Friday, June 12, 2009

Explain the meaning and classification of OD interventions.

Explain the meaning and classification of OD interventions. Describe how survey feed back as OD intervention technique was successful in an organisation. Briefly describe the organisation you are referring to.

An OD intervention can therefore be defined as "the set of structured activities in which selected organisational units (target groups or individuals) engage with a task or a sequence of taks where the task or a sequence of taks where the task goals are related directly or indirectly to organisational improvement." The OD strategy can be defined as an overall plan for relating and integrating different organisation improvement activities over a period of time to accomplish objectives.
The roots of OD lie in the famous Hawphorne experimets carried out at the Western Electric company by Elton Mayo and his associates. These experiments highlighed the importance of employee attitudes and expectations, informal work groups, norms and values and participation in decision making as influencing performance- all these still central concepts in various techniques of OD.
Though there are divergent opinions and attitudes about the nature and practice of OD, among its practitioners, a gereral consensus may be noticed among them as to what the basic chracteristics of OD are.
In any OD effort the totality of the organisation is to be taken into account. Organisation being an integrated system of sub-systems, changes in anyone sub¬systems tends to have consequences for the other sub-systems. The approach should be holistic either for proving the need for change within or for planning and implementing a change. Until the intended change is absorbed in the total system, optimal collaboration, synergism and efficiency cannot be obtained.
The theoretical body of knowledge underlying the concept and practice of OD is eclectic. Recent developments in the area of behavioural sciences, especially psychology, sociology, anthropology etc., have influenced the OD thought and practice.
The intended changes in OD programmes may be carried out at any of the sub-system levels such as:
* Structure of organisation
* Accomplishment of task
* Work environment (interpersonnel and intergroup relations, work values)
* Methods of decision making and problem solving
* UniqueTechnology

The benefits of the planned effort to the organisation are measuring in terms of improvements noticed in the performance of the sub-system where the change has been implemented, related sub-systems that have an interface with the changed sub-system, and the organisation as a whole.
a) Intended changes in the organisational structure should be initiated on the basis of a study of the existing structure-especially the formal relationships, span of control and functions performed by each individual in the context of the others. The planned change may be on the basis of what an ideal structure should be like. A better approach would be to take into cognizance the felt needs of the role incumbents. The employees may be involved in justifying problems in the existing structure and also in evolving a strategy for change. Such a participative approach would yield results as the employees are tuned to the intended change.
b) Another approach to OD is at the micro level i.e., at the job level, while the above was at the macro level. What is of concern is the designing of jobs for better performance. Job related aspects such as authority, responsibility, activities performed, overlapping roles etc., are considered for changing keeping with the attitudes, expectations of the role incumbents.
Research studies -have shown that job attitudes and job satisfaction influence performance. Jobs may be redesigned to provide variety and opportunities for satisfying higher order needs. Jobs enlargement and job enrichment are the job design methods employed as part of OD techniques.
c) OD practitioners also aim at improving the interpersonal climate. The work climate of openness, trust, and collaboration has positive influence on performance, while the climate of supicion; distrust and hostility result in low or mediocre performance. The climate should be supportive, proactive and allow for opportunities to be creeative and original.
d) Communication is the life of an organisation and effective communication is basic to internal work climate. OD efforts may be dircted to identify the gaps and problems in the formal communication network and improve the communication process. Communications network and improve the communication process. Communication network may be analysed in terms of the following
* Residential analysis: It helps in understanding how a given organisation really functions. The analyst is a 'live in' observer of the communication process.
* Participant analysis: Data is collected about how communication is actually taking place in the network by interviewing the individuals or through a questionnaire.
*Duty Study: Like a cop of observing the traffic on a high way, the analyst positions himself in the communication flow.
* Cross-section analysis: A time sampling of the communication process in the network may be carried out. However, the sampling must be repeated to get sufficient data.
*E C C O (Episodic communication channels in organisation) analysis: A trace element (i.e) a piece of communication is left in the communication network and its flow through the network is traced through time and space.
OD efforts to improve communication may deal with the elements of communication process such as 'source', 'message', and 'channel', 'receiver', process of encoding and network, in addition to communication overload.
e) Decision-making is another important area for OD intervention. What is a decision? Decision is 'action commitment'. Decisions are basic to management process and linking to various activities of the organisation. While some of the decisions are routine and programmed, the other may be unprogrammed and ad hoc. While some of them are operating decisions that are routine, programmed and executed automatically, the others are administrative decisions that are either coordinative and routine, or exceptional and ad hoc whild yield custom-based solutions.
Strategic decisions are also exceptional and have an influence on the overall organisation or a greater segment of the organisation. Necessity for strategic decision may arise due to forces in the external or internal environment, new technological input or at the initiative of the chief executive.
Involvement of the people concerned with.the issue or problem in decision making leads to acceptable answer commitment to implement the decision and better utilisation of human resources. Decisions should be based on objective analysis that include identification of the problem, collection of relevant information and selection of an appropriate solution with a greater probability of achieving the expected outcome.
f) An OD strategy is an intended change at the relevant system or sub-system level. Bring about an intended change. The techniques differ depending upon the sub-systyem that is considered for OD intervention. If the intended change is with reference to the 'people' variable, the methodologies employed are:
* Training or education involving lectures, experiential exercises, simulation, T-group training etc.
* Confrontation, where people are brought together to discuss the problem and evolve a strategy based on mutual trust and understanding of each other's position.
If the intended change is at the technological level, it is in terms of planned effort for bringing in new technology taking into account the likely consequences at the task, structure and people sub-system levels. The necessary environment for accepting and implementing the technological input should be created at the other sub-system levels.

OD interventions at the task level deal with job design parameters such as job enlargement, job enrichment, authourity, and responsibility consideration, human factor engineering etc.
At the structure level, the methodologies indued: data feed back (systematic collection of information that forms the basis for diagnosis, premising, planning etc.) Problem solving and decision making, process consultation (watching and aiding on-going processes and improving them), and OD task force establishment (setting up of teams or groups to carry out Od efforts). These interventions may be carried out by a change agent.
g) Management practices and employee reactions to these practices form the basis for organisation analysis and diagnosis and determining the appropriate intervention. The success of an intervention depends upon the acceptance of it and willingness to implement or maintain the change and its outcomes by the employees within the organisation.
h) Organisation change is not a one shot affair but a complicated and lengthy process. The type of intervention sought for, the size of the organisation, constraints, and facilities within the organisation, perceived organisational climate, attitudes and feelings of the employeees and their commitment tro change -all influence OD efforts. The typical value system of the organisation as a whole, of the management and of Ithe individual, and the values underlying change are quite significant factors influencing the success of OD activity.

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