The Concept of Organizational Development (OD)
Organizational development is a very important concept that has now been included in most organizations that have a commitment to delivering excellent HR (human resources) practices. However, the field remains little understood, with very few truly understanding what organizational development is actually about. Only a few understand what is actually needed to be done in order to be truly effective. Basically, the field is a new approach, one that is based on values, to a systematical change in organizations.
It can also be applied to communities, where radical change often happens. The goal of OD is to ensure organizations are able to build up their capacity so that they are able to achieve a certain state, as well as sustain it. This state should be one that creates great benefit to the organization, and to those whom they influence as well.
Values in Organizational Development
There are a number of well-documented areas of best practice within OD. The first is that it should be based fully on values. Striving for values include a number of very clear issues. First, respect and inclusion, meaning that every member of staff is allowed and enabled to have an opinion. This should be listened to and respectfully taken into consideration. Second, it is about collaboration, meaning everybody should be able to work together with the right people at the right time. Authenticity is a third element, which is something that all members of staff should embody, but also encourage in their clients.
“The practice of OD is grounded in a distinctive set of core values and principles that guide behavior and actions.” Principles Of OD Practice
Then, there is self-awareness, meaning that anybody who works in the organization needs to understand their role in terms of the organization and how their behavior affects the achievement of a goal. Finally, there is empowerment, which means members of staff are given the tools to build up their own knowledge and expertise and thereby the value they have to the organization.
Another Element of Organizational Development
The second element of best practice is that it must be fully supported by theory. This means that it should draw from areas of work such as psychology, HR practices, management techniques and various other disciplines to find out how to best implement change and development. A strong element of it, as well, is known as the complexity theory, which is about understanding why an organization develops a certain way.
“Complexity Theory is probably better know in Mathematics, the natural sciences and the development of Algorithms in computer science, however, in the field of OD is concerned with the emergence of order and structure in complex and the apparently chaotic organisational systems.” Five Core Theories – Complexity Theory – Organisation Development
It is vital for OD practitioners to work on this element, because this is what helps them understand how a business will respond to particular influences. A business is a highly complex system with many different variables to take into consideration. Working on the complexity theory helps OD professionals to understand what a likely result of any effort they make will be.
A next element of best practice is to implement organizational strategies. This starts by determining what the organizational climate is (things such as the company’s “personality,” its beliefs and attitudes and its leadership). After this, they must determine what the organizational culture is (which builds specifically on assumptions and values of the organization, behavioral norms and patterns and, finally, artifacts). Once this has been determined, strategies need to be implemented, which start with diagnosis. As an example here is an Everything DiSC Group Culture Report that speaks to culture.
“Helps organization identify problems that may interfere with its effectiveness and assess the underlying causes.” Organizational Development Theory
Conduct Action Planning
After this, a series of action planning rounds are held, which is a strategic development to ensure actions are agreed upon to improve any issues that were identified during the diagnosis part. Then, intervention takes place, which are the steps that were agreed upon during the strategic action planning process. Finally, results have to be evaluated. As such, it is a circular process, as the evaluation process and the diagnosis process are very closely related. During evaluation, new diagnosis takes place and new actions have to be agreed upon and implemented, before once again being evaluated.
Strong Data Is Required
The final piece of best practice to look at within organizational development should be the fact that it has to be based on strong data. This takes part during each of the stages described above, as it allows change to be monitored and evaluated as well. Of course, how to collect data and which data to collect can be a difficult question. It is about determining what is needed and how, as well as how much of it is required.
Additionally, there needs to be an agreement about how the data should be used efficiently and objectively, so that it can at all times be validated as correct. This is also about having the right technology to collect data, which in turn leads to potential issues around confidentiality, which must be fully clarified. Of course, at the same time, people need to know that it is okay to be open, in order for them to actually share the data they have been asked for.
Valid Sources of Data
We are constantly getting feedback from our customers that the Everything DiSC Profile provides them with vital data that they need to successfully implement organizational development initiatives. Using DiSC gives organizations a way to add the elements of personality and behavior to that need for strong data. When adding those profiles to your activities it is vital to have a way to manage the issuing of the profiles and the storage of the results. EPIC DiSC, in the form of an EPIC Account, that provides a username and password protected internet-based management portal is the way our customers answer that need.
This EPIC Account will provide organizations that are implementing large OD activities an easy way to manage and use the large amount of data provided by the use of Online DiSC Profiles by Intesi! Resources. The addition of both personality and behavioral data points provides great value to all organizations that use it.
Clearly, organizational development is a huge field that encompasses pretty much everything within a company. It is for this reason that larger organizations now have a full OD team to do the work for them. This may seem costly, but the results that this team can deliver, if they do their work properly, are tremendously beneficial to an organization as a whole. It should enable and empower people to be more engaged within their work, as well as being happier and feeling more valued at work. This, in turn, should help them become more productive. Indeed, the main benefit of organizational development is the fact that it leads to continuous improvement within the organization.
“Companies that engage in organizational development commit to continually improving their business and offerings. The OD process creates a continuous cycle of improvement whereby strategies are planned, implemented, evaluated, improved and monitored. Organizational development is a proactive approach that embraces change (internal and external) and leverages it for renewal.” 5 Key Benefits of Organizational Development