Organizational Development Interventions are structured program designed to solve a problem, thus enabling an organization to achieve the goal. These intervention activities are implemented to improve the organization’s functioning and enable managers and leaders to better manage their team and improve organization cultures. Implementation of these Organizational Development interventions are needed to address the issues and doubts that an organization might be facing ranging from process, performance, knowledge, skill, will, technology, appraisal, career development, attrition, top talent retention and the list can be exhaustive.
Levels of Strategic Organizational Development Interventions
There are 3 levels of interventions that an organization should be able to identify and plan to implement.
- Individual: Interventions relating to an individual.
- Group: Interventions pertaining to a group or a team.
- Organization: Interventions related to the overall organization’s strategy and policy.
Activities involved in implementing Organizational Development Interventions
- Diagnostic activity: This activity involves collection of all the relevant information about the state of the organization. This can be done through the organization’s operations records, observation of task activities, meetings with subordinates, questionnaires filled out by employees, and interviews with workers and so on. This could provide clarity on the current health of the organization. This information is analysed and the information along with the analysis is communicated to members. Based on this information, and the feedback obtained from the members, some action plans are designed which are intended to improve the health of the organization. The feedback from members is intended to measure perceptions and attitudes such as job satisfaction, supervisory style and so on and so forth. It tremendously helps the supervisors to understand employees better and improve upon their relationship with their subordinates. Implementing Organizational Development Interventions usually begins with this activity.
- Team building: Team building activities are designed to enhance the effectiveness and satisfaction of individuals who work in teams in order to improve the effectiveness of the entire team. It is important to recognize work group’s problems as early as possible so that solutions can be derived before the problems can do any damage. These may be task related problems or personality conflict and personality cult problems within the team. The team’s work-related issues can be streamlined by changing the way things are done, by redirecting the resources being utilized and by re-examining the work processes. The interpersonal relationships among the team members can be improved by creating an environment which is open and accepting, where members can openly and freely communicate their feelings and thoughts, where leadership evolves based on respect and functional excellence and where conflicts are resolved based on mutual understanding among team members.
- Sensitivity training: Sensitivity training refers to a method of changing behaviour through unstructured team interaction. The conceptual idea is that in such training periods, the participants can openly express their ideas, beliefs, emotions, perceptions and attitudes and they learn about interpersonal behaviour. Such training could result in empathy for others, increased tolerance for individual differences, improved listening skills and greater trust for each other among team members. Improved sensitivity is a vital step in implementing Organizational Development Interventions.
- Intergroup relationships: Just as there are problems within a group, there are problems between two or more different groups which are interdependent among each other. The activities of these groups must be synchronized and coordinated to achieve the organizational objectives and any unhealthy competition between the groups must be eliminated. Other problems may involve conflicts over overlapping responsibilities or ambiguous lines of authority. Some examples of such groups, where conflicts may arise, are sales and production, line and staff, labour and management, hospital administrators and doctors in a hospital and so on. All such problems and conflicts must be solved in a spirit of trust, goodwill and openness.
- Process consultation: The purpose of process consultation is for an outside Organizational Development consultant to assist the management, “to perceive, understand and act upon process events within the organization”. The consultant observes the processes such as communication patterns, decision making and leadership styles, methods of cooperation and conflict resolution methods among team members and groups and acts as a guide who advises on how these processes can be improved.
In general, the process of implementing an Organizational Development Intervention begins by identifying the level at which the intervention has to be implemented, i.e. individual, group or organisation. Once the management has analysed and evaluated the level at which the strategic intervention is required, it then has to select the activities to be carried out depending upon the level of intervention.
Determining the activities to be carried shall include ancillary processes such as the timing of changeover, employees to be trained for such intervention, educating the affected part of the organisation about the process and rationale of the Organizational development intervention.
This is necessary so that the employees involved stay motivated towards the improvement of the organisation and value the efforts made by them by carrying out the required strategic Organizational development interventions.
Organizational Interventions are considered a strategic element because a lot of thought is put in place by the top management and the external consultants about the choice as well as the activities to be carried out in the organisation. To make the employees feel secure about the new processes and the changes made, the managers must first satisfy themselves about the significance and necessity of the processes to be carried out.
They must first identify the issues to be addressed and only then evaluate a desired course of action in the form of an intervention. An intervention should be carried only if the parameters applicable for the same exist in the organisation’s evaluation of the existing issues.
An Organizational development intervention can be expected to do well for the organisation only if it helps in tackling an issue for the organisation that the organisation itself, or the external consultants have identified, and deemed the same to be a major issue for the organisation in the future if not addressed at a proper time.
An intervention cannot protect and organisation from losses once the problem has magnified beyond a point, but it can help the organisation if the issues were identified within the right amount of time and appropriate actions were taken following the identification. Thus, to conclude, Organizational Development interventions are not a “be-all and end-all” solution, but indeed a very effective means of mitigating any probable threats or problematic issues for any organisation.