Organizational Development

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Chapter 1
Overview of Organizational Development

1.1 What is Organizational 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.

Kurt Lewin (1898–1947) is widely recognized as the founding father of OD, although he died before the concept became current in the mid-1950s. From Lewin came the ideas of group dynamics and action research which underpin the basic OD process as well as providing its collaborative consultant/client ethos. Institutionally, Lewin founded the "Research Center for Group Dynamics" (RCGD) at MIT, which moved to Michigan after his death. RCGD colleagues were among those who founded the National Training Laboratories (NTL), from which the T-group and group-based OD emerged. In the UK, the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations was important in developing systems theories. The joint TIHR journal Human Relations was an early journal in the field. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences is now the leading journal in the field.

1.1.1 What makes an effective organisation?

Studies, theories and frameworks defining what makes an effective organisation – whether for profit or nonprofit – abound US fonder organisation Grantmakers for Effective Organisations (GEO), describes an effective organisation as one which “is able to fulfill its mission through a blend of sound management, strong governance, and a persistent rededication to achieving results”. The Alliance for Nonprofit Management (again, a US organisation) describes organisational effectiveness as “the capacity of an organisation to sustain the people, strategies, learning, infrastructure and resources it needs to continue to achieve its mission”. Seasoned American grantmaker Barbara Kibbe (former director of David & Lucile Packard’s Organisational Effectiveness and Philanthropy Program) summarises the most important organisational factors (or ‘capacities’) which contribute to effectiveness:

1. Relevant programmes: That is regularly reviewed to ensure that service delivery is consistent with known best practices and related to evolving needs and context.

2. Policies and processes: that are efficient, cost effective, aligned with mission and goals, and focused on clear, measurable outcomes.

3. Assets and resources: adequate to accomplish organisational and programmatic objectives, including physical and human resources as well as financial assets.

4. Stability: through multiple funding streams, a high level of earned income, and/or adequate cash reserves or endowment.

5. Skilled leaders: who:

(Model continuous learning in terms of their personal and professional growth, as well as the management of their organisations;

(Pursue strategic alliances and partnerships enabling them to better address big issues and big problems;

(Embrace accountability by seeking, reflecting on, and responding to feedback and criticism from constituents, the media, colleagues and competitors.

1.2 Objectives and Characteristic Features of OD:

(Participation and involvement in problem solving and decision making by all levels of organization

(Focus...
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