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Introduction Of OD

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.

What OD is not?

In the quagmire of ‘Development’, OD as an area of work is most misunderstood and often ignorantly abused. Training people on Voice & Accent is not OD in its true sense. Conducting a one off training program isolated and not linked to larger strategic intent of the organization, simply aimed at skill transfer is not OD in its true sense. Development is a long term agenda and thus OD is to be seen as endeavor to align the Learning & Development initiatives and interventions to the larger strategic intent of the organization.

Many organizations consider their annual Performance Management exercise and thereafter compensation n benefit review, revision and benchmarking as an OD exercise, which actually is not OD in its real terms.

When OD is misunderstood and wrongly interpreted, the implications are on institutions as well as on individuals. Institutions in their blissful ignorance continue to practice adhocism and tend to address only the symptoms of the issues faced by the organization which prevent the organization from transitioning to a desired state from the current state that they are in. The so called OD practitioners, on the other hand, miss the perspective of holistic development and in the name of practicing OD, they are busy doing skill development sessions honing merely the task based abilities of the people. The ignorance about OD amongst the so called designated ‘OD Managers’ is mutually disastrous for them as well as the members of the organization as the members lose faith in the concept of OD and its purposefulness towards facilitating the actual change agenda or the underlying issues.

OD in the context of Business Strategy

Achieving business results is a consequence of combination of several factors primarily, strategy, structure and process as a systemic whole. Given the dynamic nature of business, with fair share of ambiguity too, businesses are constantly transitioning from one state to a desired state.

{ Change is the Only Constant }

Managing change is the key determinant of the Organization’s success and business leaders are constantly prioritizing Change Management as their top agenda. Leaders are evaluated on their competency of managing change as ‘The Ablity To Change Is The Ability To Survive’.

Change refers to revisiting strategy, realigning structure and evaluate if the process requires redesigning. All this is not restricted to the drawing board, rather extends to and is intricately related to the people of the organization. Thus, to Change is not a mechanical documentation but a Change is actually practicing different ways means and approaches to work, by work groups, by individuals and also by the Management of the Organization. So, the structure changes, the strategy changes and the process changes. All these are run by human beings. A change in process is successful only when people running the process are willing to change in their minds and behaviors. This is where OD professionals come in and addressing these issues in the long term come under the ambit of OD work. In such cases OD starts with Entry & Contracting, then a diagnosis is done to understand the current state of organization and the issues, then information collection & analysis is done to further validate the assumptions and correlate the symptoms with the underlying issues, based on the analysis the intervention is planned and designed. Post this process the actual planned change intervention is implemented. The intervention is evaluated at interim levels and after the intervention is completed to gauge the effectiveness of the Change Management and Transformation initiative.

OD and Human Resources Department

OD as a process is different from the typical Human Resource Function in an organization which manages employment related policy adherence. The HR function sees the organization members as budgeted headcounts and are squarely responsible for adhering to the headcounts and complying with the policies of the organization from an audit point of view. In some organizations though attempts have been made to create training & development cells within the HR function which impart several programs to the members of the organization based on identified training needs. However, this is still not OD as the programs are largely run, though effectively, as routine calenderized standalone offerings, which may or may not be aligned to the strategic intent of the organization. Often these training centers are elements of compliance demanded by the Quality standards of the organization or to convey the people oriented-ness of the organization. Being people oriented, which has also earned the nomenclature of employee engagement remain only at the surface and is a pseudo engagement believing that celebrating festivities and family days would contribute to employee engagement. Authentic employee engagements are part of realistic Organization Development work and are scientifically measured as before and after effects on which further work is done. For example Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey Tool measures and gives the engagement score of the organization, basis which further more authentic work could be done, but organizations merely use these Gallup scores as benchmarking feedback for the managers. The work of OD goes beyond and ideally HR function conducting the survey might hand over the Gallup scores as diagnostic results to a dedicated OD team who might use it to address the impending issues in alignment with the organization’s strategy.

- By Admin
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