definition of od

for my friends at ODN list serve… the following is to large to post on the list serve so here it is here.

I specially define OD for each client system i enter

my second edition had a most comprehensive definition. The following is from the edition just released.

Roland Sullivan.

Organization Development Defined
According to Clardy (2003, p. 785):

“The field of planned organization change was long equated
with organization development (OD). OD proponents were
up-front with the bona fides of their approach: full disclosure,
informed consent, inclusive participation, and so on. These
canons of OD provided the principles and practices that could
be applied to any organizational change project. Yet, for a
number of years, standing alongside the OD literature were
smaller volumes (Zaltman & Duncan, 1977) that did not so
neatly fit the OD mold. By these accounts, the geography of
organizational change management was bigger than that
encompassed by OD.”

While some might disagree with the assertions in the preceding
paragraph, those assertions are effective in helping readers to clarify their
beliefs about the field of OD and to recognize that there are multiple ways of
defining the field.

Over the years, OD has been defined and redefined by just about every
author who has written about it. Here are a few definitions, organized
chronologically, that represent a range of ways to understand OD:
 Organization development is “an effort (1) planned, (2)
organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase
organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned
interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioralscience
knowledge” (Beckhard, 1969, p. 9).

 Organization development is “a response to change, a complex
educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes,
values, and structure of organizations so that they can better adapt
to new technologies, markets, and challenges, and the dizzying rate
of change itself” (Bennis, 1969, p. 2).

 Most people in the field agree that “OD involves consultants who
work to help clients improve their organizations by applying
knowledge from the behavioral sciences—psychology, sociology,
cultural anthropology, and other related disciplines. Most would
also agree that OD implies change and, if we accept that shifts in
the way an organization functions suggests that change has
occurred, then, broadly defined, OD is analogous to organizational
change” (Burke, 1982, p. 3).

 Organization development is “a systemic and systematic change
effort, using behavioral science knowledge and skill, to change or
transform the organization to a new state” (Beckhard, 1999,
personal communication- dick and I created this on the phone…. Days before he died the day he closed up his NTL Bethel Cabin for the last time.— roland ).

 Organization development is “a process that applied a broad range
of behavioral science knowledge and practices to help
organizations build their capacity to change and to achieve greater
effectiveness, including increased financial performance, customer
satisfaction, and organization member engagement” (Cummings &
Worley, 2009, p. 1).

These definitions imply several key points:
First, OD is long-range in perspective. It is not a “quick-fix” strategy
for solving short-term performance issues, as employee training is often
inappropriately perceived to be. Many managers are becoming acutely aware
of the need to move beyond quick and often unworkable solutions for
complex organizational problems. Organization development is a means to
bring about complex, deep, and lasting change. This may include any domain
in the organization that is in need of discovering ways to improve
performance. Traditional OD asserts a need for patience and a long-term
effort in order to achieve deep and significant change. In many organizations
OD is coupled with strategic business planning, a natural fit because both can
be long-range in scope. For more information on OD and strategy see
Chapters Sixteen and Eighteen.

Second, OD works best when it is supported by top managers. They
are traditionally the chief power brokers and change agents in any
organization; top managers often control an organization’s resources and
reward systems. Although OD efforts can be undertaken at any organizational
level without direct top-management participation, OD is more likely to
succeed if it has at least tacit approval from top management.

Third, OD effects change primarily, although not exclusively, through
education. Organization development expands people’s ideas, beliefs, and
behaviors so that they can apply new approaches to old states of existence.
Even more important, OD change efforts go beyond employee-training efforts
and concentrate on the work group or organization in which new ideas,
beliefs, or behaviors are to be applied. Organization development has often
been synonymous with organization learning (Argyris, 1993, 2004; Bennis,
1969; Kanter, 1995; Lippitt, 1958; Senge, 1990; Vail, 1996). Peter Senge
(1990, p. 13) says, “A learning organization is a place where people are
continually discovering how they create reality and how they can change it.
Organization-wide learning involves change in culture and change in the most
basic managerial practices, not just within a company, but within a whole
system’s management. . . . I guarantee that when you start to create a learning
environment, people will not feel as though they are in control.”
The words change and learning are often used to mean the same thing.
Consider, for example, the title of a classic book, The Laboratory Method of
Learning and Changing, by OD founders Benne, Bradford, Gibb, and Lippitt
(1975). Many of these early leaders of the field were innovative educators.
Many OD founders were leading educators. They saw as one of OD’s major
goals was to innovate and re-invent education. It is important to remember
that learning is broader than education, and learning occurs outside classroom
settings. For instance, how a manager or consultant models behavior provides
an important learning lesson for others, who may be inclined to imitate how
their leaders behave.

Fourth, another OD effort that is interrelated to organization learning is
knowledge management (KM). KM focuses on organization learning as it
transforms to elicit tacit knowledge and new knowledge that can be organized
and used to improve performance (Cummings & Worley, 2009). Many case
studies on KM as it relates to OD are available in Harvard Business Review
and the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL: http://www.solonline.org).

Fifth, OD emphasizes employee participation in assessing the current
state and in planning for a positive future state; making free and
collaborative choices on how implementation should proceed; and,
empowering the system to take responsibility for creating and evaluating
results. In this sense, OD differs from other methods that hold managers or
consultants responsible for the success or failure of a change effort. In OD at
its best, the entire system is accountable rather than just management. Further,
in OD, everyone in an organization who is affected by change should have an
opportunity to contribute to—and accept responsibility for—the change.
Organizational effectiveness and humanistic values meet as employee
ownership of processes and outcomes increases. Although early OD
contributors did not focus on business effectiveness it has become equally
important in OD ideology over the past decade (Gottlieb, 1998).

Roland—it then goes on to say what OD is not.. just as master, Earon , suggests………..

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4 Responses to “definition of od”

  1. ‘canons health’ on the web « Revolutions and Music of the Sixties Says:

    […] https://rolandsullivan.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/definition-of-od/canons of OD provided the principles and practices that could be applied to any organizational change project. Yet, for a number of years, standing alongside the OD literature were smaller volumes (Zaltman & Duncan, 1977) that did not so … organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioralscience knowledge” (Beckhard, 1969, p. 9).  Organization development is “a response to change, a complex … […]

  2. Fast Monday links « Kim Rocket Says:

    […] https://rolandsullivan.wordpress.com/2009/11/22/definition-of-od/canons of OD provided the principles and practices that could be applied to any organizational change project. Yet, for a number of years, standing alongside the OD literature were smaller volumes (Zaltman & Duncan, 1977) that did not so … organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioralscience knowledge” (Beckhard, 1969, p. 9).  Organization development is “a response to change, a complex … […]

  3. Terrence Seamon Says:

    Nice round up, Roland! Thanks.

    OD is like the story about the blind beggars who encounter an elephant.
    Each claims that the elephant is like the part (leg, trunk, ear, tusk, etc) that they encounter.

    To adapt the story:
    One says, OD is like Learning.
    One says, OD is like Knowledge Management.
    One says, OD is like Organizational Consulting.
    One says, OD is like Managing Change.

    They are all correct!

    Terry

  4. communication, interactive, technology Says:

    communication, interactive, technology…

    […]definition of od « Roland Sullivan's Blog[…]…

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