Nature and characteristics of Organizational Development

Different people have defined OD differently. According to Koonz et. al, “OD is a systematic integrated and planned approach to improve the effectiveness of the enterprise. It is designed to solve problems that adversely affect the operational efficiency at all levels”.

Burke’ has defined OD as “a planned process of change in an organisation’s culture through the utilization of behavioural science technology, research and theory”.

Characteristics of OD:

The salient characteristics of OD implied in its definitions are gleaned as follows:

  1. OD is a systematic approach to the planned change. It is structured style of diagnosing organizational problems and opportunities and then applying expertise to them.
  2. OD is grounded in solid research and theory. It involves the application of our knowledge of behavioral science to the challenge that the organizations face.
  3. OD recognizes the reciprocal relationship between individuals and organizations. It ac­knowledges that for organizations to change, individuals must change.
  4. OD is goal oriented. It is a process that seeks to improve both individual and organizational well- being and effectiveness.
  5. OD is designed to solve problems.

Objectives of OD:

The main objectives of OD are to:

  1. Improve organisational performance as measured by profitability, market share, innovativeness, etc.
  2. Make organisations better adaptive to its environment which always keeps on changing.
  3. Make the members willing face organisational problems and contribute creative solutions to the organisational problems.
  4. Improve internal behaviour patterns such as interpersonal relations, intergroup relations, level of trust and support among the role players.
  5. Understand own self and others, openness and meaningful communication and involvement in planning for organisational development.

Douglas McGregor, who was working in the Union Carbide, is considered one of the first behavioural scientists to systematically talking about and advocating for the implementation of OD for organisational improvement. OD as a subject is relatively new. Notwithstanding, it is becoming increasingly popular and visible in USA, UK, Japan, Norway, Sweden and even in India.

In India, OD is in scene since 1968. Since then, many public and private sector organisations like HAL, HMT, IDPL, LIC, SAIL, TELCO and TISCO have been applying the interventions of OD to solve the organisational problems.

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