Organisation Development & Social Work

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Organisation Development & Social Work


Organization Development (OD) is an evolutionary, value based practice to enable an organisation /entity to learn and solve its own problems. It applies behavioral science theories and process oriented methods in planning long term sustainable change. OD aims at enabling individual development by altering their on the job behaviors to improve organizational performance using various types of interventions to facilitate human dynamics among others.


However OD is not intended to be a casual tool -type intervention. It is a value based philosophy that demands appropriate use. The International Organisation Development Code of Ethics lists out a number of values and ethics that OD professionals should subscribe to. Though OD facilitators can be external persons or internal, appropriate performance of their role in terms of their behaviour, values and ethics besides technical knowledge and skills is of paramount importance. See www.


A key question for social development practioners is around the relevance of OD for development work. The core business of the development sector is sustainable societal change. Therefore OD as a long term change philosophy and tool to bring long lasting change becomes highly relevant for development work. The use of OD in development practice is a growing phenomenon.  In Nepal a widely used change intervention by development practioners is “appreciative enquiry” an OD intervention used to bring change in communities. The practioners of appreciative enquiry in the country were successful in organising the Global Appreciative Enquiry conference here in Nepal jointly organised by Imagine Nepal and Professor David Cooperrider‘s team (one of the founders of appreciative enquiry) in November 2009.Apparently it was the first time such a conference was held outside the US (said to be the mother country of OD) and was attended by several luminaries of the discipline.


Development practioners are therefore encouraged to explore further the concept and use OD in their day to day and strategic work. A worthy read for development practioners is an article by Rick James entitled” OD in Africa- a Response to David Lewis” which is available on the online library of Wiley.


Position: OD & HR Professional

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