The term organizational development (OD) is used in the brand strategy field to refer to continuous and premeditated changes or developments made within organizations, usually with the intention to enhance quality of life at the workplace, and subsequent productivity of the people at the workplace, by helping the brand edge closer to serving its purpose.. The process of OD is regarded as continuous, deliberate, systematic, organized, and collaborative, and involves principles and practices of behavioral science and organization theory.

Common techniques for implementing organizational development

The main objective of organizational development is to improve personal, interpersonal and organizational skills within a workplace to enable increased self and team productivity. Some of the techniques used to implement OD can be classified into 3 classes as illustrated below:

  1. Behavioral Techniques: techniques implemented to influence personal and interpersonal skills through behavioral training to encourage or discourage certain behaviors within the workplace. These technique often include:
    • Sensitivity Training : Sensitivity training focuses on making employees aware of their attitudes and behavior toward others, to be respectful and communicate effectively. In this technique, T-groups are comprised of ten to fifteen participants who are gathered in a free and open environment, away from work places, and encouraged to discuss themselves freely, with the guidance of a facilitator. Such sessions have no formal agenda, and the facilitator is not a trainer, but the person who opens and moderates the floor to encourage participants to open up. This technique helps to foster diversity and inclusion, empathy, listening skills, openness, and accommodation, better conflict resolution skills. See one of our past diversity training workshop here.
    • Role Playing : Role playing can simply be defined as getting into someone else’s shoes in order to see something from their point of view. This helps to dilute bias and misconceptions as one can be able to understand why things happen to others the way they do with firsthand experience from the other party’s point of view and prevailing circumstances.
    • Management by Objectives : MBO refers to a process in which an organization’s objectives are made in such a way that they are agreed to by both management and employees, with the aim of improving employees’ participation, motivation, commitment and overall business productivity. Some of the key elements of MBO include effective planning and goal setting by top management, encouraging employees to set and align personal goals to organizational goals and regular monitoring and review  of performance vis-a-vis predetermined objectives. Additionally, employees are granted autonomy to choose the best means of achieving goals.
    • Grid Organization Development : Grid OD proposes that there exist two paradigms of leadership which are concern for people and concern for results. Concern for people refers to the being aware of social and interpersonal concern of other people within a workplace, while concern for results involves issues of quality, quantity and overall effectiveness at the workplace. The process has 6 steps including setting organizational goals, achieving the goal, stabilizing after achievement, training, team development and finally intergroup development.
  1. Non-Behavioral Techniques: techniques implemented to influence personal and interpersonal skills through means other than behavioral training. These techniques tend to be a little structured, and include:
    • Changes in organization structure : This refers to changes in the flow of authority within a workplace which may often introduce or scrap some offices within the workplace, in order to make leadership more efficient.
    • Work (re)design : This refers to analyzing and redistributing roles within a workplace in order to help make leadership seamless, and ensure human capital is utilized efficiently. This process regards jobs in terms of tasks, behaviors, education, skills, relationships, and responsibilities required to carry out tasks.
    • Job enrichment : This refers to increasing the nature and scope of a job to make it more enjoyable and challenging, reduce its boredom and repetition. 
  1. Other Techniques : techniques other than the two discussed above, and may include:
    • Survey feedback : This process involves two steps which are rolling out questionnaires to collect data about the organization, and conducting feedback meetings and workshops to present the data to relevant stakeholders.
    • Process consultation : Involves hiring an external consultant to diagnose critical issues within a workplace by helping managers understand the workplace dynamics and become a better leader. Some of the critical issues addressed include communication, functional roles of members, group problem-solving and decision-making; group norms and growth, leadership and authority, and intergroup cooperation and competition. This technique involves setting a meeting agenda, updating an organization on its status, conduction coaching and finally structural changes are made.
    • Team building : This refers to the training of teams to enhance their capability to accommodate each other and work in such a way that they are highly productive. This technique requires a facilitator who first observes the behavior of a team ten advises them on how best to increase their productivity.

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