Organizational development is an expanding field that is dedicated to finding the root cause of organizational issues to obtain higher productivity and performance. Through a process of analysis, planning, implementation, and evaluation, organizational development professionals solve problems and prepare for future issues. Organizational development is action-oriented and borrows from behavioral science techniques to achieve change.
Organizational Development Skills
Organizational development focuses primarily on solving organizational problems by improving skills like coaching, leadership development, conflict management, process consulting, and facilitation. For example, an organization is experiencing average employee turnover and cannot keep up with industry growth. Employees generally have nice things to say about the organization. However, the workplace atmosphere is less than engaging. All communication comes from the top down, and departments work independently.
To determine what is causing employee turnover, the organization puts out a survey to collect feedback from employees. Overall, the feedback was positive, except for a common complaint among employees that the leadership team was comprised of individuals with little to no leadership experience. This led the organization to implement evaluations that include feedback from employees about their direct supervisors, as well as opportunities for leadership coaching.
Achieving Organizational Change
Just as in the example, once the problem has been identified, remediation is put into place. This is the opportunity to correct the problem and make the organization stronger as a whole. These skills are taught through behavior modeling, sensitivity training, and transactional analysis.
- Behavior modeling is a way of teaching behaviors through actions and not just through words. For example, by watching others in an organization (consciously or unconsciously), we learn not only how to complete tasks, but also the ethical expectations of the organization and culturally accepted communication styles. Behavior modeling can be used to demonstrate the way a leader should conduct himself or herself on a day-to-day basis, as well as during a problematic situation.
- Sensitivity training is often necessary to teach employees and supervisors on how to appreciate each other’s differences. Some of the major issues covered in sensitivity training include respect toward: gender, culture, and disability. Sensitivity training often follows a group therapy approach wherein members of the group share their perspectives and discuss it amongst each other. In these types of exercises, trainers act as facilitators, chiming in only to clarify issues, but not to formally lead the discussion.
- Transactional analysis is a form of analyzing the interaction between two or more people by focusing on communication patterns. There are three egos according to transactional analysis theories: child, parent, and adult. When a person is communicating with another, they will behave in a way that resembles one of these three. The child reacts out of fear or anxiety, the parent will accept rules without question, and the adult will rationalize and problem-solve. When people understand and analyze the way they communicate, it can help them control their reactions.
By borrowing theories and research from behavior science, organizational development professionals can analyze and solve issues that occur in the workplace. Ultimately, this creates a more productive workplace that can quickly adapt to challenges in the organization or the marketplace.
Organizational Development with Trakstar Learn
One way to implement organization development programs is to offer training online. Learn’s learning management system has everything you need to create, manage, and distribute online training. Request a demonstration of the Learn platform.