Chapter 5 Organizational Development and Change
The organizational development (OD) tradition is a practitioner-driven
intervention-oriented approach to effecting organizational change via individual change,
with view to increasing effectiveness. It is implemented within a problem-solving model,
places a heavy accent on survey-based problem diagnosis and subordinates people to a
vision of the future. Commitment-based strategies of effecting change assume that the
impetus for change must come from the bottom up, whilst compliance-based strategies
involve the creation of behavioural imperatives for change.
Various ‘employee involvement’ strategies are reviewed, but there is little evidence for
their effectiveness either as a means of securing commitment or enhanced performance, or
as a means of leverage for change. Culture is assumed to be the primary vehicle for change
within the OD tradition, although the relationship between culture and the change process
is ill understood. Finally, the assumptions underpinning team development, and its
implementation, are critically examined.
The organizational culture literature itself is fraught with epistemological debate.
Practitioners are interested in management by measurement and manipulation of culture.
Theoreticians of culture, however, aim to understand the depth and complexity of culture.
Unresolved issues remain regarding how to define culture, the difference between culture
and climate, measurement/levels of analysis, and the relationship between organizational
culture and performance.
Interest in corporate identity is relatively recent, and is mainly driven by marketing and
strategic management considerations. More psychological approaches to the analysis of
corporate identity include an interest in how corporate identity is reflected in the identity
and self-esteem of employees, and the implications of this for managing organizational
The classic OD approach to organizations and organizational change has been somewhat
‘side tracked’ today in favour of ‘knowledge management’, where knowledge and its
creation is seen as critical to organizational sustainability and competitive advantage in
today’s constantly changing global economy. Knowledge management raises issues about
the potentially highly complex relationship between structure, technology and people. The