No Image Available

Seb Anthony

Read more from Seb Anthony

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Organisational Development


What is your/your organisation's definition of Organisational Development (OD)? How short/long-term a view does it take into account? What strateg(y/ies) and/or action plan(s) is/are involved?
Neil Garrett-Harris

One Response

  1. Ways of looking at “Organisation Development”
    Hi – for me “Organisation Development” (OD)is a term used for a conscious programme of change throughout the organisation, over a medium- to long-term

    I can see three main clusters of OD strategy:

    1: Traditional. By far the most common. Faced with a developmental challenge the commonest response is to reorganise – set up new departments, change reporting lines, possibly make changes in key personnel. Business Process Reengineering can also be seen as a form of this strategy.

    This can be appropriate in certain circumstances – eg when a small, informal organisation finds that it is growing too quickly for its informality to be able to respond to new challenges; new specialist business systems and processes are required, calling for reorganisation.

    However reorganisation is often used when it is not appropriate – for example when there is low morale, low productivity, poor quality. These call either for the Modern/Behavioural strategy or the Relational Strategy (below).

    2. Modern/ Behavioural. Often organisations find themselves faced with low morale, poor productivity, inefficiency, high costs, low quality. Although reorganisation is often used to try to solve these, such attempts are rarely if ever successful. As a result of studies of motivation by behavioural scientists a second approach was developed, starting around the mid 1960s, focussing mainly on increasing motivation and commitment to the organisation’s mission and goals. Associated techniques include job enrichment, quality circles, self-managed teams, action learning, continuous improvement, “excellence”

    3. Relational. The Behavioural strategy can work well as long as everybody shares a common view of the organisation’s purpose. However, in more complex situations we find that in order to handle many commercial and social tasks and issues we have to learn to work in association, partnership or network with others, each of whom has their own expertise and, often, goals and priorities. These associations may be with other, external, organisations but equally may be with diverse groups, teams, units within a single organisation, each of whom has its own professional loyalty and commitments.

    This calls for a third strategy, one that creates conditions and relationships that enable diverse groups to achieve things together whilst meeting their own goals and purposes – hence the term “Relational”. This approach is relatively new, emerging over the past ten years or so (it’s the one I am currently most interested in. Associated techniques include specific tools for organisational learning, dialogue, and cross-boundary partnering, prioritising, enquiry, invitation and action.


    Tom Boydell

    [email protected]


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!