Why and When to Start Organization Development?

by Shamsul
Organizational Development
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Organization Development

Start Organization Development?

Discover what organization development is and how it is developed, used, and performed in a current business environment.



There are numerous ways to demonstrate organizational development (OD). However, all these methods share some common attributes with their dissimilar names. Regardless of the strategy, Organization Development has become a main critical practice for organizations and companies. The business requires maintaining performance, especially within a diverse corporate scenario.

This discussion shows what Organization Development is and how the strategies and models have been established, and how it matches with the design of an organization. It focuses on the Organization Development policies that are good for various processes, phases, and stages.


Definition of Organization Development:

It is where interventions happen to have special thinking – they design alignment with the company’s activities and objectives in an intentional and planned style, with a point to achieve particular outcomes that will improve the current performance level and outcomes of an organization. This definition of Organization Development has a professional touch. It is a systematic and planned strategy to enable an organization’s performance in a sustainable way through the efforts of its workers. See the Organization Development and its suitability for your organization with the help of a professional map.

The specialists of Organization Development play a vital job in working with the main professionals and workers to establish the organization and make it strong to achieve all the goals. They have experience in navigating difficulty to unpick what the business is trying to accomplish; determine the main problems, challenges, options, and choose the top policies to establish an organization to move fast and forward.

Workers are often the main powers to bring change in the organizational setups. Professional people need to have a basic understanding about development and its links with the HR agenda and corporate philosophy. They must support the knowledge and database of the company to find the answers to assumptions, support in finding solutions of non-obvious issues, identify the limitations, recognize the enablers to execution and control the change in a better style.

Development can be of different types and it may focus on various points of an organization. This is why Organization Development has become a proper discipline for business management professionals. No doubt, these professionals may use slightly different approaches to diagnose and solve the issues but the ultimate goal of everyone would be the same.


Some of the basic strategies are given here:

  1. Organization Development concentrates on improving the value obtained from the company’s assets – for example, in a robotic manufacturing unit, the establishment may concentrate on mechanical efficiency, whereas if the company offers public services, it may focus on the capabilities of people.
  2. Organization Development concentrates of strategy, core purpose and goals of an organization – all development is made to achieve these goals. OD can’t be done without this thing in mind. However, someone trying to perform the OD without these elements may cause troubles for the systems and procedures.
  3. Where a business’s key competitive benefit is offering through their workers (in contrast to machinery or technology), the Organization Development will apply some behavioral science information and approach, such as work design, group dynamic, and leadership.
  4. The Organization Development is linked to Change Management. There can be several development plans and specialists. Each coming with a different idea. It is necessary to see what changes a specific plan or specialist may bring to the system. It is also necessary to see the level of planning and research for the systematic change, ongoing activity and more. This must aim to bring the organization on an institutionalized track.

However, these key points may seem relevant to HR activities but these are core components of an organization’s OD activities. The experts performing the OD may use different methods and come up with different results. It is necessary to track day to day changes with the help of a solid monitoring practice. The HR must play a keen role to develop an environment that is supportive for the Organization’s Development. In specific, core information about the professions, skills and capabilities are necessary for all these activities. This not only helps to determine the new developmental goals but also defines the methods to achieve them.


Organization Development Example:

For example, HR specialists and professionals may develop and perform the overall performance review procedure to bring betterment in employee participation. It also reduces the time to accomplish certain goals. This is a business policy that HR professionals have to develop and practice. On the other hand, a company can recognize the workers who have more skills than others. They have to pick skilled professionals from different organizations to bring a positive culture on their own. This not only helps to introduce something new in the team but also adds to augment the working capabilities of existing workers. In this case, the appraisal procedure is also important. Short as well as long-term appraisals provide feedback about the performance of employees. It also encourages the workers to show their best in order to receive certain incentives in terms of promotions, bonuses, and increments.

What makes Organization Development activity different than other HR activities? As a matter of fact, HR department and professionals play a supportive role in the development of an organization. They don’t deal with all the aspects such as marketing, finance, sales, and budgeting but they provide vital resources and capabilities for all these tasks. This changes the business mindset and fills the corporate gaps. This is why they continuously conduct appraisals and tell the workers to show more improvement in their respective fields.

If the scope of fields that need development is wide, the work intensity necessary is high, or the interlinking of these fields needs a drastic change, this is where OD transcends into a design of the organization. The organization design and development are interlinked and these are complementary components.


Organization Development History:

Organization Development has its connections in the US in the mid-1940s and 50s. It appears from different minds and exercises including sociology, behavioral science, and psychotherapy. Different specialist consultancies and academics studied what exercises bring about a high level of results (people related) and then implemented that thinking to businesses to support gets a high level of performance.  

More recently, the Organization Development has got more systematic strategies such as business process re-engineering, systems thinking, continuous improvement, total quality management, and HR engineering factors. Effectiveness is present in the streamlined methods. These reduce the inefficiency of human factors. The specialists analyze the human links and areas of wastes to recognize how methods can be changed to produce special actions and behaviors.

Each of these critical sectors supports Organization Development from different angles. However, the support factor may depend on the identification of critical factors such as planning, issues, opportunities, threats, and more.


Who performs Organization Development?

The diverse definition of Organization Development usually creates confusion in minds. The first one is about the person who will do it. The second is about the time to perform Organization Development. It may also divert the attention towards organization effectiveness and organization design. These are some confusing terms. The job of Organization Development is for special consultants. They have experience in understanding the core values, roots, goals, and activities of an organization. They usually come up with certain ideas to analyze the organization’s effectiveness, strategies, and policies in relation to specific points.

Organization Development consultants belong to different professional fields. For example, the HR specialists will do the appraisals when it is about the human resource department. This is a part of improving the overall efficiency of an organization. On the other hand, the sales and marketing teams have their own perspectives and goals when it comes to Organization Development.


Why and When to start Organization Development?

Organizations and companies face regular changes in the working field, internally and externally, affecting the entire business environment. New competitors, market trends, and technologies change quickly. On the other hand, employees join or resign, create cultures, situations and follow special agendas. Because of these external and internal factors, organizations usually discover a setup best suited for their business activities. They also try to adjust with the new trends and technologies in order to maximize the output.

So, it is important that organization development remains an ongoing project rather than trying it occasionally for specific situations. In this way, the organizations can handle the ups and downs in an effective style. This lets them minimize the impact of critical external and internal factors. For example, organizations with poor OD practices can face serious consequences if their best workers leave. However, this will not be the case for the organizations using an effective OD system to deal with these situations. Implementation of OD practices ensures that there will be a smooth system and the process taking place even in tight schedules.

As it is usually an individual’s and problem-focused step and in most cases touches various sections of an organization, successful OD experts require effective work cooperation with colleagues in different departments. This helps to establish a multi-discipline approach supporting different pillars of an organization. This offers a more sophisticated approach when judging the work nature and finding ways to align each section perfectly.


Design Organization Development:

One way to design OD is to utilize the organizational metrics and worker analytics to recognize the perfect choices helpful to achieve the goals with minimum resources. With the latest practices that provide support to fulfill the requirements. For example, the HR department conducts annual staff surveys to identify the coordination gaps. They try to figure out what causes a lack of cooperation among the various departments resulting in less efficiency. The results tell them what are main factors and how to control them. This might be a simple reason to start the OD initiative to analyze and design the work practices to bring significant improvement in different fields.

However, ongoing OD is always better than other approaches. It works like an antivirus program for any computer. It detects viruses or any suspicious file containing a threat to the system. Almost all the leading organizations are changing their work strategies according to the latest technologies, trends, and priorities. For example, sustainability is a hot trend nowadays and everyone wants to do things in a sustainable way.


Organization Development Pratices:

The speed of disruption and change can create some technical challenges for organizations. The organizations exist in a competitive and volatile environment where the disruption rate is high and the transformation rate is slow. This is why OD practices become useful because these offer quick organizational transformation according to the latest demands. Current start-ups, new customer requirements, and modern technologies are some important factors in this field. It would be helpful to see the role of OD and its associated practices to improve the business during the covid-19 pandemic.

OD exercises are overseen at a maximized level to guarantee they access all the business segments and bring the organization towards success in a systematic way. This is why OD specialists also prefer to have multiple dialogues with technical and professional persons connected to an organization. This provides them an opportunity to see the potential within the system.

Process of Organization Development:


The OD procedure has different phases.

Organization Review – It is necessary to recognize the needs and requirements of an organization. It utilizes a variety of tools and practices such as:

  1. Strategic review.
  2. Analysis of future state.
  3. PESTLE.
  4. SWOT.
  5. Target Operating Model.
  6. Quantitative performance target.

Diagnosing the level of accomplishment – Mainly, the same factor as doing a gap review to recognize the dissimilarity between a desired future position and a current position, but utilizing a variety of diagnostic tools and systems to review the situation completely, such as:

  1. ISO.
  2. Six Sigma / Lean.
  3. Force Field Analysis.
  4. Total Quality Management.
  5. Organization design framework such as Burke Litwin Framework, 5 Star Model or McKinsey’s 7S model.

What practice will suit the gap-filling and choices for organizations?

Remember, there are different types of OD frameworks and designs. This is why these are multidisciplinary and best fitted in different situations. Following types are present for users.

  1. Human Process Intervention – It includes action learning, facilitations, group work, training, mentoring, and coaching.
  2. Techno-structural intervention – It includes business process re-engineering, Six Sigma / Lean or Outsourcing.
  3. Human Resource Intervention- It includes rewards & motivation, psychometrics, employee surveys, and performance management.
  4. Strategic intervention – It includes cultural change, business planning, and transformation programs.

All these types have the same purpose and that is a business development and improvement of an organization so that it can achieve the main targets but each type has a different mode of action relying on the style and experience of practitioners.

Applying the initiative – It is a perfect system to utilize robust change management exercises which will offer effective communication, evaluation metrics, stakeholder involvement, and more. The landing transformational change is another report that focuses on the actual change and practices to deal with it. It is necessary to see the case studies in order to understand the successful implementations of OD practices by various leading organizations in different situations.  



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