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The Case for Professional Organization Development

Organizational change, being the primary means by which all other organi¬zational concepts are applied to organizational life, may be accomplished through a variety of proven methods and is important to both academicians and management consultant practitioners. Organization development is one of the primary methods of implementing organization change and is defined by Cummings (2005), “Organization development is a system-wide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement, and reinforcement of the strategies, structures, and processes that lead to organization effectiveness” (p.1).

The analysis of the organizational situation identifies the need for an organizational change or what Cummings (2005) calls the “presenting problem” and provides impetus to begin the planning process. The identified organizational change process is driven by the organizational situation as moderated by the available organizational resources and the probable organizational resistance. The process is then formalized into a strategic plan for organizational change. This plan is implemented and the results are evaluated. The changed organizational situation becomes the focus of a new analysis and the cycle is repeated (Cummings, 2005), (Michael, 1982). The change process should produce a better fit between the organization and its environment than what existed prior to the change initiative.

It is evident that the type of change desired is dependent on the fit between an organization and its environment as bound by the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Michael, 1982). There is a variety of change methods that an organization developer could employ to affect change and improve effectiveness. The six commonly used change methods are organization behavior modification, management by objectives, management development, organization development, management auditing, and control cycle. Presently, organization development is the most popular change method especially for organizations operating in a global economy because it takes a holistic approach to organization change by implementing an organization-wide, planned effort designed to increase an organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral science knowledge.

In summary, professional organization development (OD) critically important too for organization success in the 21st Century because it focuses on well-defined changes at all organization levels and is efficacious for:

• enhancing congruence between organizational structure, process, strategy, people, and culture,

• developing new and creative organizational solutions,

• developing the organization’s self-renewing capacity.

Please click the following link to watch the training video, “The Case for Professional Organization Development:”

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