Toolpack: organizational development, surveys, and change

How organizational development works: conceptual view

Organizational development (OD) uses social science to get things done. It targets the organization's culture, including systems, processes, and rewards. By working on "people" issues, it allows positive and lasting change at relatively low cost.

Even when systems seem more important than "touchy-feely people issues," organizational development can have an incredible impact, because people design the systems. The people who are "in the system" should be able to influence it. At GM/Toyota's NUMMI plant, employee suggestions dramatically increased quality by changing the systems.

People can affect systems as much as systems affect people. Part of organizational development is allowing people to influence the systems which influence them.

For OD to work, its users must believe that people are important, not mere "human resources" to be used and discarded. By bringing out the best in their people, organizations can reach optimal effectiveness and increase profits.

Some of the highest-performing organizations in the world are also the best to work for. They actively help their people to contribute to the health and productivity of the organization. One actually lets people spend up to 15% of their time on their own projects! (Two results: Scotch tape and Post-It notes).

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