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Sectoral Applications

OD Merits Application in all Sectors – For Profit as well as Not-For-Profit

In the current context of global business, every organization strives to maintain its competitiveness around four levels of competitiveness i.e. Cost, Quality, Service and Speed. Organizations, irrespective of being profit oriented or non-profit oriented – Cost, Quality, Service and Speed continues to be the standard parameters to determine efficiency and effectiveness. From time to time, organizations re-orient themselves to achieve higher degrees of adherence to these four parameters. Re-orientation is better understood in the context of change and broadly organizations are exposed to two levels of change – the one that the organization itself volunteers to undertake and the other that the organization gets subjective to due to changes in its operating external environment.

OD merits its application whenever an organization embarks upon a process of “Planned Change” (see Models of Change). Planned Change could be to achieve operational efficiencies as well as strategic objectives i.e. Changes at the activities level of the manufacturing process, changes at the ground level for distribution process, centralizing or de-centralizing a process. As also to achieve a strategic objectives of alignment of the Legacy System to a new system during Mergers and Acquisition, towards Total Human Resource Alignment essential for any significant enterprise level endeavor that the enterprise embarks upon – either strategic or operational.

Thus, the applications of OD can only be illustrated and not exhausted. In a way every organization irrespective of its nature and purpose could have a scope for application of OD.

Application of OD in Business Enterprises

Scope for OD exists in Startups as well as matured organizations.

For Startups – OD merits its application to generate a sense of achievement, belongingness, commitment, a never-give-up-attitude and to generate a competence of working with optimal resources. In other words total alignment of the purpose of the Startup and the motives of the people working in it in the collective mindscape.

For Matured Organizations – As organizations continue to exist successfully, over a period of time it is often seen that a sense of comfort, well being, secured and that of ‘been there, done that’ tends to creep into. This often leads to a state of complacency, eroding the overall sense of urgency in the organization, often directly impacting efficiency. In such states, often leaders chase resolutions through technical or business processes and tend to lose the game. The Leaders or Boards which after recognizing these symptoms adopt an OD approach involving the complete action research method of Identifying the Problem, discussing with an OD Expert, doing a diagnosis, collecting data, Sharing Feedback, discussing the feedback with the OD Expert, choosing the action to be taken, followed by review and feedback – often leads the organization through a successful process of change revamping and re-vitalizing the organization.

Application of OD in Non-Business, Non-Profit Social Enterprises

It is not business organizations only which are exposed to external environmental changes as well as need for change internally. Non-profit Social Enterprises like Hospitals, Self-help Groups, Non Government Organizations, Charitable Trusts and Institutions are also exposed to external changes in the environment they operate and often feel the need to change their internal ways of working. OD Interventions in the field of Education, Health Institution and Rural Governance was the focus area of Dr. Uday Parikh in India about 40 years ago. The Instruments for measuring Hospital Effectiveness and Community perception of Health Care System developed by Dr. Uday Parikh, A. Thimmappaya, S.N. Chattopadhyay and K.G. Agarwal is a pioneering work in the application of OD in the Health sector.

Application of OD in Defence

US Air Force Systems Command, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas 782-35-6501, Special Projects Office in its unclassified document no. ONB0704-0188 in April 1989 reports that the values, methodology and effectiveness of Organization Development were especially applied in the Department of Defence. The office reports that an early application of OD in DOD was at the Air Force Materials laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The idea originated in Aug 1971, when the entire AFML Management Team, including the Director, Deputy Director, Chief Scientist, Division Chiefs, and Staff Office Chiefs, participated in a 1 week OD Seminar at the Federal Executive Institute (FEI), Charlottesville, Virginia. The AFML Management Team wanted to make more effective use of its manpower, and they came away from the seminar convinced that OD would be a good tool for achieving this result. The effort was strongly supported by Laboratory Director, who had been introduced to OD in 1969 at the FEI’s in-residence Executive Education Course, and was also strongly supported by another high-ranking member of AFML who studied OD while on Sloan Fellowship at Stanford University. Thus, the program had high-level support – a key ingredient for OD success.

The OD program began with the selection of two outside consultants from among several who visited the laboratory. Next, all Division Chiefs and Staff Heads and the Laboratory Director met together at the FEI for 1 week, during which a team development session was held. This session was the first step in formal training of what was called the Laboratory “Executive Group”. Subsequently, other teams received similar training, but not at FEI. Division Chiefs met with Branch Chiefs and in some cases, Branch Chiefs met with Branch Members.

The short-range goal of the OD program was to establish an effective top-level management team. The long-term goal on behalf of the organization were: (a) to reduce or eliminate dysfunctional competition, (b) to improve communication, (c) to increase the use of goals and objectives, (d) to establish uniform decision making with maximum decentralization, and (e) to enhance the career development of AFML personnel.

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