Discussion forum for members of the Massachusetts Bay Organizational Development Learning Group

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Which level creates the most challenges for you and why?

At our December 12 meeting we had a dramatic reading of the play “What a Way to Make a Living” by Barry Oshry, with a cast and crew constituting the “ODLG players”. As in our August 2005 “Organization Workshop” meeting with Barry, we learned about life in organizations as seen by tops, middles, and bottoms. In the play an angel (i.e., OD practitioner) intervenes to show each group how it can avoid being stuck in negative role playing and learn how to exercise responsibility, develop teamwork and acquire appropriate power.

Following the dramatic presentation, Barry facilitated the follow-up discussion. He asked us to consider which of three sets of people have presented the most challenges in our work and what light the play sheds on those challenges. You don’t have to have seen the play to answer the first part of that question!

Most of those attending reported tops as the most challenging, some said it was middles, and a smaller number bottoms. So it will be interesting what others think on this issue and about top, middle, and bottom relations generally.

Jim Murphy