Organizational Inquiry

We can help you gain organizational insight through the process of Organizational Inquiry (OI), which is the art of identifying dynamics and unwritten rules for the purpose of improving organizational performance. OI is extremely helpful if an organization has reached an impasse or is lacking information needed to make important decisions.

The first step is meeting with board members or leadership staff to gain an understanding of current concerns and challenges. Next, we narrow down missing, intangible or undocumented information that is important and needed.

Example: EOI worked with an organization that had underwent some very fast changes when their CEO resigned suddenly. After a few months and trying several different approaches, the board was not sure what shape the finances were in or who was responsible for doing what in the office. The board knew that the service “numbers” were down but they were not sure of what that meant. Was the program meeting the goals they set in grants they received? Was the organization keeping up with their reports to their funders? Who would seek funding and write grants now that the CEO left?

EOI set up a plan with the board to spend sometime in the program office listening and observing. We meet with all relevant staff members individually and sometimes as a group. The plan depends on how big the organization is and the location of the identified issues.

A few of the staff members were asked to carry out some duties that were considered part of their normal responsibilities. We were able to see how and whether these were carried out and by whom. After spending some time with the program, EOI was able to provide the board with the information they were seeking, which in turn helped them make some decisions that they were comfortable with. These decisions clarified some issues, which led to improved performance by staff and the program as a whole.

Through this process EOI calls Organizational Inquiry, we can identify unofficial roles and processes, the flow of information, hidden agendas, fears – real or imagined, unwritten rules, norms, beliefs, values and culture. We collect this information from various parts of the organization to identify forces that are negatively or positively impacting an organization.

When these unwritten and intangible forces are identified, EOI can work with you to develop informed solutions for improved performance.

“Our organization, Muskegon Volunteer for Dental Care hired Rita to evaluate our program methodology and data collection as required by a large grant we had received. Rita provided us with a very thorough report through her ability to interview and collect the important information we needed. She was able to evaluate the program fairly and give us the insight we needed to move forward! I highly recommend Rita to anyone needing an independent evaluator!”

Jackie Balcom Lindrup RDH, MEd, Director MVDC