Organizational Development – Definition, Meaning and Techniques

Organisational Development is the systematic application of behavioural science knowledge at various levels (group, intergroup, and total organisation) to bring about planned change.

Characteristics of Organisational Development

  1. Attempt to create conditions responsive to human needs.
  2. Conducted under the supervision of experts called change agents.
  3. Focuses on training employees to identify and solve problems currently faced on the job.
  4. Long-term OD programmes.
  5. Participants in OD programmes learn through experiential learning.
  6. Tackles problems at all organisational levels.
  7. Contingency-oriented in nature and formulates plans according to the specific requirements of a situation.

Organisational Development Techniques

1. Survey Feedback

Involves sequential activities such as data collection, feedback of information, development of action plans based on feedback, and follow-up. Cost-effective and desirable method for implementing a comprehensive OD programme.

2. Sensitivity Training

Also called T-group, where T denotes Training. Aims to change employee behaviour through unstructured group interaction.

Helps participants to gain increased awareness of their own behaviour and how others perceive them, greater sensitivity to others’ behaviours, and increased understanding of group processes.

3. Managerial Grid

Grid training is related to leadership styles and consists of individual and group exercises for developing awareness of individual managerial styles, interpersonal competences, and group effectiveness.

The six steps in group OD are

  1. Studying the grid to understand human behaviour in an organisation
  2. Teamwork development
  3. Intergroup development for developing relationships among different departments
  4. Developing ideas and strategic models for the organisation
  5. Implementing strategic models
  6. Critically evaluating the model and making necessary adjustments for successful implementation

4. Management by objective (MBO)

MBO links the goals of an individual and the organisation. It encourages individual performance and responsibility.

MBO involves five processes

  1. Top management designs and develops objectives
  2. Clarifying organisational goals
  3. Developing action plans
  4. Periodic performance reviews
  5. Yearly performance appraisals

5. Team building

An effective approach to develop and maintain a team culture in an organisation. Helps group members improve their interpersonal and problem-solving skills.

Helps members develop higher motivation levels to implement group decisions by overcoming problems such as general lack of interest and decreased productivity.

6. Process consultation

Focuses on interpersonal relations and factors that change the working of a workgroup. A process consultant helps group members identify problems in group functioning and takes proper decisions to solve problems such as conflicts and poor communication.

The process consultant coaches and counsels members in changing their behaviour and, if necessary, he/she makes structural changes in the group.


  1. Focuses on change across the organisation
  2. Greater employee motivation
  3. Increased productivity and better quality of work
  4. Higher employee job satisfaction
  5. Improved teamwork and better coordination
  6. Creates learning individuals and groups


  1. Time-consuming
  2. Costly
  3. No guarantee of success
  4. Excessive emphasis on group processes rather than on performance
  5. Programmes are not culturally compatible
  6. Difficult to evaluate success.