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Organizational Development

The field of organizational development is about the operation, development and effectiveness of human organizations. An organization is defined as two or more people gathered for one or more common goals, according to What is Organization Development? (2010).

Organizational Development is conceived as free and relentless effort of management and all members of the organization to make credible, sustainable and functional to the organization over time, putting emphasis on human capital, streamlining processes, creating a style and pointing north from the institutional one, according to Definitions of Organizational Development (2011).

The Organizational Development is also seen as a tool that, through the internal review of the organization and the surrounding environment, allows information to guide you to take a path or strategy to change, to evolution, according to the requirements or demands of the environment in which they are placed, making the efficiency of all its constituent elements for success of organization. This is required for an organization that is able or has the elements necessary to enter and compete in today’s world, thereby becoming a necessity, according to Change management and Organizational Development (2011).

A historical sketch of organizational development explains the evolution of the term, as well as some of the problems and confusion surrounding it. As used today, the five major organizational development is unprecedented (root):

  • Entertainment in the laboratory: The root of organizational development pioneered using entertainment in the laboratory, also called T group: a small, unstructured group whose members learn from their personal interaction and a dynamic evolution in relation to things like following: interpersonal relationships, personal growth, leadership and group dynamics.
  • Action Research / survey feedback: Kurt Lewin also participated in this second movement that led to the birth of organizational development as a practical field of sociology. The second precedent concerns the action research and survey feedback.
  • Regulatory approaches: intellectual and practical advances in the laboratory entertainment and feedback / action research are precedents that were accompanied by the conviction that the human relations approach was “optimally” to manage the companies.
    According to the participatory management program, companies have one of the four types of management systems, which are: Authoritarian systems operators; Benevolent authoritarian systems; Advisory Systems; and Anticipated group systems.
  • Quality of working life: The contribution of this precedent organizational development can be explained in two phases. The first corresponds to the projects designed in Europe during the fifties and his appearance in the U.S. a decade after age fifty and his appearance in the U.S. a decade later. Generally required the joint participation of unions and management to job design, final design gave wide discretion to employees, diversity of tasks and feedback about the results. Perhaps this hallmark of quality in work was the discovery of the mode of self-directed work groups. In the second definition it is considered as an approach or method, for example, of the techniques and procedures to improve work. It was a synonym of methods such as: job enrichment, self-directed teams and management committees work. This technical guidance came primarily from the increased publicity given to projects of quality of working life.
  • Strategic Change This precedent has recently influenced the evolution of organizational development. As companies with their technological environment, political and social have become more complicated and uncertain, it also has happened with the magnitude and complexity of organizational change. It’s a trend that requires a strategic perspective and encourages that level of planned change processes.


Change management and Organizational Development (2011). Retrieved October 21, 2011 from http://humanresources.about.com/od/orgdevelopment/Change_Management_and_Organization_Development.htm
Definitions of Organizational Development (2011). Retrieved October 21, 2011 from http://managementhelp.org/organizationdevelopment/od-defined.htm
What is Organization Development? (2010). Retrieved October 21, 2011 from http://www.odnchicago.org/whatis.htm