Organizational theory (OT) is the study of organizations, identifying their common themes for the purpose of solving problems, maximizing efficient performance and productivity, and meeting the needs of stakeholders (Barzilai, n.d). According to Barzilai, OT basically studies three major sub-topics, individual, group, and organizational processes. Individual processes include motivation, personality and role theories. Group processes pertain to working in groups, leadership, power and influence. Organizational processes entail organizational structure, and culture. These are therefore the main tenets of OT, study of which acts as a diagnostic tool to diagnose need for organizational change.
Organizational Development (OD) is basically concerned with transitions within organizations. Today’s organizations are faced with new dynamics and contexts owing to the rapid expansions in the world of technology (Marshak, 2004). These emerging change dynamics have had profound implications in the theory and practice of organizational development. For instance, advances in technology have made communication much easier and faster today. Therefore, in case of a problem within the operations of an organization, news is likely to pass quickly among employees, and other publics, predictably, in various distorted versions. Managers today are therefore faced with the daunting task of communicating and giving feedback to employees as constantly as possible to avoid miscommunication-related problems.
Organizations today are faced with the need for continuous transformation
This change must be comprehensive and above all, sustainable. In a way, organizations could be said to be in a continuous state of metamorphosis, a phenomenon necessitated by the need to keep up with developments in the new information age. Consequently, alternative theories are being adopted, which means organizations have to make conscious efforts to move away from their comfort zones.
Since knowledge ages rapidly, there is a need to learn constantly, a process which can be described as continuous personal transformation. For an organization to have a competitive edge against its competitors, it must be able to improve existing skills knowledge and abilities, and acquire new ones. Learning organizations manage to constantly transform the skills of their employees, and thus consist of teams whose learning styles are balanced in nature. It is also paramount that the personal ambitions of employees correspond with those of the organization. (Rampersad, 2004).
By Shirley J. Caruso, M.A., Human Resource Development
Barzilai, K. (no date). Organizational Theory. Retrieved August 20, 2010, from http://www.cwru.edu/med/epidbio/mphp439/Organizational_Theory.htm
Marshak, R. J. (2004). Morphing: the Leading Edge of Organizational Change in the Twenty-first Century Organization Development Journal, 22(3), 8+
Rampersad, H. K. (2004). Learning and Unlearning in Accordance with Organizational Change. Organization Development Journal, 22(4), 43+