Managing the Organization Development Process

The OD Process is based on the action research model which begins with an identified problem or need for change. The process proceeds through assessment, planning of an intervention, implementing the intervention, gathering data to evaluate the intervention, and determining if satisfactory progress has been made or if there is need for further intervention. The process is cyclical and ends when the desired developmental result is obtained.

The OD process begins when an organization recognizes that a problem exists which impacts the mission or health of the organization and change is desired. It can also begin when leadership has a vision of a better way and wants to improve the organization. An organization does not always have to be in trouble to implement organization development activities.

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Once the decision is made to change the situation, the next step is to assess the situation to fully understand it. This assessment can be conducted in many ways including documentation review, organizational sensing, focus groups, interviewing, or surveying. The assessment could be conducted by outside experts or by members of the organization.

After the situation is assessed, defined, and understood, the next step is to plan an intervention. The type of change desired would determine the nature of the intervention. Interventions could include training and development, team interventions such as team building for management or employees or the establishment of change teams, structural interventions, or individual interventions.

Once the intervention is planned, it is implemented.

During and after the implementation of the intervention, relevant data is gathered. The data gathered would be determined by the change goals. For example, if the intervention were training and development for individual employees or for work groups, data to be gathered would measure changes in knowledge and competencies.

This data is used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. It is reported to the organization’s decision-makers. The decision-makers determine if the intervention met its goals. If the intervention met its goals, the process can end, which is depicted by the raising of the development bar. If it did not, the decision is made whether to continue the cycle and to plan and carry out another intervention or to end it.

Organization Development Process

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1. Initial Diagnosis of the Problem:

In the first step, the management should try to find out an overall view of the situation to find the real problem. Top management should meet the consultants and the experts to determine the type of programme that is needed. In the first stage only, the consultants will meet various persons in the organisation and interview them to collect some information.

2. Data Collection:

In this stage, the consultant will make the surveys to determine the climate of the organisation and the behavioural problems of the employees.

The consultant will meet groups of people away from their work environment to get some answers to the questions such as:

(i) What specific job conditions contribute most to their job effectiveness?

(ii) What kind of conditions interferes with their job effectiveness?

(iii) What changes would they like to make in the working of the organisation?

3. Data Feedback and Confrontation:

The data which has been collected in the second step will be given to the work groups, who will be assigned the job of reviewing the data. Any areas of disagreement will be mediated among themselves only and priorities will be established for change.

4. Planning Strategy for Change:

In this stage, the consultant will suggest the strategy for change. He will attempt to transform diagnosis of the problem into a proper action plan involving the overall goals for change, determination of basic approach for attaining these goals and the sequence of detailed scheme for implementing the approach.

5. Intervening in the System:

Intervening in the system refers to the planned programmed activities during the course of an OD programme. These planned activities bring certain changes in the system, which is the basic objective of OD. There may be various methods through which external consultant intervene in the system such as education and laboratory training, process consultation, team development etc.

6. Team Building:

During the entire process, the consultant encourages the groups to examine how they work together. The consultant will educate them about the value of free communication and trust as essentials for group functioning. The consultant can have team managers and their subordinates to work together as a team in OD sessions to further encourage team building. Following the development of small groups, there may be development among larger groups comprising several teams.

7. Evaluation:

OD is a very long process. So there is a great need for careful monitoring to get precise feedback regarding what is going on after the OD programme starts. This will help in making suitable modifications whenever necessary. For evaluation of OD programme, the use of critique sessions, appraisal of change efforts and comparison of pre and post training behavioural patterns are quite effective.

The steps in OD are part of a whole process, so all of them need to be applied if a firm expects to get the full benefits of OD. An organisation which applies only a few steps and leaves the others will be disappointed with the results.

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