Skip to main content

Pitfalls of Organizational Intervention

Chapter 8 of The Performance Consultant's Fieldbook provides important details about interventions. After reviewing this, discuss two potential pitfalls that may occur during an organizational intervention.

The term intervention used to be utilized only by counselling professionals to indicate a purposeful confrontation to get individuals to not only accept responsibility for their actions, but also to alter their behavior (Hale, 2007). However, that changed in 1979 when the term was first used in a national conference and then began to be used in the performance consultant’s word to indicate solutions other than training to improve performance (Hale, 2007). The term has since expanded to include different types of interventions like information-focused interventions, consequences-focused interventions, interventions that document, and more (Hale, 2007).

The emergence of so many different types of interventions has also led to numerous intervention pitfalls that can may occur during an organizational intervention. Interventions often proceed smoothly with little to no obstacles, however, this smoothness is often obtained by the consultant involved being aware of the potential pitfalls of the interventions and working around them to ensure the smoothest intervention possible (SNHU, n.d.). The most common pitfalls that may occur during an organizational intervention are: starting too late, no genuine strategy, not dealing proactively with resistance, lack of communication, and not involving the employees (Wong, 2021).

These pitfalls can all be avoided or handled if the consultant is aware of them, proactive, and willing to be flexible when needed. For instance, the pitfall of not dealing proactively with resistance can occur if the consultant either does not have a plan for handling resistance to change or believes that everyone will agree with his or her intervention. This pitfall can be handled with awareness, a plan, and an understanding of those whom the intervention will affect. For example, if the intervention involves changing the employees’ current schedule, the consultant might want to create a plan that will handle the concerns of the employees who prefer the old schedule.

The pitfall of not involving the employees is a relatively easy pitfall for forewarned and aware consultants to handle. This particular pitfall tends to be caused by leaders not actively involving those whom will be most affected by the intervention which can cause a lack of employee buy-in and reduce the effectiveness of the interventions (Wong, 2021). This can be resolved by ensuring those whom the intervention will affect the most are involved in the process and that their concerns and/or suggestions are listened to during the process.

Scroll to Continue


Hale, J. (2007). The performance consultants fieldbook: Tools and techniques for improving

organizations and people (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

SNHU. (n.d.). Module overview. Retrieved from

Wong, C. (2021). Week 7 announcement. Retrieved from

Related Articles