The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to restructure and re-evaluate their goals, strategies and values. Many organizations had to cut jobs to accommodate the economic impact of the national lockdown. Many more organizations transitioned to work from home setups.

What the pandemic taught us is that organizations need to be adaptable, flexible and dynamic. They have to invest substantial time, money and effort toward organizational development to keep up with the ever-changing challenges, market changes and setbacks.

Let’s understand the definition of organizational development, the process and how it can be effective in the context of change.

What Is Organizational Development?

Many people lost their jobs in the wake of COVID-19. You may have seen several posts on LinkedIn about skilled professionals sharing their resumes. Facing uncertainty, some turned to online learning and upskilling to improve their existing skill set. This is where organizational development comes in. It prepares organizations and their employees to tackle change.

For organizations, the meaning of organizational development is to reacquaint employees with its culture, expectations and goals from time to time. This is for the sake of tackling unexpected challenges, accounting for probable errors and sustaining competition.

The concept of organizational development comes from a need to prepare employees for things that are beyond an organization’s control. It’s about building collaboration, coordination and competence in the face of change.

Some of the key aspects of organizational development are:

  • Team building

  • Teamwork

  • Communication

  • Skill and knowledge development

  • Effective management

  • Brainstorming

  • Feedback

Each of these elements of organizational development are geared towards employee engagement. How well you work with your team to achieve collective goals defines the importance of organizational development.

What Is The Organizational Development Process?

The organizational development process equips the workforce with the right values, skills and beliefs to deal with changes.

There are four stages of any organizational development process.

  1. Forming

The first stage is forming, which is the formation stage of, say, a team for a new project, a new office or a new segment of an existing business. If, for instance, your organization is launching a new online video service, you’ll form a team to run it. The forming stage is when everyone meets each other and goal-setting is discussed. These sessions usually involve icebreakers to get everyone comfortable. You can set goals, assign tasks and discuss the agenda moving forward.

  1. Storming

Think of storming in the context of a group project in school where each student wants to take the easiest tasks. The storming stage is where the group faces some conflicts. The storming stage is necessary because you can adapt to different work styles and evolve as a team.

  1. Norming

There’s no timeline to the storming stage. It depends on how soon you’re able to move to the next stage—which is norming—by resolving conflicts and finding the middle ground. This is the problem-solving stage where you start to get used to your work and others’ as well. The team starts to take shape, you figure out which tasks are interdependent and rely on team members. Team processes are defined and organizational development is well underway.

  1. Performing

The final stage is performing. You’re now focused on organizational goals after resolving and moving past interpersonal issues. At this stage, employees work efficiently with each other as well as individually to achieve targets or goals. You’ll find more independence to focus on your work at this stage. There’s a clear distribution of roles without any confusion or overlap. This is the stage every organization aspires to reach.

Organizational Development And Change

Understanding the importance of organizational development in the context of change will teach you how to navigate setbacks. Organizational development and change go hand in hand—organizations focus on developing their strategies to accommodate, work with and adapt to change.

Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course is designed for professionals who want to learn more about organizational development. You’ll get a deeper understanding of the four stages of development (forming, storming, norming and performing) and other aspects like feedback and collaboration. Adopt the right approach to change and prepare yourself for setbacks and challenges.


Explore topics such as What Is Total Quality ManagementPrinciples of TQM, Elements of Quality Management and Importance of Organizational Behavior from Harappa Diaries and work towards a common organizational goal in order to achieve success.

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