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.
|(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!
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