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The Organization Development Process

Office of State Personnel, North Carolina

March 05, 2008

The OD Process is based on the action research model which begins with an identified problem or need for change. The process proceeds through assessment, planning of an intervention, implementing the intervention, gathering data to evaluate the intervention, and determining if satisfactory progress has been made or if there is need for further intervention. The process is cyclical and ends when the desired developmental result is obtained.

organizational development process

The OD process begins when an organization recognizes that a problem exists which impacts the mission or health of the organization and change is desired. It can also begin when leadership has a vision of a better way and wants to improve the organization. An organization does not always have to be in trouble to implement organization development activities.

Once the decision is made to change the situation, the next step is to assess the situation to fully understand it. This assessment can be conducted in many ways including documentation review, organizational sensing, focus groups, interviewing, or surveying. The assessment could be conducted by outside experts or by members of the organization.

After the situation is assessed, defined, and understood, the next step is to plan an intervention. The type of change desired would determine the nature of the intervention. Interventions could include training and development, team interventions such as team building for management or employees or the establishment of change teams, structural interventions, or individual interventions.

Once the intervention is planned, it is implemented.

During and after the implementation of the intervention, relevant data is gathered. The data gathered would be determined by the change goals. For example, if the intervention were training and development for individual employees or for work groups, data to be gathered would measure changes in knowledge and competencies.

This data is used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. It is reported to the organization’s decision-makers. The decision-makers determine if the intervention met its goals. If the intervention met its goals, the process can end, which is depicted by the raising of the development bar. If it did not, the decision is made whether to continue the cycle and to plan and carry out another intervention or to end it.

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