Characteristics of Organisational Development

Meaning, Definition, and Characteristics of Organizational Development

Table of Contents:-

Meaning of Organizational Development (OD Meaning)

Organizational development is a body of practice and knowledge that improves organisational performance and personal development. It views the organisation as a complex system of systems within a larger system, each of which has its own quality, responsibility and degrees of alignment.

Organizational Development Meaning: OD is an attempt to influence the members of an organisation to expand their openness with each other about their views of the organisation and their experience in it and to take greater responsibility for their own actions as organisation members. It is an educational strategy that focuses on the whole culture of the organisation to bring about planned change.

It seeks to change beliefs, attitudes, values and structure – in fact, the entire culture of the organisation – so that the organisation may better adapt to technology and live with the pace of change. Thus, organisation development is the process of bringing change in the entire aspects of the organisation.

Definition of Organizational Development

According to George R. Terry, “Organisational development includes efforts to improve results by getting the best from employees, individually and as members of working groups”.

According to Lippitt G.L, “OD is the strengthening of those human processes in organisations, which improve the functioning of the organic systems, so achieve its objectives,

According to Newstrom, and Davis, “Organisation Development (OD) is the systematic application of behavioural science knowledge at various levels, such as group, inter-group, organisation, etc, to bring about planned change”.

Organizational Development Definition (OD Definition)

According to Pareek & Rao, “OD is a planned effort, initiated by process specialists to help an organisation develop its diagnostic skills, coping capabilities and linkage strategies in the form of temporary and semi-permanent systems and a culture of mutuality”

According to Cummings and Worley, “Organisation development is a system-wide application of behavioural science knowledge to the planned development and reinforcement of organisational strategies, structures, and processes for improving an organisation’s effectiveness”.

Characteristics of Organizational Development 

Several special characteristics together distinguish Organisational development – OD from other approaches to managing and improving organisational functioning. These characteristics of OD are as follows:

Characteristics of Organizational Development

1) Planned Strategy: Organisational development – OD programmes are planned, not accidental – they represent a deliberate entry of either an Organisational development – OD consultant or Organisational development – OD activities into the client system. 

2) Collaborative Approach to Change: Organisational development – OD always involves a collaborative approach to change. In Organisational Development – OD, the consultant maintains and seeks a collaborative relationship of relative equality with the organisation’s members.

Collaboration means ‘to labour together – essentially it implies that the consultant does not do all the work while the client system passively wants solutions to its problems, and it means that the client system does not do all the work while the consultant is a disinterested observer in OD, consultants and clients co-labour.

3) Interdisciplinary Nature: Organisational development – OD is an interdisciplinary and primarily behavioural science approach that draws theories, concepts and practices from sociology, psychology, social psychology, education, economics, psychiatry and management are brought to bear on real organisational problems.

A source for organisation development is also in the field of organisational behaviour. OB concerns individual and group behaviour in organisations along with matters of organisational structure, functions, and processes (e.g leadership, communication, decision-making).

4) Emphasise Improving Performance: Organisational development – OD programmes and efforts are designed to produce organisational effectiveness by improving organisation processes; re-designing the organisation structure to make it function better; and changing the organisation as a system. It is also aimed at improving the organisation’s health, better functioning of the organisation system, greater ability to achieve objectives and so forth.

5) Represents a Systems Approach: Although Organisational development – OD practitioners may focus on one or the other aspects or units of an organisation, there is an implicit recognition of the systemic nature of the organisation. As a social system, an organisation consists of different sub-systems such as task, structural, technological and human inter-linked by various processes.

The organisation as a whole also interacts with the external environment including the larger society and its smaller components. Any change in one part or process has implications for other parts or procedures relevant to the system. Recognition of the systemic nature of the organisation gives the Organisational development – OD approaches methodological flexibility even while it maintains the same ideological rigidity in terms of values:

6) Ongoing Interactive Process: Organisational development – OD is a dynamic, moving, changing process. People learn new skills and forget old ones, the structure of the organisation changes, and then another change is put on top. Thus organisation development must be viewed as a dynamic process for changing dynamic systems.

7) Goal Achiever: Organisational development – OD is concerned with the achievement of the goals of the enterprise. It is concerned with the dilemma of how to completely mobilise the energy of the organisation’s human resources towards the completion of its goals. Organisational development is an effort to improve or modify work conditions that will improve the capacity of the organisation in achieving its goals.

8) Based on Humanistic Values: Organisational development – OD programmes typically are based on humanistic values, which are positive beliefs about the potential and desire for growth among employees. To be effective and self-renewing, an organisation needs employees who want to expand their skills and increase their contributions.

The best climate for such growth is one that stresses collaboration, interpersonal trust, open communications, shared power, and constructive confrontation. All these factors provide a value base for Organisational development – OD efforts and help ensure that the new organisation will be responsive to human needs.

9) Emphasises Problem Solving: Organisational development – OD emphasises the process of problem-solving. It trains participants to recognise and solve problems that are important to them. These are the basic problems that the participants are presently facing at work, so the issues are stimulating and their resolution challenging.

The approach commonly used to improve problem-solving skills is to have employees identify system problems, collect data about them, take corrective action, assess progress, and make ongoing adjustments. This cyclical process of using research to guide action, which generates new data as the basis for new actions, is known as action science, or action research. By studying their problem-solving process through action research, employees learn how to learn from their experiences to solve new problems in the future.

10) Contingency-Oriented: Organisational development is usually described as contingency-oriented. Although some Organisational development – OD practitioners rely on just one or a few approaches, most Organisational development – OD people are flexible and practical, selecting and adapting actions to fit assessed needs.

Diagnosis plays a key role in determining how to proceed and usually, there is an open discussion of several useful alternatives rather than the imposition of a single “best way”.

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