Organizational development is a technique used for bringing change in the entire aspect of the organization, rather than focusing attention on the individuals, so that change is readily absorbed.
According to French and Bell, “Organizational development is a long range effort to improve an organization’s problem- solving and renewal processes, particularly, through a more effective and collaborative management of organization culture with special emphasis on the culture of formal work teams with the assistance of a change agent or catalyst and the use of the theory and technology of applied behaviour science, including action research.”
According to Burke, “Organizational development is a planned process of change in an organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioural science technology, research and theory.”
Need for organizational Development
organizational development is a dynamic technique. It uses the behavioural science knowledge to assist the organizations in adjusting easily to the changes. Every organization has a need to remain viable and to survive in the world of change. OD has grown rapidly in response to this need of the organizations. For this purpose it uses the systems approach.
There are two important factors which cause the use of OD for the purpose of implementing planned change:
(i) Training for Change
Employees need training to adjust with the changes. Training for change does not work properly only through reward structure on the job. There should be a proper change in the environment of the organization in which people work, to make the training work proper. Thus, the basic objective of OD is to bring about change in the organizational structure so that it supports training.
(ii) To Help in Making the organizational Culture More Responsive
In a dynamic environment, changes take place very rapidly. This requires a highly receptive and effective organization so that changes are implemented and absorbed to make organizations survive and grow. OD can help a lot in this direction. OD reaches into all aspects of organization culture in order to make it more responsive.
Benefits of organizational Development
Newton Margulies and Anthony Raia have given the following benefits of organizational development.
- Provides opportunities for people to function as human beings rather than mere resources in the production process.
- Give each member of the organization opportunity to develop to his full potential.
- Seeks to make the organization more effective in meeting all its goals.
- Tries to create an environment in which exciting and challenging work can be found.
- Gives people in the organization the chance to influence how they relate to work, the organization and the work environment.
- Treats each human being as a person with a complex set of needs, all of which are important in his work and life.
Assumptions of organizational Development
organizational development is based on certain assumptions which are explained as follows:
- Most of the individuals are motivated by personal growth and development. However, the work habits of a person are a response to work environment rather than personality traits. The attitude of a person towards his job will depend upon his growth potentials, in most of the cases. Therefore, efforts should be made to change the way a person is treated in the organization rather than attempting to change the person. The work habits of a person will change positively only if we change the work environment to suit his requirements.
- Highest productivity can be achieved only if there is effective integration of individual goals with the organizational goals.
- OD tends to assume that co-operation is more effective than conflict. In healthy organizations, efforts are made at all levels to treat conflict as a problem subject to problem solving methods. This is because of the reason that conflict tends to erode trust, prohibit collaboration and eventually limit the effectiveness of the organization.
- Free expression of feelings is an important ingredient for commitment to work. Suppression of feelings adversely affects problem solving, personal growth and satisfaction with one’s work.
- The level of interpersonal trust, support and co-operation should be as high as possible: because growth of individuals is facilitated by relationships which are open, supportive and trusting.
- There should be a sense of commitment among the employees in the organization. Agreeing to do something is totally different from committed to do something. Sense of commitment makes it easy to accept change and the implementation of change is even easier when this commitment is based upon participation in the process.
- Organizational development cannot be implemented in isolation. It must be reinforced by the organization’s total human resource system.
Values of Organizational Development
Tannenbaum and Davis prescribed the values that organizations should develop to undertake OD efforts.
They specify that organizations should move:
- Away from a view of human beings as essentially bad toward viewing them as basically good.
- Away from avoidance or negative evaluation of individuals to confirming them as valuable human beings.
- Away from a view of individuals as “fixed” (i.e. being) toward seeing them as “being in process” (i.e. becoming).
- Away from resisting and fearing individual differences toward accepting and utilizing them.
- Away from utilizing an individual primarily with reference to his/her job description to viewing the individual as a whole person.
- Away from walling off the expression of feelings toward making possible both appropriate expression and effective use of feelings.
- Away from marksmanship and game playing toward authentic behaviour.
- Away from use of status for maintaining power and personal prestige towards use of status for organizationally relevant purposes alone.
- Away from distrusting people to trusting them.
- Away from avoiding facing others with relevant data toward making appropriate confrontation.
- Away from avoiding risk taking toward willingness to take risks.
- Away from a view of process work as being unproductive effort to seeing it as essential to effective task accomplishment.
- Away from primary emphasis on competition towards a much greater emphasis on co-operation.
From the above values, we can clearly understand why these are considered absolutely essential for the success of an OD programme.
Limitations of organizational Development
OD is an important technique of introducing change. But as a method of inducing change, it has certain limitations also. These are as follows
- OD is based on the behavioural sciences concepts. Behavioural sciences themselves have many limitations, which are passed on to and applicable to OD also.
- OD requires the use of certain diligent and highly motivated persons, who can take initiative to bring about change. But in organizations, people are, generally, complacent who are not willing to make the required efforts and they are not helpful in implementing organizational development.
- OD cannot be applied without giving due consideration to the circumstances existing within the organization. The local circumstances may pose a problem in adapting to change. Task of the organization and the characteristics of its membership also put limitations on the effectiveness of OD.