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Organization development (OD) is a planned, organization-wide effort to increase
an organization's effectiveness and viability. ...
Organization development (OD) is a planned, 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 organization so that they can better adapt to new
technologies, marketing and 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[1] as well as organizational reflection,
system improvement, planning, and self-analysis.

Organization Development Overview

By: Dr. Marge Yanker

What is OD?

Organizational Development is an applied behavioral science that is focused on the organization

as a system.

A Comparison of OD with other interventions:

Activity - Training - Education - OD

Focus - Job Skills - Person - Organization

OD is an applied behavioral science that is, among other issues, concerned


• The health of the organization.

• Organizational effectiveness.
• The organization’s capacity to solve problems.
• The organization’s ability to adapt, change, or of self-renewal.
• The organization’s ability to create a high quality of life for its employees.

What are the assumptions of OD?

OD assumptions include:

• People react to how they are treated. (Better treatment results in better productivity.)
• Work must meet the individual’s needs and the organization’s needs.
• Most people are motivated by challenging and meaningful work; not controls, threats and
• Basic building blocks of the organization are groups—therefore the units of change are
• Organizations suppress feelings, but this also suppresses commitment.
• Groups that learn to work using open and constructive feedback become better able to
be productive.
• People work best in supportive and trusting environments.
• Change is best implemented when people are part of the change process.

The basic value of OD theory and practice is that of choice.

Learning is seen as an integral part of choice. Therefore, OD utilizes various strategies to

intervene into the ongoing activities of the organization in order to facilitate learning and to help
the organization (groups within it, as well as individuals who make up the groups) to be able to
make better choices about alternative ways to proceed more effectively. Because choice is a
fundamental value, OD works with the organization to find out how the organization wishes to
proceed. OD is not prescriptive in its purest form. (Organizations in crisis often demand a more
prescriptive approach and this is always a difficult decision for the OD practitioner to weigh.)

What are the steps involved in OD?