OD is a long range effort to improve organization's problem solving and renewal processes, particularly through more effective and collaborative management of organizational culture, often with the assistance of a change agent or catalyst and the use of the theory and technology of applied behavioral science. Although behavioral science has provided the basic foundation for the study and practice of organizational development, new and emerging fields of study have made their presence known. Experts in systems thinking, leadership studies, organizational leadership, and organizational learning (to name a few) whose perspective is not steeped in just the behavioral sciences, but a much more multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach have emerged as OD catalysts. These emergent expert perspectives see the organization as the holistic interplay of a number of systems that impact the process and outputs of the entire organization. More importantly, the term change agent or catalyst is synonymous with the notion of a leader who is engaged in doing leadership, a transformative or effectiveness process as opposed to management, a more incremental or efficiency based change methodology.
Organization development is a "contractual relationship between a change agent and a sponsoring organization entered into for the purpose of using applied behavioral science and or other organizational change perspectives in a systems context to improve organizational performance and the capacity of the organization to improve itself".
Organization development is an ongoing, systematic process to implement effective change in an organization. Organization development is known as both a field of applied behavioral science focused on understanding and managing organizational change and as a field of scientific study and inquiry. It is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on sociology, psychology, and theories of motivation, learning, and personality.
Applied behavioral science
One of the outstanding characteristics of OD that distinguishes it from most other improvement programs is that it is based on a "helping relationship." Some believe that the change agent is not a physician to the organization's ills; that s/he does not examine the "patient," make a diagnosis, and write a prescription. Nor does s/he try to teach organizational members a new inventory of knowledge which they then transfer to the job situation. Using theory and methods drawn from such behavioral sciences as (industrial/organisational psychology, industrial sociology, communication, cultural anthropology, administrative theory, organizational behavior, economics, and political science, the change agent's main function is to help the organization define and solve its own problems. The basic method used is known as action research. This approach, which is described in detail later, consists of a preliminary diagnosis, collecting data, feedback of the data to the client, data exploration by the client group, action planning based on the data, and taking action.
OD deals with a total system — the organization as a whole, including its relevant environment — or with a subsystem or systems — departments or work groups — in the context of the total system. Parts of systems, for example, individuals, cliques, structures, norms, values, and products are not considered in isolation; the principle of interdependency, that is, that change in one part of a system affects the other parts, is fully recognized. Thus, OD interventions focus on the total culture and cultural processes of organizations. The focus is also on groups, since the relevant behavior of individuals in organizations and groups is generally a product of group influences rather than personality.
]Improved organizational performance
The objective of OD is to improve the organization's capacity to handle its internal and external functioning and...