The most important Organizational Development (OD) study has to do with authority of employees to make decisions which influence the direction of the organization. Employees are a necessary part of the success of organizations, everyone will agree with this. What OD practitioners realized though is that for an organization to be effective, not just moderately, but exceptionally is how much the leaders and managers give employees power to make decisions which affect their work and the vision for the organization.
No one likes to be told what to do. If all the communication and goal setting is top down, employees may feel like just that, they are constantly being told what to do. What OD seeks to accomplish is a balance between “top down” and “bottom up” goal setting. If an organization truly wants to be a leader and pioneer in an industry, then it is essential for that organization to maximize and exhaust the power of the intellectual capital of that organization. There is great wealth in organizations which leaders are not tapping into solely because of the organizational hierarchy or the fear to place authority in the hands of its employees.
One great OD study found though that compared with bonuses and pay increases for work, the employees which had power to make decisions on what they would be working on had fewer sick days, felt happier with their work, and were more motivated and devoted. Now this does not mean that the CEO and the leadership below him or her will have no influence, it does mean however that a strategy and culture must be created where employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas and given the freedom to decide just what direction an organization will take in the economic future.