Every business organization undergoes inevitable changes and transformations that come alongside their internal processes and external dealings. However in many cases, organizations struggle when it comes to maintaining their level of viability and effectiveness. Many critics argue that this happens when an organization fails to continuously improve or develop itself as it is only through continuous organization development that a firm or a business organization is able to manage such changes and maintain their effecitveness (Bradford & Burke, 2005). Based on its basic definition, organization development pertains to the specific activities that a firm or an organization implements which are intended to direct manage the ‘change impacts’ that they experience as an organization and affects their chances for success as a business (Carter, 2004). In this research paper, the concept of organization development will be explored in greater detail. In particular, this organization development context will be tackled in terms of its definition, function, role and importance within a business firm or a business organization especially in the midst of a highly competitive environment.
What is Organization Development?
According to Argyris & Schon (1978), the concept of organization development pertains to the organization-wide initiative and effort of increasing the viability, efficiency and overall effectiveness of a particular organization or firm. Some authors consider this concept as a “necesseary response to changes” brought about by many factors in the business environment. Other business experts and scholars on the other hand refer to organizational development as a somewhat complex strategy that is intended to alter or change the attitudes, beliefs, values and even the organizational structure of a firm in order that it may be able to adapt to new forms of markets, technologies as well as new sets of challenges (Bradford & Burke, 2005). Many advocates of organization development critically argue that OD is not just some form of a training function that organizations adopt. It basically is an entire ‘change process’ that is designed to bring about a specific anticipated ‘end result’. The good thing about OD is that it may be involved in various aspects of the organization such as its “business processes”, its system improvement methods, the firm’s planning methods and self-analysis and the organization’s reflection system (Argyris & Schon, 1978).
What are the Functions and Aims of Organization Development?
The advantageous thing about organization development is its main function and objective and its mostly positive impact on many organizations. According to Sullivan (2010), the primary objective of organization development is basically to improve the capacity of an organization in handling both external and internal relationships and functions within the firm. This would typically include improvements on the group processes, interpersonal relationships of the different members of the organization, communication processes, organizational problem coping mechanisms, decision-making processes, leadership and management style, dealing with “destructive” and serious conflicts, including that of the means of improving the levels of cooperation and trust among the various members of the organization (Sullivan, 2010; Bradford & Burke, 2005).
Given the many different functions that the OD performs within business firms, it is often viewed optimistically by the people in business organizations. When OD is set within business organizations, the members of the firm feel like they have an established system that is capable of supporting their needs for adapting to change as well as solving the most commonly encountered issues within the organization.
How Important is Organization Development in Businesses and Firms?
According to Lien, Hung, & McLean (2007), organization development is very significant in the success of many firms and organizations as it helps organizations carefully and effectively plan its change approach which enables the firms to continuously improve and grow in terms of their performance. OD also helps firms to take more risks, embrace changes without any doubts or resistance, break away from the traditional mindset and from bureaucracy, as well as find more revolutionary means to ensure success and stability on the company’s future.
OD also helps eliminate many barriers that exist typically in organizations and serve as hindrances between groups and individuals within the organization to adapt to change and communicate effectively with one another. Moreover, OD also helps business organizations to actually decide well and effectively on the critical issues and choices that the firm faces every once in a while (Lien, Hung, & McLean, 2007). OD makes business organizations more effective by allowing them not only to cope up with change but also manage change by itself (Argyris & Schon, 1978).
Organization development is undoubtedly very significant in the success of many firms as it helps organizations carefully and effectively plan its change approach. OD makes organizations feel confident in facing ‘change’, taking risks, continuously improve itself and continue growing in all its aspects. Most importantly, OD helps firms improve its overall business and financial performance which translates into something beneficial for the entire firm.
To conclude, part of the road to success and total development of a business firm is its adoption of the organization development processes which guide and continuosly improve a firm’s various aspects and functions. Without the organization development processes, is many firms would most likely fail to carefully and effectively plan its change approach and would most likely end up making all the wrong business decisions. Firms would also most likely become ‘stagnant’ if the organization development processes will not be adopted by the entire organization.
There are many advantages in adopting the OD processes and this includes the following: (1) it enables organizations to feel more confident in facing ‘change’; (2) it enables organizations to be brave when it comes to taking risks; (3) it enables organizations to continuously improve itself and continue growing in all its aspects and functions and most importantly; (4) it enables organizations to help firms improve its overall business and financial performance which benefits the entire firm. Success is at the end of the road for firms which are able to actively and effectively utilize and apply the OD processes.
Argyris, C., & Schon, D. (1978). Organizational Learning: A theory of action perspective. Addison-Wesley.
Bradford, D., & Burke, W. (2005). Organization Development. Pfeiffer.
Carter, L. (2004). Best Practices in leadership development and organization change. Jossey Bass.
Lien, B., Hung, R., & McLean, G. (2007). Organizational learning as an organization development intervention in six high-technology firms in Taiwan: An exploratory case study. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 18(2).
Sullivan, R. (2010). Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Leading Change. Jossey Bass.