Improvement Service website header


Dot McLaughlin

Programme Manager

Tel. 01506 283807

Email Dot

Organisational Development - improving the performance and effectiveness of organisations

Organisational Development

You might also like...

Organisational Development (OD) is a whole system approach to change. OD is not about quick-fix solutions but takes a long-term holistic approach to improving organisational performance and effectiveness through building the capacity to work more innovatively and collaboratively in order to achieve the organisation’s strategic goals.


Through the public service reform agenda, councils and their partners need to jointly deliver improved outcomes and tackle inequalities. Therefore, development needs to take account of the increasing need for public services to work together, whether through place-based approaches, joint approaches to prevention, or the need to deliver integrated services.


Learning and development may be one strand of work taken to support change but OD is ultimately wider than simply employee development.


To be effective, OD must have the support of senior leaders. They need to set the strategic vision and direction and the changes that flow from this vision need to be embedded and owned by workers at all levels of the organisation by aligning the organisation's systems with its people.


OD uses interventions to make system wide, permanent changes in the organisation. Some of the interventions currently being used in councils and CPPs are as follows:


  • dialogue practice
  • appreciative inquiry
  • action inquiry
  • open space, world café and other interventions which support large scale conversations
  • coaching
  • building the adaptive capacity of the organisation through continuous learning and embedding reflective practice
  • large-scale change interventions
  • e-learning
  • systems thinking
  • personal resilience work
  • collaborative leadership development
  • direct engagement with all stakeholders including service users


Given the rapidly changing nature of public services organisational development increasingly needs to support transformational and cultural change.


With a greater emphasis on co-production and co-creation of services with individuals, families and communities, there is a need to focus more on community development and the ability of the organisation to engage effectively and encourage increased participation.


IS support

The IS provides:


  • facilitation to support collaborative leadership teams undertaking complex change
  • direct support to build capacity to use different OD interventions
  • links to experienced people in other organisations who can support learning
  • opportunities to broker reciprocal skills exchanges
  • access to online learning materials
  • opportunity to learn and talk through current issues with other OD practitioners through participation in a local authority network
  • access to specific skills development in conjunction with a wider public services OD network e.g. facilitation, dialogue practice, resilience
  • dissemination of organisational learning emerging from working with place based approaches, workforce planning etc.
  • access to qualified coaches and Leadership Exchanges as part of the work of Public Service Collaborative Learning (PSCL)


For more information on or support with any of these issues, contact Dot McLaughlin.


phone icon
Our address
COSLA logo SOLACE logo

© Improvement Service, 2018. All Rights Reserved