In the September 2018 edition of People Management (CIPD) Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Dr Naomi Stanford was interviewed on preparation for automation in organisations. Dr Stanford is an organisation design practitioner, teacher, and author of six books and she will be a speaker at the 2018 CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester.
The part of the article that caught my interest was the question by the interviewer – Should we see OD as essentially part of HR? Dr Stanford’s response to this question was that she did not believe HR experience was a ‘fundamental discipline of OD’ and that ‘it is more closely related to systems and design thinking, both in a mechanistic and experiential sense’ and should be with the strategy people.
Her response raises an interesting question as to where OD should reside in an organisation to be most effective in providing advice to help organisations to adapt to internal and external challenges and change? In many organisations OD is seen as part of Human Resources (HR), sometimes reporting to directors who have minimal experience and understanding of the OD discipline.
Organisational Development and Design (OD&D) is about a systematic and holistic approach to improving organisational effectiveness through the alignment of strategy, structure, people, processes and capability – as well as culture and leadership.
So where should OD – with its multidisciplinary approach be located in organisations and to whom should OD practitioners report to for maximum value-add? As a practice/discipline is OD withering under an HR mantle or is it blossoming with a greater emphasis on business transformation and change initiatives within another function? Another response to the question Dr Stanford was asked might have been to say that – rather – we should see HR as an essential part of OD&D?
So, whither Organisational Development and Design? It would be very interesting to hear the perspectives and experience of other OD practitioners on this question.