D. Organizational Development - Motivation Theory

  1. Organizational development (OD) is a term used to encompass a collection of planned-change interventions built on humanistic-democratic values that seek to improve organizational effectiveness and employee well-being.

  2. The OD paradigm values human and organizational growth, collaborative and participative processes, and a spirit of inquiry.

  3. The underlying values in most OD efforts:

  • Respect for people

  • Trust and support

  • Power equalization

  • Confrontation

  • Participation

4. OD techniques or interventions for bringing about change:


5. Sensitivity training:

  • It can go by a variety of names—laboratory training, groups, or T-groups (training groups)—but all refer to thorough unstructured group interaction.

  • Participants discuss themselves and their interactive processes, loosely directed by a professional behavioral scientist.

  • Specific results sought include increased ability to empathize with others, improved listening skills, greater openness, increased tolerance of individual differences and improved conflict resolution skills.

6. Survey feedback:

  • One tool for assessing attitudes held by organizational members, identifying discrepancies among member perceptions, and solving these differences is the survey feedback approach.

  • Everyone can participate, but of key importance is the organizational “family.”

a. A questionnaire is usually completed by all members of the organization or unit.

b. Organization members may be asked to suggest questions or may be interviewed.

c. The questionnaire asks for perceptions and attitudes on a broad range of topics.

  • The data from this questionnaire are tabulated with data pertaining to an individual’s specific “family” and to the entire organization and distributed to employees.

a. These data then become the springboard for identifying problems and clarifying issues.

b. Particular attention is given to encouraging discussion and ensuring that discussions focus on issues and ideas and not on attacking individuals.

  • Finally, group discussion in the survey feedback approach should result in members identifying possible implications of the questionnaire’s findings.


7. Process consultation:

  • The purpose of process consultation is for an outside consultant to assist a manager, “to perceive, understand, and act upon process events” that might include workflow, informal relationships among unit members, and formal communication channels.

  • The consultant works with the client in jointly diagnosing what processes need improvement.

a. By having the client actively participate in both the diagnosis and the development of alternatives, there will be a greater understanding of the process and the remedy and less resistance to the action plan chosen.

b. The process consultant need not be an expert in solving the particular problem that is identified. The consultant’s expertise lies in diagnosis and developing a helping relationship.


8. Team building:

  • It utilizes high-interaction group activities to increase trust and openness among team members.

  • Team building can be applied within groups or at the inter-group level.

  • Team building is applicable to the case of interdependence. The objective is to improve the coordinative efforts of members, which will result in increasing the team’s performance.

  • The activities considered in team-building typically include goal setting, development of interpersonal relations among team members, role analysis, and team process analysis.

  • Team building attempts to use high interaction among members to increase trust and openness.

a. Begin by having members attempt to define the goals and priorities of the team.

b. Following this, members can evaluate the team’s performance—how effective is the team in structuring priorities and achieving its goals?

c. This should identify potential problem areas.

  • Team building can also address itself to clarifying each member’s role on the team.

9. Intergroup development:

  • A major area of concern in OD is the dysfunctional conflict that exists between groups. It seeks to change the attitudes, stereotypes, and perceptions that groups have of each other.

  • There are several approaches to intergroup development. A popular method emphasizes problem-solving.

a. Each group meets independently to develop lists of its perception of itself, the other group, and how it believes the other group perceives it.

b. The groups then share their lists, after which similarities and differences are discussed.

c. Differences are clearly articulated, and the groups look for the causes of the disparities.

  • Once the causes of the difficulty have been identified, the groups can move to the integration phase—working to develop solutions that will improve relations between the groups.

  • Subgroups, with members from each of the conflicting groups, can now be created for further diagnosis and to begin to formulate possible alternative actions that will improve relations.

10. Appreciative Inquiry:

  • Most OD approaches are problem-centered. They identify a problem or set of problems, then look for a solution. The appreciative inquiry seeks to identify the unique qualities and special strengths of an organization.

11. The AI process essentially consists of four steps:

  • Discovery. The idea is to find out what people think are the strengths of the organization. For instance, employees are asked to recount times they felt the organization worked best or when they specifically felt most satisfied with their jobs.

  • Dreaming. The information from the discovery phase is used to speculate on possible futures for the organization. For instance, people are asked to envision the organization in five years and to describe what is different.

  • Design. Based on the dream articulation, participants focus on finding a common vision of how the organization will look and agree on its unique qualities.

  • Destiny. In this final step, participants discuss how the organization is going to fulfill its dream. This typically includes the writing of action plans and the development of implementation strategies.

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