OD Interventions: Meaning, Nature, 10 Types

What are OD Interventions?

OD interventions are sets of structured activities in which selected organizational units (target groups or individuals) engage in a task or a sequence of tasks with the goals of organizational improvement and individual development.

Intervention strategies are based on the results of the diagnostic process and the specified goals of the client system/organization. The diagnosis process examines the extent to which the work environment is agreeable to the organization, employees’ willingness to change, time and effort required to make the change, and possible benefits or disadvantages.

Using these facts and a system model, the OD practitioner would need to suggest a series of interventions in order to facilitate the change: training and education, modified reward systems, group and team building programs, reworking the organizational structure, etc.


Meaning of OD Interventions

An intervention is a set of sequenced and planned actions or events intended to help the organization to increase its effectiveness. OD interventions refer to various activities which a consultant and organization perform for improving organizational performance.

This is done by enabling the organizational members to better manage their behavior, their work group, and organizational culture.

OD interventions are structured actions that help to bring out the desired positive changes. They are also referred to as OD strategies or OD techniques as they are designed to accomplish specific techniques. Interventions constitute the action component of the OD cycle.


Nature of OD Interventions

Let’s understand the nature of OD interventions:

  1. Relevant to Needs of Organization
  2. Valid Information
  3. Internal Commitment
  4. Based on Causal Knowledge of Intended Outcomes
  5. Transfer Competence to Manage Change to Organization Members
Nature of OD Interventions
Nature of OD Interventions

Relevant to Needs of Organization

An organizational intervention is always relevant to the needs of the organization. It is focused on the problems of the organization and strives for its solution. All actions and strategies are based on the accomplishment of organizational goals.

Valid Information

Organizational interventions should be based on valid information derived from effective research and analysis.

The consultant should collect all the necessary data and diagnose the problem from all viewpoints and angles. He should jointly discuss all the necessary information with the related people about the problem of the organization.

Internal Commitment

The consultant or OD practitioner should plan all of the OD interventions in such a way that they represent a feeling of internal commitment among the employees and members of the organization.

Based on Causal Knowledge of Intended Outcomes

OD interventions are based on casual knowledge of intended outcomes. It means that every action is supposed to give a reaction. Management has to be very cautious while selecting the OD intervention or strategy.

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It has to be looked upon that the selected intervention will leave desired circumstances and have positive effects on the members of the organization.

Transfer Competence to Manage Change to Organization Members

One of the major features of OD intervention is that the last motive of all OD intervention is to transfer competence to manage change to organizational members.


Types of OD Interventions

OD intervention is a very extensive topic. Various OD interventions are classified in different ways. Various practitioners and consultants have different opinions about the activities which can be included in interventions.

For example, many of them visualize data gathering as an intervention whereas it is treated as only preparatory work of OD by others. Therefore, the classification of OD interventions shows variation. However, OD interventions can be classified on two bases: The approach adopted in using OD interventions, the Target of OD interventions.

These are the following types of OD interventions based on those approaches:

  1. Techno-Structural or Structural Activities
  2. Process Consultation Activities
  3. Grid Organization Activities
  4. Third-Party Peacemaking Activities
  5. Coaching and Counseling Activities
  6. Life and Career Planning Activities
  7. Planning and Goal Setting
  8. Team Building Activities
  9. Intergroup Activities
  10. Survey Feedback Activities
Types of OD Interventions
Types of OD Interventions

Techno-Structural or Structural Activities

Activities designed to improve the effectiveness of organizational structures and job designs. These may be in the form of (a) experimenting with new organizational structures and evaluating their effectiveness in terms of specific goals or (b) devising new ways to bring technical resources to bear on problems.

Process Consultation Activities

Activities that “help the client to perceive, understand and act upon process events which occur in the client’s environment.” The basic content of PC is that the consultant works with individuals and the groups in the organization to help them learn about social processes and to solve problems that arise from process events.

This helps in bringing desired changes in various organizational processes like leadership, communication, roles, and functions of group members, group decision-making, and problem-solving.

Grid Organization Activities

This is a systematic and comprehensive OD program that aims at individuals, groups, and organizations as a whole. It utilizes a considerable number of instruments, enabling individuals and groups to assess their own strengths and weaknesses; focuses on skills, knowledge, and processes necessary for effectiveness at all levels.

Third-Party Peacemaking Activities

These are a set of activities conducted by a skilled consultant (the third party), designed to “help the members of an organization manage their interpersonal conflict”.

Coaching and Counseling Activities

Coaching and counseling activities are those activities that require the consultant and other organizational members to work with individuals to help (a) define learning goals, (b) learn how others see their behavior, and (c) learn new behaviors to help them better achieve their goals.

Life and Career Planning Activities

These are such sets of activities that enable individuals to focus on their life and career objectives. It is also helpful in determining ways to achieve those objectives. This includes career discussions, goals and objectives sessions, assessing capabilities, additional training needs, and areas of strength and deficiency.

Planning and Goal Setting

This includes theory and experience in planning and goal setting, problem-solving models, and planning paradigms. The goal is to improve these skills at the levels of the individual, group, and total organization.

Team Building Activities

Team building is the most important, widely accepted, and applied OD intervention for organization improvement. These sets of activities are designed to enhance the effective operation of systems teams.

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These activities focus on task issues such as the way things are done, the skills and resources needed to accomplish tasks, and the quality of relationships among the team members.

Intergroup Activities

Intergroup activities are a set of activities that are designed to improve the effectiveness of interdependent groups- groups that must work together to produce a common output.

When two groups are involved, the activities are designated intergroup or interface activities; when two or more groups are involved, the activities are called organizational mirroring.

Survey Feedback Activities

These are those sets of activities that rely on questionnaire surveys to generate information that is then used to identify problems and opportunities.


FAQs Section OD Interventions

What is the nature of OD interventions?

The nature of od interventions is:
1. Relevant to the Needs of the Organization
2. Valid Information
3. Internal Commitment
4. Based on Causal Knowledge of Intended Outcomes
5. Transfer Competence to Manage Change to Organization Members.

What are the types of OD interventions?

These are the types of OD interventions:
1. Techno-Structural or Structural Activities
2. Process Consultation Activities
3. Grid Organization Activities
4. Third-Party Peacemaking Activities
5. Coaching and Counseling Activities
6. Life and Career Planning Activities
7. Planning and Goal Setting
8. Team Building Activities
9. Intergroup Activities
10. Survey Feedback Activities.