Organizational development

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Organization Development refers to something about organizations and developing them. “An organization is the planned coordination of the activities of a number of people for the achievement of some common explicit purpose or goal, through division of labor and functions, and through a hierarchy of authority and responsibility.” Organizations are social systems possessing characteristics and OD efforts are directed toward organizations or major subparts of them.

Development is the act, process, result, or state of being developed – which in turn means to advance, to promote the growth of, to evolve the possibilities of, to further, to improve, or to enhance something. Two elements of this definition seem important: first, development may be an act, process, or end state; second, development refers to “bettering’ something.

Combining these words suggests that organization development is the a block of quoted textct, process, or result of furthering, advancing, or promoting the growth of organization. According to this definition, organization development is anything done to “better” an organization. But this definition is too broad and all-inclusive. It can refer to almost anything done in an organizational context that enhances the organization – hiring a person with needed skills, firing an incompetent, merging with another organization, installing a computer, removing a computer, buying a new plant, and so on. This definition serves neither to identify and specify nor to delimit (perhaps something done to “worsen” an organization would be ruled out). The term organization development must be given added meaning, must refer to something more specific, if productive discourse on the subject is desired.

OD is an effort (1) planned,(2) organization-wide, (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral science knowledge.

(Richard Beckhard)

Analysis of the definition suggests that OD is not just “anything done to better an organization”; it is a particular kind of change process designed to bring about a particular kind of end result. OD thus represents a unique strategy for system change, a strategy largely based in the theory and research of the behavioral sciences, and a strategy having a substantial prescriptive character. OD is thus a normative discipline, it prescribes how planned change in organizations should be approached and carried out if organization improvement is to be obtained.

In summary, OD is a process of planned system change that attempts to make organizations (viewed as social-technical systems) better able to attain their short- and long-term objectives. This is achieved by teaching the organization members to manage their organization processes and culture more effectively. Facts, concepts, and theory from the behavioral sciences are utilized to fashion both the process and the content of the interventions. A basic belief of OD theorists and practitioners is that for effective, lasting change to take place, the system members must grow in the competence to master their own fates.

Finally, it is important to note that OD has two broad goals: organization development and individual development. Although it is not stated explicitly in the above definitions, improving the quality of life for individuals in organizations is a primary goal of organization development. Enhancing individual development is a key value of OD practitioners and a key outcome of most OD programs.

See also[edit | edit source]