When it comes to its significance and effectiveness within the organization, Organizational Development is still surrounded by a certain degree of uncertainty. Building outstanding teams, improving future talents and transforming cultures are all important Organization Development initiatives that will make a significant difference in increasing productivity and performance (CIPD, 2020). To effectively drive change and help organizations in their path to success, it is important to understand the crucial role of Organization Development in and to ensure the development of appropriate Organization Development skills. There are several ways of defining Organization Development which, despite their varied meanings, all share similar features. Irrespective of the approach, however, Organization Development has evolved into one of the most important tasks an organization needs to adopt in order to sustain its performance standards within a rapidly evolving environment (CIPD, 2020). This unit discusses what Organization Development is, the evolution of models and approaches, and how it correlates with human resources. It explores how Organization Development can be effectively implemented, and describes the phases of this process.
The overall aim of Organization Development is to maximize the competitiveness of the organization in order to build an enterprise that succeeds in the marketplace. This is achievable through growing profits, margins, market share, ethics, cultural values, or other sources of competitive advantage.
Organizational Development refers to a critical and science-based mechanism that helps organizations create their capacity to improve and attain greater effectiveness by creating, refining, and enhancing strategies, systems, and processes. Organization Development is an evidence-based and systematic process. It is about the use of empirical data as feedback and the development of a structured and regulated framework through which hypotheses are tested (Anderson, 2019). Finally, it is about examining whether the results are indicative of the intervention ‘s purpose. Organization Development is geared towards organizational productivity. It, therefore, comes with a variety of (business) outcomes. These results can vary between organizations, but they typically include financial performance, customer satisfaction, the engagement of organizational members, and an improved capacity to adjust and reinvent the organization (Anderson, 2019). Organization Development also applies to strategic, structural and/or process adjustments-t his suggests a system-approach, where the focus is on the organizational system as a whole. This may include the entire organization, one or more locations, or a department.
Kurt Lewin is generally regarded as the founding father of Organization Development, but he passed on before the concept came into being. Lewin introduced the concepts of group dynamics and action research which define the fundamental Organization Development process and provide its collaborative consultant / client ethos (Huffington, 2018). The term Organization Development was coined in the 1950s to define an innovative bottom-up change initiative that would transform the fundamental principles of running an organization (Anderson, 2019). The concept of Organizational Effectiveness was introduced to link the application of Organization Development in planned development initiatives to improving organizational performance (Huffington, 2018). Organization Development continues to be influenced in a variety of fields by new innovations and studies including natural sciences, biology and physics as well as advances in the social and behavioral sciences.
There is a variety of Organization Development interventions that are linked to Human Resource Management (HRM). Interventions such as performance management, target setting, evaluation, and talent management strategies are all critical for effective organizational growth. Another commonality is that HRM and Organization Development both begin with the company strategy (the organization’s mission, values, and vision)-both describe the activities necessary to execute the strategy in their respective areas. Additionally, several early people analytics initiatives can be traced back to the Organization Development department (Huffington, 2018). However, where HRM focuses on people practices in particular, Organization Development takes a more systematic approach. Organization Development can work at all levels of the enterprise by using instruments such as organizational design, individual and group interventions, job design, and more traditional people interventions-these are organizational, individual, and group (Lewis et al., 2016). However, the emphasis is often on strategic themes, while HR is more operational.
The first stage begins when a manager or administrator recognizes an opportunity for change. There are numerous events that may cause this phenomenon, including external changes, internal disputes, consumer concerns, loss of profit, decreased innovation, or high absence or turnover of employees (Huffington, 2018). Typically, such incidents are signs of a deeper issue. The first step entails scoping the issue-usually, this is accomplished by a meeting between the manager and the Organization Development stakeholders (Lewis et al., 2016). This stage is more formal in the case of external Organization Development consultants.
In the second step (diagnostics), the Organization Development practitioner seeks to understand the current workings of a system. They gather the information needed to interpret the problem accurately, via surveys, interviews, or by examining the data available and seeking to identify the root cause (Anderson, 2019). Effective diagnosis offers the organizational systemic knowledge required to design suitable interventions.
The third step entails data collection and analysis. In this step, the instruments of collecting data include utilizing existing work systems data, questionnaires, interviews, observation, and ‘fly on the wall’ strategies (Huffington, 2018). The collection of data is often time-consuming but instrumental for the success of any initiative. In this regard, confidentiality, a clear direction, anonymity, the Hawthorne effect, and observation-expectancy bias are important factors to consider. Another factor to consider is a regression of the mean, which refers to the emergence of an extreme situation or outlier, which reverts to its normal state (Lewis et al., 2016).
In the fourth stage, the Organization Development practitioner is tasked with giving understandable and action-driven information back to their client. The information given to the client, in this case, must be verifiable, timely, descriptive, comparative, understandable, and above all, must trigger action (Huffington, 2018). In this regard, strategies such as visualization and storytelling can be applicable to an effective degree.
Giving feedback to the client spurs action, necessitating interventions that suit the needs of the organization in question. In this case, the interventions should be founded on casual knowledge of outcomes (Lewis et al., 2016). Additionally, the organization should have the capacity to effectively absorb recommended changes. The definition process of a success criteria forms the bulk of the change process-progress is only measurable when these criteria are well-defined.
The sixth step entails implementing the chosen intervention for change. In this case, leading and managing change presents challenges, with the failure rate of change being estimated at 50 to 70% (Lewis et al., 2016). Effective change management entails the creation of a vision, employing motivating factors for change, establishing support, sustaining momentum, and the management of transition (Huffington, 2018). Change models such as John Kotter’s eight steps of organizational transformation are instrumental in this case.
Room for improvement becomes evident when a system has been implemented. The implementation of these changes yields better user and employee experience. These incremental opportunities for improvement embody the rapid technological advancement. Change has morphed into a constant phenomenon, making it impossible to implement technology once as a lasting solution (Huffington, 2018). Effective interventions include ways of measuring their own success and provide for comparison between the state of affairs before and after.
Anderson, D. L. (2019). Organization development: The process of leading organizational change. SAGE Publications, Incorporated.
CIPD. (2020, March 2). Organisation Development: Factsheets. Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/organisational-development/factsheet
Huffington, C. (2018). A manual of organizational development: The psychology of change. Routledge.
Lewis, S., Passmore, J., & Cantore, S. (2016). Appreciative inquiry for change management: Using AI to facilitate organizational development. Kogan Page Publishers.