Organization Development – 3.4 Directive vs non-directive practitioner styles

3.4    Directive vs. non-directive practitioner styles

The nature of the OD process, emerging as it does from the applied behavioural sciences, suggests the practitioner should adopt a non-directive style in his or her relationships with clients.  The differences between directive and non-directive styles are illustrated below.

Directive Non-directive
(Practitioner as technical expert) (Practitioner as process facilitator)
The client’s statement of the problem is either accepted at face value or verified by the practitioner on the basis of his/her technical expertise with regard to the problem. The client’s statement of the problem is treated as information; the problem is verified jointly by the client and the practitioner.
Little time is spent on developing the practitioner-client relationship.  The connection is generally short-term and problem-oriented. The practitioner-client relationship is viewed as essential to the process, and considerable attention is given to its development.
The solution to the problem is generally developed by the practitioner and implemented by the client. The practitioner’s responsibility is to help the client to discover and implement appropriate solutions.
The practitioner brings technical expertise to bear on the client’s problem. The practitioner helps to analyse and facilitate organizational processes.
The practitioner is primarily concerned with increasing the client’s knowledge and skill with regard to the stated problem. The practitioner is primarily concerned with improving the client’s analytical and problem-solving skills.
In general, the practitioner accomplishes the job for the client. In general, the practitioner helps the client accomplish the job.

Directive and non-directive consultancy styles summarised

In reality, a mature client-centred approach may recognise the need for occasionally being directive!

My website contains further resources that may be of interest …

http://www.theknowledge.biz/

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