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History of Organizational Development

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In this week we discussed two chapters, the two topics that we learned was the introduction of organizational development and the history of OD. Organizational Development or simply O.D. is a technique of planned change. It seeks to change beliefs, attitudes, values and structures-in fact the entire culture of the organization so that the organization may better adapt to technology and live with the pace of change. O.D. is a comprehensive strategy for organization improvement. O.D. is a long range effort to improve an organization’s problem solving and renewal processes, particularly through a more effective and collaborative management culture.

History of Organizational Development

Organization Development (OD) is a subject and approach that has emerged in its own right over the last 40 or so years. As it emerged as a discipline in the late 1960s, Richard Beckhard defined its key characteristics as being

  • Planned
  • Organization-wide
  • Managed from the top

In order to increase organizational effectiveness and health through interventions in the organization’s processes, using behavioral science knowledge.

        Nevertheless, pioneers of OD in the 1960s were still mainly pre-occupied with interventions at either an individual or group level, chiefly to facilitate incremental change, rather than the ‘whole system’, large-scale interventions which characterize the strategic change efforts and initiatives that are used today. An OD’s purpose is to improve the performance of the organization, improve the ability of the organization to adapt to its environment, and improve inter-personal and inter-group behavior to secure team work.

        Organizational development (OD) is the process through which an organization improves its internal capacity to meet its current and possible future requirements. This would mean HR activities and OD activities overlap in a lot of aspects. However there are few areas where a HR need not necessarily be involved. For e.g.: if there is a new project, OD folks should access if the current infrastructure and resources would be adequate to handle the project. This is later on taken by the HR folks. So, even though the operations seem to overlap, the approach is different.

In a nutshell, the learning outcome for this week will help me in my professional career growth by extending how we solve problems within the company as well as the ways in which we analyze a process to find a more efficient way of doing it. It will help to foster a sense of equality, trust, and cooperation amongst the members, reducing internal strife and conflicts, thus aiming at creating a remarkably confident and united staff division.


Overview of the Field of Organization Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from



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