Tell Me More...About OD
OD is a term that is batted around in many organizations and means different things to different groups. It is an abbreviation for Organization Development. OD is a relatively new discipline that has its roots in behavioral science.
OD practices help organizations and individuals understand the process of change, how to prepare for it and how to deal with it. Many of the common challenges organizations face are associated with some kind of change, whether it is a merger, upsizing, downsizing, new product lines, quality initiatives, changes in demographics - all of these present opportunities and challenges for our members.
Helping organizations and individuals manage change is the most common application of OD, but OD can be much broader than just managing change. There are many different definitions of OD. One of my favorites comes from a text written by Cummings & Worley. I think this definition blends the academic with the practical.
“OD is a process that applies behavioral science knowledge and practices to help organizations achieve greater effectiveness, including financial performance and improved quality of work/life."
Effectiveness is the key. There is no single, one right answer for every organization. Each has to decide what is effective for them. OD is a combination of art and science. It can be seen as a process, an approach, a set of tools and a philosophy.
It is a Process, in that it:
- Discovers how things are done
- Evaluates how people relate to each other
- Determines how decisions are made
OD is also referred to as an Approach because it:
- Involves looking at the world from a certain perspective, one that looks for solutions instead of blaming and workable alternatives instead of idealistic absolutes
- Follows a set of principles regarding authenticity and participation
OD can also be considered an Art because it:
- Encourages creativity
- Involves people at deep level
OD can also be seen as a Science in that it:
- Looks at whole systems
- Relies on assessment
OD uses a variety of “tools” that help diagnose and address problems and help identify opportunities for growth.
OD has a place in any size organization and with smaller groups within an organization, like departments or teams. OD can also be used for work with individuals.
The chart below lists some of the common activities broken down by the organization level.
The goal of Trusight’s OD consulting is to help organizations define and achieve their goals. We offer consulting in managing change and many other areas of OD to help companies realize their potential.
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