A Pilot Study to Assess Vertical OD Using Dynamic Systems

Abstract: This paper summarizes the results of a pilot study that is part of a larger dissertation project to explore the research question how might an organization assess its own stage of vertical development reliably and efficiently? The project is an experimental attempt to assess the vertical development of organizations using a new kind of survey to achieve the dual goals of scalability and reliability. A separate dissertation overview summarizes the research problem and methodological design that this pilot uses. The pilot was conducted in two phases. The objective of phase 1 was to enhance survey clarity through live user testing with participants. It was very successful and generated many enhancements to the survey’s instructions. The objective of phase 2 was to conduct the first empirical test of the assumptions that underpin this experimental approach. This objective was also achieved and generated substantial enhancements to this new method for assessing organizations, including the creation of an early-stage scoring manual. However, the survey's initial reliability was not strong enough to validate all assumptions. Four assessors certified in the STAGES model, including its creator Terri O'Fallon, subsequently reviewed this survey’s design and pilot results then recommended a number of enhancements. These enhancements are expected to strengthen the survey’s content validity and internal reliability further in the main dissertation study.

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