Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Organizational Development

An article by Diane Moody and Andy Smith on organizational development in a magazine called Personnel Today contains some useful clues on how the CM and the Human Resources function are related and should work together.

While its execution is often complex, the principles of organizational Development (OD) are fairly straight-forward: it is a planned, organization-wide approach to improving organizational effectiveness. There are, however, some important assumptions that underpin the concept.

History of organizational development
OD is informed by a set of humanistic values and beliefs about the potential of people and organizations to develop and grow. It involves C. through people and improvements to build future capability. It is concerned with the health and well-being of people at work and is rooted in a sound theoretical and research base, starting with people such as Lewin, Trist and Banforth and the Hawthorne experiments.

The term 'organization development' was actually coined in the 1950s, by McGregor and Beckhard, who introduced new team structures promoting higher levels of upward decision-making.

More recently, new approaches such as Real-Time Strategic C. (Jacobs) and Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperider) have come to the fore. These put an emphasis on finding new ways of engaging more people in dealing with the changes faced by their organization through dialogue and conversation.

Where does organizational development belong?
Many OD practitioners have a Human Resources background. However, there is a trend towards moving OD practice out of HR and bringing it alongside functions such as strategy or business development. Professional OD programmes are increasingly attracting practitioners from a range of backgrounds. Sometimes participants bring business process or quality M. experience, after realizing they need to balance their technical knowledge with a deeper awareness of the human responses to C. and transformation.

Sometimes the OD team is drawn from within the business, with people selected for their operational rather than OD skills and their commitment to improving the organization. Increasingly, organizations are using large-scale C. processes, where the whole organization gets together, and all staff are involved in creating and agreeing C. decisions. These latest develop-ments reflect values central to OD practice engagement, participation and democracy.

The article reminded me I need to schedule a meeting with the guys from HR to discuss how they can support us. Who has experiences to share on working with HR on C. efforts? Did it work for you?