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organization development (OD)the process of improving organization performance by improving the pattern of interaction between members of the ORGANIZATION. The philosophy behind OD is that the core features of organization, such as task specialization, tend to obstruct the full use of individual talents and hence inhibit effectiveness. MECHANISTIC organizations can benefit from being loosened-up to enable faster response to environmental change. To do this individuals need to understand what others do and what motivates them, as well as themselves, and to identify the barriers to personal and group effectiveness. OD facilitates this through use of behavioural techniques such as T-Groups (see MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT). Many are wary of OD, partly because it seems to delve into the private domain and partly because its benefits are difficult to quantify. Also, if power relationships in the organization are left unchanged individuals may become resentful: they have been encouraged to modify their behaviour but their bosses, it seems, have not. See CULTURE. GROUP.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson