The Vital Nature of Organizational Development
Organizational development is a vital part of the success of any business. It is underpinned by a long and interesting history, as well as a variety of tools, processes, models and theories. The type of theories that you choose to apply for your company depend on how you operate and function, and what the goals and strategies are in place. Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
A Brief History
There is no real knowledge on when Organizational Development (OD) started precisely, with many believing that it has always been part of us since we started to trade. However, one pivotal moment in time for OD was the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is legislation that stopped discrimination in the workplace. As such an increased need for organizations to develop their human capital design to meet such legal implications as well as ensure their newly diverse workforce could meet the stakeholders needs.” History, Theories, and Models of Organizational Development
Various elements have been added to this act since then, such as voting rights, equality and diversity laws and more, and these have changed the framework of OD. However, theories that underpin the goals of OD–ensuring a company is responsive to change and has the best people in the best place to do this–have existed since long before 1964. Furthermore, new theories continue to be added as time goes on.
Lewin’s Change Theories
One of the main thinkers behind all OD practices is Lewin.
“OD emerged out of human relations studies from the 1930s where psychologists realized that organizational structures and processes influence worker behaviors and motivations. Lewin’s work in the 1940s and 1950s also helped show that feedback was a valuable tool in addressing social processes.” Organizational Development Theory
Since then, the focus has been on managing change in highly complex environments. This is done through knowledge management, continuous professional education and transformation of organizational cultures. The concepts, according to Lewin, are organizational climate, culture and strategies.
Lippitt and Lippitt Entry and Contracting
Another highly popular theory has been presented by Lippitt and Lippitt who focused strongly on entry and contracting.
“Lippitt and Lippitt (1986) describe six phases to effectively manage the entry and contracting phase in a consultant-client working relationship.” OD Models to Support the Transformational Change Process
The first phase is the initial contact, followed by formulating a contract. Next, it is about performing diagnostic analysis in order to identify problems. Then, goals have to be set and an action plan must be created. This leads to taking action, and feedback becomes cyclical. Finally, the contract is continued, extended or terminated.
Carl Jung and the Living
Finally, there is the great psychologist Carl Jung and his theories on the living.
Applying Jung to OD is known as “Organizations Alive.” It emphasizes the fact that businesses are made up of people, and that their psychology drives the success or failure of any operation. This means that it involves intuition and sensing in terms of information. In terms of decision making, the processes that are involved are thinking and feeling. This leads to four specific domains and only in organizations where they are balanced and well-understood can we see true success. Hence, according this theory, OD should focus on the individuals and place them in the right positions according to their psychology.
Most OD departments will use these three theories simultaneously. Other theories are also added in order to improve operations further. The focus is on making sure the right people are in the right place at the right time.