Assumptions of Organizational Development

The assumptions underlying OD programmes are:

  1. Assumptions of dealing with Individuals: The two basic assumptions about individuals in organizations are:-
    1. Most individuals have drives towards personal growth and development. They want to develop their potential and therefore should be provided with an environment that is both supportive and challenging. In other words, individuals want personal growth and development, which can be attained in a supportive and challenging work situation.
    2. Most people desire to make, and are capable of making, a greater contribution to attain organization goals than most organizational environments permit. The implication of this assumption is that people are experts. Organizations must remove obstacles and barriers and reward success.
  2. Assumptions of dealing with Groups: These assumptions relate to the importance of work teams.
    1. The most psychologically relevant reference groups for most people are the work group. The work group greatly influences feelings of satisfaction and competence. Therefore, individual goals should be integrated with group goals.
    2. Most people interact co-operatively with at least one small reference group.
    3. Work groups are the best way to satisfy social and emotional needs at work.
    4. Therefore, the growth of individual members is facilitated by relationships, which are open, supportive and trusting.

    5. The suppression of feelings adversely affects problem solving personal growth and satisfaction with one's work. Attitudinal and motivational problems in organizations require interactive and transactional solutions. Such problems have the greatest chance of constructive solution if all parties in the system alter their mutual relationship, co-operation is always more effective than conflict.
  3. Assumptions for designing Organizations: These assumptions relate to the importance of designing organizations.
    1. Traditional hierarchical forms of organizations are obsolete. Therefore, experimenting with new organizational structures and new forms of authority is imperative (very important/ essential). Creating cooperative rather than competitive organizational dynamics is a primary task of the organization.
    2. An optimistic, developmental set of assumptions about people is likely to reap rewards beneficial to both the organization and its members. Co-operation is always more beneficial.
    3. People are an organization's most important resource. They are the source of productivity and profits and should be treated with care. An organization can achieve higher productivity only when the individual goals are integrated with organizational goals.

Goals of Organization Development

Edwin B. Flippo has given the following seven specific goals of OD. They are:-

  1. Decision-making on the basis of competence rather than authority.
  2. Creatively resolving conflicts through confrontation designed to replace win-lose situations with win-win types.
  3. Reducing dysfunctional competition and maximizing collaboration.
  4. Increasing commitment and a sense of "ownership" of organizational objectives throughout the work force.
  5. Increasing the degree of interpersonal trust and support.
  6. Creating a climate in which an growth, development and renewal are a natural part of the enterprise's daily operation.
  7. Developing a communication system characterized by mutual openness and condor in solving organizational problems.

The choice depends on the circumstances. Restrictions the managers have to take into account including limits on time and money and lack of skill at implementing a strategy. The choice of a strategy usually results from conferences and discussions involving those who will be most directly affected. The experiences, feelings and perceptions of conference participants help determine if their parts of the organization are ready for change and for OD techniques. The success of OD depends on a high level of receptiveness to change.

Purpose of Organizational Development

The main purpose of OD according to Burton is "to bring about a system of organizational renewal that can effectively cope with environmental changes. In doing so, OD strives to maximize organizational effectiveness as well as individual work satisfaction".

Organizational development is the most comprehensive strategy for intervention. It involves all the activities and levels of management in ongoing problems that respond to external and internal sources. The OD process is cyclic as shown in the figure below:

OD Process Cycle

OD Process Cycle

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Principles of Management and Organisational Behaviour Topics