Understanding Organisation Development (5UOD)


The Chief Executive of a growing SME is planning to restructure the organisation to align with a revised strategic direction. This will involve a review of current roles, future skill-mix requirements and a review of ways of working.  The CEO feels that OD experts will be required to inform and support the restructuring and has asked for a briefing paper.  In your briefing, you should include:


  • An explanation of the concept of OD, making reference to its history and contemporary (AC 1.1)
  • At least three examples of the contribution OD could make to organisational restructuring. (AC 1.2)
  • A description of at least three different models of OD, their suitability for different scenarios and the tools used with each (AC 2.1 & 2.2)
  • A summary of the commonly understood relationship between OD and L&D with an explanation of how your L&D team can work with OD Business partners/consultants to support the restructuring process. (AC 1.3)
  • An analysis of different roles in OD. (AC 3.1)

Activity 2 – Person Specification


An annex to the briefing paper with a person specification that identifies the knowledge and skill requirements the organisation should be looking for in an OD Business Partner role.  (AC 3.2)


Activity 1: Briefing Paper

This report provides a briefing paper evaluating on OD in the restructuring of an organisation for aligning with its strategic direction. The restructuring process would be intended for reviewing the current roles, future skill-mix requirements, and reviewing on ways of working.

  • Concept of OD in its history and contemporary context

There is a varying definition of the organisation development (OD) concept. Despite the varying meanings, a common aspect is a need for organisations embracing OD for maintaining an increased level of performance within a rapidly environment. Adopting the definition in CIPD (2020), the OD is inclusive of interventions which are established for a systematic mindset. This is by creating an alignment with the organisation’s goals and activities in a planned and intentional way to improve its overall performance. As evidenced in the CIPD HR professional map that identifies the organisation development and design as specialist knowledge. It is identified as a systemic approach and application of behavioural science for driving an entity’s performance. The history of OD could be traced back to the US as early as the 1940s and 1950s. In particular, Burnes and Cooke (2013) note that the origin of the OD can be traced back to the NTL in the USA and the Tavistock clinic in the UK.  Its existence is evidenced by distinct schools of thought and practice, which is inclusive of applied behavioural sciences, sociology, and psychotherapy. A summary of the history of OD concept is as shown in figure 1;

Figure 1: History of the OD Concept

From the different identified history of OD, the most common description of the concept is by Maslow and McGregor.

  • Maslow– This is based on the view that individuals have a higher likelihood of achieving self-actualization based on prevailing conditions of openness and individualised recognition and establishing an environment in the workplace that improves the motivation and performance
  • McGregor– different types of leaderships leading to distinct people reactions in Theory Y and Theory X (Aithal & Kumar, 2016) with varying strategies of leadership directly contributing to increased levels of people engagement resulting in improved performance.

According to CIPD (2020), the more contemporary OD is inclusive of systematic approaches, including systems thinking, business process re-engineering, total quality management, continuous improvement, and human factors engineering. As noted in CIPD (2020), this contributes to a direct streamlining process and reduction of wastes and increased human interactions. These are analysed for identifying the extent to which they are engineered for creating particular behaviours and actions. All these strategies are intended to develop distinct practices within an entity for improving their performances. Further, Srivastava and Rajadhyaksha (2016) note that modern OD is associated with the aspects of engagement, corporate social responsibility (CSR), organisation trust, values, and culture.  This is intended to subscribe to humanistic values, improve organisation health, effectiveness, and performance, and also assume a holistic view of an entity.

  • Contribution of OD on the organisational restructuring

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