Organisational Development (OD) is an organisation-wide business process of organisational change. It is deep-rooted in highly sophisticated human resource techniques and depends on robust data analysis and an understanding of organisational processes and systems. While OD should be alert to an organisation’s short-term objectives, it must also focus on long-term business goals and the plans to deliver them.

The design and implementation of change should engage everyone across the business and especially those who will be directly affected by it. It should do this in ways that encourage people’s involvement and ownership in making them successful. Personal insights will be invaluable in making things work, help to reduce negativity and overcome resistance. Change is not always palatable. It needs to be seen as capable of delivering beneficial outcomes, preserving trust and protecting the organisation’s reputation as a good employer.

OD is a far-reaching change tool which embraces many business disciplines and functions. In relation to HR, for example, it should take into account approaches to organisational design, workforce planning, talent management and diversity and inclusion.

In today’s fast-changing business environments, approaches to OD must aim to future-proof economic sustainability and organisational health by building in agility to respond to unexpected developments, marketplace changes, evolving customer expectations and changes in political climates that impact on an organisation’s activities.

This topic examines the theory and models of OD.

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