History of Od

Topics: Tavistock Institute, Kurt Lewin, Management Pages: 15 (5072 words) Published: December 26, 2011
Organization Development
Organization development (OD) is a new term which means a conceptual, organization-wide effort to increase an organization's effectiveness and viability. Warren Bennis has referred to OD as a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of an organization so that it can better adapt to new technologies, markets, challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself. OD is neither "anything done to better an organization" nor is it "the training function of the organization"; it is a particular kind of change process designed to bring about a particular kind of end result. OD can involve interventions in the organization's "processes," using behavioural science knowledge organizational reflection, system improvement, planning and self-analysis. Some definitions are:

Organization Development (OD)is a process by which behavioral science knowledge and practices are used to help organizations achieve greater effectiveness, including improved quality of work life and increased productivity (Cummings, & Huse, 1989). In the 1950s and 1960s a new, integrated approach originated known as Organization Development (OD): the systematic application of behavioral science knowledge at various levels (group, intergroup, and total organization) to bring about planned change (Newstrom & Davis, 1993) Growth of Organization Development

OD continues to grow. Some of the first generation contributors include Chris Argyris (learning and action science), Warren Bennis (tied executive leadership to strategic change), Edger Schein (process approach), and Robert Tannenbaum (sensitize OD to the personal dimension of participant's lives). Second Generation contributors include Warner Burke (makes OD a professional field), Larry Greiner (power and evolution), Edward Lawler III, (extended OD to reward systems and employee involvement), Newton Margulies and Anthony Raia (values underlying OD), and Peter Vaill and Craig Lundberg (developing OD as a practical science). Newer generation contributors include Dave Brown (action research and developmental organizations), Thomas Cummings (sociotechnical systems) self-designing organizations, and transorganizational development), Max Elden (political aspects of OD), and Jerry Porras (puts OD on a sound research and a conceptual base).

The Evolution of OD

A brief history of OD will help to clarify the evolution of the term as well as some of the problems and confusion that have surrounded it. As currently practiced, OD emerged from five major stems, as shown below. The first was the growth of the National Training Laboratories (NTL) and the development of training groups, otherwise known as sensitivity training or T-groups, The second stem of OD was the classic work on action research conducted by social scientists interested in applying research to managing change. An important feature of action research was a technique known as survey feedback. Kurt Lewin, a prolific theorist, researcher, and practitioner in group dynamics and social change, was instrumental in the development of T-groups, survey feedback, and action research. His work led to the creation of OD and still serves as a major source of its concepts and methods. The third stem represents the application of participative management to organization structure and design. The fourth stem is the approach focusing on productivity and the quality of work life. The fifth stem of OD, and the most recent influence on current practice, involves strategic change and organization transformation.

According to one theory, OD emerged from four major backgrounds (Cummings, & Huse, 1989): 1.Laboratory Training stem (The T-Group):

This stem of OD pioneered laboratory training, or the T-group – a small, unstructured group in which participants learn from their own interactions and evolving dynamics about such issues as interpersonal relations,...
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