Organizational Development can be defined as recognizing, creating and implementing a solution to an organization’s weaknesses in performance through team effort. The desired result is a shared enthusiastic attitude toward accomplishing new and existing circumstances or events. The organization’s weakness in performance may be contributed to a procedure that is ineffective. The recognition of this weakness may become apparent through constructive criticism received from clientele or through the inability to maintain competitiveness. The weakness, once identified, should be subjected to a company meeting to solicit ideas for its elimination/improvement.
An organization may recognize that the heavy workload of its administrative staff is resulting in missed deadlines, which results in lost clients, which results in lost revenue. The weakness is recognized also though the opinions of the overworked staff. The organization may choose to increase its staff, purchase more efficient computer software/hardware, or reconstruct the distribution on the workload. The less burdened staff becomes more efficient and enthusiasm increases.
Learning partnerships are established through the group effort of management, staff, and teaching professionals in an effort to enhance knowledge and skills for the benefit of an organization. In this manner, an organization takes a proactive approach to prevent weaknesses. To stay competitive, an organization utilizes learning partnerships through the continuous education of its entire staff. This can be accomplished through such instruments as seminars, workshops, or updated computer programming.
An organization’s weakness is often easier to identify than to manage. Weaknesses are likely to become apparent through an employee’s poor performance and defense thereof. A change in the distribution or work, learning partnerships, and a proactive approach to preventing weaknesses (as discussed above) are all tactics that can help manage weaknesses.
Acceptance of weakness may also be a method of management. For many different reasons, an organization may choose to maintain the services of an employee even if they are not up to par. To compensate for the shortcoming, the task(s) become the joint responsibility of other personnel.
Characteristics of Learning Organizations
Characteristics of the learning organization include learning as one unit, recognition that continuing education is vital to the organization’s continued success, and adaptation to our ever changing world. Organizations interact with each other to inspire creativity. This is primarily accomplished through regular meetings to exchange ideas and adopt new/improve existing policies or performances to move together toward the success of the organization.
Strategies required before learning can be acquired include an employee’s receptiveness to learning and change, and the employee’s ability to seek/undertake independent learning opportunities. If an employee is eager to learn and can adapt to change, job performance is improved and opportunities for promotion are inevitable. If an organization rarely offers opportunities for learning, an employee may find it beneficial to seek other learning opportunities and resources. In either case, the new skills or techniques learned must be implemented to become effective.
By Shirley J. Caruso, M.A., Human Resource Development