Frequently asked Questions about Organization Development

Frequently asked Questions about Organizational Development


Frequently asked Questions about Organization Development


This field has evolved over the past 60 years as an application of behavioral science knowledge and techniques to solving organizational problems. OD started in the 1940s at MIT. It was also strongly influenced by the work of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.  Robert Blake and Jane Mouton are credited for the term – organizational development. Most attribute OD having evolved from two basic sources: the application of laboratory methods by the national training laboratories and the survey research methods pioneered by Kurt Lewin.

What is OD?

Organizational Development is an applied behavioral science that is focused on the organization as a system.

What is the value of OD?

OD is a process used to develop healthy, high-performance, self-renewing organizations and successfully manage change and can be used at all levels of an organization.

What is OD concerned with?

  • The health of the organization.
  • Organizational effectiveness.
  • The organization’s capacity to solve problems.
  • The organization’s ability to adapt, change, or of self-renewal.
  • The organization’s ability to create a high quality of life for its employees.

What takes place in OD? 

The steps involved in OD are:
1. Needs Identification
2. Diagnosis
3. Design
4. Implementation
5. Evaluation

What are some of the OD diagnostic tools used?

The effective solution of organizational problems is dependent on a thorough diagnosis. To collect data for an organizational scan, needs assessment or some form of data collection, the following may be used alone or in combination; Interviews, Focus Groups, interview process, Questionnaire, Multi-rater instrument, etc

Why do organizations need an OD consultant?

In all instances, organizations need a skilled person doing the above approaches and using other OD tools. They may sound simple but a skilled interviewer, facilitator and developer of instruments is required and this is often a very difficult competency to find internal to the organization.

Finally, the analysis (determining the gap from where the organization is to where the organization wants to go) must also be in the hands of someone who is experienced in this work. If the organization is to change, the analysis and recommended interventions to bring about organizational change, must be in the hands of a skilled expert.

The OD consultant must also use appropriate and excellent communication techniques to help the organization understand and operate on the data collected. This is therefore, the work of an organizational development consultant.

What are some possible OD Interventions?

Once the organizational need is determined and the gap established, then the OD practitioner is ready to design the appropriate interventions. These include a variety of methods and programs. One or more of the following, among others, may be considered;

  • Team building for effectiveness and high performance
  • Strategy planning and development
  • Intergroup Problem Solving
  • Facilitation for development
  • Future Search
  • Goal Setting
  • Whole system performance management
  • Executive Coaching
  • OD Process Consulting
  • Curriculum Development

How can we learn how to practice OD?

You can take courses on Organizational Development, go to OD Conferences and events, read OD books and journals, listen to OD-related webinars, watch videos on OD topics, and practice what you learn on a regular basis.

For enhancing the practice of OD, we have organized a Conference in Ghana from January 12 – 15, 2015. The theme of the Conference is “Transforming and Energizing for Sustainable Change: OD practice in Focus”.

The topics we are covering are:

1.      Facilitation Skills: The new way out
2.      OD Process Development: The competencies change leaders need in Africa.
3.      Facilitating the NTL Model for development consultants and change practitioners.
4.      Coaching model for Africa Leaders.
5.      Whole system transformation: The Theory and Practical Approach

We also hope that through this conference we can build local economic development potentials in Africa, strong leaders and enhance the technical education within the region.

We are very confident that through the enhanced human interaction practice of Organizational Development we will be able to overcome challenges and blaze a promising trail for the future.


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