What are the Features and Role of Organization Development ?

Features of OD: There are various features of OD which are follows:

Planned Change: OD is a strategy of planned change for organizational development. This planned emphasis separates OD efforts from other kinds of more haphazard changes that are frequently undertaken by organizations.

Comprehensive Change: OD efforts focus on comprehensive change in the organization, rather than attention on individuals, so that is easily absorbed. The concept of comprehensive change is based on the systems concepts- open, dynamic, and adaptive system. OD efforts take an organization as an interrelated whole and no part of it can be changed meaningfully without making corresponding changes in other parts.

Long-range change : OD efforts are not meant for solving short-term, temporary, or isolated problems. Rather, OD focuses on the elevation of an organization to a higher-level of functioning by improving the performance and satisfaction of organizational members on long-term basis. These long-term efforts are time consuming. Therefore, OD experts emphasize that the process takes months, or in, many cases, years to implement. Although there may be pressure for quick results, the OD process is not intended to be stop-gap measure.

Dynamic Process: OD is a dynamic process and includes the efforts to guide and direct changes as well as to cope with or adapt changes imposed. It recognizes that organizational goals change, so the methods of attaining these goals should also change. Thus, OD  efforts are not one-shot actions, rather, they are going, interactive, and cyclic process.

Participation of change Agent: Most OD experts emphasize the need for an outside, third party change agent or catalyst. They discourage do it yourself approach. There is a close working relationship between the change agent and target organizational members to be changed. The relationship involves mutual trust, joint goals and means, and mutual influence. The change agent is a humanist seeking to get a humanistic philosophy in the organization. He shares a social philosophy about human values.

Emphasis on intervention and action Research: OD approach results into an active intervention in the ongoing activities of the organization. Action research is the basis for such intervention. A change agent in OD process does not just introspect the people and introduce changes, rather, he conducts surveys, collects relevant data, evaluates these data, and then takes actions for intervention. He designs intervention strategies based on these data.

Normative Educational Process: OD is based on the principle that norms form the basis for behavior and change is a re-educative process of replacing old norms by new ones. This is done to arrive at certain desirable outcomes that may be in the form of increased effectiveness, problem solving, and adaptability for the organization as a whole. At the individual level, OD attempts to provide opportunities to be human and to increase awareness, participative and integrate individual and organizational goals.

Role of Organization Development: Organization development, as a long term strategy for organizational change, plays key role in organizational improvement. The basic problem in a change effort which is not comprehensive is that it does not work properly unless there is a proper change in the internal environment of the organization in which people work. Since OD attempts to bring comprehensive change in the organization, it is quite suitable for improving organizational performance on long-term basis. Thus, OD  can be utilized for the following results in the organization:

1. To place emphasis on humanistic values and goals consistent with these values.

2. To treat each human being as a complex person with a complex set of needs important in his work and his life.

3. To increase the level of enthusiasm and personal satisfaction at all levels of the organization.

4. To increase the level of trust and mutual emotional support among all organizational members.

5. To increase the level of self and group responsibility in planning and its implementation.

6. To increase the openness of communications in all directions- vertically, horizontally, and laterally.

7. To create an environment in which authority of assigned role is augmented by authority based on knowledge and skills.