Kurt Lewin is credited with the creation of Organization Development in his work on Action Research and Survey Feedback (1958). He suggested that research should be related to action if a firm wants to change and this lead to a new form of research, called Action Research which is now the basis for Organzational Development methods.
It is a planned effort at increasing an organizations efficiency, and it’s ability to change itself and adjust to those changes. This team has been used for many decades to describe a philosophy and a set of methods to improve an organization’s efficiency.
Organizational Development typically deals with the softer human elements of the organization, such as, staff, skills, style and shared values. These elements are impacted by approaches that involve organizational psychology, sociology, leadership, economics and political science.
Organizational Development will usually have better results when undertaken by outside change agents, in the form of consultants. Outside views often have an ability to identify issues in the firms culture and management processes that may be completely ignored or overlooked by inside employees.
Uses of Organizational Development
What is the Organizational Development Process?
Entering and Contracting –
Collecting initial data to identify and understand problems that the firm is experiencing
Identify threats and opportunities from the collected data
Establish a contract that includes:
Future change activities
What resources to use for the planned change
What role will the change agent (consultant) play in the process
Includes careful study of the clients processes in order to understand weaknesses and strengths
What are the causes and effects?
Giving feedback to management about the data collected
Planning and Implementation –
Designing interventions that will meet the organizations goals
Evaluation and Institutionalization –
Create action plans
Make the interventions a permanent change in the firms operations
Strengths of Organizational Development
Interpersonal Relationships – Team building and effective formation of teams is an important process in organization development. By strengthening interpersonal relationships, morale is boosted and employees have a better chance at buying into the change.
Adaptability – Organization development builds a network of communication and interactions between business units that increase the firms effectiveness and it’s ability to adapt to change
Weaknesses of Organizational Development
Time Consuming – The processes of organizational development can be very time consuming. These processes include surveys and feedback collection about the firm’s efficiency and processes including their consumers feedback. This can lead to a short term loss of productivity while these processes are conducted.
Administrative Difficulties – Organizational development implements the change and addition to elements of the management and structure of the organization which leads to challenges and involves a never-ending reevaluation of the firm’s desires, with an effort to maintain and increase efficiency.