Organization Development

Written by Linda Alexander
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Organization development is an effort to help organizations improve themselves and become more effective. It may consist of adapting to changes while enhancing integrity, establishing processes and systems that allow the organization to manage its important business, and paying attention to long term development and planning. Organization development involves defining organizational culture and values, and attracting new staff to support the organization's mission.

The Process of Organization Development

Organization development is essentially a process of improving organizations. It is carefully planned and implemented to benefit the organization and its employees. The organization itself may be a company, a nonprofit, a volunteer group, or even a smaller section of a larger company. Today, development involves frequent use of communication skills, research, and efforts to get people to work together more effectively.

Outside consultants are often the change agents when it comes to improving an organization. Clients and consultants work together to collect information, define the issues that need attention, and plan a course of action. Assessment and planning, before action, are key to successful development.

Consultants also help organizations deal with change. Without direction, changes in structure, such as downsizing or mergers, can be confusing and alienate employees. Change agents can help ease the process by communicating the changes and helping employees adapt to them.

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