Organizational development (OD) is basically the process in which behavioral science practices and knowledge are used to aid organizations to grow and attain more effectiveness. This includes improving quality of life, quality of services and products and increased productivity. Organizational development improves the complete system by helping organizations assess and solve their own problems.
The research report presented is an understanding of the organizational development practiced in a variety of organizations in both public and private sectors.
Organizational development, which is mainly aimed at the satisfaction of organizations and people alike, has undergone many changes over time. The organizational development of today is more known by the techniques it uses rather than its adherence to traditional values.
Professionals are involved in action learning in which collaboration exists between organizational members and OD practitioners. This will pave way for conceptual expansion of OD in the future.
Forms of change in organizations
There are mainly three methods by which organizations can change forms as established by Kanter et al.
- Organizations can change the nature of their ties with markets and stakeholders by redefining identities and setting new boundaries. This can be done through acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, alliances, partnerships etc.
- Organizations can bring about changes in a variety of aspects including how they operate, how people and units actually relate to one another via changes imposed on internal coordination. This is termed as ‘planned change’.
- Organizations can bring about changes in the nature of existing control structures and determine how benefits are allocated to the different parties involved.
Organizational learning and learning organization
Organizational learning is the process in which errors are detected and corrected, from the learning obtained from the individuals in an organization. There are four constructs that are linked to this process namely information distribution, organizational memory, knowledge acquisition and information interpretation.
A learning organization is a company which responds to new information by means of changing the very basic mechanism of how the company processes and evaluates the information.
Generative learning vs. adaptive learning in organizations
Most of the current organizations focus on adaptive learning which basically involves solving current problems without taking into account the learning behaviors. However, this should just be the first step towards learning, to be followed by generative learning.
Generative learning, otherwise called as double-loop learning, involves the continuous experimentation as well as constant feedback on the examination of how an organization works to define and solve problems.
In a learning organization, leaders are responsible for learning, acting as teacher, designer and steward who helps build shared visions as well as gives incentive to challenge the mental models currently existing. They help in fostering strategic thinking along with organizational learning. Information systems lend a helping hand by aiding in the continuous refreshing and updating of organizational memory.
Analytical approach to organizational development and performance management
There are several theories regarding organizational change. Systematic conflict frameworks consist of the theories of conceptualism, organizational life cycles, social action theories, population ecology model etc. On the other hand, strategic choice frameworks consist of theories of organizational development, entrepreneurialism and intrapreneurialism, planned incrementalism etc.
It is important that a balance is stricken between the external and internal factors of an organization. This forms the basis of strategic planning done by organizations; analysis via SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats to a business).
Ensuring performance and managing it well is an integral part of OD. Specific approaches are in place which will maintain and increase performance. This involves diagnosis of performance, preparing for setting goals, setting the goals and finally reviewing the goal-setting process. In order to bring about holistic organizational development as per the research report, the OD professionals have to adhere to certain values and ethics.