Organizational development theory is dedicated to expanding the working knowledge of individuals to enhance and to make more effective organizational performance and change. In order to command a clear understanding of this theory, it is vital to understand its essential elements. These include the objectives and core values of org development theory. It also means understanding the essentials of an organization’s cultural elements.

Five Essential Cultural Elements of an Organization

The theory of organizational developed recognizes five essential cultural elements that exist in an organization, according to the University of Pennsylvania. These are deeply seeded norms that members of a particular organization accept and share. These five essential cultural organizational elements are:

  • Assumptions
  • Values
  • Behavioral Norms
  • Behavioral Patterns
  • Artifacts

Core Values of Org Development Theory

Six core values are associated with organizational development theory. These are defined as being humanistic values. This means these core values of this theory focus on humans or individuals as opposed to mechanical processes and procedures. The core values of org com development are:

  • Provide opportunities for individuals to function as individual human beings.
  • Provide opportunities for an individual to develop his or her full potential.
  • Seek an increase in the overall effectiveness of an organization.
  • Provide an opportunity for individuals to influence the manner in which they relate to an organization.
  • Create an environment in which individuals have challenging work.
  • Treat each individual in an organization as having important, complex needs.

Objectives of Org Development Theory

In addition to the six core values, there are seven identified objectives commonly associated with org development theory. These can be modified, at least to some degree, to meet the unique structure and composition of an organization. These basic objectives of org development theory are:

  • Increase the level of interpersonal trust among employees.
  • Increase the level of satisfaction and commitment of employees.
  • Confront problems.
  • Manage conflict effectively.
  • Increase employee collaboration and cooperation.
  • Increase organizational problem-solving.
  • Implement processes that will improve ongoing organizational operations.

History of Organizational Development Theory

Kurt Lewin established what is known as the Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT. Through this and other efforts, Lewin is considered to be the “founding father” of org development theory.

Lewin would die before he really saw his theory take root and become widely utilized and accepted. Not only has this occurred but a person is able to a doctorate degree in org development at many major universities today.

Over the course of the past decade, businesses and organizations of different types have taken to applying org development theory in regard to their own enterprises. They do so not only to benefit the organization itself but the lives of those individuals within it. This utilization of organizational development theory is expected to continue apace into the future.