Organizational development is a systematic, integrated, and planned approach to improve effectiveness. It can be defined as the top management's supported long-term effort to improve an organization's problem-solving and renewal process, through an effective and collaborative diagnosis and management of organization culture.
In other words, it is a change effort that is planned, focused on an entire organization or a large subsystem, aimed at enhancing organizational effectiveness, and based on planned interventions made with the help of a change agent or third party who is well versed in behavioral sciences.
As objectives are framed keeping in view specific situations, they vary from one situation to another. In other words, these programs are tailored to meet the requirements of a particular situation.
All development programs try to achieve the following objectives:
- Making individuals in the organization aware of the vision of the organization.
- Encouraging employees to solve problems instead of avoiding them.
- Strengthening inter-personnel trust, cooperation, and communication for the successful achievement of goals.
- Encourage every individual to participate in the process of planning, thus making them feel responsible for the implementation of the plan.
- Creating a work atmosphere in which employees are encouraged to work and participate enthusiastically.
- Replacing formal lines of authority with personal knowledge and skill.
- Creating an environment of trust so that employees willingly accept change.
This provides managers with a vehicle for introducing change systematically by applying a broad selection of management techniques. This, in turn, leads to greater personal, group, and organizational effectiveness.
The process consists of three major steps: diagnosis, intervention, and evaluation. These steps are similar to the planned change process, since it is actually a specialized type of change effort. Such a process is most likely to be initiated when top management believes that there are deficiencies in the way the overall organization is functioning.
The first step involves diagnosis of the present situation. Change agents collect the required information through interviews, questionnaires, internal documents, records, and reports. Usually, a diagnostic strategy is developed using two or more methods of data collection after their respective strengths and weaknesses have been considered.
After the situation is diagnosed, interventions or change strategies can be designed and implemented with the help of a change agent.
Some intervention techniques are:
- Process consultation: This is concerned with interpersonal relations and functioning of work groups. The change agent observes the group and gives feedback regarding dysfunctions in areas of decision-making, handling conflicts, and communication patterns.
- Third-party intervention: Here, the consultants help the parties concerned to resolve their differences through techniques like problem solving and conciliation.
- Survey Feedback: In survey feedback, data gathered through survey questionnaires and personal interviews are analyzed, tabulated into understandable form and shared with those who first supplied the information.
Survey feedback lets people know where they stand in relation to others on important issues, thus helping them resolve conflicts in a constructive manner. Effective feedback should be relevant, understandable, descriptive, verifiable, and inspiring.
- Techno structural activities: This technique is used to improve work technology and organization structure. It is intended to help employees evaluate themselves and to make appropriate changes in task design, work methods, and organization structure.
- Skill development: This technique is used to help employees identify their shortcomings and overcome their deficiencies. It is used to improve performance in areas, such as delegation, problem solving conflict resolution, and leading.
- Evaluation: Since organizational development is directed towards long-term change, the programs have to be monitored on a regular basis.
An accurate evaluation of developmental interventions is dependent on the accurate diagnosis of the current situation and the clear identification of the desired results.