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Organizational development 101: In order to achieve long-term success as a company, constant further development and adaptation to environmental factors is needed. Organizational management is the solution to the ever increasing pressure of competition and the constant call for performance. In this article, Digital Leadership will help you understand everything you need to know about the basics of organizational development.
Basics of organizational development
According to the dictionary, the term organizational development is defined as a “strategy of planned and systematic change achieved through influencing organizational structure, organizational culture and individual behaviour”. This perspective takes into account the processes and interactions between individuals, teams, organizations, technology, environment, time, as well as the communication, values, and power dynamics that exist within organizations.
The core characteristics of organizational development
- Constant process of change and development: Organizational Development is an ongoing participatory process that sets intermediate goals, but is a constant learning process.
- Planned form of change: Organizational development is always a concrete decision and not a random occurrence. It can use different tools and models and always needs an organization-theoretical concept.
- Involves employee participation: Successful culture change through organizational development requires constant employee involvement. This can be achieved through workshops and frequent communication.
- Goal: Increase of the efficiency of the organization and improvement of the working conditions: Organizational development can help maintain competitiveness through increasing productivity and bettering working environments.
- Can be accompanied by consultants: Classic organizational development projects are usually accompanied by experts. They need competencies in the field of psychology of operational strategy development and systemic organizational development.
Basic methods and procedures of organizational development
The phases of organizational development
- Phase 1: Unfreezing: In the first phase of unfreezing, the desired change is brought to light. Information and plans are shared, and upcoming developments are discussed. This phase is important so everyone feels involved and receives support where needed.
- Phase 2: Moving: In the second phase, new processes and structures are introduced. In this phase of organizational development, constant monitoring by those responsible should take place. It’s important to also ensure that employees generate learning gains through training and workshops.
- Phase 3: Refreezing: In this phase, the company adopts the new behaviours and processes, which then need to be solidified and become the new normal. After an organizational development project has been completed, close monitoring must be carried out to determine whether new processes are working and being maintained.
- Preliminary Phase: In the preliminary phase, a need for change develops within a company. This can be due to external influences such as changing customer needs, but also due to internal causes such as changes in social conditions. In this phase, including everyone in conversations is crucial.
- Diagnosis phase: The diagnosis phase starts by collecting all available data on the organizational structure, working climate, work processes, communication and on the behaviour of managers and employees. The data thus obtained is communicated to all those affected, discussed and analysed. This results in initial improvements.
- Development phase: The knowledge gained for change is implemented in the development phase, usually through working groups with all employees involved. For this phase, it is of enormous importance to combine both company and employee interests in order to gain acceptance for further developments.
- Stabilization phase: The final phase, also known as the stabilization phase, serves to ensure that the new behaviors of those involved are actually maintained and that a relapse into old patterns is prevented. The new structures must be stabilized through training measures and discussion rounds. Finally, an evaluation of the success is carried out.
Well-known strategies of organizational development
Organizational Development Change Management: Definition & Demarcation
The main difference between organizational development and change management is the core focus. Organizational development strives for long-term development from within through the culture and competencies of the employees. A change project is usually driven by outside factors, for example a shortage of resources or changed corporate structures. Change management always has a clear start and end point as well as a concrete target.
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