Organization Development and Traditional Organization Structure

Organization Development (OD) is the application of behavioral science knowledge to improve an organization’s health and effectiveness through it’s ability to cope with environmental changes, improve internal relationship and increase problem-solving capabilities. OD is an effort of planned, organizationwide, and managed from the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization process’s using behavioral science. It must be managed from the top. Top management must have commitment to and knowledge about the goals of the program and must actively participate in the management of the effort. OD focuses on the entire organization; plant, firm or work group to attain the set intended goals. OD is both a professional field of social action and an area of scientific inquiry. It involves the creation and the subsequent reinforcement of change by using four major interventions: technostructural, human process, human resource management and strategic intervention. Some OD programs focuses more heavily on different kinds of change than others. The intent is to get a company to attain it’s full potential in productivity and profits, to be able to solve it’s own problems, and to manage change. This process is divided into three steps: entry, normative change, and structural change.

In the entry stage the aim is to establish a felt need for change using three approaches, interviewing, survey information or other means to give the organization inharmonious information in what people wants and what actually happen. The second approach is used to demonstrate the value of OD through particular projects in one or more subsystems of the client’s organization. The final approach is a direct attempt to change values through the use of T-groups or similar technique.

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Normative change step is directed at targeting as many organization members as possible to expose them to the new social norms. The intent is to change the climate of the organization.

The final step is structural change; it involves placing advocates of OD in position where they have the power, prestige, and flexibility to conduct further OD projects.

Technology change relates to the organization’s way of doing its work. Technology changes were designed to make the production of product or service more efficient. A good example of technological change is the adoption of robotics to improve production efficiency in the automobile industry. Technological changes are more effectively implemented from the bottom up. The lower-level technology experts act as idea champions.

Almost any change in the management of the organization falls under the structural change category. The implementation of new pay incentives, an affirmative action program, and a move from functional to product structure are all examples of structural changes. Successful structural changes are accomplished from the top down. The experts of administrative or structural improvement originate at upper middle to top managers.

Organizations have traditionally structured themselves into three forms: functional departments that are task specialized, self-contained units that are oriented to specific products, customers, or regions and matrix structures that combine both functional specialization and self-containment.

The basic hierarchical structure is probably the most widely used in organizations today. The management structure organized with, top management at the top and middle to lower employees spread out in a descending order. The organization more often than not would be divided into different departments or functional units, for example accounting, advertising, marketing, human resources and research. Specialist in that field staffs these sub-units. It is believed that employees of like specialty should be grouped within the same department, this method make it easier for managers to more effectively manage.

Functional structure have some advantages, it promotes specialization of skills and resources. It allows for better communication within departments and present the opportunity for individuals who are specialist to share their knowledge and expertise on the given subject. And it enhances career development within the specialty.

There also are some disadvantages to this structure; it promotes routine tasks with a limited orientation. Employees focus on their own task instead of the organization’s total task. This can led to conflicts across functional departments. Teamwork could be greatly compromised when each department seeks to focus on their success.

Self-contained-unit organization structure is a different way of organizing. It is also known as a product or divisional structure. It groups organizational activity on the basic of products, services, customers, or geography. Smaller or temporary special purpose organizations are sometimes formed, each specializing in a product, service, customer, or region.

The recognition of key interdependencies, promotion and coordination of resources toward an overall outcome in these organizations are advantages of this function. It also promotes coordination of resources towards over all outcome It provides for employment with opportunities for learning new skills and expanding knowledge due to easy movement from one specialty to the next.

There are also disadvantages with this function. Usually there is very little specialty work to fully use employee’s skills. If there are not sufficient specialty work specialist may feel isolated and might be denied the opportunity to advance in their specialty. This structure promotes d

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Organization Development and Traditional Organization Structure. (2018, Jun 07). Retrieved from