Today organisational change is one of the most visible and dramatic forms of change. Organisational change can have a major effect on many, including large members of workers, their families and even the whole community. Organisational change has come about mainly due to the interaction between organisations and the environment. Complexity and major change in the environment create a situation of high uncertainty to managers. The environmental drivers of change are those such as competition in markets, competitive trends, regulations and opportunity through social and demographic trends. These different types of drivers for organisational change result in organisations mergers and acquisitions, businesses collapsing, downsizing and changing managing practices. (Skringar & Stevens, 2008)
Organisational development is a generic term however academically it describes a planned approach to organisational change. Organisational development is a well known and important methodology used by many experts in group dynamics and organisational behaviour for improving groups and organisations (Tendam, Bureau & Holland, 1986).
Kurt Lewin was a German professor of psychology and philosophy at the Berlin university. The Harwood studies took place from 1939 to 1947 where Kurt Lewin's work and creation laid the foundation of organisational development, and was one of the most significant contributions to the field of organisational change and development and they have a continuing relevance to the challenges faced by organisations today. The Harwood studies focused on changing group rather than individual behaviour. They developed innovative training methods such as role-play. They operationalized the main elements of Lewin's planned approach to change such as force fields analysis, group dynamics, action research, and the three-step. But most importantly was Lewin's democratic-participative approach by allowing workers as a group to decide on their own work methods and set their own pace of work (Burnes, 2007).
Originally organisational development came about as the discipline of "improving an organization's problem-solving and renewal processes through collaborative practices to cope with changes to the external environment with the support of change agents guided by theories of human and organizational behaviour and methodology of action research. However an important problem is that the organisational development field is still evolving in different directions and it includes a diverse set of models, approaches, and belief and value systems. The field of Organization development has recently been undergoing a process of radical changes and diversification. There have been a number of developments, contributions and changes in organisational science that help and influence the field of organisational development. Organisational development includes models and theories such as organisational intelligence, organisational transformation, total quality movement, learning organisations and so on that has helped the field to rapidly expand and develop (Karakas, 2009).
Organisational development is a long-term program of interventions in social, psychological, cultural and belief systems of an organisation. Such interventions are based on certain principles and practices, such as horizontal participative processes, which are assumed to lead to greater organisational effectiveness and quality. Organisational development is concerned with change that if fully incorporated in to individual needs with the organisation and better use of the firms resources (Escalante, Lopez & Pina, 2008). From the perspective of OD, change is ‘the basic process of behavioural science-based theories, for the purpose of enhancing individual and organisational performance, through the alteration of organisational on-the-job behaviour (Beer, 1980).
The emphasis of Organisational development has changed over the years. Initially it was also associated with human relations development movement and focused on group dynamics, participative management and interpersonal relations and it ignored structures, systems and performance issues, and then later began to focus on changing organizational culture and developing mission, vision and values throughout the organization (Cacciope, 1999).
The 21st century is a century full of chaos, uncertainty, globalisation, diversity and dynamism and the world is experiencing global scale complex problems including global warming, postmodern terror, corporate scandals, pollution, wars, and the divide between the rich and the poor. There is also increasing interdependence between people, organizations, and communities, and all these changes are making organisational development become more and more multifaceted and complicated. A majority of the problems in societies today stem from management that is not prepared to deal with the chaos and complexity of today's world. The business world suffers from the lack of new managers equipped with new roles, qualifications, capacities, and skills (Karakas, 2009).
Today it is very challenging for leaders of many organisations to create and develop the capabilities of their organisations. Leaders must recognize and manage their organisation as a dynamic open system where the organisation needs to learn as learning is a core competence underlying growth, innovation and substantiality. All organisations need to be effective organisations and it is the leaders of an organisation that will help organisations to be effective. Organisational effectiveness can be defined as one that always achieves its goals or as Olmstead stated organisational effectiveness as the “accomplishment of missions or achievements of objectives”. Organisational effectiveness can be perceived in another perspective and is thought that if an organisation is effective when it acquires and develops its competencies, and therefore have the capacity to perform at high levels of accomplishment (Andreadis, 2009).
The key to successful organisational development is basically found in the nature of fundamental attitudes, thoughts feelings and actions generated by a managerial leader. When managerial leaders generate a thought and pass these thought and feeling it attracts other individuals inside and outside of an organisation. These thoughts and felling thereby create a future not only for the leader but for the organisation that the leader is involved. Managerial leaders need to think positively and creatively to respond to the opportunities of the organisation, managers who think negatively tend to attract negative responses which include anger, jealousy, anxiety and regret. These negative frequencies tend to reduce the power and influence of the managerial leader and make the individual weak. This will make it harder for managerial leaders to get out organisational change and development, therefore it is important for leaders to stay positive and keep their power and influence to end in successful change and development for an organisation (Darling & Heller, 2009).
Many new organisational development philosophies depend on creating high quality relationships amongst those in an organisation. And to help organisations keep up with the new dynamic business world organisational development professional have developed new creative roles and functions. The first role is social artists, who are those that continually work on themselves to develop skills to provide consultation, leadership, and guidance on changing paradigms, values, laws, and structures of their societies and organizations. The second type are ethical pioneers, they make sure ethical concerns are greatly considered when decision making takes place. Ethical pioneers are deeply aware of their own ethics and values and seeing the long-term implications of their decisions and actions on the larger system. Another creative role is spiritual visionary; these are individuals who interpret the universe and peoples roles in the case of an organisation. Creative catalysts are another type and are individuals who use creative tension to encourage change and new ideas and to create positive change and transformation. Another creative role is cultural innovators who advocate and pioneer new ideas, values and lifestyles of society in the work environment. Holistic thinkers are also important as they individuals who can interpret, synthesize, map, and understand the bigger picture they get about this using systems thinking and building connections among the parts. Last but not least are community builders these types of individuals are needed to create communities of reciprocal care and shared responsibility where every person matters and each person's welfare is the common concern. They develop trusting relationships, listen with attention and develop empathy and understanding towards employees by taking their feelings into consideration (Karakas, 2009).
All the above creative roles and functions need to be applied in order to keep up with the changes and the new organization development aims to increase intellectual, social and emotional engagement of managers and employees, and foster collaborative and dynamic approaches to learning that enable employees to develop integrative ways of knowing (Karakas, 2009).
Organisational development has been helpful to many organisations in different business sectors. One example is Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) it is the largest electric utility in one of the USA's smallest states. It has approximately 155,000 customers and 550 employees. The investor-owned company was founded in 1929. In recent years the USA have faced various regulations and deregulations, which were done in the intention of promoting competition and organisation efficiency. This caused Central Vermont Public service problems and CVPS's talent management strategy adapted many new functions and roles to overcome the issues (Schifo, 2007).
CVPS adopted a formal continuous improvement process and in 2002 major leadership changes were started. One third of formal leaders were replaced by individuals who better modelled CVPS's Values. Previously, many CVPS supervisors had been selected more for their technical skills than their leadership capabilities. VPS adopted a Balanced Scorecard and cascading goals approach. The dimensions of CVPS's scorecard are customer, financial, process, and people, and the aim of the scorecard is to make sure all four dimensions on the card have simultaneous attention for the organisation to succeed. The firm also undertook servant leadership as the organisations preferred leadership style (Schifo, 2007).
The Organisational development function CVPS influences organizational alignment by developing and coordinating the strategic planning process and it also influences business results by overseeing the performance management process. Organisational development influences even the human resource functions of the firm by helping to consider its policies, procedures and interventions. CVPS's executive leadership firmly believes that its Organisational development approach has enabled the organization to achieve key business results. A survey also concluded that CVPS achieved the highest level of customer satisfaction of all utilities in its east region, and CVPS's performance is substantially higher than the national average. Organisational development interventions to CVPS have been said to have reduced unproductive conflicts within the organization, resulting in a net decrease in grievances in several areas that had formerly been hotspots (Schifo, 2007).
The Oracle neighbourhood, the world leader in global enterprise software, faces the same changes as all global companies do. As organizations grow in size and maturity, their employee development needs change, and their Organisational development functions must adapt to the new landscape. The challenge calls for organizational redesign, innovating products and services, retaining top talent creating easy access for employees, building strong social networks and integrating a global network. Oracle business units became increasingly global, Leadership, professional and organisation development became increasingly critical to business success (Marr, 2007).
Changing business environments and increases in complex businesses have resulted in changes in the organisational structure. Developments in organizational thinking often lead to new forms of organizational Structure. Firms now have a more flat hierarchical structure, more empowered teams and so on, and this also means that the ability to work in teams has become a core competence in work. Empowered teams consist of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose or a set of performance goals. All the above changes have taken place in order to deal with the dynamic business environment, and organisations today are able to keep up with such changes with the help of organisational development (Laszlo, Laszlo & Johnsen, 2009).
15 years ago very few managers were familiar with organisational development. Today the percentage of managers who know about Organisational development, and have participated in some form of a successful organisational development assisted intervention is very large, especially in larger organisations (Eynde & Bledsoe, 2007).
Organisational is also important in a social sense and it has in the past decades influenced our interaction habits more than we usually realise. Organisational development influences the culture of institutions and social groups. It influences the way people associate and co operate. It increases the number of legitimate subjects for discussion and of people who can introduce them (Tendam, 1986).
Organisational development is now even useful for youth organisational development and the youth workers can now gain from emerging organisational and management thinking. For youth development organizations, the new organizational thinking is an especially suitable formula. Youth development principles can examine young people's lives and their ever changing approaches. And can also be used to draw talent, ideas, and energy of everyone involved the youth development enterprise lets loose the human spirit to discover, lead, and create a better world (wheeler, 2000).
A few criticisms about organisational development is that many organisational development practitioners is that they have little understanding of the day to day business that occurs inside organisations and even less appreciation for the difficulty of a manager's job. Organisational practitioner must also understand the linkages between an organisation, its subsystem and the environment in which it exists (Eynde & Bledsoe, 2007).
Due to daily experiences people know and have an idea of how things could be done better, organisational development does not regard the way people communicate and work as given but as open to change by people's own actions. This sort of change may result in greater efficiency and productivity and lead to less conflict and a more humane climate (Tendam, 1986).
The vital importance of change management is also being questioned today, and this is due to its limitations such as the challenge to rationality and the role of change agent (Saka, 2001). Change is inevitable, and today a new change occurs even before we can become accustomed to the previous one. Organisational development is research action oriented and favours a constant and iterative dialogue between practical and theoretical concerns, and the field of organisational development seems to us particularly well-placed to concretize this necessary transfer of theoretical knowledge into practice and benefits from a long and well established tradition in assisting members of organizations to face challenges presented by high velocity environments. Although many researches and theorist suggest that organisational development is no longer relevant in today's business environment and even though it has its limitations, organisational development is a vital aspect for an organisation to function and survive in todays dynamic and unpredictable business world.
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