18 Organizational Development Examples From Companies

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18 Organizational Development Examples From Companies

Looking at organizational development examples transforms OD from an abstract concept to a tangible understanding of how it works in real life.

This article will give you an overview of what organizational development is and examples of how it has been applied from various case studies. These scenarios will provide you with a deeper awareness of OD and the essential role HR plays in it.

Organizational development (OD) meaning 
Organizational development examples

Organizational development (OD) meaning 

Organizational development (OD) is a planned, big-picture perspective effort to steer an organization through adaptations to its operations, structures, or strategies for improved performance and effectiveness.

OD uses a behavioral science-based methodology to make assessments and adjustments within the organization’s systems or values that will solve problems and make progress toward short and long-term goals.

Why do companies implement an OD approach?

The factors behind why companies implement an OD approach are numerous. Although each situation is unique, typical goals for OD can be generalized as follows:

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  • Redefining organizational structures and reducing bureaucracy.
  • Becoming more productive, cost-effective, and competitive.
  • Expanding or altering the reach of a product or service.
  • Adapting to internal shifts or market changes.
  • Embracing digital transformation.
  • Refining procedures and processes.
  • Improving the work environment and people experience.

Organizational development focuses on the company, but many of its interventions directly involve people practices. Because HR oversees the implementation of these, the two functions overlap. OD goals cannot be accomplished without working through employees.

The need for collaboration means that OD teams are often positioned within the HR function. At the very least, the two must have a strong working relationship. In organizations that don’t have a formalized OD function, HR professionals should appreciate OD techniques and recognize when they can apply them. Integrating an OD approach augments HR’s strategic role in the organization.

Organizational development examples

Administering OD looks different for every company. What works for one business may not pertain to yours. However, it can be beneficial to glean information from an organizational development case study of successful execution.

The below examples are divided into 4 categories of OD interventions: techno-structural, HRM, strategic change, and human process.

Examples of Organizational Development

1. Techno-structural interventions

These are related to organizational structures and processes and the use of technology. They involve the restructuring of decision-making and procedures, making changes to how work gets done, and new methods to engage employees.

Examples of work and job design

1. Job enrichment at Volvo

Multi-national vehicle manufacturer Volvo wanted to reduce turnover and absences by improving working conditions for manufacturing employees. Volvo learned how to better design its facilities and workflows through job enrichment programs, such as employee work groups, job enlargement, and job rotation. These improvements created a more satisfying environment for employees.

2. 4-day work week at Homerun

In 2022, Homerun, a small business hiring platform, transitioned to a 4-day work week without reducing salaries or increasing hours on the work days.

Leadership believes people can work more efficiently in fewer days to maintain the same level of productivity. They also expect to boost motivation and engagement, attract great talent, and reduce burnout and turnover.

3. Organizational redesign at Corning

Glassware manufacturer Corning had a mold machine shop struggling with cost overages and slow delivery. Redesigning the shop’s structure and workflow and training employees in communication and high-performance skills led to lower costs, increased profits, and better-skilled employees.

4. Outsourcing by WhatsApp

Initially, the founders of the instant messaging system WhatsApp had limited resources. To minimize costs, they outsourced the app development. WhatsApp now has more than 2 billion active users.

Examples of organizational purpose and social impact

1. LEGO’s corporate environmental initiative

In 2020, the LEGO Group toy company announced it would invest up to $400 million over three years into sustainability and social responsibility enterprises. It is also pledging to switch to all sustainable packaging by the end of 2025 and find an alternative to the fossil-fuel-derived plastic used in its products.   

2. Hope Foods’ commitment to well-being

Organic food producer Hope Foods strives to manifest hope by offering food and messaging that nourishes the body, mind, and soul.

Its website promotes emotional well-being awareness by offering information, tools, and support. Hope Foods has also teamed up with a non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention and mental health education.

Hope Foods commitment to well-being

2. Human resource management interventions

These take place within HR’s domain and focus on performance management to develop and support employees.

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Examples of culture, employee engagement and experience

1. Employee experience rebuild at PwC

Professional services company PwC has addressed the recent shift in employee expectations about how they want to work with a reimagined people experience.

PwC’s My + people strategy is based on well-being, total rewards, leadership development, and connection via an employee/alumni network. Leadership believes that they can hire and retain the best talent by offering flexibility and choice to support people’s ambitions and well-being.

2. Employer branding at Brother International

Multinational electrical equipment company Brother wanted to promote its employer brand to reach more job candidates.

A career site transformation put its “at your side” motto front and center and added engaging content with videos, employee testimonials, and personalized job recommendations. This resulted in a significant increase in completed applications.

People development and talent

1. Upskilling at Walmart

Retail giant and the U.S.’s largest private employer Walmart wanted to encourage associates to further their education and take on new career opportunities with the company.

In 2021, the Live Better U program got underway. It offers employees free skills training and higher education to earn certificates or degrees without a financial burden or debt. Walmart also partners with several academic institutions that readily accommodate adult learners.

2. Leadership development at Microsoft

Technology corporation Microsoft needed to update and simplify its leadership development process to prepare a new group of future leaders.

It automated the training in 2021. The new platform combines classroom settings and hands-on problem-solving for small teams coached by the organization’s leaders. The program is now easier to administer and provides clarity and higher-quality content for stakeholders.

3. Recruiting and developing leaders at Marriott

Multinational hospitality and lodging company Marriott International, Inc. both recruits and develops future leaders through a global leadership program called Voyage.

University students can apply for full-time, paid, 12-18 month positions available upon graduation. The roles are located at Marriott hotels worldwide and provide hands-on and virtual experiences and mentoring. They are taught all facets of the business and can interact with company leaders.

With Voyage, Marriott offers a highly desirable opportunity for recent graduates to feed its leadership pipeline with top talent.


3. Strategic change interventions

Strategic change interventions focus on transformation and restructuring to align an organization with changes within its internal and external environment.

Business transformation

1. Digital transformation at Farmers Insurance

Auto, home, and business insurance company Farmers embraced a technology update to improve customer service and its image.

Farmers built platforms around customers that allowed them self-service access to paying bills, managing policies, and filing claims at any time of day. It has also started using its own squadron of drones to assess property damage. This increases efficiency by speeding up response time. It also prevents the safety hazards that come with inspectors climbing on roofs, etc.

Investing in digital tools helped Farmers bring in and keep more customers, as it now serves 10 million U.S. households.

2. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn

Acquiring another company is a tool for implementing corporate restructure and growth. In June 2016, Microsoft announced its purchase of the world’s largest professional network LinkedIn.

The goal was to grow LinkedIn while Microsoft expanded its social media presence by integrating its products and tapping into the data from LinkedIn’s extensive user base.

3. The rebranding of Dunkin’

To adapt, stay relevant, or emphasize new products, businesses often pivot on what they want their corporate image to say. A rebranding effort will introduce new logos, messages, store models, and marketing.

In 2019, the Dunkin’ Donuts chain of restaurants simplified and officially changed its name to Dunkin’. The popularity of its coffee-inspired company leaders to broaden the brand beyond donuts and try to take some of Starbucks’ market share. Dunkin’ U.S. President David Hoffmann stated, “Our new branding is one of many things we are doing as part of our blueprint for growth…

Keeping the Dunkin’ name and the logo font and colors from 1973 helped it stay true to its heritage and be recognized while attracting new customers who may not be interested in donuts.


Performance and business impact

1. Product discontinuation at HP

When a particular product’s sales and profits decline sharply, it drains resources and offers no real benefit to the company. Weak products are often discontinued to improve the bottom line and avoid harm to stock prices and the corporate image.

IT company Hewlett-Packard (HP) introduced the TouchPad in July of 2011 to compete with Apple’s iPad, but it needed to gain more traction in the marketplace.  Seven weeks after the launch, HP discontinued it.

2. Performance management modifications at FedEx Singapore

Delivery service provider FedEx Singapore changed its performance management system to reinforce the desired culture of continued engagement and transparency.

The transition was made from a conventional, 10-point rating scale performance appraisal system to one centered on goals and competencies. Instead of numbers, the new rating scale uses “Exceeded expectations”, “Met expectations”, and “Did not meet expectations” to show employees what success looks like for them. Competency models are adapted for each type of role to ensure they’re fair and relevant.

4. Human process interventions

Human process interventions involve interpersonal relationships and group performance dynamics. The emphasis is on communication and gaining skills to solve problems.


1. Self-coaching at Fujitsu SSL

Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory LTD (SSL) discovered that its middle managers needed more professional development and self-improvement opportunities. Leadership wanted to remedy this by having managers capable of advancing the company. 

Collaborating with a self-coaching program designer, Fujitsu SSL arranged for a cohort of managers to meet for 30 sessions. They dialogued over specific discussion questions and shared their management insights and experiences. The participants then became the group facilitators for more managers the following year.

The program’s success made it a mainstay in the middle manager development program, with 30-40 high potentials participating annually.

Team building

1. Virtual team building at MyZone

The tension and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic affected fitness tracker maker MyZone employees. They experienced low engagement and morale, which led to decreased productivity. 

Leaders needed to find a way to bridge the physical distance and connect their remote-working employees. They found a team-building activities provider that could facilitate a virtually-hosted Clue Murder Mystery party for the entire staff in several countries.

Employees shared that it was a real morale booster and felt more camaraderie after getting a break and having some fun with their co-workers. 

Key takeaways

  • Organizational development is an intentional method for making strategic changes within an organization to help it adapt and become more effective.
  • Types of OD interventions: OD is carried out by implementing numerous interventions that can be put into the four categories of techno-structural, human resource management, strategic change, and human process.
  • HR plays a significant role in OD: HR is intricately involved with OD and oversees the implementation of many interventions. HR must work hand-in-hand with OD teams or even take charge of initiating OD.
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