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What is Organizational Development?
After careful review of many varied definitions of "OD" we submit that the following definition best fits our views and approach:

OD is a field of study and techniques for improving organizations.
An effective organization produces excellent measurable results in conformance with its charter, image, values and goals. This internal environment is composed of people, people management systems, technology, and technology management systems to produce goods or services for customers from an external environment. The design of the social and technical systems with respect to one another and with respect to the demands of the external environment determines how effective the organization will be.

The external environment is the ultimate judge of design effectiveness. If consumers of goods or services, providers of capital, or providers of labor withdraw their support, no amount of improvement by external standards will prevent catastrophe.

We view every organization as a living organism, an "open system" in keeping with biological systems theory. The open systems perspective holds that every living organism depends upon its environment for inputs which allow it to survive. If the flow of inputs is interrupted, the organism will eventually cease to exist. Organizations assure their flow of inputs by providing goods or services desired by other people or other organizations. This exchange produces capital which can be used for acquisition of additional inputs. The more efficient the conversion process (the fewer inputs used to produce outputs) the healthier the organization will be.

Over time, the organization retaining more inputs than is required to produce outputs, develops a reserve against changes in the environment which might otherwise threaten its survival. In simple business terminology, the more competitive the organization becomes, the more likely it is to survive and prosper.

"Paradoxically, the one constant in organizational life is change. Today's organizations must change frequently to keep up with rapid changes in the world around them and the people within them. Any change carries risk, especially if it is haphazard. That is why the keys to organizational change are attention to process and focus on goals and organizational values. And that is what organization development is all about: planned change."

Organizations are better able to navigate through on-going changes when guided by strong, clear, non-contradictory operating principles. Philosophies like ERP MRPII & Six Sigma Way provide this foundation for many organizations.

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