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Organizational Development

Introduction
According to Anderson (2011), organizational development refers to the process of
enhancing the effectiveness of an organization, facilitating organizational and personal
change by using interventions influenced by the knowledge of behavioral and social science.
The effectiveness of organizations relies on greater customer satisfaction, engagement of
members within the organization, and increased financial performance. Therefore,
organizational development achieves effectiveness through the use of knowledge in
behavioral and social sciences. Experienced organizational development practitioners are
professionals who understand the dynamics of human systems and hence, they have the skills
and the capability to intervene at the workplace and encourage a productive, engaging, and
healthy environment for employees. Conventional organizational development practices
emphasized interpersonal and group level issues, such as diversity awareness, team building,
and conflict management among other human processes.
However, the contemporary business world, has experienced changes in the way
organizations run and how businesses operate. The changes in the way organizations operate
and do business have been brought about as a result of economic pressures, globalization, and
the expectations of the modern workforce. The organizations struggle to cope with the
changing market conditions (Van de Ven & Sun, 2011). To adapt to the continual changes and
to compete effectively in the market, organizational managers are faced with threats of
transformation, downsizing, reengineering, flattening, and restructuring calls. The huge
amount of changes affects the managers and employees in organizations. Therefore,
organizational development is still relevant and effective in managing organizational change
in the contemporary world.
This paper presents an argumentative essay reflecting on the definitions, aims, and
nature of organizational development. It explores the various contributions of organizational

Organizational Development

development to organizational change. Finally, the paper evaluates the relevance of


organizational development to the contemporary organizations.
Contributions of Organizational Development to Organizational Change
Organizational development has not lost its way, and it is still actively in use in
organizations. The values of organizational development, such as human processes and
behavioral science are practiced but with some slight changes to adapt to the changing
business world and generation. As a result, organizational development has been a very
important principle, which has contributed immensely toward organizational change (Worley
& Feyerherm, 2003). However, the classical organizational practice and theory requires an
improvement on how to assist organizations adapt to the continual change. The conventional
organizational development practitioners need to appropriately understand the reasons behind
organizational change and how new interventions are necessary in enhancing the change.
The traditional organizational development focused more on interventions, which
were process-oriented, including team building, survey feedback, and conflict management.
The interpersonal skills of the organizational development practitioners were central in the
classic practice. However, the field has changed to focus more on the theory and practice to
cope with the changing business knowledge and practices and contributes more towards
change management (Worley & Feyerherm, 2003). The profession has not lost its way
because the practice of contemporary organizational development derives its knowledge from
the classical organizational development.
The definitions of organizational development presented by various organizational
development professionals and practitioners focuses on system wide planned change, applies
knowledge of behavioral science, and targets the social and human processes within
organizations. The theory of organizational development emphasizes building capacities to
cope with the changes and renew organizations. Organizational development uses human

Organizational Development

resource management, strategic, human process, and techno structural interventions to adapt
and cope with organizational change (Worley & Feyerherm, 2003).
The continual changes in the business world that modern organizations experience
affects their business strategies, organizational processes, and workforce within the
organization. This is evident in organizations when the changes affect employees, and they
respond by accepting or rejecting them (Mariana & Violeta, 2011). The organizational
change, therefore, affects organizational culture. The organizational culture is a very
important element in the success of an organization. Organizational development
methodologies and strategies can be used to positively influence organizational culture during
organizational change. Organizational development practitioners can develop interventions to
ensure that organizational change is positively developed and effectively integrated in the
functioning of an organization (Burke, 1997).
Organizational change leads to changes in customer demands, arrival of new
technologies, and augmented results from investors. The organizational changes demand new
operational strategies, organizational structures, economic structures, processes, and
technologies. Consequently, the organizational workforce, comprising of individual
employees, are obliged to change. The personnel will learn new skills to cope with the
changes, such as changing jobs or elimination of jobs. These organizational members are
required to adapt quickly and flexibly to the new direction (Bushe & Marshak, 2009).
Therefore, organizational development contributes towards organizational change by
developing efforts and measures aimed at enhancing the ability of an organization through
changing the renewal and problem-solving processes. The organizational development theory
helps in moving the organization to be more adaptive to the changes and attain the corporate
excellence via integrating the desires of the employees for growth and development with the
goals of the organization (Bushe & Marshak, 2009).

Organizational Development

The present organizational development practiced in organizations varies from the


traditional trends because of the evolving organizational values attributed to the changes in
business expectations and needs in addition to the generational differences by the employees.
Although, the organizational development theory is still used as an important contribution
toward organizational change, the type of practices currently used under organizational
development are different from the conventional premises that established organizational
development. Organizational development was founded on humanistic, open systems, and
behavioral theories (Bushe & Marshak, 2009).
Organizational development perceives organizations as systems, which adapt to their
external environment. Similarly, individuals, and groups within the organization also adapt to
the changing environment. When the changes occur in organizations, organizational
development comes in handy to help the employees adapt to the changes and be less resistant
to them. Organizational development practitioners in changing organizations use the skills
and knowledge of organizational development to initiate interventions, which support the
change by promoting shared aspirations and creating better working conditions for the
workforce. Through organizational development, an organization is able influence its
workforce through emphasizing on the shared visions and aspirations; thus, engaging the
employees in the change process and making it to be more appealing to them. From this
perspective, organizational development, through its human systems, facilitates
organizational change (Bushe & Marshak, 2009). Organizational development changes the
actions and consequences of the employees actions as well as the assumptions of the
workforce on how organizational change will help contribute toward effectiveness and
productivity of the organization.
Organizational development interventions are used in organizations to facilitate
changes by creating enabling conditions for the employees within the organization to share

Organizational Development

their perceptions of the realities introduced by the changes experienced in the organization,
eventually finding a common agreement to support and embrace the change. The
organizational development practitioners are, therefore, tasked with the responsibility of
establishing and maintaining appropriate conditions for the interaction of the workforce using
human knowledge to bring together the workforce to enhance organizational change (Bushe
& Marshak, 2009).
According to organizational development practitioners, organizations are socially
constructed systems and individuals in the organization can be organized to contribute
towards organizational change using the knowledge and skills of human dynamics. During
organizational change, human beings are also required to change, for example, their skills.
The employees may inhibit change by failing to live up to the expected changes.
Consequently, organizational development becomes important in transforming employees to
accept and support the goals and the aims of the organization in embracing change (Weshah,
2011). Organizational development practitioners may use interventions, such as workshops in
augmenting the engagement of the employees in the change process (Bushe & Marshak,
2009).
The Relevance of Organizational Development to Todays Organizations
In its traditional conception, organizational development was primarily focused on the
human process interventions. However, with the changing needs and demands of the business
processes, operations, and the customer demands, the organizational development has
evolved to cope with organizational change (Cho, et al., 2010). In the contemporary business
world, organizational development has changed into a more complex field as compared to the
traditional field. Because organizational change may involve mergers and alliances,
organizational development has evolved in its required skill sets and knowledge to enhance
effective change management in organizations. Therefore, to fit effectively in the present

Organizational Development

business world, organizational development practitioners have more developed self skills,
practice, and theoretical knowledge (Worley & Feyerherm, 2003).
Moreover, organizational development is important in the present world to develop
human potential in organizations, leading to more productive and efficient workforce. Work,
in organizations should be productive, and meaningful. Organizational development is
therefore essential in enhancing the productive value of work in organizations (Alkhaffaf,
2011). Organizational development is used to build the capability of clients, in a client
system, to help in managing organizational change effectively. Through developing human
potential in organizations, organizational development helps employees to be more functional
in future (Worley & Feyerherm, 2003).
Organizational development helps organizations attain their corporate excellence
through integrating the goals and objectives of the organization and the desires of the
workforce for growth and development. Subsequently, the effectiveness of the organizational
system and the development of the individual employee potential relies on organizational
development. This is accomplished through intervention activities established on the
knowledge of behavioral science in connection with the employees in the organization to
establish enhanced means of working together towards organizational and personal goals
(Goodstein & Butz, 1998).
Through organizational management change programs, both individuals within the
organization and outside the organization have the potential and grow and develop in line
with the present changes experienced in the business world. While contributing to the
organizational change, organizational development is significant and relevant in the
contemporary business world because it is responsible for maintaining astable identity and
business operations for the organizations to accomplish their fundamental goals (Goodstein &
Butz, 1998).

Organizational Development

Organizational development also provides different techniques, which are used as


effective ways of executing several change strategies in present organizations. The change
strategies facilitated by organizational development include structural and technological
strategies. The underlying principle is hinged on the fact that major organizational change
efforts, in spite of where the focus is laid must deal with organization systems, such as
structures, human behavior, and technology. Therefore, organizational development is
relevant in todays organizations because it provides strategies that integrate the highlighted
strategies in managing change in organizations (Alkhaffaf, 2011).
Organizational development helps modern organizations to understand the need
for new management approaches for coping and adapting to the changes in the business
environment. The new management approaches help the organizations to effectively
accomplish the business goals and objectives; consequently, improving the efficiency, and
profit level of the organization. Organizational development assists in clarifying the roles and
responsibilities of the employees working in an organization. Furthermore, it creates a
suitable organizational structure; develops proper measures, aids in creation of common
values, and learning of the essential skills required of personnel during organizational change
management (Goodstein & Butz, 1998).
Conclusion
Reflecting on the definitions, the aims, and the nature of organizational development
in the essay, it is evident that organizational development is still actively practiced in the
present organizations. However, the literature on organizational development has
demonstrated that the changes in the business environment and business operations have
necessitated changes in the strategies and intervention mechanisms. Although it is still being
used, organizational development has evolved to provide more effective services in change
management according to the changing demands and needs of organizations. The underlying

Organizational Development

principles and aims of the classical organizational development are still in practice in the
changing organizational development realm. Like in the past years, the primary aim of
organizational development in present organizations is to increase effectiveness, productivity,
and financial returns using the knowledge of behavioral science Organizational development
has remained relevant and important to organizations in the current world. The increasing
changes in business environment and demands present organizations and their employees
with increasing pressure on how to handle the changes. As a result, organizational
development has been significant in establishing interventions, which effectively contribute
toward the change management processes to accomplish efficiently the corporate goals. The
earlier intervention strategies are still relevant but the organizational development
practitioners have incorporated recent advances to help in providing more effective services
and results in organizational change. As the organizations develop through the changes
implemented, individual employees also develop and become more productive and functional
for future changes.

Organizational Development

References
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Organizational Development
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