Comprehensive OD Interventions

Introduction of Comprehensive OD Interventions

Comprehensive OD interventions are very much alive and visible in contemporary OD practice. Some comprehensive interventions involve the whole system. These comprehensive interventions involve a collaborative effort between the client organization(s) and the consultants(s) in both diagnosis and interventions. However, it must fit the realities being experienced by the client system and must engage the cooperation and goodwill of client system members.

Comprehensive OD Interventions

The comprehensive OD interventions are in terms of the extent to which the total organization is involved. They are as follows:

“Getting the whole system in the room”

This concept has a long venerable history, including the art and science of conference planning and running large meetings.

The whole system refers to:

  • Managers of all of the functional areas in a business.

  • Representatives of top management, a cross-section of employees from all levels and suppliers and customer representatives.

  • Directors of all the social service agencies in a community.

Search Conferences and Future Search Conferences

Search conferences largely emerged with consulting practices in Great Britain, Europe and Australia while future search conferencing has been largely an American phenomenon. The basic design of the search conference has three following phases:

  • Phase 1. Environment Appreciation.

  • Phase 2. System analysis.

  • Phase 3. Integration of system and environment.

The search conference is normally a two-and-a-half day event, twenty to thirty people are selected to participate based on such criteria as their knowledge of the system and their potential for taking responsibility for implementation. Future search conferences are the one that integrates ideas from Ronald Lippit. Lippit and Lindman’s finding says that when people plan and present action by working backward from what is desired, they develop energy, enthusiasm, optimism and high commitment.

The Weisboard’s future search conference model consists of the following steps:

  • The consultants.

  • 50-60 people are invited.

  • The conference has four or five segments each lasting up to half a day.

  • The first major activity focuses on the past.

  • The second major activity focus on the present factors.

  • The third major activity focuses on the future.

Beckhard’s Confrontation Meetings of Comprehensive OD Interventions

The confrontation meeting developed by Richard Beckhard is a one-day meeting of the entire management of an organization in which they make a reading of their organizational health.

This intervention is an important one in organization development; it is a quick, simple and reliable way in which to generate data about an organization and to set an action plan for organizational improvement.

The steps involved in the confrontation meetings are:

  • Climate setting (duration is 45 to 60 min).

  • Information collecting (duration is 1 hr)-Small groups of 7-8 members are formed based on the heterogeneity of composition.

  • Information sharing (duration is 1 hr)

  • Priority setting and group action planning (duration is I hr and 15 minutes)

  • Immediate follow-up by Top Team. (1 to 3 hrs)

  • Progress Review. (2hours)

  • The fourth major activity focuses on next-generation step.

Before the conference ends, volunteers agree to document the meeting, communicate with others, and carry forward the next action step. These above-mentioned steps represent the flow of the activities for the confrontation meeting and it is believed to be an excellent way to get fast results leading towards organization improvement.

Strategic Management Activities of Comprehensive OD Interventions

Many OD programs and interventions are directed toward the internal workings of the organization. OD thus also needs to develop outward-looking interventions directed towards environmental analysis and strategic planning to ensure that the organization is in synchrony with its environment.

A strategic planning technique developed by Thomas uses a series of two-day meeting with the top policy maker. Open system policy is another technique developed by Charles Krone where the top team develops a description of the expectations and environmental demands of environmental domains and internal groups.

Stream Analysis

As developed by Jerry Porras, stream analysis, although complicated and somewhat difficult to use is a valuable intervention. Model for thinking about change and for managing change.

Stream analysis is a system for graphically displaying the problem of the organization, examining the interconnections between the problems, identifying the core problems and graphically tracking the corrective actions taken to solve the problem.

As the problems are categorized, they are placed on the stream charts in their appropriate columns. An analysis of the entire set usually reveals much overlap among the problems and then helps to segregate the unique issues for the considerations.

Appreciative Inquiry

An intervention broader than the appreciation and concerns exercise is Appreciative Inquiry (AI) developed by Frank Barret and David Cooperrider. This major intervention is based on the assertion that the organization is a miracle to be embraced rather than a problem to be solved.

Grid Organisation Development of Comprehensive Od Interventions

Grid organization development was developed by Blake and Mouton. It is a comprehensive and systematic OD program that aims at individuals, groups and the organization as a whole.

It utilizes a considerable number of instruments enabling individuals and groups to assess their strengths and weaknesses; focus on skills. Knowledge and processes were necessary for effectiveness at the individual group Inter-group and total organization levels. Its specific objectives are as follows:

  • To study the organization as an interactive system and apply techniques of analysis in diagnosing its problems.

  • To understand the importance and rationale of systematic change.

  • To evaluate the styles of leadership and techniques of participation to produce desirable results.

Process of Grid Organisation Development

The basic content of grid organization development is managerial gird as discussed earlier. The whole orientation is to develop a managerial style through the application of behavioral science knowledge. The grid organization development consists of six phases:

  • Managerial Grid: It covers various aspects of assessing managerial styles. problem-solving communication skills and teamwork. The individuals try to learn to become 9.9 managers by practice.

  • Teamwork Development: The focus in this stage is to develop teamwork by analyzing team culture, traditions and the alike. The skills relating to planning. objective setting and problem-solving are also developed.

  • Inter-group Development: At this phase, the focus is on inter-group behavior and relations. The thrust is on moving groups from conflict to cooperation. Each group separately analyses the ideal inter-group relationship. Action steps to move towards the ideal are developed and assigned to individuals who may be engaged in building cooperative inter-group relationships.

  • Developing Ideal Strategic Corporate Model: At this stage, the focus shifts to the total organization and to developing skills necessary for organizational excellence. The action is designed to identify the characteristics of the ideal organization. The members of the organization are trained for achieving this excellence.

  • Implementing the Ideal Strategic Model: The implementation stage includes the building of the organization on the model of an ideal organization based on concepts developed under stage 4. Each group may be given the assignment to evolve a strategy for making an ideal organisation with the help of the consultant. The strategy is then implemented.

  • Systematic Critique: In this stage, the various efforts from phase 1 to phase 5 are evaluated and critical analysis is made. The analysis will bring out the shortcomings that may be there. In this light, the various programs may be redesigned.

Evaluation of Grid Organisation Development

Most of the support to grid OD has come from its originators-Blake and Mouton. They have maintained that “managerial and team effectiveness can be taught to managers with outside assistance. Furthermore, it appears that this type of educational strategy can help to make significant contributions to organizational effectiveness.

In a later work, they maintained the same stand. Though research studies on the application of grid OD are not many some of them have not supported the claims made by Blake and Mouton.

Grid OD program is criticized on the basis that it lacks a contingency approach and, therefore, discounts reality. Further, grid OD is a non-rigorous method. Despite these criticisms, grid OD has some positive contributions to organisational effectiveness.

Transorganisational Development of Comprehensive Od Interventions

This concept is an extension of OD, which constitutes a distinct level of practice commensurate with the dynamics emerging at this higher level of a social system. It is an important form of the organisational change process for trains organisational systems. It includes three phases:

  • Phase 1. Potential member organizations are identified.

  • Phase 2. Member organizations are convened.

  • Phase 3. The TS is organized.

However, it requires an active role from the practitioner as they do with OD.


Investortonight requires its writers to base their articles on primary sources. This includes government documents, data, direct observations, and interviews with industry leaders. Additionally, we also incorporate research from reputable sources when appropriate. Our editorial guidelines detail the standards we maintain to ensure unbiased and accurate content.

  • Richard Beckhard, The Confrontation Meeting, Harvard Business Review, 45, pp 149-155.

  • Rensis Likert, New Patterns of Management.

  • R.R. Blake and J.S Mouton, Building A Dynamic Corporation Through Grid Organisation Development.

  • French, Wendell L., & Cecil H. (1996), Organisation Development: Behavioral Science Interventions for Organisation Improvement (5th Edition), New Delhi, India: Prentice Hall of India.

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