Magazine article New Zealand Management

MANAGEMENT : Oh Dear, Wherea[euro][TM]s the OD?

Magazine article New Zealand Management

MANAGEMENT : Oh Dear, Wherea[euro][TM]s the OD?

Article excerpt

Byline: Dale Nelson

What is OD, I hear you ask? This is the problem defined. You, the readers of this magazine havena[euro]t, it seems, cottoned on to OD. It can provide you with the power to be transformational and help with your most difficult work, improving organisational performance.

OD stands for Organisation Development. It is about people in organisations, but leta[euro]s be clear, OD is not human resource management (HR). OD is about the business, the organisation of business, and the business of organisations.

There are several definitions of OD, many of which would make the best of us nod off. But for the record, most include a concern for system-wide planned change, the use of behavioural science interventions, a focus on human and social processes, and the intention to build the capacity to adapt and renew organisations (Worley, C. 2002). Most importantly, most definitions also suggest that for OD to be successful it needs to be led from the very top.

OD as a practice evolved in the 1950s out of the work of the National Training Labs (USA) on group dynamics and leadership, and the human relations work of the Tavistock Institute (UK). By the mid 1960s OD had already become a very diverse field, with many different approaches being used to deal with organisational issues and the management of change.

OD continued to evolve as a field to meet the many challenges being faced throughout the 1970s (technology), a[euro]80s (recession), a[euro]90s (globalisation) and the 2000s (knowledge economy). Today, OD continues to evolve cutting-edge practices and techniques to deal with some of the most difficult and entrenched organisational issues.

Many OD concepts and practices have now become mainstream in New Zealand including: strategic planning, organisation design, process consulting, team building, conflict management, diversity awareness, action learning, appreciative enquiry, change management, leadership development, the importance of attending to organisational culture, the power of experiential learning and the concept of learning organisations. Today OD is used to solve both very practical problems, and very difficult problems.

We have recently undertaken research looking at the strategic organisation development and human resource capability across the state sector. …

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