The Values of Organization Development


16 December 2018

The Values of Organization Development

Organization development (OD) is the study of successful organizational change and performance. OD emerged from human relations studies in the 1930s, during which psychologists realized that organizational structures and processes influence worker behavior and motivation. More recently, work on OD has expanded to focus on aligning organizations with their rapidly changing and complex environments through organizational learning, knowledge management and transformation of organizational norms and values. Key concepts of OD theory include: organizational climate (the mood or unique “personality” of an organization, which includes attitudes and beliefs that influence members’ collective behavior), organizational culture (the deeply-seated norms, values and behaviors that members share) and organizational strategies (how an organization identifies problems, plans action, negotiates change and evaluates progress).


Core values

Underlying Organization Development are humanistic values. Margulies and Raia (1972) articulated the humanistic values of OD as follows:

  • providing opportunities for people to function as human beings rather than as resources in the productive process
  • providing opportunities for each organization member, as well as for the organization itself, to develop to their full potential
  • seeking to increase the effectiveness of the organization in terms of all of its goals
  • attempting to create an environment in which it is possible to find exciting and challenging work
  • providing opportunities for people in organizations to influence the way in which they relate to work, the organization, and the environment
  • treating each human being as a person with a complex set of needs, all of which are important to their work and their life

This is a separate concept from change efforts known as:

  • Operation management
  • Training and Development
  • Technological innovations....etc.




The objectives of OD are:

  • to increase the level of inter-personal trust among employees
  • to increase employees' level of satisfaction and commitment
  • to confront problems instead of neglecting them
  • to effectively manage conflict
  • to increase cooperation and collaboration among employees
  • to increase organizational problem-solving
  • to put in place processes that will help improve the ongoing operation of an organization on a continuous basis

As objectives of organizational development are framed keeping in view specific situations, they vary from one situation to another. In other words, these programs are tailored to meet the requirements of a particular situation. But broadly speaking, all organizational development programs try to achieve the following objectives:

  • making individuals in the organization aware of the vision of the organization. Organizational development helps in making employees align with the vision of the organization
  • encouraging employees to solve problems instead of avoiding them
  • strengthening inter-personal trust, cooperation, and communication for the successful achievement of organizational goals
  • encouraging every individual to participate in the process of planning, thus making them feel responsible for the implementation of the plan
  • creating a work atmosphere in which employees are encouraged to work and participate enthusiastically
  • replacing formal lines of authority with personal knowledge and skill
  • preparing members to align with changes and to break stereotypes
  • creating an environment of trust so that employees willingly accept change

According to organizational-development thinking, organization development provides  managers  with a vehicle for introducing change systematically by applying a broad selection of management techniques. This, in turn, leads to greater personal, group, and organizational effectiveness.


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