Organization Development (OD) is a unique organizational improvement strategy.

The sets of structured/planned activities adopted by groups or individuals in an organization as a part of the organization development program are known as “ OD techniques” or “OD interventions”. While change programs may involve either external or internal consultants, OD interventions mostly involve external consultants. "A planned change process, managed from the top, taking into account both the technical and human sides of the organization” Beckhard defines Organization Development (OD) as " An effort, planned, organizationwide, and managed from the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization's processes, using behavioral-science knowledge." In essence, OD is a planned system of change.
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Planned- OD takes a long-range approach to improving organizational performance and efficiency. It avoids the (usual) "quick-fix". Organization wide- OD focuses on the total system. Managed from the top-To be effective, OD must have the support of topmanagement. They have to model it, not just espouse it. The OD process also needs the buy-in and ownership of workers throughout the organization. Increase organization effectiveness and health - OD is tied to the bottom-line. Its goal is to improve the organization, to make it more efficient and more competitive by aligning the organization's systems with its people. Planned interventions- After proper preparation, OD uses activities called interventions to make system wide, permanent changes in the organization. Using behavioral-science knowledge- OD is a discipline that combines research and experience to understanding people, business systems, and their interactions. “OD interventions are sets of structured activities in which selected organizational units (target groups or individuals) engage in a task or sequence of tasks with the goals of organizational improvement and individual development”. We usually think of OD only in terms of the interventions themselves. This article seeks to emphasize that these activities are only the most visible part of a complex process, and to put some perspective and unity into the myriad of OD tools that are used in business today. These acti vities include a) Total Quality Management (an evolutionary approach to improving an organization) b) Reengineering (a more revolutionary approach).

It is critical to select the correct intervention(s). We need to be more responsible to and develop closer partnerships with our customers. and involvement of all stakeholders. OD must have the buy-in. such as strategic planning and team building..Taking an open-systems approach. And. capital. OD is usually facilitated by change agents -. . humane manner.May be a large fraction of our costs of doing business.Our workers today want feedback on their performance. if we are to continue doing more work with less people. Changing nature of the workplace. and this can only be done with proper preparation. Global markets. and we argue that we should attack the problems. and commitment to social responsibility. and information.Our People -. They certainly can make the difference between organizational success and failure. ownership.. we can easily identify the competitions on an international scale for people. and our organizations must also change to survive and prosper. They need to be more efficient.people or teams that have the responsibility for initiating and managing the change effort. Accelerated rate of change.And there are dozens of other interventions.") Bennis notes that "external consultants can manage to affect . the power structure in a way that most internal change agents cannot. not the symptoms. physical resources. WHO DOES OD? To be successful. We better know how to manage them. we need to make our processes more efficient. they can be more effective in facilitating significant and meaningful changes. to improve their time management. and experience in change management. don't try this at home.Our environments are changing. planned. of course.) Effective change requires leadership with knowledge. preferably a combination of both. We must change to survive. in a systematic. We strongly recommend that external or internal consulta nts be used. a sense of accomplishment. WHY DO OD? • • • • Human resources -. These change agents may be either employees of the organization (internal consultants) or people from outside the organization (external consultants. feelings of value and worth." Since experts from outside are less subject to the politics and motivations found within the organization. ("These people are professionals. not just of the employees throughout the organization.

The OD practitioner (consultant) adds value in many ways. Intervention strategies are based on results of the diagnostic process and the specified goals of the client system. E. iii) A set of goals for the practitioner. attributed to David Gleicher.Interventions constitute the ACTION component of The OD cycle. the product will also be zero or near zero and the resistance to change will dominate. the organization and its members. OD can bring approaches to the organization that will enable these three compone nts to surface. A vision of what is possible in the future. If any of the three is zero or near zero. quick diagnostic aid to decide if change is possible. We use this model as an easy. assumptions and goals. which we can used to decide if an organization is ready for change: Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > Resistance to Change This means that three components must all be present to overcome the resistance to change in an organization: Dissatisfaction with the present situation. ii) A set of assumptions about people. 4 sets of attributes are brought to the organizational context: A set of values. organizations and interpersonal relationships.g. the client system wants to modernize the production process by moving from an assembly line with simple task structure and complexity to complex tasks performed by self-managed teams. WHEN IS AN ORGANIZATION READY FOR OD? There is a formula. and iv) A set of structured activities that are the means of achieving the values. so we can begin the process of change. These activities are what are referred to as interventions. and Achievable first steps towards reaching this vision. .

do we actually carry out the change process. Evaluation. An implementation plan will be developed that is based on the assessment data. We must plan for a participative decision-making process for the intervention. A formal or informal contract will define the change process. we identify critical success factors and the real issues.Here we collect data in order to find the opportunities and problems in the organization (refer to DxVxF>R above. It is important to follow the action plan. Feedback.Successful OD must have made meaningful changes in the performance and efficiency of the people and their organization. yet remain flexible enough to modify the process as the organization changes and as new information emerges. finding needs for change within an organization. taking actions by altering selected variables within the system based both on the data and on hypotheses.OD IS A PROCESS Action Research is a process which serves as a model for most OD interventions. . i. Entry-This phase consists of marketing. goal. This is also the time to deal with resistance within the organization. and evaluating the results of actions by collecting more data.oriented. Action planning. 3. This is also the time for the consultant to make a diagnosis. and only now.In this step we will distill recommendations from the assessment and feedback. measurable and rewarded. and to participate in selecting appropriate change interventions. based on an analysis of the data. and improve the OD process itself to help make future interventions more successful. Everyone who contributed information should have an opportunity to learn about the findings of the assessment process (provided there is no apparent breach of anyone's confidentiality. 2. and clarify roles for the consultant(s) and employees. feeding these data back into the system.e. We need to have an evaluation procedure to verify this success.. 5. is logically organized. 6.This two-way process serves to tell those what we found out. It is also the time to quickly grasp the nature of the organization. identify needs for new or continuing OD activities. 7.) This provides an opportunity for the organization's people to become involved in the change process. Intervention.Now.In this step. in order to recommend appropriate interventions.) For suggestions about what to look for. or need of that system. consider alternative actions and focus our intervention(s) on activities that have the most leverage to effect positive change in the organization." The steps in Action Research are: 1. identify the appropriate decision maker. Assessment and diagnosis . and build a trusting relationship. see the previous article in this series. Start-up and contracting. 4. link into the organization's culture and processes. on needs assessment . French and Bell describe Action Research as a "Process of systematically collecting research data about an ongoing system relative to some objective. to learn about how different parts of the organization affect each other. results.

and that they will be carried out. that most of the companies practice: 1. X-Matrix etc. which in turn is helpful in their assessment and mid-term correction of their performance. to capture the goals of the employees. We also should plan for future contacts. to monitor the success of this change and possibly to plan for future change activities. Separation. idea generation) -Increased accountability (through clarifying responsibility and monitoring performance) -Increased energy and optimism(“the future is desirable.8.We must recognize when it is more productive for the client and consultant to undertake other activities. beliefs and attitudes. Example: Organizations are implementing the concept of Balanced Scorecard. we follow-up by implementing processes to insure that this remains an ongoing activity within the organization. Applying criteria to goals : Here the leadership establishes objective criteria for the outputs of the organization's goal-setting processes. worthwhile and attainable”) COMMON OD INTERVENTIONS The following a few of most common OD Interventions. skills) -Participation (in problem solving. and when continued consultation is counterproductive. . Then they hold people accountable not only for stating goals against those criteria but also for producing the desired results. POSSIBLE RESULTS OF OD INTERVENTIONS: -Feedback -Awareness of changing socio-cultural norms or dysfunctional current norms -Increased interaction and communication -Confrontation (surfacing and examining differences) -Education (knowledge and concepts. that commitments for action have been obtained. Adoption. 9.After steps have been made to change the organization and plans have been formulated.. goal setting.

performance bonus etc.Spot Recognition Award . and builds on them. Then they disband. 3. Example: Organizations have introduced various schemes for rewarding their employees for their performance. like: . in fact.Targeting achieving mandatory man-days of training for their employees ..Introducing the concept of Variable pay in as a part of CTC .Introducing Top – down and Bottom – up Communication approach . Example: Defining the process of Organizational Communication policy . These people often do not know that they are.Project bonus. This collection of individuals is then fed honest information during critical times. Identifying “Key Communicators”: This is to carefully determine who seems to be "in the know" within the organization. Example: Organizations today are targeting at streamlining the process of Learning and Development and encouraging the culture of Learning in the organizations.2." one that performs experiments on organizational structure and processes. Experimentation with alternative arrangements: Today organizations are subject to "management by best-seller.Introducing the Competency based practices 4." The goal in these interventions is to create what is being called a "learning organization. analyzes the results. Establishing inter-unit task forces: These groups can cross both functional parts of the organization (the "silos") as well as employee levels.Identifying Critical employees in the organization and making them the Brand Ambassadors of their company . one-on-one and confidentially. They are ideally accountable to one person and are appropriately rewarded for completing their assigned task effectively. key communicators.Introducing Employee Forums and Suggestion Box options for employee interaction . .

Focused group discussion are encouraged by the management. 6. Example: The most common is interviews and other pre-work. 7. Team Building: This intervention can take many forms. followed by a one.to threeday offsite session. Example: This is practiced in Product Development Companies and most of the IT and ITES Companies. The interventions might include training. . then what might an employee do that would be so affrontive to them that he/she would be fired?" Example: . "If we're serious about these values. for generating better ideas and concepts . communications planning. organizational survey-feedback.Publishing and Instilling Values and Beliefs among all employees . goal setting. Sexual Harassment etc. In-Visioning: This is actually a set of interventions that help to "acculturate" everyone in the organization into an agreed-upon vision.5. Identifying “Fireable Offenses”: This intervention deepens the understanding of and commitment to the stated values of the organization. etc. purpose. They establish common goals and negotiate changes in how the groups interface. 8.. This facilitates the work of the Top Management to answer the critical question. mission.Introducing Policies like Whistle Blowing. Inter-group Problem Solving: This intervention usually involves working with the two groups separately before bringing them together. and values. During the meeting the group diagnoses its function as a unit and plans improvements in its operating procedures.

valid questionnaires. Setting up measurements: The total-quality movement emphasizes that all work is a part of a process and that measurement is essential for process improvement. TQM etc act as Measurements tools for the process followed in the organization. They understand that organizations cannot succeed long term without well-trained leaders. The OD professional is equipped with tools and techniques to assist leaders and others to create measurement methods and systems to monitor key success indicators. and feeding the results back to everyone for action planning. The general method requires developing reliable. Example: Most of the organizations today are focusing at Leadership Management for their employees. and OD practitioners often use it to assist organizational clients to learn how to get down to the basis causes of problems.Business Organization Retreat (BOD) is being the most common practice. Management / Leadership Training: Many OD professionals come from a training background. analyzing it for trends. but now. collecting data from all personnel. Earlier.The concepts like Six Sigma. . current situations that need attention within the organization and to monitor the degree to which training delivery is sufficiently participative as to promise adequate transfer of learnings to the job. Survey-feedback This technology is probably the most powerful way that OD professionals involve very large numbers of people in diagnosing situations that need attention within the organization and to plan and implement improvements. The OD contribution there can be to ensure that the development curriculum emphasizes practical. organizations are seeing its relevance to inculcate the leadership skills in their middle management and junior management as well. 11. 10. this was targeted to the Top Management alone. . Example: . 10. is a part of this initiative.9. Studies of structural causes "Root-cause analysis" is a time-honored quality-improvement tool.

Total Quality Management (TQM). There are many. many different types of OD interventions. organizational transformation. Third Party Peace Making Interventions. relationship quality between team members and between team and leader. Process Consultation. These are classified. and effectiveness. The most widely used structural interventions are parallel learning structures. not exhaustive. Every practitioner augments this list with both specially designed interventions that meet the precise needs of clients and with other. In addition. Diagnostic Activities : it is a fact-finding activities designed to ascertain the state of the system or the status of a problem. Team Interventions and Intergroup Interventions. or grouped according to: i) The objectives of the interventions ii) The targets of the interventions Some of the major “families” of OD interventions are as described below: 1. This catalog is. “Outdoor Adventure” teambuilding programmes are currently very popular. CLASSIFICATION OF OD INTERVENTIONS Some OD interventions include Sensitivity Training. "Walk-the-talk" assessment Most organizations have at least some leaders who "say one thing and do another. It only covers the most common OD interventions. and Structural Interventions. however. 2. necessary skills and resources." This intervention. concentrates on measuring the extent to which the people within the organization are behaving with integrity. structural issues must be addressed (the nature of the team). more complex interventions such as large-group sessions. These can focus on task-related issues such as the way things are done. large-scale systems change. Management by Objectives (MBO). that all OD professionals be completely grounded in these basic interventions. which can be highly threatening. and process reengineering. . Survey Feedback.12. of course. Team Building Activities: Such activities are designed to enhance the effective operation of system teams. Quality Circles. self-managed teams. Quality of work life (QWL) projects. It is important. and other popular programs.

5. Intergroup Activities: Such activities are designed to improve the effectiveness of interdependent groups. Activities could include either: a) Experimenting with new organizational structures and evaluating their effectiveness b) Devising new ways to bring technical resources to bear on problems 7. 6. Attention is focused outside of the org. 8. Strategic Management Activities: It helps key policy-makers reflect on the organization’s basic mission and goals. environmental demands. Process Consultation Activities are activities that help the client “Perceive. Understand and act upon process events which occur in the client’s environment”. . Based on confrontation and an understanding of conflict and conflict resolution processes. abilities and knowledge. leader and member roles in groups. depending on the nature of the need. 9. 4. engaging in long-range planning of both a reactive and a proactive nature. Survey Feedback Activities: These are the activities that focus on the use of questionnaires to generate information which is then used to identify problems and opportunities. group norms. Techno structural or Structural Activities are designed to improve organizational structures and job designs. The client gained insight into the human processes in organizations and learns skills in diagnosing and managing them. These focus on joint activities and the output of the groups as a single system rather than 2 subsystems. Emphasis on communication. problem solving and decision making. and to the future. leadership and authority and intergroup cooperation and competition. Several activities and approaches are possible. ie those that must cooperate to produce a common output. Third -Party Peacemaking Activities: These are the intervention by a skilled third party aimed at helping 2 organizational members manage their interpersonal conflict.3. threats and opportunities. Education and Training Activities: These activities are designed to improve skills.

Organisational Transformation Activities: Thses activities focus on largescale system changes that will fundamentally transform the nature of the organization. It provides a framework for looking at the factors (forces) that influence a situation. Virtually every aspect of the org. It looks at forces that are either driving movement toward a goal (helping forces) or blocking movement toward a goal (hindering forces). social psychology. is a significant contribution to the fields of social science. Sensitivity Training: Sensitivity Training is a form of training that claims to make people more aware of their own prejudices. The principle. 12. work design. and change management. and more sensitive to others. mission. originally social situations. psychology. 11.10. management philosophy. . According to its critics. values and culture. Force-field Analysis: Force field analysis is an influential development in the field of social science. process management. organizational development. Critics believe these techniques are unethical. it involves the use of psychological techniques with groups that its critic claim are often identical to brainwashing tactics. developed by Kurt Lewin. reward systems. is changed: structure.