Interview Questions

Organisational Development

OD INTERVENTIONS OR TECHNIQUES

OD interventions are sets of structured activities in which selected organizational units (target groups or individuals) engage in a task or a sequence of tasks with the goals of organizational improvement and individual development. The term organizational development (OD) essentially focuses on techniques or programmes to change people and the nature and quality of interpersonal work relationships. The most popular OD techniques are described in the figure hereunder:

Organizational Development Techniques

The common thread in these techniques is that each seeks to bring about changes in or among organization’s people’s. Some of the O.D interventions are explained below:-

  1. Sensitivity Training: Sensitivity training is also known as laboratory training, encounter groups, and T-groups. It is a method of changing behaviour through unstructured group interaction. If individuals lack awareness of how others perceive them, then the successful T-group can affect more realistic self-perceptions, greater group cohesiveness, and a reduction in dysfunctional interpersonal conflicts.
  2. Survey Feedback: Survey feedback makes use of questionnaires to identify discrepancies among member perceptions and attempts to solve these differences.
  3. Process Consultation: The purpose of process consultation is for an outside consultant to assist a client (usually a manager) to perceive, understand and act upon process events. The consultant gives a client insight into what is going on around him (the client), within him, and between him and other people. The consultant then goes to identify the processes that need improvement.
  4. Team Building: Team building utilizes high-interaction group activities to increase trust and openness among team members. Team building can be applied within groups or at the inter-group level where activities are interdependent.
  5. Contrast of Sensitivity Training and Team Development

  6. Inter-group Development: Inter-group development seeks to change the attitudes, stereotypes, and perceptions that groups have of each other.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of OD: Since OD requires an ongoing, long-term effort to bring about lasting change in an organization’s technology, structure and people, a successful OD programme takes a significant investment of money and time. Both are needed for managers to adequately diagnose the problem, select the strategy, and evaluate the effectiveness of the programme.

Managers can measure the effectiveness by comparing the results of the programme to the goals before it was implemented. Were the goals met? If not, why not? Perhaps they were too rigid and too hard to achieve. Perhaps the problems were inadequately defined, and the inadequate definition resulted in the choice of an inappropriate solution. Perhaps managers tried to institute changes before people were prepared for them. Regardless of the cause, the results of the OD analysis will provide feedback needed for later changes.

OD is an expression of manager’s efforts to stay flexible. Managers recognize that events inside and outside the organization can happen quite suddenly and can create pressure for change. OD provides the personnel and mechanism to deal with change; control its evolution; and direct its impact on organizational structure, technology, and people.

The Future and OD: The environment in which organizations operate is increasingly turbulent in an era if global, national and regional commercial competitiveness. Yesterday’s strategies are not likely to work in tomorrow’s workplaces. Top-down autocratically directed, rigidly hierarchical, fear-generating organizations are giving way to something new. Increasingly, organizations will be flatter, with smaller groups and units. OD will be a major player in assisting organizations to shift to and sustain this new paradigm which proclaims that the most innovative and successful organizations will be those that derive their strength and vitality from adaptable, committed team players. Thus, the OD process should include:

  • Careful tuning in to the perceptions and feelings of people.
  • Creating safe conditions for surfacing perceptions and feelings.
  • Involving people in diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of their organizations and making action plans for improvement.
  • Using qualified third parties consultants.
  • Redesigning work so that it is more meaningful and motivating.
  • Focusing on team work.

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