Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development

Cite this


Human resources management (HRM) and organisational development (OD) is a relatively young academic discipline but an old and well-established field of practice. As the description of the procedure demanded in the management of people in an organisation, Human resources management have substituted personnel management. The idea of human beings purposely developing themselves in order to improve the conditions in which they live seems almost part of human nature. HRM theory and practice are deeply rooted in this developing and advancing perspective.

This paper serves to highlight the convergence of HR and OD, the definition of HR and OD with a brief discussion of their methods, the integration of HR and OD and the reasons for such integration. The chapter that follows fully explore the depth and range of thinking within how the HR and OD methods can be integrated, downsizing and attracting and retaining both normal and high-payed staff.


Preparing people or putting them through a prescribed procedure has always been a process existing in or produced by nature within human resources management. Human resources management (HRM) is identified as a strategic activity that nevertheless has to engage in business processes. These include bringing people in and out of the organisation, rewarding them, developing, managing performance and discipline.

Complete and wholehearted fidelity to people advancement demand starting at an organisations peak; it is not just an issue for HR or learning and development functions. The leadership behaviours set the tone and expectations for employees. People are smart. Talented people are even smarter. They will be taken in by lip service to value-they want to see an active demonstration in the day-to-day people management of the business (Mackey and Thorne, 2007).

It is important to understand that OD planning exists within the HRM strategic plan. There are np two plans. Interlacing OD goals, objectives, and expected measurable outcomes within the HRM strategic plan helps ensure that HRM considers the impact of changes on the whole organisation. A word of caution: industry averages should not be used to qualify the expected results. Every company is unique, and HR needs to know the numbers for its own company to be able to develop legitimate goals (Claydon and Beardwell, 2007).

However, to ensure that HR considers all key issues prior to the recommendation of an OD initiative, it is important to have the plan reviewed by key persons outside the HR function. It needs a new paradigm of decision science for talent (Boudreau & Ramstad, 2007)

Convergence of OD and HR

According to thought leaders in the human resource management (HRM) and the organisational development (OD) fields, HRM and OD are or at least should be converging (Sicard, Sicard Associates, Frank, & Insights, 2002). Convergence means that the two fields are coming together. HR practitioners are increasingly expected to act like OD practitioners by effecting cultural change and unleashing worker creativity (McBain, 2001), and, conversely, OD practitioners must increasingly become knowledgeable about HR if they are to be most successful in helping their clients.

In making this point about the convergence of the fields, Sammut (2001, p.9) writes:

“Human resources (HR) and organizational development (OD) have the same or nearly the same characteristics in human organizations.”

Though few organisations operate in a firm and dependable business relation in which two parties compete to gain customers. What is needed is a more characterised order and planning and strategically integrated set of attitudes and beliefs of coordinating people and their imaginative quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment to the organisation’s objectives. That means OD must be integrated into HR practices. At the same time, many “levers” available to an organisation’s leader to effect change in organisations reside in HR, including recruitment, selection, reward, feedback and appraisal systems, career pathing approaches, and much more. For that reason, those who set out to effect change must be masterful in their applications of HR.

The implications of convergence mean that OD practitioners must become more familiar with all aspects of HR, from strategic to tactical, and how they can be applied to improve productivity and organisational work climate. At the same time, HR practitioners should become more familiar with OD and its total system and humanistic approach to effecting change with people in organisational or group settings.

Human Resource Management and Organisational Development Defined

Human resource management is defined as an integral and an orderly, logical, and aesthetically consistent move towards the administration of an organisation’s appreciated material value or usefulness that is owned by a company which are the employees working there who independently and jointly provide a particular quality or character to the accomplishment of the organisation’s goals.

On the other hand, organisational development is concerned with the planning and implementation of programmes. The latter is designed to enhance the effectiveness with which an organisation functions and responds to change. Overall, the aim is to adopt a planned and coherent approach to improving organisational effectiveness. In line with this, an effective organisation can be defined broadly as one that achieves its purpose by meeting the wants and needs of its stakeholders, matching its resources to opportunities, adapting flexibly to environmental changes and creating a culture that promotes commitment, creativity, shared values and mutual trust (Armstrong, 2006).

Any human resource practitioner has to understand the models of human resource management (HRM). This is because it provides a perspective of HRM in the overall organisational setup. The unity and diversity of these models serve as a vital input to tailor the models for the organisation. However, they also offer answers to dilemmas that practitioners may encounter in their mission to pursue organisational and business-aligned to human resource functions.

HRM take a central place in the quality movement of any organisation. It is this department that deals with employee development, job descriptions and performance strategies, enrichment of jobs, leadership training, mentoring, involvement and empowerment, customer focus, leadership and quality planning, among other things in the organisation.

HRM being the customer service provider, needs to provide an excellent customer satisfaction ultimate goal, which means defining who the customers are and determining their precise needs.

The type of HRM policies and practices an organisation prefers should be dependent upon its organisational vision, mission, strategy, goals and objectives. However, HRM should also adapt in tune with the external environment of organisations. (Kandula, 2004, P2).

Planning and implementation of organisational change in Organisation Development are based upon a systematic diagnosis of the organisation and the work related problems that its members are experiencing. However, OD is also a collaborative process that involves members of the organisation and its problems.

Organisational Development (OD) is one of today’s major areas of research of organisation theorists and practitioners, which aims at improving organisational effectiveness and achieving organisational excellence.

Integration of HR and OD and the reason

The common elements of a successful strategy include consistent, long term goals, an understanding of the competitive environment, resource appraisal and effective implementation (Grant, 2005). These elements include more than just a financial analysis, and this is where HR and OD can make a significant contribution. HR and OD can contribute to a strategy development process by developing talent management strategies that can be implemented throughout the organisation. This talent management approach must be flexible yet responsive to adapt to an ever changing environment.

Change is an essential component that needs to be strategically incorporated into any strategic plan. However, as OD has evolved and connected with HR, it has focused on aligning its practices in multiple roles and directly impacting firm performance (Lawler & Worley, 2006). Management must manage both internal and external environments in both short term and long term time frames. It might have been acceptable to only be concerned with external environments but not any longer (Worley et al., 1996). OD is internally focused, process-oriented, and dynamic (Cummings & Worley, 2005). It focuses on how organisations and organisational behaviour changes over time. The missing link is the development of the internal resources (i.e., people) in conjunction with the ability to change the direction of the organisation. This key opportunity has directly connected OD and HR together to develop and implement a talent management strategy.

It is the HR and OD views that define the methods and interventions for ensuring talent are ready across all functions in an integrated fashion for the good of the organisation.

Many factors have contributed to this change for HR and OD to become strategic partners (Worley et al., 1996). The transition to a global economy and worldwide marketing of products are major factors. The competition is too intense, and now the cultural requirements of multiple countries must be taken into account.

OD and HR have integrated their functions in order to become a business partners to implement the organisational strategy. They are no longer the “administrators” or the group that is brought for a one-time team building project.

OD emphasises the roles that people and organisation design can contribute as competitive advantages. OD brings to HR the change management and process expertise as well as the intervention speciality (Worley et al., 1996). HR could only become strategic by integrating OD values and development techniques together.

However, HR and OD must be active partners because, without talented human capital, the success and performance of the firm remain at risk.

How HR and OD methods can be integrated

Realising that there are many different methods that organisations can follow, it is important to identify the methods and models that include the internal HR and OD perspective so that it can impact not only the effectiveness but the performance of the organisation (Worley et al., 1996). Worley et al. (1996) stated that the basic and fundamental demanding or stimulating situation is to expand and pursue to a conclusion successful business strategies that give a healthy elasticity to the organisation and make more intense or better the level of incentive and devotion of the people who are answerable for performance. If employees are not engaged and committed, it will be difficult to implement the change or method necessary for the business to flourish (Sak, 2006).

The integrated method encompasses a process that involves learning and adapting over time to ensure long-term competitiveness to business change (Worley et al., 1996). This method includes not only formulating strategy but also implementing and executing the strategy. And most importantly, from an HR and OD perspective. However, HR and OD can add value to an organisation by directly improving the performance of the business with effective talent management, helping with change management and influencing strategy (Lawler, 2005). As the focus has turned to human capital, HR and OD must be at the table strategising at the upfront because, without upfront, initial participation in the development method implementation is doomed to fail.

In many cases or instances, leaders of commercial or industrial enterprises centre on the business course of action and market final consequence or product while refusing to express recognition of the presence or existence of the human resources. This paradigm is not just for HR and OD but all organisations, as well. Integrating HR and OD functions to improve decisions that matter most toward sustainable methods occurs by implementing decision science strategy within organisations ongoing processes. It is a great significant possibility due to a favourable combination of circumstances for organisations to gain with effort achievement in the course of their most significant source of aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed, which is the natural ability or quality of their employees.

Talent factories are being built by organisations that have successfully combined OD and HR to face the future together. They don’t just manage talents; they build talent factories (Ready & Conger, 2007, p.70).

Given the prevalence of downsizing tactics and the increasing use of self-development principles to encourage greater flexibility in the employment relationship, the management of the people issues and, in particular, the continued development of employees is fundamental to the success of organisational downsizing (Fisher, 1989). However, this changing context requires a new focus on human resources policies which help people to gain the skills and self-reliance to master the new environment. An integrated and compatible series of programmes including elements that address the cultural, structural, and process issues important to the survivors has been proposed by Buch and Aldridge (1990). They suggest that interventions that combine participation, communication, problem-solving, team building, counselling, and career development programme can meet both the organisational and the individual objectives.

By equipping survivors to cope with personal change and providing the skills for future survival, such as programmes, also facilitate more flexible and responsive change for the organisation.

HR and OD can mediate managing the renegotiation process by raising organisational awareness of the need to renegotiate and help individuals to construct more satisfactory deals. This will assist individuals in surviving the immediate change and will facilitate discussion of longer term aspirations and needs. Thus, the HR and OD function will fulfil a new role as consultants, counsellors, and brokers of the psychological contract (York, 2009).

Given the centrality of people to the change agenda, it is natural that HR and OD should play potentially the key role as change agents and culture builders. HR has at its disposal key access to points through which to make a difference in OD by working with leadership teams to help shape thinking about the people implications of business strategy, developing people strategies that serve both short-term and longer-term needs, shaping policies that go beyond compliance to enable the application of best practice and imaginative treatment of employees and lastly, using the tools of reward systems organisation design and recruitment practices, to ensure that their organisation is able to attract and retain the talent it needs.


In conclusion, given the talent for the success of today’s organisations, the problems caused by change represent a real threat. Attracting and retaining both normal and high-payed staff required for organisational success will become more problematic unless organisations learn to manage change effectively in ways that retain and grow “human capital”. When intellectuals and social capital are at stake, an intelligent approach to change management is needed.

For people to be willing to change their behaviour, they have to feel valued and safe. Yet change threatens things that people hold dear like their livelihood, the quality of working life and the nature of the work they do. The change affects the nature of the relationship between employees and employers and challenges the assumptions on which trust is built.

Developing the ability to manage people effectively through different kinds of the change process will differentiate the successful organisation from the rest.

List of References

Armstrong, M., 2006, A handbook of human resource management practice. Philadelphia: PA. Kogan Page Publishers.

Buch, K., & Aldridge, J., 1990, Downsizing challenges and OD interventions: A matching strategy. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 5(4), 32-37.

Claydon, T. and Beardwell, J., 2007, Human resource management: a contemporary approach. New Jersey. Prentice Hall/Financial Times.

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G., 2005, Organizational development & change. 8th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson-Southwestern.

Fischer, C.D., 1989, Current and recurrent challenges in HRM. Journal of Management., 15(2), 157-180.

Grant, R. M., 2005, Contemporary strategic analysis. 5th ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Kandula, S. R., 2004, Human Resource Management in Practice: With 300 Models, Techniques and Tools. New Delhi, India. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Lawler, E. E., 111, & Worley, C.D., 2006, Built to change: How to achieve sustained organization effectiveness. San Francisco: Wiley.

McBain, R. 2001, Human resources management: Culture, commitment and the role of the HR function. Manager update, 13(2), 22.

Ramstad, P. M. and Boudreau, J.W. 2007, Beyond HR: the new science of human capital. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business Press.

Ready, D. A., & Conger, J. A. 2007, Make your company a talent factory. Havard Business school Review, 85(6), 68-77.

Saks, A. M., 2006, Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(7), 600-619.

Sammut, A.C., 2001. HR and OD turfwar: Highlighting the need to establish a clear definition of OD. Organizational Development Journal, 19(2), 9-18.

Sicard, T., T.L.Sicard Associates, Frank, L.G., & Insights, F., 2002, Strategic partnerships. How the HR function can partner with other business functions to realize strategic potential and success: Linking HR and organizational development to succeed. Strategic HR Review, 1(5), 12-13.

Worley, C. D., Hitchin, D. E., & Ross, W.D., 1996, integrated strategic change. Reading. MA: Addison-Wesley.

York, K. M., 2009, Applied Human Resource Management: Strategic Issues and Experiential Exercises. California. SAGE Publications Inc.

Cite this paper

Select style


BusinessEssay. (2022, December 16). Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development. Retrieved from


BusinessEssay. (2022, December 16). Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development.

Work Cited

"Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development." BusinessEssay, 16 Dec. 2022,


BusinessEssay. (2022) 'Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development'. 16 December.


BusinessEssay. 2022. "Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development." December 16, 2022.

1. BusinessEssay. "Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development." December 16, 2022.


BusinessEssay. "Human Resource Functions & Organisation Development." December 16, 2022.