The ultimate goal of every business organization is to maximize shareholders’ value and remain competitive in its industry. This objective can only be realized using powerful initiatives and processes such as organizational development, change implementation, and strategic planning. The questions presented below focus on the unique issues associated with the concept of organizational development (OD). The purpose of the paper is to offer a detailed analysis of OD and how it can be executed successfully in a business firm.
Anderson argues that “organizational change” is a powerful procedure through which companies introduce new initiatives, practices, or procedures (38). The concept can also be extended to focus on any effort aimed at improving existing strategies and approaches in a given organization. Corporations need to change to remain competitive and address the emerging issues associated with the wave of globalization. Companies must change to maximize their potential, become more competitive, and continue to meet the needs of their customers and/or stakeholders.
This argument shows conclusively that organizations need to change. For instance, the introduction or emergence of modern technologies dictates the way companies pursue their goals. The emerging needs of consumers must be addressed using powerful changes in service delivery, products, and marketing processes. The use of the Internet has transformed a wide range of operations such as banking and customer service delivery.
That being the case, companies that fail to introduce such technologies through the use of powerful change models will become obsolete or lose their customers. Change is also critical since it increases a company’s competitiveness and profitability (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 30). Changes can be implemented in different companies to improve processes such as production, service delivery, and marketing. With this kind of understanding, companies that want to remain competitive and relevant must embrace the idea of organizational change continuously.
The concept of organizational change has led to the introduction of commercial-free TV channels with entertainment. This move has increased the number of viewers, thereby encouraging movie producers to do business with them. Many television, communication, and entertainment companies have launched different packages whereby consumers are required to pay monthly fees or subscriptions (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 36). This combined method approach can be categorized as a form of change that has been influenced by emerging technologies, changing consumer behaviors and expectations, and increasing levels of competition in different industries.
Organizational Development and an External Consultant: Comparison
Organizational development is a concept that is applied in different settings to guide groups, individuals, and companies to implement change efficiently. This approach is supported using powerful approaches such as interventions and support systems. The use of behavioral and social science knowledge can result in successful OD processes. The OD process is, therefore, managed and monitored by the leaders in the targeted firm or company. This concept differs significantly from an external consultant (Anderson 41). To begin with, an external consultant is a professional (or group) outside a given organization who is contracted to evaluate the level of performance and implement the best strategy depending on the existing terms or agreements.
From the above analysis, it is evident that organizational development is a continuous process that entails the use of behavioral and social theories to implement relevant changes. On the other hand, the term “an external consultant” is a strategy embraced by companies whenever they need expert information or guideline. This kind of practice is usually aimed at presenting new ideas or concepts to support a given aspect of a company’s business model.
An external consultant in a given company might not be conversant with the targeted strategy or objective. This discussion shows that OD is undertaken and supported by the leaders and employees in a company while an external consultant offers outsourcing solutions (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 31). Despite the existence of these unique differences, the two concepts tend to work synergistically to promote new changes that have the potential to drive organizational performance.
Ethics and Organizational Development
As described earlier, OD is an organization-wide strategy that is supported by different stakeholders to increase performance and effectiveness. Different organizational processes are analyzed carefully to improve, change, or transform them. The main objective is to make them more efficient. Anderson goes further to indicate that the OD process cannot succeed without the application of appropriate values and ethics (Anderson 43). Since OD is a continuous and ever-expanding process, organizational leaders must ensure that their followers are flexible, competent, and capable of responding to emerging situations. This fact explains why they should always act ethically and uphold every outlined value.
Ethical values are important in OD processes because they inform the choices made by different employees. Such values and ethical statements can provide a larger vision to individuals and groups. The introduction of adequate values throughout the OD process encourages different individuals to engage in dialogue, avoid or address emerging concerns, and make informed decisions. The concept makes it easier for leaders to manage their teams and units, thereby supporting the entire process.
Values and ethics have been observed to foster evidence-based practices in OD. For instance, the use of adequate values encourages people to be involved and focus on every desirable outcome. Individuals begin to embrace the power of teamwork to deliver positive results. Adequate ethical behaviors in organizations are associated with appropriate attributes such as learning, development, and growth.
The concept of ethics is also critical whenever focusing on organizational development processes. Anderson asserts that OD is a process that must be implemented diligently (56). Competent leaders and managers should be guided by ethics to promote the best organizational culture, empower people, and make it easier for them to deliver positive results. This means that the ethics of any OD process should be aimed at empowering and developing people while at the same time improving the efficiency or performance of the targeted organization.
Throughout the OD process, the application of ethical aspects and values can empower managers to improve the experiences of different employees. When ethical attributes become critical aspects of organization development processes, many companies will transform their operations and meet the needs of different workers.
Organizations use different models or approaches to implement change. Many scholars and theorists in the field of organizational change have presented several models that can be used to transform the way different activities or goals are pursued in a given company. The two major approaches include social construction and systems theory (Anderson 65). To begin with, systems theory is a concept that focuses on the way different components in an organization relate to each other. According to the theory, organizations operate or function as organisms with interdependent parts. The functions, systems, and responsibilities are usually interrelated and work synergistically to improve performance.
According to the model, the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of one or more of these systems will have significant effects on the overall performance of the targeted organization. The theory goes further to support the use of different concepts of change that are far-reaching and capable of transforming several systems or operations at once. A good example of such concepts is Kurt Lewin’s change model. A proper understanding of systems theory can empower organizational managers to implement change effectively and improve the performance of every unhealthy segment function (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 34). Systems theory also asserts that different elements must function together and systematically is the “health status” of the targeted organization is to be maintained or improved.
It is agreeable that social construction is a concept that informs change and organizational effectiveness. However, these approaches differ significantly from system theory since they focus on the individual components. This means that systems theory usually focuses on the existing relationships between different organizational components. According to social construction, components in an organization are characterized by people’s definitions, languages, and meanings. That being the case, the effectiveness of a given component or system in a given company will be influenced by a wide range of aspects such as the existing culture, working environment, and organizational leadership (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 37). The concept goes further to indicate that behaviors and goals are supported by members through the use of existing communication channels. This means that aspects such as organizational culture will have significant implications on the performance and effectiveness of different components.
Anderson acknowledges that social construction models can be used to reveal how roles are performed, developed, and pursued by different individuals (129). The existence of hierarchy, according to social construction, is something that is created in the minds of employees and leaders. This means that appropriate strategies such as language shifts and positive conversations can transform the effectiveness of different systems (or components) within an organization. Consequently, the approach will create the best environment for pursuing OD processes and implementing appropriate organizational changes. Despite the nature of these differences between social constructions and systems theory, experts acknowledge that the two can be implemented to guide organizational change, influence culture, and improve performance.
Nonprofit organizations are engaged in numerous activities to ensure that development and humanitarian assistance are available to more people in need. The success of such organizations depends on several attributes such as strategy, objective, focus, planning, and resource allocation. Unfortunately, many nonprofit organizations have been unable to achieve their potential due to various obstacles arising from the concept of organizational development. However, their problems or challenges appear to be related to the ones affecting profitable organizations.
To begin with, many nonprofit organizations (or NGOs) are affected by the lack of a strategic or cohesive plan. This is the case because many leaders are usually unaware of issues such as competition or the desire to maximize performance. Although this challenge is common in many profit organizations, the outstanding difference is that many leaders in such companies engage in strategic planning in an attempt to improve performance (Anderson 56). Many NGOs continue to grapple with the challenge of ineffective governance or leadership. More often than not, NGOs are managed or run by founders who might not have adequate leadership competencies. On the other hand, profit organizations are usually managed by professionals who understand the importance of adequate business models and strategic planning.
Another obstacle affecting the effectiveness of many nonprofit organizations is the issue of capacity. Due to the lack of adequate technical capacity, NGOs find it hard to identify and fulfill their mission statements. This gap results in numerous challenges such as lack of resources, ineffective leadership, and poor governance (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 39). The leaders in such organizations find it hard to implement new changes and engage different stakeholders to support their objectives. Due to the nature of NGOs, it becomes hard for different leaders to network and focuses on common goals.
The agencies operate in undefined sectors or industries, thereby making it hard for them to design powerful models for delivering positive results. This challenge explains why many NGOs continue to grapple with obstacles such as lack of strategy and competition from international organizations (Anderson 89). Profitable organizations have managed to deal with these challenges by implementing powerful models that resonate with the changes experienced in their respective industries or sectors.
If I were in a meeting with the board of directors, I would focus on several concepts and attributes to describe my organization development practitioner. To begin with, I would inform the members of the board about my competencies as an OD practitioner. I would explain how I can use evidence-based models such as systems theory and social construction to improve the performance of the targeted nonprofit organization (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 31). This means that the most appropriate OD model for the institution or agency will be informed by the nature of the existing gaps or challenges.
The first role that I would undertake is to create a new culture whereby leaders are willing to engage their followers and focus on the needs of different beneficiaries. The involvement of different stakeholders, implementation of a powerful change, and the introduction of appropriate practices such as strategic planning can make a difference for the NGO. A new environment can also be created whereby different individuals are empowered and willing to deliver positive results.
The concept of social construction will be considered to transform the way workers interact with each other, exchange ideas, and address emerging problems (Asumeng and Osae-Larbi 37). The main objective will be to design a new model for the NGO depending on its mission or vision. The strategy will result in new people processes and operations that resonate with the targeted goals.
These roles would change if my focus was on a profit organization. To begin with, I would focus on profitability, performance, and the quality of existing business processes. This information would empower me to implement the most appropriate change(s) that can result in organizational effectiveness. While social construction appears to work efficiently for NGOs, systems theory can be used in profit organizations to implement new changes to improve the synergy of different components or functions.
The concept of social construction will also be considered to introduce new conversations and communication channels. The approach will result in better decision-making and conflict resolution processes (Anderson 82). I would go further to support the implementation of a powerful business model that integrates all components, processes, and responsibilities in the company. Issues such as competition and goals will be considered to inform or develop the best model. The organizational culture will also be improved to empower and engage different employees. This OD practitioner approach will eventually support the company’s performance.
Anderson, Donaldson L. Organization Development: The Process of Leading Organizational Change. 4th ed., Sage, 2017.
Asumeng, Maxwell A., and Judith A. Osae-Larbi. “Organization Development Models: A Critical Review and Implications for Creating Learning Organizations.” European Journal of Training and Development Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, 2015, pp. 29-43.