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What is OD?

Development has got two perspectives, Institutional development as well as individual development. The domain of development that connotes to institutional development i.e. developing organizations is called organization development. Development is change of state, from current state to a desired state. There is a rich history of how Organization Development as a subject has evolved and the evolution can be studied through the works of many who have contributed to the development of this field. OD as a domain also stands on its feet drawing inputs from other domains like Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Behavioral Sciences (ABS) etc.

Getting to know OD through definitions

  1. There are multiple definitions through which several theorists have defined OD. However, there lies commonality of perspectives amongst each of these definitions. Some of the key common perspectives of the definitions are as follows:-
  2. Warner Burke emphasized OD being a process of bringing about ‘Planned Change’ involving aspects of Applied Behavioral Science.
  3. Wendell French talks about the long term perspective of OD and emphasizes on OD as a continuum to strengthen the organization’s problem solving capabilities, be it internal or external through engagement of practitioners of this domain.
  4. That, OD is a Planned, Top Driven enterprise wide effort to increase organizational effectiveness, using interventions from the world of Behavioral Science processes, is given by Richard Beckhard
  5. Michael Beer, in his definition, lays down the process of OD, i.e. Data Collection, Diagnosis, Action Research, Intervention Planning and Evaluation to align the Organization’s Structure, Process, Strategy and Work Place Behavior of people, to evolve fresh and innovative organizational approaches to renew the organizational capability.
  6. The role of humanistic values and their linkages to the overall organization as an Open System and the significance they have on the entire organization, in relation to its Culture, Mission, Strategy, Leadership Styles and Rewards & Recognition Policies was highlighted by Warner Burke & David Bradford.
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