Thursday, January 25, 2007

Organizational Development Characteristics

Contemporary organizational development has the following distinguishing characteristics (Gibson, Ivancevich, & Donnelly, 1994): (1) It is planned and long-term–the process is based on gathering data and planned with the expectation of changes taking years; (2) It is problem-oriented–a multidisciplinary approach is taken to apply theory and research to effect solutions; (3) It reflects a systems approach–the organization is viewed as a system and as part of system with respect to managers, technology and organizational structure; (4) It’s action-oriented–instead of being descriptive of necessary changes, organizational development is diagnostic and prescriptive, seeking measurable results; (5) It involves change agents–there is a distinct role for an active facilitator and ombudsmen of the process, to ensure that changes are real; (6) It involves learning principles–individuals, groups and managers at all levels of the organization must re-learn how to function together. Managers who embrace organizational development must be committed to effecting fundamental changes in the organization, if the change processes employed are to resemble those described in the characteristics above.


Gibson, J.L., Ivancevich, J.M., & Donnelly, J.H., Jr. (1994). Organizations: Behavior, structure, processes (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Irwin.

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