The Understanding and Application of Knowledge in Organizational Development
The understanding and application of knowledge in organizational development is very important. Organizations want and need to grow and develop if they are to remain viable and relevant in their marketplace (Argyris & Schon, 1978; Carter, 2004). In order for them to do that, they must be ready for the future and willing to embrace change (Sullivan, 2010). Not all businesses feel good about change. Many of them want to see things left alone because they do not want to make changes if they do not feel that there is a reason for the change (Sullivan, 2010). In short, if things are not broken, why would the business try to "fix" them? For this particular study, there will be three issues addressed. The ability to apply OD knowledge to organizational situations must be developed and demonstrated, the systems issues and appropriate interventions must be diagnosed, and the steps involved to effectively manage organizational change in a variety of settings and contexts must be described and explained. That is the only way to be clear about organizational development issues and how they affect a particular company or industry.
In order to achieve personal and professional goals, it is very important to address all three of the above-mentioned areas of study. This will show the value of these areas and how they can be applied to life situations in various capacities. While most people only think of organizational development from a business and professional standpoint, the principles that go along with it can also be used from a personal standpoint (Brown, 2004; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). The ability to apply organizational development knowledge to organizational situations is one of the most important skills a person can have. There are many different situations faced by organizations, but knowledge of proper organizational development techniques can be used in all of those situations and can also be used in personal situations of different types (Griffin & Minors, 2004).
There is no reason why a person would not want to use the information gained through organizational development, because the techniques and knowledge base can only benefit others and will not cause detrimental difficulties. Organizational development is a large part of learning, and when a person or a business needs to further develop skills and abilities, that development can be a significant part of being able to move forward (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Sullivan, 2010). Applying organizational development knowledge to situations within an organization or personal relationship can be difficult, but there are techniques that can be learned and that will help to make things easier. Understanding organizational development knowledge is not the same thing as being able to apply that knowledge correctly (Carter, 2004; Brown, 2004). Anyone can be taught organizational development and can understand what the term means. However, being able to apply the knowledge that comes with that correctly is both learned and intuitive (Brown, 2004).
In other words, it is not just something that a person can do. He or she needs to really understand what the acquired knowledge means as opposed to just being able to recite the knowledge and information (Griffin & Minors, 2004; Sullivan, 2010). The two issues are not the same at all, but people who do not understand the difference will struggle with the comparison between having knowledge and using knowledge. Each organizational (and personal) situation is unique. A person who has truly developed the ability to apply organizational development knowledge to organization situations will recognize that and will focus on an understanding of the situation before a decision of how to proceed is made (Brown, 2004; Sullivan, 2010). In other words, it is not realistic to just move forward and do something until a person understands what should be done. Techniques and plans are wonderful, but they are only successful if the individual employing those techniques and plans is clear about when and where (and how) they should be used (Griffin & Minors, 2004). Otherwise, all the information collected has no value at all.
One of the best things a person can do when it comes to organizational development is learn how to diagnose system issues and select the intervention that is appropriate for that issue and that system. There are many great options in organizational development, but the vast majority of those options are not meant to be used across the board (Brown, 2004). That is why there are different options available - so they can be applied to specific situations appropriately. Otherwise there would be fewer ways to do something and learning what should be done in a given situation would become easier. The person making a determination about what to do should first ask himself or herself which system is having the problem (Griffin & Minors, 2004). Is that problem a symptom of something else going wrong within that system or within another system? If so, there are other issues that should be fixed first. Only when the root of the problem has been identified and reached can actual interventions begin (Brown, 2004). Until that point, any interventions done will likely not be successful.
By targeting the actual root of the problem, the person who is troubleshooting may discover that the system he or she thought might be failing was only limping along because there were problems with another system and those problems bled over. That is why finding the root cause is so vital. Once it has been located, the root cause can be addressed more clearly. The right intervention targeting the right cause is the way to go when attempting to correct problems with organizational development (Carter, 2004). Because change is such a large part of the development of any organization, interventions that work properly and that repair and correct systems have to be able to change and adapt, as well (Sullivan, 2010). Rigid interventions will only work for a short period of time because they will not be able to flex and grow with the rest of the company. Because of that, those interventions will not be good for the long-term and they will have to be adjusted or removed and replaced entirely.
This can keep the company moving, but it is much better to find a long-term intervention that will not have to be changed drastically later. It stands to reason that small adjustments to any organizational development intervention will still be necessary, but proper intervention techniques mean that there will not be a need for drastic alternations in the future (Sullivan, 2010). That is good news for a company because smaller changes cost much less and also take up less time that could be used for something that is more beneficial for the company as a whole. That does not mean that every intervention will be successful, but every effort should be made to help ensure that each intervention is adequate for the long-term needs of the company and the particular system into which that intervention is placed. By finding an employee with a strong sense of knowledge regarding organizational development and the management of systems, a company can benefit from what that person knows and remain on track toward a future that is bright and that shows promise (Griffin & Minors, 2004; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Sullivan, 2010).
When organizational change is needed, a person who is at the helm of that change needs to understand and be able to describe and explain the steps that are involved when it comes to effectively managing that change. The different settings and contexts matter, as well, because the steps used to manage a small change may be different than the steps that are used to manage a much larger change. However, the first thing that needs to be done with any change in an organization is to identify why the change needs to take place (Sullivan, 2010). Just changing things for the sake of doing so does not make any sense, because that can lead to companies changing things that really do not need to be changed. Sometimes, companies end up worse off than they were beforehand when that happens, but it can easily be avoided with some proper and careful planning. Once it has been determined why the change is needed or what purpose the change needs to serve, what the actual change will be can be considered (Argyris & Schon, 1978; Sullivan, 2010).
Not only must the change be made for the right reasons, it must also be the right change. It can take time to completely understand what changes are needed and what should be done to make sure those changes are carried out effectively. Additionally, the right people must make the change. Some employees are not cut out to be agents of change, because it is not their strength. They may be great at other things, but if they cannot make appropriate changes quickly and easily they should be charged with a different task. Seek…