Description of Organizational Development. Explanation.
Definition Organizational Development. Description
Organizational Development (OD) is a planned effort aiming at increasing an organization’s efficiency, its ability to change itself and to adjust to changes.
The term Organization Development is used loosely since the late 1950s to describe a philosophy, process and set of approaches and methods to improve the functioning of organizations.
There is no agreed definition of OD, but a very influential one was given by Richard Beckhard in his 1969 book Organization Development: Strategies and Models:
"a planned effort that is organization-wide, managed from the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health, organized through planned interventions in the organization's processes, and based on behavioral science knowledge".
Behavioral sciences include psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, economics and political science. Typical for most Organization Development approaches are underlying soft, humanistic, democratic, and socio-ecological values.
OD normally involves consultants. The main function of these change agents is to help the sponsoring organization define and solve its own problems.
OD is traditionally skeptical towards harder practices and methods such as strategy, restructuring, downsizing, information technology and a business-orientation in general.
Organizational Development specialists define the term in various ways:
These objectives are achieved with help of specialists (such as change agents and catalysts) and of theories of applied behavioral science such as Action Research. In this way, OD differs from Organizational Change in that organizational change also includes unplanned change or unforeseen changes that are imposed on an organization. OD overlaps with fields such as Change Management and Strategy. Some approaches and techniques connected to Organization Development are: Action Research, Managerial Grid, Organizational Learning, Unfreezing, Moving, Refreezing and the Positive Model.
Origin of Organizational Development. History
Organization Development (or Organizational Development) became a practical field of social science mainly by Kurt Lewin’s (1958) work on Action Research and Survey Feedback. He is seen as the founder of OD. Kurt Lewin suggested that research should be closely related to action if organizations want to successfully manage changes.
Action research became an integral part of organizational change and is nowadays the base for OD applications.
Typical proponents are Argyris, Beckhard, Bennis, Blake, Lewin, Maslow, McGregor, Schein, Senge.
Usage of Organizational Development. Applications
Steps in Organizational Development. Process
In the process of OD we can distinguish four steps that every organization goes through. These are based on three planned change models that together form a general framework for implementing OD:
Strengths of Organizational Development. Benefits
Limitations of Organizational Development. Disadvantages
Beckhard, Richard (1969) "Organization Development: Strategies and Models." Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
This ends our Organizational Development summary and forum.
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