3. OD interventions
Survey feedback activities These activities are related and similar to diagnostic
activities in that they are a large component of those activities. However, they
are important enough in their own right to be considered separately. These
activities centre on actively working the data produced by a survey and
designing action plans based on the survey data.
Education and training activities Such activities are designed to improve skills,
abilities, and knowledge of individuals. There are several activities available and
several approaches possible. For example, the individual can be educated in
isolation from his own work group (say, in a T-group, or Training-group,
consisting of strangers), or one can be educated in relation to the work group
(say, when a work team learns how better to manage interpersonal conflict).
The activities may be directed towards technical skills required for effective task
performance or towards improving interpersonal competence.
Techno-structural or structural activities Such activities are designed to
improve the effectiveness of the technical or structural inputs and constraints
affecting individuals or groups. The activities may take the form of (a)
experimenting with new organisation structures and evaluating their
effectiveness in terms of specific goals or (b) devising new ways to bring
technical resources to bear on problems.
4. OD interventions
Process consultation activities These activities on the part of the consultant
“help the client to perceive, understand, and act upon process events which
occur in the client's environment.” These activities perhaps more accurately
describe an approach, a consulting mode in which the client is given insight into
the human processes in organisations and taught skills in diagnosing and
Grid organisation development activities The activities were invented and
franchised by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton and constitute a six-phase change
model involving the total organisation. Internal resources are developed to
conduct most of the programmes, which may take from three to five years to
complete. The model starts with upgrading individual managers' skills and
leadership abilities, moves to team improvement activities, then to intergroup
Third-party peacemaking activities Such activities are conducted by a skilled
consultant (the third party), and are designed to “help two members of an
organisation manage their interpersonal conflict.” They are based on
confrontation tactics and an understanding of the processes involved in conflict
and conflict resolution.
5. OD interventions
Coaching and counselling activities Such activities entail the consultant or other
organisation members working with individuals to help them (a) define learning
goals, (b) learn how others see their behaviour, and (c) learn new modes of
behaviour to see if these help them to achieve their goals better. A central feature of
this activity is the non-evaluative feedback given by others to an individual. A second
feature is the joint exploration of alternative behaviours.
Life- and career-planning activities The activities enable individuals to focus on
their life and career objectives and how they might go about achieving them.
Structured activities lead to production of life and career inventories, discussions of
goals and objectives, and assessment of capabilities, needed additional training, and
areas of strength and deficiency.
Planning and goal-setting activities These activities include theory and experience
in planning and goal setting, utilising problem-solving models, planning paradigms,
ideal organisation versus real organisation “discrepancy” models, and the like. The
goal of these activities is to improve skills at the levels of the individual, group, and
Strategic management activities The activities help key policymakers reflect
systematically on their organisation's basic mission and goals and environmental
demands, threats and opportunities, and engage in long-range action planning of
both a reactive and proactive nature. These activities direct attention in two
important directions: outside the organisation to a consideration of the
environment, and away from the present to the future
6. OD interventions
Organisational transformation activities Such activities involve large-scale
system changes. They are activities designed to cause a fundamental change in
the nature of the organisation. Almost everything about the organisation is
changed—management philosophy, reward systems, design of work, structure
of the organisation, organisation mission, values, and culture. Total quality
programmes are transformational; so are programmes to create high-
performance organisations or high-performance work systems. Socio-technical
systems theory and open systems planning provide the basis for such activities.
In general, OD efforts are designed to bring changes in the conceptual
environment of an organisation as well as in the outlook of the organisational
members. Each member begins to see himself as a resource to others and is
willing to lend his support to his colleagues when it is needed. The conceptual
environment brings about open and free expression of feelings, emotions, and
perceptions. It also helps members to develop interpersonal competence
including communication skills and an insight into themselves and others.
7. OD interventions
Team building refers to intense group activities the goals of which are the
improvement and increased effectiveness of various teams.
Team building activities may be directed at Intact Teams or Special Groups (like
project teams, inter-departmental teams, etc.)
Focus areas of team building are: diagnosis, task accomplishments, team
relationships, team and organization processes.
It has received the most attention and OD practitioners have great faith in team
building. Essentially, team building is an attempt to assist the work group in
becoming adept by learning how to identify, diagnose, and solve its own
problems. It directly focuses on the identification of problems relating to task
performance and lays down concrete plans for their elimination. A team building
programme deals with new problems on an ongoing basis. It is an effective
technique by which members of an organisational group diagnose how they
work together and plan changes that will improve their effectiveness.
8. OD interventions
The goal of team building is to perfect the operation of individuals as a team, not
to teach each of them as an independent, isolated components of the
organisation. Team building attempts to improve the effectiveness of a work
group by allowing the group members to concentrate on
• Setting goals or priorities for organisational groups
• Analysing or allocating the way the work is performed
• Examining the way the group is working
• Examining the relationships among the people doing the work
Thus, the fundamental aim of team building is to help group members in
examining their own behaviours and developing an action plan that fosters task
9. OD interventions
In team building, employees belonging to a work group gather and discuss
problems relating to their task performance. In a typical team building exercise,
the session starts with identifying current problems such as inefficient
procedures, ineffective policies, use of faulty equipment, and role ambiguities.
Members of the team contribute information concerning their individual
perceptions of issues, problems, and task relationships.
Necessary Conditions for the Success of Team Building Programme
Basic interdependence among the members of the group exists (when task
interdependencies do not exist, then team building is an inappropriate
The group members understand the stated goals clearly
The group members unanimously agree with the objectives
The group is capable of taking corrective action on the problems identified or at
least will be able to tackle some reasonable percentage of them
10. OD interventions
Team building improves the organisation's problem-solving ability and decision-
It results in effective interpersonal relationships.
It helps understand inter-group communication and remove barriers.
It provides a useful way for the group to examine interpersonal issues.
It provides a useful platform for the employees to get involved in their OD
It increases the probability of occurrence of collaborative behaviour.
In spite of these benefits, team building as an OD intervention is severely criticised
on the following grounds.
Team building focuses only on the work group.
Team building becomes a complicated exercise especially when new groups are
Thus, when new groups are formed, they overemphasise the task problems ignoring
the relationship issues completely. By the time relationship problems begin to crop
up and come to the surface, the group may be unable to deal with them. This might
adversely affect the performance of the group as well as the goals of the
11. OD interventions
The focus of Intergroup development is on improving Intergroup relations.
Improve and increase Intergroup communication and interaction
Reduce amount of dysfunctional competition
Replace a parochial, independent point of view with an awareness of the
necessity for interdependence of action calling on the best efforts of all groups.
Steps in the Intergroup interventions
Meeting between leaders of groups with consultant facilitator.
The Intergroup intervention begins at this stage. The two groups meet separately
and build two lists: one list stating what they feel about the other group, and
another list listing what the other group thinks about their own group.
The two groups meet each other and share the contents of the lists made by
12. OD interventions
The groups return to their separate meeting places, and take stock of
information gathered in step 3. As a first step they react to and discuss what
they have learned. Usually, this discussion itself leads to clarifications of many of
the feelings of the group about the other. As a second step, they are asked to
make a list of the still unresolved issues between them. This list is usually much
smaller than the first lists produced by them.
The groups meet again and share their new, small list of unresolved issues.
After discussing the two lists, they produce a single list of the most important,
urgent and critical issues that need to be resolved immediately.
They will then prioritize the points, prepare action plans and decide on who
will do what to implement the action plan.
Follow up meetings are held between the groups to take stock of progress
on action taken and making mid-course corrections, if any