Organisational development with success into the future

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Organisational development is the process of optimising the organisational structure and corporate culture in such a way that the flexibility and performance of the organisation is permanently increased.

In particular, the needs and characteristics of managers as well as employees are taken into consideration as the top performers of an organisation.

Organisational development is essential in order to be able to react appropriately and efficiently to constantly changing market conditions. The change and further development of an organisation represents a planned, systematic and long-term process that is driven forward with the greatest possible participation of all those affected.

The ultimate goal of organisational development is to create an efficient and successful company. Equally, the working conditions and opportunities for the staff are optimised. The interaction of these goals leads to a special momentum.


  • Characteristics of organisational development
  • The essential methods in organisational development
  • Advantages of organisational development
  • Character types in organisational development
  • Resistance in organisational development processes

Characteristics of organisational development

The following characteristics distinguish organisational development from other change processes:

  • The medium- to long-term process has a comprehensive view in focus and is not limited to a single aspect, such as external presentation through an optimised online presence.
  • The findings of the behavioural sciences are increasingly being used and focus on the question of how and why organisations change in the first place.
  • Organisational development is about optimising processes without having a final state as a goal.
  • All those affected by the changes should and must actively cooperate.

While change management is based on a concrete change decided by the leadership, such as a merger, organisational development is designed for a longer period of time and therefore has no ideal state.

The 6 essential methods of organisational development

A number of different methods for diagnosing problems and developing ideas are used in organisational development. After analysing the current state, several processes are examined for improvement potential and finally subjected to optimisation. Among others, the following methods are successfully applied:

1. digital readiness check

The digital maturity level of the company and the workforce is the key to successful digitalisation of work processes. This is not only about the mere acceleration or simplification of processes, but also about increasing customer satisfaction.

The Digital Readiness Check first looks at and analyses the level of digital maturity in order to then uncover development potential and draw up training concepts.

2. Survey feedback

Among all methods of organisational development, the survey-feedback technique stands out as the most influential technique. For this purpose, all relevant groups (employees, business partners, customers, management) are interviewed and asked for feedback on which areas are seen as having potential for improvement.

This diagnostic tool deals with the question of why which processes should change in order to be able to achieve optimisation. The individual perspectives create the opportunity to get a more comprehensive picture of how the company is perceived.

3. Demography check

Taking into account the different areas and fields of activity, the demography check develops a recommendation for action to achieve a balanced and appropriate age distribution. Also with regard to efficient knowledge management, a mix is advisable in terms of retaining experience.

4. Future Search Method

The Future Search Method, developed in the 1980s by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff, focuses on the development of a joint new strategy or the discussion of a project.

The method draws on scientifically founded findings in social psychology and group dynamics. The procedure of such a future conference consists of an alternation of work in small groups and larger plenary discussions in order to be able to develop a future concept that is as far-reaching as possible and supported by all participants.

5. SWOT analysis

The SWOT analysis comes from the English and focuses on:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

of a company in order to ultimately use the insights gained for organisational development. In short, the aim of this method is to define measures that will be used to avoid risks.

6. Facilitated workshops

Workshops, compact events for the intensive treatment of topics, can be used for conflict resolution, for the development of strategies and for team building. This is because independent moderation ensures that the interests of all participants are safeguarded and that discussions proceed in an orderly manner.

Advantages of organisational development

Organisational development is a timeless tool that enables timely adaptation to social, technical and economic changes. People are placed at the centre of innovations and inspired to be creative and innovative. The following advantages in particular should be emphasised:

  • Product and service quality can be significantly improved. The optimised interaction between company departments can minimise frictional losses.
  • Increase innovative strength through continuous staff development and ongoing knowledge transfer. This leads to all those involved gaining a view of the entire company beyond their area of responsibility and thus finding new approaches.
  • Simplified ordering processes as well as communication channels have a positive effect on customer satisfaction. The sustainable effect of organisational development also strengthens employee satisfaction, which is also transferred to customers.
  • The company’s profitability can be increased through improved productivity, fostered creativity, lower costs and less frequent employee turnover.

Character types in organisational development

By causing behavioural as well as attitudinal changes among those involved, organisational development drives a cultural transformation of the company. Influenced by personality structure, individual histories and other factors, the people involved unconsciously take on certain roles that display their own strengths and weaknesses.

The typical character types can be classified as follows:


Difficult challenges belong to the preferences of the inventor, who is conducive to change with creativity and solution orientation. Weaknesses include a neglect of communication and a lack of understanding of other character types.


The coordinator explains goals in a trusting manner and, like a supervisor, encourages decision-making. However, developing novel and original ideas is not one of his strengths.


The trailblazer can inspire people and likes to introduce new ideas for process optimisation. However, motivation increasingly wanes when the project enters the structured implementation phase.


The doer is considered an energetic driver who removes obstacles and keeps an eye on the work results. However, as soon as the speed he desires is not achieved, temperamental outbursts may occur.


The passive role of the observer allows a comprehensive view of all problems and possibilities for action, but lacks the drive and ability to motivate people.


The perfectionist’s own high expectations guarantee outstanding quality as well as meeting deadlines. However, the high self-expectation leads to a higher expenditure of time. In addition, the perfectionist finds it difficult to delegate tasks.

Resistance in organisational development processes

The employees of a company have often become accustomed to processes, tools and working conditions and are sometimes sceptical about changes.

It is important that this resistance is understood as something normal in change processes. Dealing with concerns, fears and worries in a constructive way may even lead to further improvement of the processes.

In principle, resistance should be met with an open dialogue in order to eliminate any misunderstandings and to be able to adequately present the benefits of the results of the analyses.

“Good communication as the basis of successful organisational development can sometimes be ensured by facilitators.”

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