OD in emerging markets

Someone just asked me about organization development in emerging markets. Is it the same as in more mature markets? What are the differences? Are new models of organization development emerging from the emerging markets? I thought these were a bunch of interesting questions – particularly since I am facilitating some organization development programs in China. The person asking me wanted me to write a technical report on this topic specifically as it related to retail banking (in emerging markets).

So there's a challenge. First of all I only had a hazy idea of what constituted an 'emerging market'. A bit of digging around suggested that there are different numbers depending on who you're asking. The listings of the World Bank, The FTSE Group, Dow Jones, and Economist all have some countries in common and some different and the numbers of countries on each range from 21 – 35. So that makes it difficult to begin with. Beyond that the World Bank and The FTSE Group strata their listings. The FTSE Group, for example "distinguishes between Advanced and Secondary Emerging markets on the basis of their national income and the development of their market infrastructure. The Advanced Emerging markets are classified as such because they are Upper Middle Income GNI countries with advanced market infrastructures or High Income GNI countries with lesser developed market infrastructures."

Second there's the whole question of what OD is. I've just submitted an article for publication called 'What's the Matter with OD?' I suggest three things are the matter with it – there's no standard, accepted definition. There is no unifying, underpinning theory. And there is no way of consistently and reliably evaluating any OD 'intervention'. So from taking these three together one gets the impression that OD is a phantom – it's not something that lends itself to easy comparison in different markets (or even the same market).

So how would I tackle a piece about OD in emerging markets? Well there are several possibilities. What I'm interested in knowing before I make any commitment to writing a piece of this complexity is who is the target audience, and why would they want to read such a report. So I'm looking through my contacts lists to find people I have met in that precise sector. (Retail banks in emerging markets) to find out if they would be interested in learning more on the topic.

Meanwhile, in a timely way, I also received this week an invitation to speak at a conference in South Africa (one of the emerging markets on all lists but an "advanced emerging market" on the FTSE Group list.) It's from Amabhubesi Conferencing who is holding an Organization Design and Development Summit in November 2010. The Summit is scheduled to take place on 24 & 25 November and will be held at Sothern Sun Grayston Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa. The organizers are expecting delegates from the public and private sectors from a range of countries including South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. And they note that "Sometimes we do get delegates from as far as Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria."

So, it looks to me as if I might be persuaded to write this report. I'm reminding myself of the phrase I like. "When I see what I do, I'll know what I want", or the variation of it "When I hear what I say, I'll know what I think".

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