POST TIME: 18 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Organisational development approach
Organisational development covers a wide array of theories, processes, and activities, all of which are oriented toward the goal of improving individual organisations
Taslim Ahammad

Organisational development approach

One key concept discussed across all industry is corporate activity in organisational development (OD). OD is a planned effort for a work group and/or the organisation, managed by leadership and supported by employees, to increase organisation effectiveness through planned change in processes and systems. It is a field of research, theory, and practice dedicated to expanding the knowledge and effectiveness of people to accomplish more successful organizational change and performance.

OD is the study of successful organizational change and performance. It is a process of continuous diagnosis, action planning, implementation and evaluation, with the goal of transferring knowledge and skills to organisations to improve their capacity for solving problems and managing future change. Moreover, it is a technique of planned change. It seeks to change beliefs, attitudes, values and structuresin fact the entire culture of the organizationso that the organisation may better adapt to technology and live with the pace of change.

OD emerged out of human relations studies from the 1930s where psychologists realised that organizational structures and processes influence worker behaviour and motivation.More recently, work on OD has expanded to focus on aligning organizations with their rapidly changing and complex environments through organizational learning, knowledge management and transformation of organizational norms and values. OD programs usually share several basic characteristics.

Benefits of OD: Organisational Development is adaptive, flexible and evolving. It puts people at the heart of change, emphasises creativity and innovation, and positively affects the bottom line.OD creates a continuous cycle of improvement, from strategy, through to implementation, evaluation and further change.OD increases communication across all levels of the organisation, aligning employees to shared values and manifesting change from employee feedback. OD increases innovation through employee development and engagement and an effective analysis of the market.OD increases profit by improved productivity and creativity, reducing costs, minimising staff turnover and creating a culture of openness and adaptive and ongoing change.

To achieve high performance and competitive advantage, organisations are often in the midst of significant learning and change.OD is an area of expertise which addresses this challenge with decades of internationally tried and tested research and practice, spanning thousands of professionals.OD is the work of facilitating organisational success, by aligning structural, cultural and strategic realities of work to respond to the needs of an ever-evolving business climate.Characteristics of OD include:Changes to the structure, culture, strategy and processes of an individual job through to an entire organisation.The application of behavioural science knowledge and practice to facilitate transformation within an organisation.The improvement of organisational effectiveness by involving members of the organisation in understanding the challenge whilst enabling in them new skills, knowledge and ways of thinking.The promotion of high productivity, performance, quality products, financial performance and continuous improvement.The facilitation of change in a flexible, adaptive and often participative way.Sustainability, so consistent change in the right direction continues beyond the life of the initial change initiative.

OD also operates from a particular set of values that shape how the work is done. Key to this is the valuing of human potential and therefore the importance of understanding the systemic challenges from a range of stakeholders and to then engage those stakeholders directly in shaping the change, partly so that change is well conceived of but also so that, through broad ownership, its chance of being understood and implemented are maximised.Organizational leaders- many business experts believe that this type of leadership should come from the human resources department. An article in Forbes Magazine says the most important factor in organizational change is managing human capital. The article author says that human resource departments should focus more on being strategic business partners and less on implementing HR policies. The piece goes on to say that the most important components of the development are identifying options for change that are available to the corporation and then to look at employees in terms of management talent and how to recruit, train and keep that talent.Implementing OD programs -OD efforts basically entail two groups of activities, action research and interventions. Action research is a process of systematically collecting data on a specific organization, feeding them back for action planning, and evaluating results. Data gathering techniques include everything from surveys and questionnaires to interviews, collages, drawings, and tests. The data are often evaluated and interpreted using advanced statistical analysis techniques.OD interventions are plans or programs comprised of specific activities designed to effect change in some facet of an organization.

Numerous interventions have been developed over the years to address different problems or create various results. However, they all are geared toward the goal of improving the entire organization through change. In general, organizations that wish to achieve a high degree of organizational change will employ a full range of interventions, including those designed to transform individual and group behaviour and attitudes. Entities attempting smaller changes will stop short of those goals, applying interventions targeted primarily at operating policies, management structures, worker skills, or personnel policies. Typically, organisational development programs will simultaneously integrate more than one of these interventions.

OD not only addresses what may be more obvious changes that are needed, such as structural, business objectives, product development, strategic direction, stakeholder requirements, and so on. However, also the hidden aspects of organisational culture and details how to utilise or change these for effective, sustainable, long-term success which brings the organisation along with you.It covers a wide array of theories, processes, and activities, all of which are oriented toward the goal of improving individual organisations.


The writer is Assistant Professor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University, Gopalganj, Bangladesh