Organizational Development and Consultancy

Introduction

Organizational Development (OD) is a necessary component of an organization which means significant organizational changes as embodying increasing of the capacity of staffs and potentials of the organization through consultation with supporting client groups and introduction of development programs and learning events that are deemed as the necessities and requirements of the organization. The process of organizational development begins with an organizational assessment (Harker, n.d.).

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Speaking more clearly, “[o]rganisational developent is a facilitative approach for creating positive transformative change in organizations, based on their strategic mission and the shared vision of the organization’s participants and stake-holders” (FAQ, n.d.). The beginning of the modern age has marked the emergence of some giant organizations that are dominating the world’s economics, politics, religion, and philosophy in the upcoming era.

Examples of such organizations may be traced out from Microsoft Corporation of Bill gates or cell phones companies like Teleron, Nokia, Siemens, and Orascom. Again, multinational companies like Sony, Philips are dominantly occupying the larger portion of the global market and thus making hegemony over the global economy repressing the poorer nations. Global economic institutions like World Bank, the International monetary fund, Asian development bank are making the wider avenue of exploiting the developed nations with the excuse of financial promotion or economic development in tactful means.

As unity serves as the strength, multinational organizations are amassing their power. Consequently, these organizations through their united efforts are gradually getting more developed, powerful, and influential in the global perspective, particularly in the economic aspect. In the face of all these ground realities, it is very much conspicuous that these influential institutions are keeping a pivotal contribution in preserving the economic sustainability and development initiatives of the nations. In fact, for the sake of economic development organizational development is a priority concern regardless of all the nations and areas. So, the importance of organizational development is a rising issue for the states both from internal and external perspectives (Kelly, 1974, p.78).

Organizational Development

“Organization development is a process that promotes the changes” (Siyi, September 2006). Organizational development is a long-term endeavor for capacity building of an organization led and supported by apex management. “Capacity building efforts can include a broad range of approaches, e.g., granting operating funds, granting management development funds, providing training and development sessions etc.” (McNamara, 1997-2008).

This is designed for the improvement of the visions, empowerment, culture, and problem-solving processes of an organization through a continuous and mutual management of organizational culture with special emphasis on the consultants that facilitate and catalyze the purpose(s) of the organization and help to implement the theories and technologies of applied behavioral science as well as action research (es).

Different thinkers have defined it from different outlooks that fit with their notion and philosophy as regards organizational development. Wamwangi (21 October 2003) states that

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“[o]rganizational development (OD) is a methodology or technique used to effect change in an organization with a view to improving the organization’s effectiveness and gaining sustained commitment to the pursuit of intangible goals such as attitude change and orientation of new sets of values.” (p.9)

Kurt Lewin (1898-1947) is well-reputed as the founding father of organizational development (OD). The conceptual framework as developed by him regarding organizational development got prominence in the mid-1950s. Amongst the ideas developed by him things like group dynamics and action research (es) have underpinned the fundamentals or basis of the organizational; development (OD) process and have provided the collaborative consultant or client ethos of organizational development (OD). Beckhard (1969) has defined Organization Development (OD) as “an effort, planned, organization-wide, and managed from the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization’s processes, using behavioral-science knowledge” (p.9).

Organizational Development: Issues that are worth due consideration

Over the years, organizational development has been a matter of significance for its inherent merits. “Organizational development is important because of its characteristics in achieving Profitability, productivity, morale and quality of work life as well as gaining goals and values of organizations” (ODN). Organisational Development relates to the effectiveness and capacity of solving problems, ability to adapt and change, ability to create a high quality of life for the employees of an organization. Organisational Development (OD) is a planned or well-designed effort that is set for the implementation of action plans in improving the management efficiency of an organization.

Speaking more accurately, it can be used to address the culture of the organization, organizational climate, employee commitment, internal conflicts, and developing or changing management. More specifically, it is stated by Walker (1990) that

“organizational development (OD) covers an organization’s areas of governance, organizational structures, internal monitoring systems, impact assessment, decision-making processes, finance systems, administrative systems, staff participation and information sharing, assessing organizational capacity, strategic planning, setting priorities of works work planning, mobilizing resources, sustainability, recruitment, training and retaining volunteers, and human resources management.” (p.37)

Organizational development is the overall monitoring, management, supervision, and evaluation of the attainment and shortcoming of an organization. In assessing, determining, and evaluating organizational development, numerous factors are sparingly considered. Some specific considerations that warrant holding sincere attention in attempting discussion over the topic are provided below:

Health of the Organisation

The health of an organization includes the structural management and the capacity of the employers and the organization. If the management efficiency and capacity of the working staff of an organization are not sound, the issue of organizational development is sure to lose its significance, and once the matter of procuring profit or benefit turns into a meaningless thought. So, developing the health of an organization or structural improvement is the sine qua non for organizational development (OD).

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Effectiveness of the Organisation

The yardsticks or parameters in determining the effectiveness of an organization are a variable component. It differs depending on the nature of the organization. The variables as they exist in determining the effectiveness of the organizational development are the national economy, politics, and the societal dimension of a particular country including the social behavior, norms, and culture.

Capacity of Solving Problems

The capacity of solving problems is one of the major concerns in justifying organizational development. The manpower, the administrative strength, and the efficiency of the employees of an organization are much related to matters associated with solving the problems of an organization. Hence, to overcome or tackle the barriers that arise at different times, an organization should be well-prepared and exert for developing its capacity.

Ability to Create a High Quality of Life for Its Employees

The foundation of gaining credibility and success of an organization is the performance capability of its staff. But, if the employees or working staffs are not well-paid, certainly the organization would not be able to earn a round figure for its development. As people work for their economic development and upgraded lifestyle, it is a necessary prerequisite of an organization to promote the living standard of its employees by providing them adequate financial support for the sake of organizational development.

Objectives of Organisational Development

Organizational development is formulated considering some key purposes. It has certain objectives concentrated on improving the overall development particularly emphasizing efficient management and sound financial transaction. The objectives may differ from organization to organization based on the aims, objectives, and structure of a particular organization. Wamwangi (21 October 2003) states the objectives of OD in the 5th Urban & City Management Course for Africa Face conference:

“To manage organizational culture for effective outcomes; to mobilize cross functional teams in municipal project management; to mainstream gender in local government management and processes; to work as a framework for creating anti-poverty strategies; to work as a tool for managing change; a means of collaborative problem solving approach; and to manage organizational culture for effective outcomes. (pp.2-3)”

Justifiability as an academic discipline

Organizational development is getting momentum day by day. The concept deserves much importance and due consideration in the context of the present-day globalized perspective. Fortunately, it has got wider recognition among people of all avenues. Considering its value and significance, United States has introduced this as an academic discipline and it is reported that there are said to be over 10,000 practitioners and organizational development (OD) is taught in several universities. As an academic discipline, it draws on social psychology, sociology, psychology, and anthropology.

In the UK the Tavistock Institute, with its work on socio-technical systems in which social, technical, and economic interests all needed to be balanced, was the main institution to play a significant role in OD. Organizational Development promotes the notion that a successful change is a planned change and that monitoring of internal and external influences needs to be conducted continuously.

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Steps Involved in Organisational Development

Organizational development requires several stages to complete. The process of organizational development is a continuous and concerted effort. In differing situations, the process may need different considerations to overcome.

Consultation

Amongst various components, consultation is one of the predominant points. Consultation indicates inviting an expert or an organization for taking advice or suggestion on particular issues/ issues on which the said expert or organization has experienced earlier and successfully overcome them. There are three types of consultation: “the expertise model, the doctor-patient model, the process consultation model” (Wamwangi, 21 October 2003, p.8).

Needs Assessment

The organizational development process helps a nonprofit organization to increase its long-term health or structural management and performance by building the capacity of its working staff. The process usually begins with an organizational assessment, i.e. need assessment for its development. The quantitative and qualitative information gained through assessment helps the staff, board, community members, and other stakeholders identifying what is working well, what needs to be improved in an organization, and the barriers that impede the effectiveness of an organization.

The thorough organizational assessment ensures that staffs, board, and key stakeholders come together to discuss and attempt in finding a way out for the development of the organization. Thus, the whole workforce concerned with the organization strives to systematically examine the organization’s services, funding, governance, and management, and overall mission effectiveness. To get a more apparent and fruitful outcome a third-party assessment is managed for the overall scrutiny and setting the most effective strategies in motion for the better management and gradual development of the organization.

Diagnosis

Sustainable organizational development deserves the diagnosis or categorical experimentation of the principal aspects of an organization, examination of both internal and external hindrances on the development process and the workplace environment. Additionally, there should be an efficient committee for retaining the diagnosis process and devise the proper ways and means for further organizational development.

This committee is divested with the responsibility of keeping a careful look over the organizational issues with the assistance of the organizational development consultants to oversee and monitor the vital organizational defects or shortcomings and accordingly recommend changes if it is so necessary for the sake of the sustenance of the organization or promoting the process of organizational development. Generally, the matters covered by such committees as their responsibility are: Whether the structure of the organization is suitable for conducting its frequent development activities, whether the organization is repeating destructive patterns, whether financial, emotional, or programmatic issues are working well.

An effective organizational diagnosis can radically change the managerial capacity, strengthen infrastructure, sharpen the mission and rightly evaluate the program of the organization through improved and meaningful action plans and develop specific skills and capacities of the employees.

Design

Effective change management helps in getting success. Change management requires designing effective and appropriate planning. Organizational development consultants strive for exploring and designing certain planning that suit or adjust for ensuring change management of a given organization. This design and gaining support for the design through effective means is inevitable. A sustainable change management planning can rightly facilitate the workforce to reach the ultimate goal and earn an aspiring success for the organization.

Needs Assessment & Diagnosis: An overhaul

Harker (2008) ascertained the ‘Organizational Assessment’ as it is “designed to provide long-term road maps for organizations that need a North Star for their organizational development work.” Organizational development looks into the heart of the organization, i.e. invisible or intangible aspects that closely relate to the upbringing and gradual growth of an organization. The assessment and diagnosis process of the organizations are concerned with some specialized processes; such as, marketing, i.e. recognizing needs for change within an organization. It is the time to quickly grasp the nature of the organization, recognize the appropriate decision-maker, and build a trusting relationship.

Critical success factors and the real issues link to the organization’s culture and procedures are identified. The roles of the consultant(s) and employees are also assessed here. For instance, the workplace environment is an important variable of an organization as it motivates, excites, and helps the employees to retain their services in an organization. So, the necessity of being the workplace environment sound and healthy is of much importance for sound organizational development.

Again, managing the internal disturbances of the organization peacefully is also one of the prime considerations in the need assessment procedure. In a phrase, the organizations should minutely consider the necessary ingredients as they are required for the continuance of the promotional functionaries of the organization and accordingly take proper actions for ensuring the organizational development.

The Role of OD Consultant in Assessment & Diagnosis

The organizational development (OD) consultants are supposed to collect data to find the opportunities and problems of an organization. Their duties and responsibilities as prescribed include several issues.

Feedback

This two-way process is served to all concerned based on an analysis of the data. Everyone who contributes information should have an opportunity to learn about the findings of the assessment process. It provides an opportunity for the staff and other concerns of an organization to become involved in the change process, to learn about how different parts of the organization affect each other, and to participate in selecting appropriate change interventions.

Action planning

Action planning includes following the recommendations from the assessment and feedback, consider alternative actions and focus our intervention(s) on activities that have the most leverage to effect positive change in the organization. An implementation plan needs to be developed based on the logically organized assessment data that are the result- oriented, measurable, and rewarded. A viable action planning is developed following a participative decision-making process.

Intervention

Intervention is important to follow the action plan, yet remain flexible enough to modify the process as the organizations change their policies and a new set of information emerges.

Evaluation

Successful organization development (OD) mechanism must introduce meaningful changes for developing the performances and efficiencies of the people and their organizations. An evaluation procedure is necessary to verify the success of an organization, identify needs for new or continuing organizational development (OD) activities, and improve the organizational development (OD) process to make future interventions more successful.

Adoption

After a review of a significant period for justifying and deciding the changes for an organization and formulation of plans and making a follow-up of the feasibility of the action plans or proposed changes, change management policies are adopted for the organizational development.

A Case Study of the Effectiveness of Organisational Development

Organizational development is a matter of discussion for years, particularly regarding the economic or financial development of a country (Wilson, 1999, p.254). The effectiveness of organizational development is a matter of deep concern in all the quarters. The process or ways and means of organizational development can better be exemplified by setting an instance of the current era. The most noted example in recent days is the Cambridge clinic. The problems in the case of leadership, conflict resolution, and decision processes are found in the Cambridge Clinic itself having difficulty with its internal working relationships (Johnson, 1976, p. 127).

Accordingly, the consultant suggested that data should be gathered so that a working diagnosis could be made. The clinic officials agreed, and tentative working arrangements were concluded. Next to this, the consultant held a series of interviews involving all members of the clinic staff, the medical director, and the administrator. Then the consultant ‘thematized’, or summarized, the interview data to identify specific problem areas. About a week later, the consultant fed back to the clinic staff the data he had collected.

The problems as included in the Cambridge clinic and were given utmost consideration are as follows :

  1. Role conflicts between certain members of the medical staff were creating tensions that interfered with the necessity for cooperation in handling patients.
  2. The leadership style of the medical director resulted in his putting off decisions on important operating matters. This led to confusion and sometimes to inaction on the part of the medical and administrative staff.
  3. Communication between the administrative, medical, and outreach (social worker) staff on mutual problems tended to be avoided.

Open conflicts over policies and procedures were thus held in check, but suppressed feelings had a negative influence on interpersonal and intergroup behavior. Through the use of role analysis and other techniques suggested by the consultant, the clinic staff and the medical director were able to explore the role conflict and leadership problems and to devise effective ways of coping with them.

Exercises designed to improve communication skills and a workshop session on dealing with conflict led to progress in developing more openness and trust throughout the clinic. An important result of this first workshop was the creation of an action plan that set forth specific steps to be applied to clinic problems by clinic personnel during the ensuing period. The consultant agreed to monitor these efforts and to assist in any way he could. Additional discussions and team development sessions were held with the director and the medical and administrative staff. A second workshop attended by the entire clinic staff took place about two months after the first.

At the second workshop, the clinic staff continued to work together on the problems of dealing with conflict and interpersonal communication. During the last half-day of the meeting, the staff developed a revised action plan covering improvement activities to be undertaken in the following weeks and months to improve the working relationships of the clinic.

A notable additional benefit of this organizational development (OD) program was that the clinic staff learned new ways of monitoring the clinic’s performance as an organization and of coping with some of its other problems. Six months later, when the consultant did a follow-up check on the organization, the staff confirmed that interpersonal problems were now under better control and that some of the techniques learned at the two workshops associated with the organizational development (OD) programs were still being used.

Evaluation

Organizational development is effectuated through organizational assessment, training, consultation, change management, leadership development, and performance improvement of an organization. A successful organizational development process can result in effective strategic and operational plans, team development and effectiveness, leadership development, added value, quality, competitive products, or services.

Axiomatically speaking, organizational development meant a well-designed plan set for accomplishing the development objectives of the organization through a gradual process. In other words, organizational development indicates developing the structures, systems, and processes for improving the effectiveness of the organization. Unequivocally, organizational changes are taking place now and then. Such changes are for the reason that the nature of organizational development is subject to rapid transformation for the necessity of coping with the changing trend in various aspects including customer relations.

But, while adopting changes, organizations should consider the grounds so that the organizations are not contained with any haphazard situation that might loosen the foundation of the organization. Hence, organizations should consciously justify the values and objectives in case of adopting the organizational change or taking the change management framework for a given organization.

Conclusion

Change is the intended goal for developing an institution or promoting the objectives of development initiatives. The purpose of organizational development is to accelerate or enhance the development effort through increased capacity and potentials which can ensure the optimum effectiveness of an organization. Many activities contribute to a favorable ‘climate’ for progress. A clear sense of direction, strong leadership, and a focus on people management issues including the management of performances and the promotion of learning, development, creativity, and innovation are essentials. Feedback, sharing ideas across the organization and community involvement as well as evaluating progress are the key considerations. Each organization is expected to take its own decisions (Roy, 1997, p.56).

But, to achieve significant improvement and success they are needed to be connected with other organizational wings for acquiring some corporate objectives, finding and developing staff with the right skills, and encouraging wide participation and ownership of the continuous improvement process among staff and other stakeholders bodies. Identifying the skills and deficiencies of the staff and developing or rectifying them are the essentials for organizational capacity building and enhancing the expertise of the workforce can lead to the decisive success of organizational development.

Bibliography

Beckhard, R. (1969). Organization development: Strategies and models. Reading. MA: Addison- Wesley. Reading. MA.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the OD Program at SSU. (n.d.). Organization Development Program-Sonoma State University. Web.

Harker, Heather. (2008). Considering Organizational Development. TSNE. Web.

Johnson, A. Richard (1976). Management, systems, and society : An introduction. Pacific Palisades, Calif.: Goodyear Pub. Co., 117-229.

Kelly, Joe. (1974). Organizational Behaviour: An Existential-Systems Approach. the University of California: R. D. Irwin.

McNamara, Carter. (1997-2008). Capacity Building (Nonprofit). Free Management Library. Web.

ODN (Organization Development Network). What is Organization Development?. Chicago. Web.

Roy, C. Kulkar. (1997). Organizational Behaviour and Traditional Norms. New Delhi: Nayan Publications.

Siyi, Li. (2006). The Concept of Organizational Development, its Major Steps and Techniques used in Interventions. Intelligence Everywhere. Web.

Team-building Assessments Career Training e-Learning Coaching Innovation. Web.

Walker, P. Rechard. (1990). Organizational Behavior and Traditional Norms. Oxford Publications.

Wamwangi, Kinuthia. (2003). Organizational Development as a Framework for Creating Anti-Poverty Strategies and Action Including Gender Mainstreaming. 5th Urban & City Management Course for Africa Face – Face and Distance Learning Version. At the Global Distance Learning Centre, Tanzania. Web.

Wilson, M. Fiona. (1999). Organizational Behaviour: A Critical Introduction. Oxford University Press.

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