Accountancy practice

The purpose of this report is to evaluate the extent of organisational development in ALEXANDERS - a medium size company in Sofia, Bulgaria, specializing in financial services. The report will first describe the key characteristics of the organisation. It will then consider areas that have successfully developed and failed, demonstrating relevant theoretical frameworks. Next it will explore the current development processes and the aspects in the organisation and its environment that assist or slow down organisational development (OD).

In the last section an evaluation of the organisation's development as a planned change will be outlined. It will recommend consulting interventions towards improved organisational effectiveness and support them with relevant theory. Research for this report was carried out through conversations with the HR director of the organisation and the author's professional experience for the company. ALEXANDERS has fifteen offices in different geographic locations within the country and acts for a variety of local businesses in the preparation of accounts and financial advice for property investment.

These offices also offer tax planning and advice to the general public. ALEXANDERS has a flat structure with few layers of management. The top-bottom command is short and the "span of control" is wide (Brooks, 2006:183). The chain of command is centralised. The horizontal and vertical communication between different teams, departments and management layers is very effective. The culture is team based, dynamic, hard working, fun and above all proactive.

Open communication and team work are key factors and the concept is: "The more heads that are put together on a solution, the better it will be". There are a number of training and development opportunities in ALEXANDERS. Employees are encouraged to take internal and external courses. The internal courses range from technical skills through to management development which includes Emotional Intelligence, Team Building, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Communication Skills and Coaching Skills.

French and Bell (1999:151, 153) have found that education and training increases skills and knowledge in the areas of problem solving, decision making, team work and technical tasks. Training in the workplace aids individual and organisational learning and French and Bell (1999:98) have also found that the effort and outcome of people working as a team is greater than individuals working alone. A "Balanced Scorecard" measurement system is used to measure the performance of ALEXANDERS once a year.

This gives a clear message to employees about expected values, behaviours and results, which help to cause the desired performance (French & Bell, 1999:20). In the organisation individuals and teams are rewarded for good behaviour and performance. This helps to maintain organisational goal achievement and growth (French & Bell, 1999: 273). ALEXANDERS is a Bulgarian based organisation and its goal is to expand abroad. It has already taken a step forward to reach that goal. Two years ago the directors and the whole management team came up with a strategy for becoming a global company.

The team went to a hotel for three days, where they discussed how they could expand the company and what are the barriers to doing so. They looked at where they were and where they wanted to be in order to be successful (Oswick & Grant, 1996:24). They agreed that the entire organisation had to be involved in the change effort, which would also involve changing the culture. Robert Jacobs describes this process as a "real time strategic change" intervention (French & Bell, 1999:198-199). The plan is an office in Bucharest, Romania, to be open within a year.