An organization needs time to recover after asignificant change. People have to relearn how to work effectively and effi-cientlywithin theirnewsituation, whichtakes time, effortandmanagementattention. Ofcourse, ifthe change has been limited, the recoveryperiod canalso be limited. (This part ofthe process may be subsumed under step 5 ofVan Strien’s regulative cycle.)Usually the student leaves the company after the design part, having createdas far as possible the conditions for a successful outcome of the two subse-quent parts. Thus the focus ofthis handbook is on the design part ofthe BPSproject.A problem can be defined as the result of a certain perception of a stateof affairs in the real world with which one or more important stakeholdersare dissatisfied. Business problems have a number ofcharacteristics, many ofthem very different from research problems. These include the following: 9Problem-solving projects in organizations– business problems are not given, cannot be ‘discovered’ in reality, but arethe result ofchoices ofinfluential stakeholders: in the context ofa ‘mess’ ofissues, ofopinions and value judgments on those issues, ofinterests, powerand influence, these stakeholders choose an issue, or combination ofissues,to work on (see Ackoff1981a, on the problem mess);– these influential stakeholders are dissatisfied on the basis ofa comparisonof their perception ofthe performance of the business system in questionon certain implicit or explicit performance indicators with some implicit orexplicit norms, and they choose the problem to work on because they havethe impression that significantperformance improvement is feasible withinacceptable constraints on time and effort;– business problems, like all design problems, are open-ended: typicallythereis not one unique solution to a business problem, but there can be severalgood solutions;– theyare notintellectualquestions, butare chargedwith values, interests andpower, that is, they are strongly dependent on value judgments ofvariousstakeholders and theyare connected with material and immaterial interestsofthesestakeholders, who mayusetheirformalandinformalorganizationalpower to protect those interests;– typically business problems are solved within (often tight) constraints oftime and effort, so analysis and design are done on a satisficing basis, inother words on a ‘good enough’ basis (even in high-quality, theory-basedbusiness problem-solving);– business problems are selected from a ‘problem mess’ and subsequently‘solved’ througha‘change muddle’. Even ifbasedon asoundsolution designand a sound change plan, the actual change and subsequent learning pro-cesses are subject to all kinds ofexternal and internal interferences, so thatcorrective actions and improvisations still play an important role duringthese change and learning processes, hence the term ‘change muddle’.An important part ofproblem definition during the course ofa BPS projectis to make explicit the perceptions, performance indicators and norms usedbythe various stakeholders in defining their own version ofthe problem. Theproblem definition should lead to a definition ofa real problem. One shouldavoid doing a BPS project on a perception problem; a problem defined on thebasis ofinaccurate perceptions ofthe performance ofthe business system inquestion. One should also not take on a project on a targetproblem, that is aproblem defined on the basis ofunattainable norms.Most business problems are solved by responsible management and/or bytheorganizationalmembers affectedbythe problem. However, this handbook 10Fundamentalstakes the perspective ofa business student – an involved outsider to the orga-nizational setting in question – whose help is enlisted to solve the problemin a consulting role. Graduate business students are people with the expertiseand drive to analyze the problem, design a solution, design a change process(usuallyincooperationwithpeoplefromthebusinesssysteminquestion),andmobilize organizational support for the solution and change plan. Howevertheydo not have the authorityand power to commit organizational resourcesor to change the business system, in which case they would also have respon-sibilityforits performance. So theyhave an effortcommitment, butnotaresultcommitment.Because ofthe characteristics ofbusiness problems, discussed above, a BPSproject driven by one or more business students has a number ofproperties,including the following:– the project is not based on an agreement to perform an agreed activity, butan agreement to help solve a well-defined business problem;– definition ofthe problem is an essential part ofthe project; the student isnot someone who simply does what has been asked, but a partner in theproblem-solving process;– the problem is demarcated in a such a way that it is large enough for itssolution to have a significant impact on the performance of the businesssystem in question, but small enough for its solution to be feasible in viewofthe time and effort committed bythe client organization and the studentthemselves;– the objective of the project is the realization of an actual performanceimprovement, not the report describing the solution and its implemen-tation, nor the solution itself;– the student has an effort commitment, not a result commitment, because,as an involved outsider, he/she does not have the authority to commit andmanage the resources needed to implement the solution and to secure itsoutcomes.AstudentBPS projectshouldbe interestingenoughfortheclientorganizationto invest in it time and management attention (and funds), for the studentto have an important learning experience, and ideally for supervisors to gainadditionalinsightincurrentfieldissuesintheirresearchdomain.Nevertheless,normallyastudentBPS projecthasafairlylimitedscope, although, sometimesstudents are asked to address problems that are quite important for the clientorganization. Student BPS projects are generally low-profile projects for theclient organization, and management may therefore prefer to ask a student,ratherthanawell-knownconsultancyfirm,to addressaproblemthatmightbe 11Problem-solving projects in organizationssensitive. Typicallyastudent’s arrival in afirm is notexperienced as disruptivebythe organization as is thatofaconsultancyfirm, and interviews bystudentsmay more easily get the real story from people than interviews by seniorconsultants. Therefore, student assignments can address problems that are ofimportance for the organization.Abusinessproblem-solvingprojectinvolvestheanalysisoftheproblemandits context. This analysis is not an end in itself, but ‘analysis for design’: madeto support the solution design. So all kinds ofdecisions on the scope, level ofdetail and perspectives to be used in the analysis are to be based on a need-to-know-for-design. Often this makes it necessary to explore some possiblesolution concepts earlyon in the analysis, afterwhich the analysis is continuedto enablethechoiceofsolutionconceptandto preparethesubsequentdetaileddesign ofthe solution.The designed solution is also not an end in itself, but a means to improveperformance: the whole project is focused on performance improvement andnoton the beautyorintellectualappealofthe design. AfullBPS projectentailsthe analysis of the problem and its context, the design of a sound solutionfor that problem, the actual change oforganizational structures and/or workprocesses, and the subsequent management ofthe new situation, in order toproduce the intended performance improvement.In the course ofaBPS projectthe studentgenerallyproduces three designs:– aprojectplan: the design ofthe process thatis to produce the solution designand the change plan design, the actions to take and the actors involved (notonly the student but also various others who may be involved in analysisand design), and the design ofthe approach to the analysis and diagnosis ofthe problem;– a solution (or object) design: the design ofthe solution ofthe problem, forexample in the form ofa new organizational structure, a new work processor a new business information system;– a change plan (orchange process design): the design ofthe process that is torealize the object design (in terms ofthe actions to be taken and the actorsinvolved).The client organization may generally expect the following deliverables:– a problem definition;– a problem analysis and a diagnosis ofthe major causes and consequences ofthe problem;– an exploration ofpotential solutions for the problem;– an elaboration of one of them in a detailed solution desi...

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