Managing OD Process

Introduction of Managing OD Process

OD can be taken as a process of changing people and other related aspects of an organization. Thus it consists of many sub-processes or steps. However, theorists and practitioners both differ about the various steps and their sequence in OD. This is because most of the ideas in OD have been generated from practices and these practices have differed from organization to organization. It is not necessary that each organization may involve all the steps with the same results from the OD strategy.

Managing the Process of Managing OD Process

As such, uniformity in the steps involved cannot be expected. Blake and Mouton provide six steps in OD programs: studying the managerial grid as a theoretical framework to understand the behavioral dynamics of an organization’s culture, studying the dynamics of the actual work team, and launching similar activities in different units.

Engaging the top team, implementation tactics for transforming the organization into the above model and measurement of changes. Beckhard provides five steps: diagnosis, strategy planning, education, consulting and training, and evaluation. French and Bell have identified three components: diagnosis, action, and process maintenance.

The difference in the various steps as described by various scholars and practitioners is due to the defining scope of a particular step. Moreover, since OD is an ongoing interactive process-a process is an identifiable flow of interrelated events moving over time towards some goal-many of the events overlap and in real practice. a clear-cut demarcation between various events becomes difficult.

In OD programs, various steps may be problem identification and diagnosis, planning change strategy intervening in the system and evaluation. These steps are not exclusive to each other and do not follow the same sequence but interact with each other.

Problem Identification and Diagnosis

OD program leads to meeting certain objectives in the organization because OD is a means and not an end in itself. Thus. it attempts to solve some organizational problems. The problem may be a gap between the desired path of action and the actual path of action, that is, the organization fails to meet its objective on a long-term basis.

OD program starts with the identification of the problems in the organization. Analysis of various symptoms both overt and covert may help in identifying the problems. The diagnosis gives the correct identification of a problem and its causes and determines the scope of the future course of action.

Diagnosis in OD involves several techniques concerned with identifying concerns and issues, establishing priorities, and translating them into aims and objectives. At this stage itself, the collection and analysis of data are undertaken.

The major consideration is given to the techniques and methods used to desirable organization systems the relationships between the elements or sub-systems, and ways of identifying major problems and issues. Problem identification flows almost immediately into the analysis. Once a problem is identified the analysis will show why the problem exists.

The analysis will identify the variables that can be altered or changed by the organization and its management, such as leadership style, organization structure, organizational objective, etc. In other words, analysis brings the identification of the environment that has caused problems.

Planning Strategy for Change

When the problems are diagnosed the OD practitioner-either consultant or management but preferably consultant-plans the various courses of action in OD. Attempts are made to transform the diagnosis of the problem into a proper action plan involving the overall goals for change, the determination of the basic approach for attaining these goals, and the sequence of detailed schemes for implementing the approach.

Although it is a relatively simple matter to identify changes after they have occurred. It is considerably more difficult to influence the direction thrust of changes while they are underway. Thus planning and implementation of change are interdependent; how change is planned has an impact on how it is carried out and conversely the problems of implementing change have an impact on how it is planned.

Intervening in the System

Intervening in the system refers to the implementation of the planned activities during an OD program. These planned activities bring certain changes in the system which is the basic objective of OD. There may be various methods through which external consultant intervenes in the system such as education and laboratory training, and process consultation, team development, etc. which will be discussed later.

Evaluation and Making Modifications

This step relates to evaluating the results of the OD program so that suitable actions may be followed up. Since OD is a long process. There is an urgent need for careful monitoring to get precise feedback regarding what is going on as soon as an OD program starts. In this respect the use of critique sessions is.

Systematic appraisal of change efforts and pre- and post-training behavioral patterns are quite effective. This step again involves data gathering because such data will provide the basis for OD efforts evaluation and suggest suitable modification or continuation of OD efforts in a similar direction.

All parties concerned in the OD program need to realize that if major organizational improvements are to be made and sustained, managerial practices concerning many subsystems will need to be modified if these practices are not congruent with the OD efforts because there exists the possibility of slip back and regression to the old behavioral pattern if adequate changes in other parts integrating behavioral change are not made.

In the event of achieving complete success, it has to be ensured that the client team is competent enough to maintain the changed system without the support of the consultant, as there is a tendency among the organization to revert to its original state. The consultant can withdraw at this stage.

OD, practitioners, both internal and external consultants may counsel decision-makers on an individual basis, work to improve working relationships among the members of the working group or team, work to improve the relationship among interacting and interdependent organizational groups; and gather attitudinal data throughout the organization and feed this data back to selected individuals and groups who use this information as a basis for planning and making desired improvements.


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

  • Senge, Peter M. (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of Learning Organization, New York: Doubleday.

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