Organization development (OD) is a deliberately planned effort to increase an organization’s relevance and viability, a future readiness to meet change. OD is the framework for a change process designed to lead to desirable positive impact to all stakeholders and the environment. The purpose of OD is to address perennial evolving needs of successful organizations – a concerted collaboration of internal and external experts in the field to discover the process an organization can use to become more stakeholder effective.
OD is a lifelong, built-in mechanism to improve immunity of organization’s health to renew itself inclusive principles, often with the assistance of a change agent or catalyst and the use of enabling appropriate theories and techniques from applied behavioral sciences, anthropology, sociology, and phenomenology. The term change agent or catalyst is synonymous with the notion of a leader who is engaged in leadership – a transformative or effectiveness process – as opposed to management, a more incremental or efficiency based change methodology.
Organization development is an ongoing, systematic process of implementing effective organizational change. 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.
Organization development is a growing field that is responsive to many new approaches including Positive Adult Development. Very often organizations invest heavily in transformational change programs or organizational development interventions that fail to deliver performance in a sustainable way. Organization Development believes that every part of an organization is integral to a system that relies on and impacts other elements of the internal and external environment in which the organization operates.
OD helps organizations deliver sustainable performance improvement through people. Those who practice OD usually have a strong humanistic and democratic approach to organizational change. People and collaboration are key features of any OD intervention. Others have described OD in the following ways: * A planned process of change in an organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research and theory. (Warner
Burke) * A long-range effort to improve an organization’s problem-solving capabilities and its ability to cope with changes in its external environment with the help of external or internal behavioral-scientist consultants, or change agents as they are sometimes called. (Wendell French) * An effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s ‘processes’, using behavioral science knowledge. Richard Beckhard)
* A system-wide process of data collection, diagnosis, action planning, intervention, and evaluation aimed at (1) enhancing congruence among organizational structure, process, strategy, people and culture; (2) developing new and creative organizational solutions; and (3) developing the organization’s self-renewing capacity. It occurs through the collaboration of organizational members working with a change agent using behavioral science theory, research and technology. (Michael Beer)