Grid OD

Training is an outgrowth of the managerial grid approach to leadership (Blacke and Mouton, 1978). It is an instrumental approach to laboratory training. Sensitivity training is supplemented with self-administered instruments (Benny, Bradford and Lippitt, 1964). The analysis of these instruments helps in group development and in the learning of group members. This technique is widely used and has proved effective.

Grid training for OD is completed in six phases. They are:

  • Laboratory-seminar training, which aims at acquainting participants with concepts and material used in grid training;
  • A team development phase, involving the coming together of members from the same department to chart out as to how they will attain a 9 x 9 position on the grid;
  • Inter-group development aims at overall OD. During this phase, conflict situations between groups are identified and analyzed;
  • Organization goal setting is based on participative management, where participants contribute to and agree upon important goals for the organization;
  • Goal attainment aims at achieving goals which were set during the phase of organizational goal setting; and
  • Stabilization involves the evaluation of the overall programme and making suggestions for changes if appropriate.


Impoverished Management – Low Results/Low People

The Impoverished or “indifferent” manager is mostly ineffective. With a low regard for creating systems that get the job done, and with little interest in creating a satisfying or motivating team environment  , his results are inevitably disorganization, dissatisfaction and disharmony.

Produce-or-Perish Management – High Results/Low People

Also known as “authoritarian” or “authority-compliance” managers, people in this category believe that their team members are simply a means to an end. The team’s needs are always secondary to its productivity.

This type of manager is autocratic, has strict work rules, policies and procedures, and can view punishment as an effective way of motivating team members. This approach can drive impressive production results at first, but low team morale and motivation will ultimately affect people’s performance, and this type of leader will struggle to retain high performers.

She probably adheres to the Theory X approach to motivation, which assumes that employees are naturally unmotivated and dislike working. A manager who believes people are self-motivated and happy to work is said to follow Theory Y. You can learn more about these theories in our article, Theory X and Theory Y  .

Middle-of-the-Road Management – Medium Results/Medium People

A Middle-of-the-Road or “status quo” manager tries to balance results and people, but this strategy is not as effective as it may sound. Through continual compromise, he fails to inspire high performance and also fails to meet people’s needs fully. The result is that his team will likely deliver only mediocre performance.

Country Club Management – High People/Low Results

The Country Club or “accommodating” style of manager is most concerned about her team members’ needs and feelings. She assumes that, as long as they are happy   and secure, they will work hard.

What tends to be the result is a work environment that is very relaxed and fun, but where productivity suffers because there is a lack of direction and control.

Team Management – High Production/High People

According to the Blake Mouton model, Team management is the most effective leadership style. It reflects a leader who is passionate about his work and who does the best he can for the people he works with.

Team or “sound” managers commit to their organization’s goals and mission, motivate the people who report to them, and work hard to get people to stretch themselves to deliver great results. But, at the same time, they’re inspiring figures who look after their teams. Someone led by a Team manager feels respected and empowered, and is committed to achieving her goals.

Team managers prioritize both the organization’s production needs and their people’s needs. They do this by making sure that their team members understand the organization’s purpose  , and by involving them in determining production needs.

When people are committed to, and have a stake in, the organization’s success, their needs and production needs coincide. This creates an environment based on trust and respect, which leads to high satisfaction, motivation and excellent results. Team managers likely adopt the Theory Y approach to motivation, as we mentioned above.

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