When and Why an Organization Should Use Organization Development
The field of Organization Development (OD) is extremely broad—and this is one of the problems in communicating clearly what the field entails.
OD is not a technique or a group of tools, though some OD professionals practice as if it were. Rather, OD can be applied any time an organization wants to make planned improvements using the OD values. OD might be used in any of the following situations:
- To develop or enhance the organization's mission statement (statement of purpose) or vision statement for what it wants to be
- To help align functional structures in an organization so they are working together for a common purpose
- To create a strategic plan for how the organization is going to make decisions about its future and achieving that future
- To manage conflict that exists among individuals, groups, functions, sites, and so on, when such conflicts disrupt the ability of the organization to function in a healthy way
- To put in place processes that will help improve the ongoing operations of the organization on a continuous basis
- To create a collaborative environment that helps the organization be more effective and efficient
- To create reward systems that are compatible with the goals of the organization
- To assist in the development of policies and procedures that will improve the ongoing operation of the organization
- To assess the working environment, to identify strengths on which to build and areas in which change and improvement are needed
- To provide help and support for employees, especially those in senior positions, who need an opportunity to be coached in how to do their jobs better
- To assist in creating systems for providing feedback on individual performance and, on occasion, conducting studies to give individuals feedback and coaching to help them in their individual development
This is not an exhaustive list—it is suggestive only. But it will give you some idea of the range of activities for which OD professionals might be called on to assist an organization.
OD as a field has thrived because of the value-added concepts and tools that it has brought to organizations and its stakeholders (those concerned with how the organization operates), including customers, stockholders, employees, management, the community, and even the nation. If an OD professional can help in bringing about desired change with a process that uses the values described in the next section, everyone benefits.
The Benefits of Organization Development
Working with an OD professional can radically change your organization for the better in many ways. You can establish an atmosphere in your organization which will:
- Support more innovation and creativity
- Increase job satisfaction
- Develop more positive interpersonal relationships
- Foster greater participation in creating plans and defining organizational goals
You can create systems to help establish this kind of atmosphere. All of this will create a more effective and efficient organization that will, consequently, provide higher-quality goods and services at a reasonable price, increase profitability, improve stock values, improve the work environment, and support management in its leadership role.