To effectively adapt and thrive in today’s business world, organizations need to implement effective OD interventions aimed at improving performance at organizational, group and individual levels. OD interventions involve respect for people, a climate of trust and support, shared power, open confrontation of issues, and the active participation of stakeholders. OD interventions are broader in scope, usually affecting the whole organization (socio-technical systems). OD interventions are sponsored by the CEO and supported and “owned” by staff at the different levels of the organization.
OD professionals must have a solid understanding of the different OD interventions to choose the most appropriate, or “mix and match” them -based on the expected results and a solid analysis of the organization and its environment.
This blog presents a brief analysis of OD interventions using a classification proposed by M. Kormanik.
Major OD Interventions
OD interventions aim at improving organizational performance and employees’ well being. According to Robbins (1994), OD integrates a collection of planned change interventions that relies on humanistic and democratic values, aimed at improving organizational effectiveness, and employees’ well being. OD interventions rely on the following values: respect for people, trust and support, power equalization, confrontation and participation. Kormanik (2005) proposes a classification of OD interventions in 6 groups: large scale, strategic, technostructural, management and leadership development, team development and group processes, and individual and interpersonal processes.
Large scale interventions typically involve a full-size group of stakeholders, working toward the definition of a future state. These interventions start from top levels of the organization, to analyze, plan, and define the intervention’s outcomes, then, people are involved in the solution, creating with this a shared commitment, and a “contagious of effect” effort, which will support the implementation of defined actions in the long term. Some examples include the following: appreciative inquiry summit, future search, open space and real time strategic change. Large scale interventions are highly structured; each activity is carefully planned beforehand –this is particularly important since the whole system participates simultaneously, in the same room, at the same time. Cummings and Worley (2001) describe the three step process involved in any large scale intervention: 1) the preparation of the large group meeting, 2) Conducting the meeting, and 3) Following on meeting outcomes. Large-scale interventions are quicker, build organizational confidence, give immediate and broad based information, promote a total organization mindset, inspire action, and sustained commitment.
Strategic interventions contribute to align the organization with its environment. Cummings and Worley (2001) state that these interventions “link the internal functioning of the organization to the larger environment; transforming the organization to keep pace with changing conditions” (p. 105). Strategic intervention help organizations to gain a better understanding of their current state, and their environment, that allow them to better target strategies for competing or collaborating with other organizations. Kormanik (2005) includes under the umbrella of strategic interventions, the following: mission / vision / purpose, strategic planning and goal setting, visioning / scenario planning, benchmarking, SWOT, communication audit / strategy, values clarification and commitment, climate survey, and culture change.
Technostructural interventions focus on improving the organizational effectiveness and human development by focusing on technology and structure. These interventions are rooted in the fields of engineering, sociology, and psychology,...