The world of business is one that is highly dynamic. Competition is growing rapidly each day and every organization is trying the best it can to maintain its customers, acquire more customers and keep making profits. The concept of organization development (OD) has become one of high importance. Organization development can be defined as the deliberate actions that are taken by organizational leaders and managers with the aim of making the organization more effective and efficient. This is a body of knowledge that can be used to improve the performance of any organization. In addition, OD can enable the development of human beings. An organization is made of various departments and sections that make up a complex system. The system is part of a larger system that comprises of the external environment. In this regard, there must be strategic plans, organization design, as well as proper change management procedures for proper organization development to happen (Brown, 2011).
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Leadership is crucial for successful organizational development. Sound leadership steers organizational growth and helps the entire organization remain focused. Maintenance of work-life balance among employees is equally important. OD is seen as a human resource management field that has been growing over the last couple of years. Organization development is said to have developed from behavioral and social sciences. It is notable that those who practice organizational development in various organizations adopt a humanistic approach to successfully manage change and ensure that organizational performance is sustained at a high level (Brown, 2011).
It is pertinent to have skills that can help in pointing out challenges and opportunities in the quest for organizational development. In addition, appropriate action should be taken in order to correct the identified problems. There are many alternatives to problems, but the best option has to be selected. Finally, one needs to learn how the organizational development knowledge can be applied to situations that occur in an organization. This research paper explains how the above outcomes can be applied in order to achieve organizational objectives, as well as personal goals.
“Diagnostic skills to identify OD issues, problems, and opportunities”
Problem solving is one of the most important activities in any organization. An organization must have leaders who can solve any problems that have the ability to deter it from achieving its objectives for it to succeed. There is need to have knowledge about the current problem to be able to effectively solve the problem since it is not possible to solve a problem that one is not aware of its existence and its cause. Modern organizations are faced with a number of pressures that require them to meet customer needs. It is only when firms satisfy customer needs that the organizations can be guaranteed of staying competitive and making profits. Therefore, it is important for leaders and managers of organizations to find the best solutions to organizational problems. The key to good solutions is in the diagnostic procedures that will be adopted. As it has been mentioned earlier, organizations are currently operating in an environment that is dynamic and highly interactive. As a result, there is need for effective change and transformation that would be conducted to help them stay in competition (Zack, 2002).
There are a number of ways in which a leader can apply diagnostic skills to identify the issues, problems and find the opportunities that are available for the organization. First, it is important to note that organization development of a firm should be planned on the basis of relevant data that should be collected and analyzed carefully. Therefore, one should first gather information regarding the problem and then carefully arrange data and analyze it when carrying out diagnostic procedures. That way, one is able to understand the problem in detail and the source of the problem. In turn, it is easier to find a solution that is effective and help the organization improve on its performance (Friday, 2002). For instance, if an organization sells certain products and it realizes that the number of customers has gone down drastically, it is an indication of a problem that should be addressed with a lot of urgency. It is a problem that will have a direct impact on the organizational performance if not addressed.
To diagnose such a problem, the organizational development practitioner will collect data that is relevant to enable him or her understand the factors that have led to loss of market for the organization’s products. Data collection methods and types of data that can be used include:
Secondary data- this is data that is collected from other organizations that have had similar problems before. It is usually cheap and time efficient compared to other types of data. The other method that can be used is observation of the way people behave. It is possible to collect relevant data that can be used in the diagnostic process through observation. Surveys, questionnaires and interviews are other methods that can be applied. There are some practitioners who carry out SWOT analysis in order to understand the position of the organization and deduce the possible cause of a problem. SWOT analysis is important in that one can understand the internal, as well as external environment of the organization. In turn, it is possible to know the opportunities that the organization can explore in the future. In addition, one understands the weaknesses and threats that are likely to lead to loss of customers (Hassin, 2006).
Several factors are likely to cause such a loss, thus the organizational development practitioner needs to identify each of the factors before devising any means of solving the problem. It is worth noting that there are a number of diagnostic models that can be adopted, but each of them is dependent on the type of problem that is being addressed. Once data has been collected, the organization development practitioner should consider any other factors that might be involved in the situation. Such factors may include culture, turnover rates, schemes that are adapted for employees’ remuneration, as well as communication problems among others.
“Practice in identifying appropriate actions and selection of best alternative”
Once the problem has been identified, the managers and the leaders of the organization should find a solution to maintain performance. There are several alternative solutions that are applicable for every problem. It is the responsibility of organization development practitioners to identify the best action. Therefore, one needs to understand the best solutions to a problem. It is also important to understand organizational constraints. It is pertinent to note that there are both feasible and infeasible options. The process of selecting the best option will actually involve elimination of infeasible options. There are problems whose options for resolving the problem are not too complex since there are no many infeasible options, or there are one or two obvious feasible options (Hassin, 2006).
In this regard, the OD practitioner should first list all the possible options in selecting the best organizational development actions. Alternatives should then be ranked. There are alternatives that have the ability of addressing more than one problem at the same time (Hassin, 2006). Such options should be ranked first. Once the options have been ranked, the next step is to evaluate every alternative to establish their level of feasibility. In evaluating the problems, the organization development practitioner checks the range of problems addressed by each of the options. He or she considers whether the options cover the problem both collectively, as well as exhaustively. There are options that can cover the problem exhaustively, but they do not cover a wide range of the problems. On the other hand, there are options that cover the problem collectively, but they do not exhaust it. The OD practitioner selects the option that maximizes both factors; that is, the one that covers a wide range of problems and at the same time exhausts the problems. It is also important to consider the mutuality of each problem.
It is imperative to note that the process of selecting the alternatives requires one to think in a logical and holistic manner in order to understand the situation that needs to be addressed. Creativity is also an important factor that needs to be applied in solving a problem. In fact, creativity and innovation are factors that can never be overlooked in the current business environment. It is innovation that gives an organization the most competitive advantage. One should combine creativity with knowledge on the organizational internal and external environments in order to arrive at the best possible options. There should be a specific criterion that is used in selecting the best possible options.
The purpose of having criteria is to enable the OD practitioner to develop the best options (Zack, 2002). One needs to completely understand the organization in terms of its situation, its goals, as well as its objectives to be able to come up with the best criteria to address an impending issue. One also needs to understand the various roles played by individuals in the organization, as well as the roles played by various departments in the firm as a way of coming up with various alternatives to a problem. This understanding is helpful in that the solution developed is easy to implement since the concerned parties are involved in coming up with the solution.
The criteria selected can either be personal, economic or social depending on the problem being addressed. Another point that should be taken into account when selecting criteria is measurability. The preferable way of measuring criteria is through quantification, but any other means that is deemed right can be applied. Basically, one needs to have holistic skills, as well as logical reasoning ability in order to come up with a good and effective criterion. The listed options are evaluated against selected criteria to find a solution to the problem. It is important to note that each alternative that is evaluated has an unknown outcome and an uncertainty risk. The OD practitioner is required to give priority to the criteria used in coming up with the best alternative (Brown, 2011).
As mentioned earlier, an action should be taken to counter the problem being addressed. Coming up with an action plan follows the process of choosing the most appropriate alternative among an array of suggested solutions. In other words, the selected alternative is implemented at this point. The organization development practitioner will decide the person or the people who will do the implementation, the time when they should do it, and direct the ways that should be followed in the implementation process. It is important to develop a program that should be followed in the implementation process. The implementation process is done in phases; therefore, a time phase program is effective. After full implementation, the next and final step is to follow up and gather feedback on the outcome. This is done to ensure that the solution implemented is effective. Another solution can be selected in case the first one was not effective (Sauter, 2011).
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“Ability to apply organization development knowledge to organizational situations”
Knowledge is a very important resource that is used by organizations today. It helps in the development of various strategic plans that are used in the improvement of organizational performance. In fact, most business organizations view knowledge as their most valuable resource. It is this knowledge that they use in solving their problems, as well as exploiting opportunities that are presented to them (Singh, 2005). The sources of knowledge that are used by organizations today are information systems. Development of technology has enhanced acquisition of knowledge by organizations through information systems. An organization needs to have knowledge ahead of its competitors for it to have a competitive advantage. Organizations should, therefore, carry out SWOT analyses that are knowledge based. These analyses should then be compared with knowledge that is possessed by competitors, as well as knowledge that is required by the organization in order to execute its own strategies.
Organizational development can be used to handle some of the situations that are faced in an organization (Brown, 2011). From its definition, organization involves execution of activities and actions that can improve the general performance of an organization. The process involves action plan designs and diagnostic procedures among others factors. Therefore, the knowledge or organizational design can be effective in addressing various areas within the organization in case of a situation that affects the performance of an organization. The knowledge in question includes action plans among other form of knowledge that is available to the organization. It is, therefore, advisable that any organization that wishes to improve its performance and maintain its competitive advantage should hire organization development practitioners.
The pressure on organizations to satisfy their clients is growing as the business environment in the world becomes more competitive. As a result, organizations need to come up with strategic plans that can help them gain competitive advantage. An organization’s development plan is important since it involves actions and activities that improve the effectiveness and performance of an organization. OD is effective in finding a solution to a problem that might be affecting the firm’s performance negatively. Organization development outlines the actions and procedures that are followed in developing a solution to a problem. It also directs the methods of diagnosing a problem and identifying the opportunities available to the organization. OD is, therefore, an important and effective factor that can give competitive advantage to any organization.
Brown, D. R. (2011). An experiential approach to organization development (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Friday, S. (2002). Organization development for facility managers: Leading your team to success. New York, NY: AMACOM.
Hassin, A. (2006). Effective diagnosis in organisation change management. Journal of Business Systems, Governance and Ethics, 5(2), 23-29
Sauter, V. L. (2011). Decision support systems for business intelligence. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Singh, K. (2005). Organizational change and development. New Delhi, India: Excel Books.
Zack, O. H. (2002). Developing a knowledge strategy. California Management Review, 41(3), 125-145