Organization Development Strategy | Activities Involved In OD Strategy
Organization Development Defined
Organization development (OD) has been defined by Cummins and Worley (2005) as ‘the system-wide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement and refinement of strategies, structures, processes and procedures that lead to organizational effectiveness. ‘. French and Bell (1990) offered the following more detailed definition:
A planned systematic process in which applied behavioral science principles and practices are introduced into an ongoing organization toward the goals of effecting organizational improvement, greater organizational efficiencies, and greater organizational effectiveness. The emphasis is on organizations and their development or to put it another way, the total system changes. Orientation is on action – achieving the desired result as a result of planned activities.
Organization development aims at helping people work together more effectively, improving organizational processes such as formulating and implementing strategies, and facilitating the organization’s management of change and change. As stated by Beer (1980), OD functions as a ‘system wide process of data collection, diagnosis, action planning, intervention and evaluation’.
OD is based on behavioral science concepts, but during the 1980s and 1990s the focus shifted to several other approaches. Some of these, such as organizational change, are not entirely different from OD. Other organizations such as team building, change management and culture change or management build on some of the basic ideas developed by the authors on development and OD practitioners.
Still other approaches such as high-performance work practices, total quality management, business process re-engineering and performance management would be described as holistic processes that attempt to improve overall organizational effectiveness from a particular point of view. More recently, as noted by Cummins and Varley (2005), the practice of OD ‘has gone far beyond its humanistic origins by incorporating concepts from organizational strategy with an early emphasis on social processes’.
Organisational Development Strategies (OD Strategy)
OD strategy focus on how things are done as well as what is done. They deal with system-wide change and have been developed as programs with the following characteristics:
- They are managed from above, or at least strongly supported, but can be using third parties or change agents to diagnose problems and manage change by a variety of planned activity or ‘intervention’.
- Organizational development plans are based on systematic analysis and diagnosis of the organization’s strategies and circumstances and the changes and problems affecting it.
- They use behavioral science knowledge and aim to improve the way the organization copes in times of change through processes such as interaction, communication, participation, planning and conflict Management.
- They focus on ways to ensure that business and human resources strategies are in place is implemented and change is managed effectively.
Values and Assumptions of Organisational Development (OD)
OD is based on the following assumptions and values:
- Most individuals are motivated by a need for personal growth and development
- Provided that their environment is both helpful and challenging.
- Work teams, especially at the informal level, attach great importance to feelings of satisfaction, and the dynamics of such teams have a powerful effect on the behavior of their members.
- OD programs aim to improve the quality of working life of all the members of the organization.
- Organizations can be more effective if they learn to diagnose their strengths and weaknesses.
- But managers often don’t know what’s wrong and need specialized help diagnosing problems, although an external ‘process consultant’ ensures that decision-making remains in the hands of the client.
- Implementation of strategy involves paying close attention to the processes and management of change of the people involved.
Activities Involved in OD Strategy
The activities that can be included in the OD strategy are summarized below:-
It is an approach developed by Levine (1951) that takes the form of systems for collecting data from people about process issues and feeding the data back to identify problems and their possible causes. It provides the basis for an action plan to tackle the problem that can be implemented cooperatively by those involved. The essential elements of action research are data collection, diagnosis, response, action planning, action and evaluation.
It is a variety of action research in which data about a system is systematically collected and then feedback to groups for analysis and interpretation as the basis for creating an action plan. Techniques for survey feedback include providing feedback on results and discussing implications using attitude surveys and workshops.
The term ‘intervention’ as specified in organisational Development (OD) refers to core structured activities involving clients and consultants. The activities may be in the form of action research, survey feedback or any of the following. Argyris (1970) summarized the three primary functions of the OD practitioner or interventionist:
- Generate and assist customers to generate valid information that they can understand their problems;
- Creating opportunities for customers to find their solutions effectively problems, to make free choices;
- Create conditions for internal commitment to their choice and opportunity NIT for continuous monitoring of the action taken.
As described by Schein (1969), it involves helping clients generate and analyze information that they can understand and, after a thorough diagnosis, act upon. The information will be related to organizational processes such as inter-group relations, interpersonal relationships and communication. The job of a process consultant was defined by Schein as helping an organization solve its problems by making them aware of organizational processes, the consequences of these processes, and the mechanisms by which they can be changed.
Group dynamics (a term coined by Levine, 1947) are the processes that occur in groups that determine how they act and react under different conditions. Team-building interventions can deal with permanent work teams or people set up to tackle projects or solve particular problems. Interventions are directed to the analysis of the effectiveness of team processes such as problem solving, decision making and interpersonal relationships, diagnosing and discussing issues, and joint consideration of actions needed to improve effectiveness.
Inter-Group Conflict Interventions
As developed by Blake, Sheppert, and Mouton (1964), aim to improve inter-group relations by allowing groups to share their beliefs about each other and to analyse what they have learned about them and the other group. The groups involved meet with each other to share what they have learned and to agree on issues to be resolved and actions needed.
Personal Intervention include transactional analysis, sensitivity training laboratories (T-groups), and, more freshly, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Another approach is behavioral modelling, which is based on Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory. It states that in order for people to engage successfully in a behavior they:-
1) Must experience a link between the behavior and some consequences,
2) Must desire those consequences (this is called ‘positive valence’) and
3) Must believe they can do it (which called ‘self-efficacy’). Behavior modelling training involves getting a group to practice identifying the problem and developing the necessary skills by watching videos or DVDs that show what skills can be applied, role playing, and skills on the job practicing the use of and discussing how well they are applicable.
Integrated Strategic Change
Integrated Strategic Change Methodology is a highly participatory process envisaged by Worli et al. (1996). Its objective is to facilitate the implementation of strategic plans. The necessary steps are:
- Strategic analysis, review of the strategic orientation of the organization (its Diagnostics of the organization’s readiness for change) and strategic intent in its competitive environment;
- Develop strategic competence – the ability to quickly and effectively
- Implement strategic planning; Individuals and individuals throughout the organization in the processes of analysis, planning and implementation to maintain the firm’s strategic focus, direct attention and resources to the organization’s key competencies, improve coordination and integration within the organization, and create high levels of shared ownership. Integrate groups and commitment;
- strategize, garner commitment and support for the same and planning its implementation;
- Implementing Strategic Change Planning, Drawing on the Knowledge of Motivation change practises and Group dynamics, dealing with matters such as position, adaptability, teamwork and organizational and individual Learning;
- Allocation of resources, providing feedback and solving problems as they get up.