Management: Organization Development Process Interventions


Change involves the process of shifting from the prevailing state to a desired position in reaction to dynamic external and internal elements that alter existing realities (Beer & Nohria, 2000). Organization development is the process of instituting change in an organization.

Sullivan (2010) defines organization development as a continuous, methodical process of establishing effective change in an organization. McLean and McLean (2001) describes organization development as an organization-wide activity, centered around behavioral sciences, that has the potential to reinforce, improve and develop strategies that contribute to organization effectiveness.

Organization Development Processes Intervention

Organization development interventions are specific activities, introduced by a change agent, to improve the effectiveness of a given organization. OD interventions are activities designed for the sole purpose of initiating change in an organization in a manner that is both effective as well as sustainable. Organization development interventions include individual interventions, workgroup/team interventions, process interventions, and organization interventions.

Individual Interventions

These are activities and strategies for aiding individuals within the organization to accept, prepare and adapt to planned changes (Cummings & Worley, 2005). To enable subjective transformation, the OD consultant has to aid individuals within the organization to adopt changes through career development, counseling, and training. Several individual intervention processes are available to modern organizations.

Laboratory Training Groups (T-Groups)

Training groups (T-Groups), is an activity employed to help individuals contemplate on their position within the organization, and how others perceive them (Aubrey, 2015). This process seeks to improve the participant’s capacity to exercise various leadership forms. They also need to understand and overpower any resistance to change within themselves as well as others.

Coaching and Mentoring

According to McLean (2006), coaching describes the process of arming individuals with the opportunities, knowledge, and tools they need to cultivate themselves and become more efficient. External parties are often responsible for carry out coaching. Mentoring is an internal process organized to help individuals capture opportunities for personal and career development. Individuals occupying high-level positions mentor new hires or those from lower divisions.

Multirater (360-Degree) Feedback

Multirater Feedback is the process of collecting perceptions of an individual’s performance from different sources, usually direct reports, customers, self, peers, and supervisors. The collection of this information can be through surveys or interviews (McLean, 2006).

Self-Awareness Tools

Apart from T-Groups, numerous self-awareness tools exist and are suitable for individual interventions. Over the years, Johari window has proved to be a crucial self-awareness tool. It allows participants to understand the significance of self-awareness while at the same time developing communication skills, and emphasizing the need for feedback between individuals working together.

Work Group/Team Interventions

These interventions focus on groups, and on enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the groups, based on research carried out regarding group dynamics.

Team Building

Tam building involves a broad collection of activities that help individuals within the organization learn more about each other within a team context. The objectives of team building include establishing the goals of the team, explain the responsibilities and roles, determine the procedures and policies, and improve interpersonal relationships within the team.

Dialogue Sessions

Dialog denotes a structured conversation aimed at dealing with a situation that has the capability of creating a conflict. The preferred outcome of a dialog session should result from deeper understanding between members rather than coaxing.

Strategic Alignment Assessment

This intervention evaluates the manner with which systems and individual behavior within the organization collaborate to support visions and goals. The focus of this intervention is to ascertain the internal alignment within the team, as well as with the strategic positioning of the organization (Semlar, 2000).

Process Interventions

These activities are crucial in enhancing organizational processes. They include management philosophies whose purpose is to initiate changes in behaviors that affect the accomplishment of tasks, and the satisfaction of individuals within the organization (Cummings & Worley, 2005).


Benchmarking involves comparing the organization’s processes against established standards. OD interventions mainly comprise of two types of benchmarking. The first involves comparing the outcomes of the business with other companies within a similar industry. The second involves comparing internal system processes with those used by similar organizations.

Process re-engineering

This intervention involves an overhaul of current process procedures with new and more efficient procedures. Many economists, however, have contested this intervention as it emphasizes on downsizing the workforce.

Six Sigma

This intervention involves the use of data to improve process systems within an organization. Six-Sigma is a continuous improvement process that utilizes several designations to track expertise within the system. This process holds that by identifying the total number of defects within a system, it is possible to eliminate them all (Chowdhury, 2001).

Organization Interventions

These intervention activities focus on the whole organization. It involves the readjustment of job designs, reward systems, and the organizations structure, to suit current and future organization changes.

Organization Design

This process entails the selection of processes, structures and strategies that the organization utilizes. The intervention process seeks to align the policies and goals of the organization. It involves utilizing a structural approach in instituting change within the organization, as reflected in an organizational chart (McLean, 2006).

Learning organization

This intervention involves creating an organizational culture that has the capability to learn, adapt and change in response to both the internal and external environment (Sullivan, 2010).

Company Wide Survey

This activity involves carrying out a survey of the processes used in an organization and determining points of weaknesses. For a comprehensive survey, employees should participate in all levels of the process, from design to analysis. Feedback is also important as employees recognize that the organization will utilize the data gathered to effect changes.


Organization development is a long-term approach to managing change while at the same time acknowledging that the dynamic business environment necessitates the ability to react swiftly to changing circumstances. OD process interventions are those activities that initiate change within the system.

These activities may cater to individuals, teams, process or the entire organization. These activities can work either individually or in collaboration in the process of enhancing organization effectiveness. New behaviors emerge gradually as these OD interventions are accepted and applied to the regular workings of the organization.


Aubrey, B. (2015). The Measure of Man: Leading Human Development. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education

Beer, M., & Nohria, N. (2000). Breaking the code of change. Harvard Business Review, 78(3), 122-141.

Chowdhury, S. (2001). The power of six sigma. Chicago: Dearborn Trade.

Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2005). Organization development and change (8th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western/Thomson.

McLean, G. (2006). Organization Development: Principle, Processes, and Performance. San Fransisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

McLean, G. N., & McLean, L. D. (2001). If we cannot define HRD in one country, how can we define it in an international context? Human Resource Development International, 4(3), 313–326.

Semler, S. W. (2000). Exploring alignment: A comparative case study of alignment in two organizations. In K. P. Kuchinke (Ed.), Proceedings of the Academy of Human Resource Development Annual Conference (pp. 757–764). Baton Rouge, LA: Academy of Human Resource Development.

Sullivan, R. (2010). Practicing Organization Development: A Guide for Leading Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass