Members of the Florida State University football team participate in team- building exercises before the beginning of their season. To foster teamwork, the players participate in several different games before competing in a paint ball competition. While strength and conditioning exercises are important aspects of players’ physical training, team-building exercises are important for increasing players’ trust and openness toward one another and for developing skills that contribute to positive interpersonal relationships.
In facilitating long-term, organization-wide changes, OD focuses on constructively changing the attitudes and values of organization members so that they can more readily adapt to and be more effective in achieving the new directions of the organization.12 When OD efforts are planned, organization leaders are, in essence, attempting to change the organization’s culture.13 However, a fundamental issue of OD is its reliance on employee participation to foster an environment in which open communication and trust exist.14 Persons involved in OD efforts acknowledge that change can create stress for employees. Therefore, OD attempts to involve organizational members in changes that will affect their jobs and seeks their input about how the change is affecting them ( just as Lewin suggested).
Any organizational activity that assists with implementing planned change can be viewed as an OD technique. However, the more popular OD efforts in organizations rely heavily on group interactions and cooperation and include survey feedback, process consultation, team-building, and intergroup development.
Survey feedback efforts are designed to assess employee attitudes about and percep- tions of the change they are encountering. Employees are generally asked to respond to a set of specific questions regarding how they view such organizational aspects as decision making, leadership, communication effectiveness, and satisfaction with their jobs, coworkers, and management.15 The data a change agent obtains are used to clarify prob- lems that employees may be facing. As a result of this information, the change agent takes some action to remedy the problems.
In process consultation, outside consultants help managers to perceive, understand, and act on process elements with which they must deal.16 These elements might include, for example, workflow, informal relationships among unit members, and formal commu- nications channels. Consultants give managers insight into what is going on. It’s important to recognize that consultants are not there to solve these problems. Rather, they act as coaches to help managers diagnose the interpersonal processes that need improvement. If managers, with the consultants’ help, cannot solve the problem, the consultants will often help managers find experts who can.
Organizations are made up of individuals working together to achieve some goals. Because organizational members must frequently interact with peers, a primary function of OD is to help them become a team. Team-building is generally an activity that helps work groups set goals, develop positive interpersonal relationships, and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each team member. It’s not always necessary to address each area because the group may be in agreement and understand what’s expected of it. The primary focus of team-building is to increase members’ trust and openness toward one another