From time to time, we get this question by our clients and possible customers: What is organizational development? In this article, we will clear out any doubt about it.
Organizational development deals with the complete analysis of the company, its departments, its products and services, its manufacturing processes and the formulation of services, its infrastructure, and its resources, both personal and financial, to face the needs of business of the company, in the present and in the future.
In order to ensure the effectiveness and viability of the business, the evaluation of all aspects of the organization is essential in a changing environment where all these aspects will transform over time. The fundamental part of organizational development is to lead changes in the culture, structure, ways of working and relating to ensure that the company better responds to its increasingly new environment.
An American psychologist, born in Poland, and German originally, Kurt Lewin (1898-1947), became a leader in applied psychology and organizations; known as the innovator in the formalization of organizational processes to deal with these issues.
Professor Lewin founded the Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he innovated on corporate aspects and on the dynamics of organizations. After his death, the RCGD moved to the State of Michigan. In the United Kingdom, the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, founded in 1946, specialized in issues of organizational development and group behavior. Together, the RCGD and the Tavistock Institute founded the academic journal Human Relations, which established itself as the academic leader in organizational development issues. Today the Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences is a leader in the world of organizational development.
The daily work of the groups in charge of organizational development is the analysis of the different departments of the company and ensure that they are adequate with the operational needs of the business. For this, they need to ensure that each division, department, working group, etc., is adequately equipped with the necessary (economic and other resources) to face their activities within their environments. As part of this analysis, they evaluate the shortcomings and the ways to cover these deficiencies, in the context of the available resources of the company. They also analyze the ways of working among the different departments and working groups and design ways of filing problems.
In addition, they must analyze all aspects that may impact the different parts of the business and their resource needs. For this, the organizational development teams must analyze all the changes and potential developments, including possible contingencies, that may impact the company’s activities and its way of working. These changes and developments come from anywhere, both inside and outside the company, including the following:
Organizational development is a process that never ends, since companies, processes, environments (local, national, and international), technology, and ways of working are changing. Every change impacts the work of the company and organizational development must measure these impacts and respond to them within the vision, values, and mission of the company.
Organizational development is a fundamental part of the management of change in a company, a change that is inevitable.