These interventions can be clubbed into the following groups and they are diagnostic, team-building, inter-group activities, survey feedback methods, education and training programmes, techno-structural activities, process consultation, the management grid, mediation and negotiation activities, coaching and counseling and planning and goal setting activities.
WHAT IS OD?
Beckhard (1) defines 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." In essence, OD is a planned system of change.
- Planned. OD takes a long-range approach to improving organizational performance and efficiency. It avoids the (usual) "quick-fix".
- Organization-wide. OD focuses on the total system.
- Managed from the top. To be effective, OD must have the support of top-management. They have to model it, not just espouse it. The OD process also needs the buy-in and ownership of workers throughout the organization.
- Increase organization effectiveness and health. OD is tied to the bottom-line. Its goal is to improve the organization, to make it more efficient and more competitive by aligning the organization's systems with its people.
- Planned interventions. After proper preparation, OD uses activities called interventions to make systemwide, permanent changes in the organization.
- Using behavioral-science knowledge. OD is a discipline that combines research and experience to understanding people, business systems, and their interactions.
What is an OD Intervention?
The term Intervention refers to a set of sequenced, planned actions or events intended to
help an organization to increase its effectiveness. Interventions purposely disrupt the
status quo; they are deliberate attempts to change an organization or sub-unit toward a
different and more effective state.
Criteria for Effective Interventions
In OD three major criteria define the effectiveness of an intervention:
1. The Extent to Which it (the Intervention) fits the needs of the organization.
2. The degree to which it is based on causal knowledge of intended outcomes
3. The extent to which the OD intervention transfers change-management
competence to organization members.
Factors That Impact the Success of OD Interventions
I. Factors relating to Change Situation: These relate to the environment of the
organization and include the physical and human environment.
1. Readiness for Change: Intervention success depends heavily on the organization
being ready for planned change.
2. Capability to Change: Managing planned change requires particular knowledge
and skills including the ability to motivate change, to lead change, to develop
political support, to manage transition, and to sustain momentum.
3. Cultural Context: The national culture within which an organization is
embedded can exert a powerful influence on members’ reactions to change, and so
intervention design must account for the cultural values and assumptions held by
4. Capabilities of the Change Agent (OD Consultant): The success of OD
interventions depend to a great extent on the expertise, experience and talents of
II. Factors Related to the Target of Change: These relate to the specific targets at
which OD interventions are targeted. The targets of change can be different issues of the
organization and at different levels.
A. Organizational Issues
1. Strategic Issues: Strategic issues refer to major decisions of organizations such
as what products or services to offer, which markets to serve, mergers,
acquisitions, expansions, etc.
2. Technology and Structure Issues: These refer to issues relating to how
organizations divide their work amongst departments and how they coordinate
3. Human Resource Issues: These issues are concerned with attracting competent
people to the organization, setting goals for them, appraising and rewarding their
performance, and ensuring that they develop their careers and manage stress.
4. Human Process Issues: These issues have to do with social processes occurring
among organization members, such as communication, decision-making,
leadership, and group dynamics.
B. Organizational Levels
OD interventions are aimed at different levels of the organization: individual, group,
organization and trans-organization (for example different offices of the organization
around the globe; or between organization and its suppliers, customers, etc.)
Human Process Interventions
A. The following interventions deal with interpersonal relationships and group
1. T Groups: The basic T Group brings ten to fifteen strangers together with a professional trainer to examine the social dynamics that emerge from their interactions.
2. Process Consultation: This intervention focuses on interpersonal relations and
social dynamics occurring in work groups.
3. Third Party Interventions: This change method is a form of process consultation
aimed at dysfunctional interpersonal relations in organizations.
4. Team Building: This intervention helps work groups become more effective in
B. The following Interventions deal with human processes that are more system
wide than individualistic or small-group oriented.
1. Organization Confrontation Meeting: This change method mobilizes
organization members to identify problems, set action targets, and begin working
2. Intergroup Relations: These interventions are designed to improve interactions
among different groups or departments in organizations.
3. Large-group Interventions: These interventions involve getting abroad variety
of stakeholders into a large meeting to clarify important values, to develop new
ways of working, to articulate a new vision for the organization, or to solve
pressing organizational problems.
4. Grid Organization Development: This normative intervention specifies a
particular way to manage an organization.
These interventions deal with an organization’s technology (for examples its task
methods and job design) and structure (for example, division of labor and hierarchy).
These interventions are rooted in the disciplines of engineering, sociology, and
psychology and in the applied fields of socio-technical systems and organization design.
Consultants place emphasis both on productivity and human fulfillment.
1. Structural Design: This change process concerns the organization’s division of
labor – how to specialize task performances. Diagnostic guidelines exist to determine which structure is appropriate for particular organizational environments, technologies, and conditions.
2. Downsizing: This intervention reduces costs and bureaucracy by decreasing the
size of the organization through personnel layoffs, organization redesign, and
3. Re-engineering: This recent intervention radically redesigns the organization’s
core work processes to create tighter linkage and coordination among the different
4. Parallel Structures
5. High-involvement Organizations (HIO’s)
6. Total Quality Management
7. Work design: This refers to OD interventions aimed at creating jobs, and work
groups that generate high levels of employee fulfillment and productivity.
Human Resource Management Interventions
1. Goal Setting: This change program involves setting clear and challenging goals.
It attempts to improve organization effectiveness by establishing a better fit
between personal and organizational objectives.
2. Performance Appraisal: This intervention is a systematic process of jointly
assessing work-related achievements, strengths and weaknesses,
3. Reward Systems: This intervention involves the design of organizational rewards
to improve employee satisfaction and performance.
4. Career Planning and development: It generally focuses on
managers and professional staff and is seen as a way of improving the quality of
their work life.
5. Managing workforce diversity: Important trends, such
as the increasing number of women, ethnic minorities, and physically and
mentally challenged people in the workforce, require a more flexible set of
policies and practices.
6. Employee Wellness: These interventions include employee assistance programs
(EAPs) and stress management.
These interventions link the internal functioning of the organization to the larger
environment and transform the organization to keep pace with changing conditions.
1. Integrated Strategic Change: It argues that business strategies and organizational systems must be changed together in response to external and internal disruptions. A strategic
change plan helps members manage the transition between a current strategy and
organization design and the desired future strategic orientation.
2. Trans organization development: This intervention helps organizations to enter
into alliances, partnerships and joint ventures to perform tasks or solve problems
that are too complex for single organizations to resolve
3. Merger and Acquisition Integration: This intervention describes how OD
practitioners can assist two or more organizations to form a new entity.
4. Culture Change: This intervention helps organizations to develop cultures
(behaviors, values, beliefs and norms) appropriate to their strategies and
5. Self-designing organizations: This change program helps organizations gain the
capacity to alter themselves fundamentally. It is a highly participative process,
involving multiple stakeholders in setting strategic directions and designing and
implementing appropriate structures and processes.
6. Organization learning and knowledge management.
(To be continued...)