Role of Communication in Organizational Development

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Strong, consistent communication helps smooth organizational change.
Strong, consistent communication helps smooth organizational change. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Organizational Development (OD) is an evolving set of techniques centered on changing or creating an organization. OD has a basis in psychology and behavioral science. It builds on the relationships between people, seeking to define and improve organizational relationships between employees, customers, workers and the organization itself. OD emphasizes employees as a company’s strongest asset and encourages work toward protecting, enhancing and mobilizing the human aspect of business. Not surprisingly, OD relationship-building techniques require a good deal of open, consistent communication.

Collaboration

Organizational Development encourages cooperation between the leaders of the organization, the managers responsible for business processes and the employees creating the company culture. OD encourages teamwork and collaboration between departments and project teams. Communication is vital to teamwork, employee cooperation and departmental collaboration. Clear communication channels encourage every level of employee to participate in solving organizational problems, giving them a sense of shared ownership of the company. Evolving OD techniques use technology to aid in communication between departments and different levels of employees and administration. A companywide, exclusive computer network, called an "intranet," may be used to provide confidential information and communication between employee groups.

Customer Participation

Many modern companies have become successful by focusing on total customer satisfaction. Customer focus is part of OD that promotes teaching employees to see clients as other collaborators with constantly shifting input that effects the business process and the product. Communication between the organization and the client happens in many ways. The customer service department and the sales department are two traditional client communication groups. The Internet provides numerous ways to receive customer feedback. OD takes consumer feedback and translates it to shifts in organizational and product design.

Research

Organizational Development also provides for research into consumer trends, employee requirements and organizational needs. Since OD is about the dynamics of current business situations, much of the research requires active communication, such as interviews, observations and questionnaires. Feedback helps business leaders keep up with trends and keep ahead of organizational demands.

Education

Building the employee knowledge base is an integral part of OD. Although research is helpful, preexisting knowledge speeds up and smoothes both business processes and client interaction. Education also helps with the change management aspects of OD by guiding employees through organizational transition. Organizational leaders use a variety of communication methods to educate employees. Newsletters, policy manuals and training courses are all ways employees may be provided with necessary, educational communication.

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