Organizational Development 101: A Primer on OD

RocksToday’s organizations face many challenges as we all adapt to the changing demands of the workplace. Whether those changes are new technologies, new recruits, new strategic directives, or new workplace environments, each provides its own set of unique challenges. Employers with a strong competency in Organizational Development are best positioned to survive and thrive as these changes occur.

So what is Organizational Development? Organizational Development (OD) is a field of research, theory, and practice dedicated to expanding the impact of people to accomplish more successful organizational change and performance. Its goal is to transfer knowledge and skills in order to improve an organization’s capacity for solving problems and managing future change. A developing field since the 1930s, todays OD focuses on aligning organizations with their rapidly changing and complex environments through organizational learning, knowledge management, and transformation of organizational culture, norms and values.

There are a few key concepts to understand when assessing your organization’s competencies in OD.

  1. How well do you know your organization’s climate? Organizational Climate is defined as the “personality” of an organization. This includes attitudes and beliefs about organizational practices which influence members’ collective behavior. This includes leadership, openness of communication, participative management, role clarity, and conflict resolution.
  2. What is the culture of your organization? Culture is a set of deeply seated norms, values, and behaviors that members of a collective environment share. The five basic elements of culture in organizations include: Assumptions, Values, Behavioral Norms, Behavioral Patterns, and Organizational Artifacts.
  3. What organizational strategies do you employ? A common OD approach used to help organizations negotiate change consists of four steps: Diagnosis, Action Planning, Intervention, and Evaluation. Each of these steps supports an organization as it attempts to move through and adapt to change in an intentional manner.
    Your organization’s ability to effectively maneuver through change can be directly impacted by growing the Organizational Competency within your organization.

Contact MSEC to learn more about how we can support these change efforts as well as learning about our 2015 Organizational Development Practitioner Certificate Program.