Organizational Development’s main purpose is to improve a company’s performance by promoting the individual progress of the employees. The process involves helping companies to increase their productivity or value via change in leadership, power, policies, job redesign or control. Organizational development will help companies of any size reach their strategic goals within a pre-established time frame.
What is Organizational Development?
There are many definitions for Organization Development, which only goes on to prove the discipline is very complex. One of the definitions describes it as a process that prepares organizations to embrace change. Organizational Development intends to bring about a shift in beliefs, attitudes and values in order to enable companies to keep up with the fast-paced technologies and environments in which they activate.
Organizational Development is more than often mistaken by personal development, team building, learning, and human resource development. While the process might include these, it is not limited to them. OD aims to develop systems, structures and processes, not only the staff or the organization.
Organizational Development Values and Objectives
The founding father of Organizational Development is Kurt Lewin. His concept started picking up momentum only after his death, in the 50s. The following values and objectives have known alteration over the years.
Organizational Development Values
The underlying values of Organizational Development are humanistic:
- Enabling people to work as human beings instead of being treated as mere resources in the huge productive process.
- Encouraging organization members to achieve their full potential. Organizations have the opportunity to grow and live by their core values.
- Taking into consideration all the goals of the organization when the Organizational Development consultant seeks to increase its effectiveness.
- Laying the foundations of a challenging work environment that keeps members motivated and excited.
- Offering the chance for organization members to change how they relate to the environment, the organization, and their individual work.
- Viewing each person as an organization member that has needs that are highly significant to their life and work.
Organizational Development Objectives
The main objectives of the process are:
- Increasing trust among the members of the organization at an inter-personal level.
- Boosting the members’ level of commitment and satisfaction.
- Promoting confrontation and fixing of problems instead of postponing and neglecting them.
- Handling conflicts in an effective way.
- Increasing the collaboration and cooperation among employees within the working environment.
- Promoting a problem-solving approach within the organization.
- Increasing awareness of the organization’s vision among its members. Organizational Development aims to align the employees’ vision with the firm’s.
- Smoothing the transition from formal authority to personal skills and knowledge.
- Achieving a trustworthy working environment that enables new implementations.
Who implements Organizational Development?
Organizational Development is a thorough process that is carried out by professional change agents. However, the success of the process can only be guaranteed when everyone within the company plays an active role in the activities: stakeholders, ownership and buy-in members have to comply with the rules.
The effectiveness of Organizational Development requires a strong leadership that has experience in the process of change management. A team with an Organizational Development certification will take full responsibility for starting and handling the process.
What will Organizational Development consultants do?
Organizational Development jobs involve a wide array of services that include:
Involving committees and other departments into the planning and implementation of high priority changes within the organization (space changes or reorganization).
Aiding managers accurately evaluate the workforce in order to ensure the right employees occupy the right jobs according to their skills.
Supporting a group in identifying key issues, gathering enough data about it and drafting plans or decisions to tackle the issue.
Enabling a team to find ways to work more efficiently together.
Helping a group to develop a new set of skills, values or knowledge that help it get one step closer to the common objective.
Organizational Development techniques
An organization will work together with a team of change agents in order to draft up the intervention plan and agree on the changes and techniques that are to be implemented. The following activities aim to help both organizations and employees get closer to and fulfill their potential.
1. Survey feedback
The survey technique involves data be collected via a questionnaire. The collected information is meant to help managers make decisions. The answers to the survey feedback will range from quality of work, working condition, working hours, salaries, and employees’ attitude in relation to all of the above.
The team of managers proceeds to analyze and interpret the gathered data. They pinpoint problems, assess the results and start drafting plans for solutions. All the members of the organization are expected to submit this data. Manager meetings are meant to bring subordinates and superiors together in order to discuss the information and interpret it. All levels of management play an active role in this technique whose end result is implementing necessary changes.
2. Team building
Team buildings have been increasing in popularity as an independent component of Organizational Development. Within OD, team buildings are designed to improve the capacity of the organization’s members of working together in a harmonious environment. Organizational effectiveness can be boosted through enhancing work group dynamics and promoting a safe and understanding working place.
In order to help team members open up and speak their minds on work related issues, the professional trainer will lead group discussions. The trainer does not actively participate in the discussion, but merely guides the conversation in order to ensure maximum efficiency. Team buildings’ main purpose is to increase sensitivity to team members’ behavior by promoting a healthy group functioning. Interpersonal interactions and behavior play a significant part of team buildings, encouraging employees to express their views.
3. Sensitivity Training
One of the most popular Organizational Development techniques, sensitivity training asks employees to interact in order to better understand each other. As a result, team members get better acquainted, form bonds, cease to be judgmental and prone to become more motivated and efficient in the working environment.
Carrying out free communications and forming interpersonal relationships are bound to improve their group experience as a team, offering members the chance to unequivocally express themselves in a safe and controlled workplace. Sensitivity training will not only increase awareness of self but also awareness of others. These two are some of the main pillars of Organizational Development, on which trust and comfort are meant to build a new order within the company.
4. Brain Storming
This Organizational Development technique involves six to eight managers coming together and pitching ideas for solving a problem. Brain Storming aims to promote creative thinking, whilst bringing team leaders together and helping them engage in a lucrative discussion of fixing a common issue. The participants are required to critically assess the matter that is put forward. They are then asked to contribute new ideas or new angles on tackling the conflict. The principle behind brain storming is that managers come together and build a plan based on all of their suggestions.
No expert conducts the discussions, which encourages all leaders to speak freely and make suggestions. The brain storming technique is meant to get participants to debate potential solutions and choose the best ones. All of this is done in a safe environment where members can express themselves freely.
5. Management by Objectives
Part of Management Development, this technique is also successfully used in Organizational Development as a method of reviewing and assessing performance. Management by Objectives implies clearly pinpointing the goals of the organization and assigning them to managers. Their responsibility is to deliver results in a time efficient manner.
This result oriented technique is meant to promote the joint effort of team leaders, laying the grounds for an excellent appraisal system. The accomplished objectives will be used to measure the performance of the managers.
The Management by Objectives technique is generally carried out in four essential steps:
- Objectives set by top management.
- Individual targets and objectives.
- Autonomy in choosing strategies.
- Performance review and appraisal.
6. Quality circles
This technique requires up to a dozen team members to come together on their own accord in order to discuss important work related issues and come up with efficient solutions that can be implemented by the management team. The method that has its roots in the 60s is meant to be carried out once a week during working hours. Any team member who feels they can bring their contribution is free to join the discussion.
Quality circles have been shown to heighten moral, reduce costs and boost quality in the working environment. All the success of the technique is owed to the effort of the participants who are willing to devote their time in order to pitch solutions and join forces to fix problems.
7. Process consultation
An expert or an Organizational Development consultant gives feedback to the trainee and offers insight into solving problems. Process consultation can help team members experience a change of perspective and experiment with various problem fixing suggestions. The clear insight provided by the expert or consultant is extremely valuable since it offers both team members and top managers guidelines on how to approach, handle and tackle a wide array of work-related problems.