Researching Organizational Values and Beliefs: The Echo Approach

Researching Organizational Values and Beliefs: The Echo Approach

Researching Organizational Values and Beliefs: The Echo Approach

Researching Organizational Values and Beliefs: The Echo Approach


Emerged from the Lewinian tradition of research into organizational behavior, motivation, and change, here is a conceptual but practical way for HR professionals and others in today's organizations to understand better, more quickly and reliably, what the underlying human problems in their organizations are. Cunningham proceeds from the conviction that the key to solving organizational problems is in the hands of people, and that when people talk about the problems they experience they are reflecting their values and beliefs. The way to get people to do that is through a style of inquiry called indirect questioning--the Echo approach. This approach, which managers and executives in all types of organizations will find helpful and extensively useful is the subject of Cunningham's examination.

The Echo approach is designed to bring to the surface and measure the values and beliefs held by a group of people and the organizations they comprise. Cunningham illustrates how this approach works, how to design interviews, surveys, and observations that actually echo peoples' values and beliefs--the obvious ones and those they keep hidden. Readable, well illustrated with cases and examples, this book will help executives at all levels understand better what people in these organizations are actually thinking and saying. In doing so it will help organizations become more productive and be more desirable places to work.


The Echo method is a way of observing, quantifying, and describing the
patterns of value and influence that are felt, verbally expressed, and
often acted on in human society.

The Echo Project

One has only to look at a daily newspaper to find illustrations of problems in organizations related to human and organizational performance, stress, motivation, leadership, conflict, and change. These are popular topics on most store shelves and in many university classes. Clearly, there is no shortage of suggestions and opinions on these topics. It is a case of information overload rather than underload, yet people are feeling the need for ways to resolve these and other organizational problems.

Why are we so interested in such topics when there is so much information about them? In spite of the information on these topics, people are stressed and frustrated at work. Workload and interpersonal conflict in the workplace are top problems people talk about, while absenteeism, lost productivity, and work stoppages are common manifestations. Half the decisions we make in organizations fail, even though we have more information and expertise than ever before.

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