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Organization Development & Change


Thomas G. Cummings University of Southern California

Christopher G. Worley University of Southern California

Pepperdine University

Organization Development & Change, 9th Edition

Thomas G. Cummings & Christopher G. Worley

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brief contents

Preface xv

CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development 1

PART 1 Overview of Organization Development 22

CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change 23

CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner 46

PART 2 The Process of Organization Development 74

CHAPTER 4 Entering and Contracting 75

CHAPTER 5 Diagnosing Organizations 87

CHAPTER 6 Diagnosing Groups and Jobs 107

CHAPTER 7 Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic Information 121

CHAPTER 8 Feeding Back Diagnostic Information 139

CHAPTER 9 Designing Interventions 151

CHAPTER 10 Leading and Managing Change 163

CHAPTER 11 Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions 189

PART 3 Human Process Interventions 252

CHAPTER 12 Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches 253

CHAPTER 13 Organization Process Approaches 276

PART 4 Technostructural Interventions 314

CHAPTER 14 Restructuring Organizations 315

CHAPTER 15 Employee Involvement 350

CHAPTER 16 Work Design 376

PART 5 Human Resource Management Interventions 419

CHAPTER 17 Performance Management 420

CHAPTER 18 Developing Talent 451

CHAPTER 19 Managing Workforce Diversity and Wellness 473

PART 6 Strategic Change Interventions 504

CHAPTER 20 Transformational Change 505

CHAPTER 21 Continuous Change 535

CHAPTER 22 Transorganizational Change 561

PART 7 Special Applications of Organization Development 613

CHAPTER 23 Organization Development in Global Settings 614

CHAPTER 24 Organization Development in Nonindustrial Settings: Health Care, School Systems, the Public Sector, and Family-Owned Businesses 651

CHAPTER 25 Future Directions in Organization Development 693

Glossary 746

Name Index 756

Subject Index 760


Preface xv

CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development 1

Organization Development Defined 1

The Growth and Relevance of Organization Development 4

A Short History of Organization Development 6 Laboratory Training Background 6 Action Research and Survey Feedback Background 8 Normative Background 9 Productivity and Quality-of-Work-Life Background 11 Strategic Change Background 12

Evolution in Organization Development 12

Overview of The Book 14

Summary 17

Notes 17

PART 1 Overview of OrganizationDevelopment 22

CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change 23

Theories of Planned Change 23 Lewin’s Change Model 23 Action Research Model 24 The Positive Model 27 Comparisons of Change Models 29

General Model of Planned Change 29 Entering and Contracting 29 Diagnosing 30 Planning and Implementing Change 30 Evaluating and Institutionalizing Change 31

Different Types of Planned Change 31 Magnitude of Change 31

Application 2-1 Planned Change at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority 32

Degree of Organization 35

Application 2-2 Planned Change in an Underorganized System 37 Domestic vs. International Settings 40

Critique of Planned Change 41 Conceptualization of Planned Change 41 Practice of Planned Change 42

Summary 43

Notes 44


vi Contents

CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner 46

Who is the Organization Development Practitioner? 46

Competencies of an Effective Organization Development Practitioner 48

The Professional Organization Development Practitioner 53 Role of Organization Development Professionals 53

Application 3-1 Personal Views of the Internal and External Consulting Positions 56

Careers of Organization Development Professionals 59

Professional Values 60

Professional Ethics 61 Ethical Guidelines 61 Ethical Dilemmas 62

Application 3-2 Kindred Todd and the Ethics of OD 65

Summary 66

Notes 67

Appendix 70

PART 2 The Process of Organization Development 74

CHAPTER 4 Entering and Contracting 75

Entering into an OD Relationship 76 Clarifying the Organizational Issue 76 Determining the Relevant Client 76 Selecting an OD Practitioner 77

Developing a Contract 79 Mutual Expectations 79

Application 4-1 Entering Alegent Health 80 Time and Resources 81 Ground Rules 81

Interpersonal Process Issues in Entering and Contracting 81

Application 4-2 Contracting with Alegent Health 82

Summary 86

Notes 86

CHAPTER 5 Diagnosing Organizations 87

What is Diagnosis? 87

The Need for Diagnostic Models 88

Open Systems Model 89 Organizations as Open Systems 89 Diagnosing Organizational Systems 92

Organization-Level Diagnosis 94 Organization Environments and Inputs 94 Design Components 96 Outputs 99 Alignment 99 Analysis 99

Application 5-1 Steinway’s Strategic Orientation 100

Summary 105

Notes 105


CHAPTER 6 Diagnosing Groups and Jobs 107

Group-Level Diagnosis 107 Inputs 107 Design Components 108 Outputs 109 Fits 110 Analysis 110

Application 6-1 Top-Management Team at Ortiv Glass Corporation 111

Individual-Level Diagnosis 113 Inputs 113 Design Components 114 Fits 115 Analysis 115

Application 6-2 Job Design at Pepperdine University 116

Summary 119

Notes 120

CHAPTER 7 Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic Information 121

The Diagnostic Relationship 121

Methods for Collecting Data 123 Questionnaires 124 Interviews 126 Observations 127 Unobtrusive Measures 128

Sampling 129

Techniques for Analyzing Data 130 Qualitative Tools 130

Application 7-1 Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic Data at Alegent Health 132 Quantitative Tools 133

Summary 137

Notes 138

CHAPTER 8 Feeding Back Diagnostic Information 139

Determining the Content of the Feedback 139

Characteristics of the Feedback Process 141

Survey Feedback 142 What Are the Steps? 142

Application 8-1 Training OD Practitioners in Data Feedback 143 Survey Feedback and Organizational Dependencies 145

Application 8-2 Operations Review and Survey Feedback at Prudential Real Estate Affiliates 146

Limitations of Survey Feedback 147 Results of Survey Feedback 148

Summary 149

Notes 149

CHAPTER 9 Designing Interventions 151

What are Effective Interventions? 151

How to Design Effective Interventions 152 Contingencies Related to the Change Situation 152 Contingencies Related to the Target of Change 154

viii Contents

Overview of Interventions 156 Human Process Interventions 156

Summary 161

Notes 162

CHAPTER 10 Leading and Managing Change 163

Overview of Change Activities 163

Motivating Change 165 Creating Readiness for Change 165 Overcoming Resistance to Change 166

Application 10-1 Motivating Change in the Sexual Violence Prevention Unit of Minnesota’s Health Department 168

Creating a Vision 169 Describing the Core Ideology 170 Constructing the Envisioned Future 171

Developing Political Support 171

Application 10-2 Creating a Vision at Premier 172 Assessing Change Agent Power 174 Identifying Key Stakeholders 175 Influencing Stakeholders 175

Managing the Transition 176

Application 10-3 Developing Political Support for the Strategic Planning Project in the Sexual Violence Prevention Unit 177

Activity Planning 178 Commitment Planning 179 Change-Management Structures 179 Learning Processes 179

Sustaining Momentum 180

Application 10-4 Transition Management in the HP–Compaq Acquisition 181 Providing Resources for Change 182 Building a Support System for Change Agents 183 Developing New Competencies and Skills 183 Reinforcing New Behaviors 183 Staying the Course 184

Summary 184

Notes 185

Application 10-5 Sustaining Transformational Change at the Veterans Health Administration 187

CHAPTER 11 Evaluating and Institutionalizing Organization Development Interventions 189

Evaluating Organization Development Interventions 189 Implementation and Evaluation Feedback 189 Measurement 192 Research Design 197

Institutionalizing Organizational Changes 200 Institutionalization Framework 200

Application 11-1 Evaluating Change at Alegent Health 201 Organization Characteristics 203 Intervention Characteristics 204 Institutionalization Processes 205 Indicators of Institutionalization 206

Application 11-2 Institutionalizing Structural Change at Hewlett-Packard 208

Summary 210


Notes 210

Selected Cases 212 Kenworth Motors 212 Peppercorn Dining 217 Sunflower Incorporated 239 Initiating Change in the Manufacturing and Distribution Division of PolyProd 241 Evaluating the Change Agent Program at Siemens Nixdorf (A) 247

PART 3 Human Process Interventions 252

CHAPTER 12 Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches 253

Process Consultation 253 Group Process 254 Basic Process Interventions 255 Results of Process Consultation 257

Application 12-1 Process Consultation at Action Company 258

Third-Party Interventions 259 An Episodic Model of Conflict 260 Facilitating the Conflict Resolution Process 261

Application 12-2 Conflict Management at Balt Healthcare Corporation 262

Team Building 263 Team-Building Activities 264 Activities Relevant to One or More Individuals 267 Activities Oriented to the Group’s Operation and Behavior 268 Activities Affecting the Group’s Relationship with the Rest of the Organization 268

Application 12-3 Building the Executive Team at Caesars Tahoe 269 The Manager’s Role in Team Building 270 The Results of Team Building 271

Summary 273

Notes 273

CHAPTER 13 Organization Process Approaches 276

Organization Confrontation Meeting 276 Application Stages 276 Results of Confrontation Meetings 277

Application 13-1 A Work-Out Meeting at General Electric Medical Systems Business 278

Intergroup Relations Interventions 279 Microcosm Groups 279 Application Stages 280 Resolving Intergroup Conflict 281

Large-Group Interventions 284

Application 13-2 Improving Intergroup Relationships in Johnson & Johnson’s Drug Evaluation Department 285

Application Stages 287

Application 13-3 Using the Decision Accelerator to Generate Innovative Strategies in Alegent’s Women’s and Children’s Service Line 290

Results of Large-Group Interventions 294

Summary 295

Notes 295

Selected Cases 297 Lincoln Hospital: Third-Party Intervention 297 Ben & Jerry’s (A): Team Development Intervention 304

x Contents

PART 4 Technostructural Interventions 314

CHAPTER 14 Restructuring Organizations 315

Structural Design 315 The Functional Structure 316 The Divisional Structure 318 The Matrix Structure 319 The Process Structure 322 The Customer-Centric Structure 324

Application 14-1 Healthways’ Process Structure 325 The Network Structure 328

Downsizing 331

Application 14-2’s Network Structure 332 Application Stages 334 Results of Downsizing 337

Application 14-3 Strategic Downsizing at Agilent Technologies 338

Reengineering 340 Application Stages 341

Application 14-4 Honeywell IAC’s Totalplant™ Reengineering Process 344 Results from Reengineering 346

Summary 346

Notes 347

CHAPTER 15 Employee Involvement 350

Employee Involvement: What Is It? 350 A Working Definition of Employee Involvement 351 The Diffusion of Employee Involvement Practices 352 How Employee Involvement Affects Productivity 352

Employee Involvement Applications 354 Parallel Structures 354

Application 15-1 Using the AI Summit to Build Union–Management Relations at Roadway Express 356

Total Quality Management 359

Application 15-2 Six-Sigma Success Story at GE Financial 365 High-Involvement Organizations 367

Application 15-3 Building a High-Involvement Organization at Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. 370

Summary 373

Notes 373

CHAPTER 16 Work Design 376

The Engineering Approach 376

The Motivational Approach 377 The Core Dimensions of Jobs 378 Individual Differences 379 Application Stages 380 Barriers to Job Enrichment 382

Application 16-1 Enriching Jobs at the Hartford’s Employee Relations Consulting Services Group 383

Results of Job Enrichment 385

The Sociotechnical Systems Approach 386 Conceptual Background 387 Self-Managed Work Teams 388


Application Stages 391 Results of Self-Managed Teams 393

Application 16-2 Moving to Self-Managed Teams at ABB 394

Designing Work for Technical and Personal Needs 397 Technical Factors 398 Personal-Need Factors 399 Meeting Both Technical and Personal Needs 400

Summary 401

Notes 402

Selected Cases 405 City of Carlsbad, California: Restructuring the Public Works Department (A) 405 C&S Wholesale Grocers: Self-Managed Teams 408

PART 5 Human Resource Management Interventions 419

CHAPTER 17 Performance Management 420

A Model of Performance Management 421

Goal Setting 422 Characteristics of Goal Setting 422 Establishing Challenging Goals 423 Clarifying Goal Measurement 423 Application Stages 424 Management by Objectives 424 Effects of Goal Setting and MBO 426

Performance Appraisal 426

Application 17-1 The Goal-Setting Process at Siebel Systems 427 The Performance Appraisal Process 428 Application Stages 430 Effects of Performance Appraisal 431

Reward Systems 431

Application 17-2 Adapting the Appraisal Process at Capital One Financial 432

Structural and Motivational Features of Reward Systems 434 Skill- and Knowledge-Based Pay Systems 437 Performance-Based Pay Systems 438 Gain-Sharing Systems 440 Promotion Systems 442 Reward-System Process Issues 443

Application 17-3 Revising the Reward Systemat Lands’ End 444

Summary 447

Notes 447

CHAPTER 18 Developing Talent 451

Coaching and Mentoring 451 What Are the Goals? 452 Application Stages 452 The Results of Coaching and Mentoring 453

Career Planning and Development Interventions 453 What Are the Goals? 454 Application Stages 455 The Results of Career Planning and Development 463

Management And Leadership Development Interventions 463

Application 18-1 PepsiCo’s Career Planning and Development Framework 464 What Are the Goals? 466 Application Stages 466

xii Contents

Application 18-2 Leading Your Business at Microsoft Corporation 468 The Results of Development Interventions 469

Summary 469

Notes 470

CHAPTER 19 Managing Workforce Diversityand Wellness 473

Workforce Diversity Interventions 473 What Are the Goals? 473 Application Stages 475 The Results for Diversity Interventions 478

Employee Stress and Wellness Interventions 479 What Are the Goals? 479

Application 19-1 Embracing Employee Diversity at Baxter Export 480 Applications Stages 481 The Results of Stress Management and Wellness Interventions 486

Summary 487

Notes 488

Application 19-2 Johnson & Johnson’s Health and Wellness Program 490

Selected Cases 492 Employee Benefits at HealthCo 492 Sharpe BMW 497

PART 6 Strategic Change Interventions 504

CHAPTER 20 Transformational Change 505

Characteristics of Transformational Change 505 Change Is Triggered by Environmental and Internal Disruptions 506 Change Is Aimed at Competitive Advantage 506 Change Is Systemic and Revolutionary 507 Change Demands a New Organizing Paradigm 508 Change Is Driven by Senior Executives and Line Management 508 Change Involves Significant Learning 509

Integrated Strategic Change 509

Organization Design 512

Application 20-1 Managing Strategic Change at Microsoft Canada 513 Conceptual Framework 515

Culture Change 518

Application 20-2 Organization Design at Deere & Company 519 Concept of Organization Culture 520 Organization Culture and Organization Effectiveness 521 Diagnosing Organization Culture 523 The Behavioral Approach 523 The Competing Values Approach 524 The Deep Assumptions Approach 525

Summary 528

Notes 529

Application 20-3 Culture Change at IBM 533

CHAPTER 21 Continuous Change 535

Self-Designing Organizations 535 The Demands of Adaptive Change 536 Application Stages 536

Learning Organizations 538 Conceptual Framework 538


Application 21-1 Self-Design at American Healthways Corporation 539 Organization Learning Interventions 542 Knowledge Management Interventions 547 Outcomes of OL and KM 550

Application 21-2 Implementing a Knowledge Management System at Motorola Penang 551

Built-To-Change Organizations 553 Design Guidelines 553 Application Stages 554

Summary 556

Notes 556

Application 21-3 Creating a Built-to-Change Organizationat Capital One Financial 559

CHAPTER 22 Transorganizational Change 561

Transorganizational Rationale 562 Mergers and Acquisitions 563 Application Stages 564

Strategic Alliance Interventions 568 Application Stages 568

Application 22-1 The Sprint and Nextel Merger: The First Two Years 569

Network Interventions 571

Application 22-2 Building Alliance Relationships 572 Creating the Network 574 Managing Network Change 577

Application 22-3 Fragile and Robust—Network Change in Toyota Motor Corporation 580

Summary 582

Notes 583

Selected Cases 586 Fourwinds Marina 586 Leading Strategic Change at DaVita: The Integration of the Gambro Acquisition 597

PART 7 Special Applications of Organization Development 613

CHAPTER 23 Organization Development in Global Settings 614

Organization Development Outside the United States 615 Cultural Context 616 Economic Development 618 How Cultural Context and Economic Development Affect OD Practice 619

Application 23-1 Modernizing China’s Human Resource Development and Training Functions 623

Worldwide Organization Development 625 Worldwide Strategic Orientations 626 The International Strategic Orientation 627 The Global Strategic Orientation 629 The Multinational Strategic Orientation 631

Application 23-2 Implementing the Global Strategy: Changing the Culture of Work in Western China 632

The Transnational Strategic Orientation 636

Global Social Change 639 Global Social Change Organizations 640 Application Stages 641 Change Agent Roles and Skills 644

xiv Contents

Application 23-3 Social and Environmental Change at Floresta 645

Summary 647

Notes 647

CHAPTER 24 Organization Developmentin Nonindustrial Settings: Health Care, School Systems, the Public Sector, and Family-Owned Businesses 651

Organization Development in Health Care 651 Trends in Health Care 652 Opportunities for Organization Development Practice 655 Success Principles for OD in Health Care 657 Conclusions 658

Organization Development in School Systems 659 Education: Industrial-Age Roots 659 Changing Conditions Cause Stress 659 Disappointing Reform Efforts 660 A New Metaphor for Schools 662 Future Opportunities for OD Practice 664 Technology’s Unique Role in School OD 665 Conclusions 667

Organization Developmentin the Public Sector 667 Comparing Public- and Private-Sector Organizations 669 Recent Research and Innovations in Public-Sector Organizational Development 674 Conclusions 675

Organization Development in Family-Owned Businesses 675 The Family Business System 676 Family Business Developmental Stages 679 A Parallel Planning Process 680 Values 680 Critical Issues in Family Business 681 OD Interventions in Family Business System 684

Summary 688

Notes 689

CHAPTER 25 Future Directions in Organization Development 693

Trends within Organization Development 693 Traditional 693 Pragmatic 694 Scholarly 695 Implications for OD’s Future 695

Trends in the Context of Organization Development 697 The Economy 697 The Workforce 700 Organizations 701 Implications for OD’s Future 702

Summary 708

Notes 709

Integrative Cases 712 B. R. Richardson Timber Products Corporation 712 Building the Cuyahoga River Valley Organization* 728 Black & Decker International: Globalization of the Architectural Hardware Line 738

Glossary 746

Name Index 756

Subject Index 760


In preparing this new edition, we were struck by how the cliché of “living in changing times” is becoming almost ironic. The events of each day remind us that things are mov- ing far more quickly and unpredictably than we could ever have imagined. Consider the U.S. economic turmoil brought on by the mortgage- lending crisis and the record price of crude oil, which seemingly rises independent of consumption. Or think about the run- up to the 2008 U.S. presidential election. It strikes us as just a bit surreal to see the word CHANGE plastered on the speaker’s podium and waved by supporters every time Barack Obama comes out to speak. Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton’s key selling point is her emphasis that she has the ability to lead change. By the time the next edition of this book comes out, a new president will be well into her or his first term and we will no doubt have experienced a lot of change.

Nor is change confined to the United States. As we write this, the new prime min- ister of France is shaking up that country’s work rules, organizations, and policies. Beijing is preparing to host the Olympic Games and show the world a whole new China. Countries in Africa are dealing with drought, AIDS, military dictatorships, and the emergence of democracy. The war in Iraq remains a point of contention among many, and the Middle East remains embroiled in controversy and seemingly intrac- table problems.

Nor is change restricted to governments and organizations. Our personal lives are embedded in change and the dilemmas it poses. Individuals and families are finding that the pace of change exceeds their physical and mental capacity to cope with it. As people experience change accelerating, they tend to feel overwhelmed and alienated. They experience what sociologists call “anomie,” a state of being characterized by the lack of social norms or anchors of stable and shared values. Many Americans, for example, want more time with their families but feel compelled to work longer hours, make more money, and satisfy escalating needs; they espouse diversity but push other cultures to do it “the American way”; they argue that technology will find an answer to the global warming problem and so justify acquiring a Hummer.

Nor is change limited to social systems and their environments. Organization Development—the field of planned change itself—is changing. In a time of unprec- edented change, our views of how and when planned change occurs, who leads and controls it, and what contributes to its success are all changing. Since the last edition of this text, three OD handbooks have been published, a special issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science has been devoted to “reinvigorate OD” and another special issue on international OD is on its way, and volumes on change management and organization transformation have continued to flood the bookstores. Conversations among OD practitioners and scholars about where the field is and should be headed have become more vigorous. The drive to understand and do something about change continues unabated.

In times like these, books on OD and change have never been more relevant and necessary. For our part, this is the ninth edition of the market-leading text in the field. OD is an applied field of change that uses behavioral science knowledge to increase



the capacity for change, and to improve the functioning and performance of organiza- tions. OD is more than change management, however, and the field would do well to differentiate itself from the mechanistic, programmatic assumptions that organization change can simply be scripted by various methods of “involving” people and “enroll- ing” them in the change. OD is not concerned about change for change’s sake, a way to implement the latest fad, or a pawn for doing management’s bidding. It is about learning and improving in ways that make individuals, groups, organizations, and ultimately the world better off and more capable of managing change in the future. Moreover, OD is more than a set of values. It is not a front for the promulgation of humanistic and spiritual beliefs nor a set of interventions that boil down to “holding hands and singing Kumbaya.” It is a set of testable ideas and practices about how social and technical systems can coexist to produce individual satisfaction and sustainable organizational results. Finally, OD is more than a set of tools and techniques. It is not a bunch of “interventions” looking to be applied in whatever organization that comes along. It is an integrated theory and practice aimed at increasing the effectiveness of organizations.

In today’s reality, OD is often misunderstood and its relevance questioned. As men- tioned above, OD is often used synonymously with change management; it is often defined and overly constrained by its association with a set of “touchy-feely” values; and it is often described as a hammer looking for a nail. As a result, it is open to discus- sion whether OD is up to the task of facilitating the changes that organizations need to exist and thrive in the world today. This is OD’s challenge in the decade and century ahead. Can it implement change and teach the system to change itself at the same time? Will it cling to its humanistic traditions and focus on functioning or increase its relevance by integrating more performance-related values? How will OD incorporate values related to globalization, cultural integration, the concentration of wealth, and environmental sustainability? Can it afford not to address the issues that threaten an organization’s survival? These are heady questions for a field barely 55 years old.

The original edition of this text, authored by OD pioneer Edgar Huse in 1975, became a market leader because it faced the relevance issue. It took an objective, research perspective and placed OD practice on stronger theoretical footing. Ed showed that, in some cases, OD did produce meaningful results but that additional work was still needed. Sadly, Ed passed away following the publication of the second edition. His wife, Mary Huse, asked Tom Cummings to revise the book for subsequent editions. With the fifth edition, Tom asked Chris Worley to work with him in writing the text.

The most recent editions have had an important influence on the perception of OD. While maintaining the book’s strengths of even treatment and unbiased report- ing, the newer editions made even larger strides in placing OD on a strong theoretical foundation. They broadened the scope and increased the relevance of OD by includ- ing interventions that had a content component, including work design, employee involvement, and organization structure. They took another step toward relevance and suggested that OD had begun to incorporate a strategic perspective. This strategic orientation proposed that OD could be as concerned with performance issues as it was with human potential. Effective OD, from this newer perspective, relied as much on knowledge about organization theory and econo mics as it did on the behavioral sci- ences. It is our greatest hope that the current edition continues this tradition of rigor and relevance.


Our goal in the ninth edition is to update the field once again. Although we have retained several features of the prior editions, we have made some important changes.



Strategic Emphasis In keeping with the increasingly strategic focus of OD, we have expanded the strategic interventions part of the book from two chapters to three chapters. Chapter 20 now describes transformational change and focuses on the interventions and processes associated with episodic forms of large-scale change. There is a whole new section on organization redesign interventions. Chapter 21 is devoted to describing continuous change in organizations, with a new section on built-to-change organizations. Finally, Chapter 22 now combines interventions about multiple organizations, including trans- organizational development, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and networks.

Human Resources Interventions In addition, the human resources interventions part of the text has been completely reorganized and revised. The original two chapters have been expanded to three chap- ters. While we retained the performance management chapter, there is a new chapter on developing talent (Chapter 18) that includes training, leadership development, career management, and coaching. Chapter 19 has been refocused on managing work- force diversity, wellness, and stress.

Key Chapter Revisions Other chapters have received important updates and improvements. In Chapter 14— “Restructuring Organizations”—a new section on “customer-centric” organizations was added to reflect important advances in this area. In Chapter 24—“OD in Health Care, School Systems, the Public Sector, and Family-Owned Businesses”—each sec- tion has been completely re-written by new guest authors. Finally, Chapter 25—“Future Directions in Organization Development”—has received a thorough revision based on the authors’ recent research.


The text is designed to facilitate the learning of OD theory and interventions. We maintained the chapter sequence from the previous edition. Based on feedback from reviewers, this format more closely matches the OD process. Instructors can teach the process and then link OD practice to the interventions.

Organization The ninth edition is organized into seven parts. Following an introductory chapter that describes the definition and history of OD, Part 1 provides an overview of orga- nization development. It discusses the fundamental theories that underlie planned change (Chapter 2) and describes the people who practice it (Chapter 3). Part 2 is an eight-chapter description of the OD process. It describes how OD practitioners enter and contract with client systems (Chapter 4); diagnose organizations, groups, and jobs (Chapters 5 and 6); collect, analyze, and feedback diagnostic data (Chapters 7 and 8); design interventions (Chapter 9); lead and manage change (Chapter 10); and evaluate and institutionalize change (Chapter 11). In this manner, professors can focus on the OD process without distraction. Parts 3, 4, 5, and 6 then cover the major OD interven- tions used today according to the same classification scheme used in previous editions of the text. Part 3 covers human process interventions; Part 4 describes technostruc- tural approaches; Part 5 presents interventions in human resources management; and Part 6 addresses strategic change interventions. In the final section, Part 7, we cover special applications of OD, including international OD (Chapter 23); OD in health care, family businesses, schools, and the public sector (Chapter 24); and the future of



OD (Chapter 25). We believe this ordering provides professors with more flexibility in teaching OD.

Applications Within each chapter, we describe actual situations in which different OD techniques or interventions were used. These applications provide students with a chance to see how OD is actually practiced in organizations. In the ninth edition, more than 33% of the applications are new and many others have been updated to maintain the text’s currency and relevance. In response to feedback from reviewers, almost all of the applications describe a real situation in a real organization (although sometimes we felt it necessary to use disguised names). In many cases, the organizations are large public companies that should be readily recognizable. We have endeavored to write applications based on our own OD practice or that have appeared in the popular literature. In addition, we have asked several of our students to submit descriptions of their own practice and these applications appear throughout the text. The time and effort to produce these vignettes of OD practice for others is gratefully acknowledged.

Cases At the end of each major part in the book, we have included cases to permit a more in-depth discussion of the OD process. Seven of the 16 cases are new to the ninth edi- tion. We have kept some cases that have been favorites over the years but have also replaced some of the favorites with newer ones. Also in response to feedback from users of the text, we have endeavored to provide cases that vary in levels of detail, complexity, and sophistication to allow the professor some flexibility in teaching the material to either undergraduate or graduate students.

Internet Resources Throughout the book, we have tried to provide references to the Internet, particularly to sites related to the organizations discussed. Although these sites are often updated, moved, or altogether abandoned (so we cannot guarantee that the links will be main- tained as cited), these provide students with an opportunity to explore the information available on the Internet.

Audience This book can be used in a number of different ways and by a variety of people. First, it serves as a primary textbook in organization development for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Second, the book can also serve as an independent study guide for individuals wishing to learn more about how organization develop- ment can improve productivity and human satisfaction. Third, the book is intended to be of value to OD professionals, executives and administrators, specialists in such fields as personnel, training, occupational stress, and human resources management, and anyone interested in the complex process known as organization development.


Instructor’s Manual with Test Bank (ISBN: 0-324-58057-6) To assist instructors in the delivery of a course on organization development, an instructor’s manual is available. It has been revised in response to feedback from users. The manual contains material that can improve the student’s appreciation of OD and improve the instructor’s effectiveness in the classroom.



Chapter Objectives and Lecture Notes For each chapter, summary learning objec- tives provide a quick orientation to the chapter’s material. The material in the chapter is then outlined and comments are made concerning important pedagogical points, such as crucial assumptions that should be noted for students, important aspects of practical application, and alternative points of view that might be used to enliven class discussion.

Exam Questions A variety of multiple choice, true/false, and essay questions are suggested for each chapter. Instructors can use these questions directly or to suggest additional questions reflecting the professor’s own style.

Case Notes For each case in the text, teaching notes have been developed to assist instructors in preparing for case discussions. The notes provide an outline of the case, suggestions about where to place the case during the course, discussion questions to focus student attention, and an analysis of the case situation. In combination with the professor’s own insights, the notes can help to enliven the case discussion or role plays.

Audiovisual Materials Finally, a list is included of films, videos, and other materials that can be used to supplement different parts of the text, along with the addresses and phone numbers of vendors that supply the materials.

Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM (0-324-58058-4) Key instructor ancillaries (Instructor’s Manual, Test Bank, ExamView, and PowerPoint slides) are provided on CD-ROM, giving instructors the ultimate tool for customizing lectures and presentations.

ExamView Available on the Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM, ExamView contains all of the ques- tions in the printed Test Bank. This program is an easy-to-use test creation software compatible with Microsoft Windows. Instructors can add or edit questions, instructions, and answers, and select questions (randomly or numerically) by previewing them on the screen. Instructors can also create and administer quizzes online, whether over the Internet, a local area network (LAN), or a wide area network (WAN).

PowerPoint TM Presentation Slides Available on the Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM and the Web site, the PowerPoint pre- sentation package consists of tables and figures used in the book. These colorful slides can greatly aid the integration of text material during lectures and discussions.

Web Site A rich Web site at complements the text, providing many extras for the student and instructor.


Our friends and colleagues are always asking about “the text.” “Why did you include that?” “Why didn’t you include this?” “When are you going to revise it again?” “I have some suggestions that might improve this section.” And so on. It is gratifying, after eight (and now nine) editions, that people find the book provocative, refer to it, use it to guide their practice, and assign it as required reading in their courses. Even though the text is revised every three years or so, it seems to be a common subject of con- versation whenever we get together with our OD colleagues and students. When it does come time for revision, it provides us a chance to refresh, renew, and reestablish



our relationship with them. “What have you heard about what’s new in OD?” “How’s your family?” “Do you think we should reorganize the book?” “What’s next in your career?” “Did you see that article in (pick a journal or magazine)?” “What have you been reading lately?”

And then the research, reading, writing, editing, and proofing begins. Writing, debates, and editing occupy most of our time. “Can we say that better, more efficiently, and more clearly?” “Should we create a new section or revise the existing one?” “Do you really think people want to read that?” The permission requests go out and come in quickly . . . at least most of them. Follow up faxes, reminder e-mails, and urgent phone calls are made. The search for new cases and applications is an ongoing activity. “Where can we find good descriptions of change?” “Would you be willing to write up that case?” Deadlines come . . . and go. The copy editing process is banter between two strangers. “No, no, no, I meant to say that.” “Yes, that’s a good idea, I hadn’t thought of that.” Six months into it, our wives start to ask, “When will it be done?” Then, the result of having done this before, they ask, “no, I meant when will it be done, done?” When the final proofs arrive, things start to look finished. We get to see the art work and the cover design, and a new set of problems emerge. “Where did that come from?” “No, this goes there, that goes here.” Doesn’t this sound fun?

So, yes, we continue to hope that our readers, colleagues, and friends ask us about “the text.” We like talking about it, discussing it, and hearing about what we did right or wrong. But please don’t ask us about writing “the text.” We’re very happy to be done (yes, done, done).

Finally, we’d like to thank those who supported us in this effort. We are grateful to our families: Chailin Cummings and the Worley clan, Debbie, Sarah, Hannah, and Samuel. We would also like to thank our students for their comments on the previous edition, for contributing many of the applications, and for helping us to try out new ideas and perspectives. A particular word of thanks goes to Gordon Brooks, Brigette Worthen, and the Pepperdine MSOD faculty (Ann Feyerherm, Miriam Lacey, Terri Egan, and Gary Mangiofico). Our colleagues at USC’s Center for Effective Organizations—Ed Lawler, Sue Mohrman, John Boudreau, Alec Levenson, Jim O’Toole, Jay Conger, and Jay Galbraith—have been consistent sources of support and intellectual inquiry. As well, the following individuals reviewed the text and influenced our thinking with their hon- est and constructive feedback:

Ben Dattner, New York University Diana Wong, Eastern Michigan University Merwyn L. Strate, Purdue University Bruce Brewer, University of West Georgia Susan A. Lynham, Texas A&M University

We would also like to express our appreciation to members of the staff at Cengage Learning, South-Western, for their aid and encouragement. Special thanks go to Joe Sabatino, Denise Simon, and Jean Buttrom for their help and guidance throughout the development of this revision. Menaka Gupta patiently made sure that the editing and producing of our book went smoothly.

Thomas G. Cummings Christopher G. Worley Palos Verdes Estates, California San Juan Capistrano, California March, 2008


1 General Introduction to Organization Development This is a book about organization development (OD)—a process that applies a broad range of behavioral science knowledge and practices to help organizations build their capacity to change and to achieve greater effectiveness, includ- ing increased financial performance, customer satisfaction, and organization member engage- ment. Organization development differs from other planned change efforts, such as project management or innovation, because the focus is on building the organization’s ability to assess its current functioning and to achieve its goals. Moreover, OD is oriented to improving the total system—the organization and its parts in the con- text of the larger environment that affects them.

This book reviews the broad background of OD and examines assumptions, strategies and models, intervention techniques, and other aspects of OD. This chapter provides an intro- duction to OD, describing first the concept of OD itself. Second, it explains why OD has expanded rapidly in the past 50 years, both in terms of people’s need to work with and through others in organizations and in terms of organizations’ need to adapt in a complex and changing world. Third, it reviews briefly the history of OD, and fourth, it describes the evolution of OD into its current state. This intro- duction to OD is followed by an overview of the rest of the book.


Organization development is both a professional field of social action and an area of scientific inquiry. The practice of OD covers a wide spectrum of activities, with seem- ingly endless variations upon them. Team building with top corporate management, structural change in a municipality, and job enrichment in a manufacturing firm are all examples of OD. Similarly, the study of OD addresses a broad range of topics, including the effects of change, the methods of organizational change, and the factors influenc- ing OD success.

A number of definitions of OD exist and are presented in Table 1.1. Each definition has a slightly different emphasis. For example, Burke’s description focuses attention on culture as the target of change; French’s definition is concerned with OD’s long- term interest and the use of consultants; and Beckhard’s and Beer’s definitions address the process of OD. More recently, Burke and Bradford’s definition broadens the range and interests of OD. Worley and Feyerherm suggested that for a process to be called organization development, (1) it must focus on or result in the change of some aspect of the organizational system; (2) there must be learning or the transfer of knowledge or skill to the client system; and (3) there must be evidence of improvement in or an intention to improve the effectiveness of the client system.1 The following definition incorporates most of these views and is used in this book: Organization development is a systemwide application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development,

2 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

improvement, and reinforcement of the strategies, structures, and processes that lead to organiza- tion effectiveness. This definition emphasizes several features that differentiate OD from other approaches to organizational change and improvement, such as management consulting, innovation, project management, and operations management. The defi- nition also helps to distinguish OD from two related subjects, change management and organization change, that also are addressed in this book.

First, OD applies to changes in the strategy, structure, and/or processes of an entire system, such as an organization, a single plant of a multiplant firm, a department or work group, or individual role or job. A change program aimed at modifying an organization’s strategy, for example, might focus on how the organization relates to a wider environment and on how those relationships can be improved. It might include changes both in the grouping of people to perform tasks (structure) and in methods of communicating and solving problems (process) to support the changes in strategy. Similarly, an OD program directed at helping a top management team become more effective might focus on interactions and problem-solving processes within the group. This focus might result in the improved ability of top management to solve company problems in strategy and structure. This contrasts with approaches focusing on one or only a few aspects of a system, such as technological innovation or operations manage- ment. In these approaches, attention is narrowed to improvement of particular prod- ucts or processes, or to development of production or service delivery functions.

Second, OD is based on the application and transfer of behavioral science knowledge and practice, including microconcepts, such as leadership, group dynamics, and work design, and macroapproaches, such as strategy, organization design, and international

Definitions of Organization Development

Organization development is a planned process of change in an organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research, and theory. (Warner Burke)2 Organization development refers to a long-range effort to improve an organization’s problem-solving capabilities and its ability to cope with changes in its external environment with the help of external or internal behavioral-scientist consultants, or change agents, as they are sometimes called. (Wendell French)3 Organization development is an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s “processes,” using behavioral science knowledge. (Richard Beckhard)4 Organization development is a systemwide process of data collection, diagnosis, action planning, intervention, and evaluation aimed at (1) enhancing congruence among organizational structure, process, strategy, people, and culture; (2) developing new and creative organizational solutions; and (3) developing the organization’s self- renewing capacity. It occurs through the collaboration of organizational members working with a change agent using behavioral science theory, research, and technology. (Michael Beer)5 Based on (1) a set of values, largely humanistic; (2) application of the behavioral sciences; and (3) open systems theory, organization development is a system- wide process of planned change aimed toward improving overall organization effectiveness by way of enhanced congruence of such key organization dimensions as external environment, mission, strategy, leadership, culture, structure, information and reward systems, and work policies and procedures. (Warner Burke and David Bradford)6

[Table 1.1][Table 1.1]

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relations. These subjects distinguish OD from such applications as management consult- ing, technological innovation, or operations management that emphasize the economic, financial, and technical aspects of organizations. These approaches tend to neglect the personal and social characteristics of a system. Moreover, OD is distinguished by its intent to transfer behavioral science knowledge and skill so that the system is more capable of carrying out planned change in the future.

Third, OD is concerned with managing planned change, but not in the formal sense typically associated with management consulting or project management, which tends to comprise programmatic and expert-driven approaches to change. Rather, OD is more an adaptive process for planning and implementing change than a blueprint for how things should be done. It involves planning to diagnose and solve organizational problems, but such plans are flexible and often revised as new information is gathered as the change program progresses. If, for example, there was concern about the perfor- mance of a set of international subsidiaries, a reorganization process might begin with plans to assess the current relationships between the international divisions and the corporate headquarters and to redesign them if necessary. These plans would be modi- fied if the assessment discovered that most of the senior management teams were not given adequate cross-cultural training prior to their international assignments.

Fourth, OD involves the design, implementation, and the subsequent reinforce- ment of change. It moves beyond the initial efforts to implement a change program to a longer-term concern for appropriately institutionalizing new activities within the organization. For example, implementing self-managed work teams might focus on ways in which supervisors could give workers more control over work methods. After workers had more control, attention would shift to ensuring that supervisors contin- ued to provide that freedom. That assurance might include rewarding supervisors for managing in a participative style. This attention to reinforcement is similar to training and development approaches that address maintenance of new skills or behaviors, but it differs from other change perspectives that do not address how a change can be institutionalized.

Finally, OD is oriented to improving organizational effectiveness. Effectiveness is best measured along three dimensions. First, OD affirms that an effective organization is adaptable; it is able to solve its own problems and focus attention and resources on achieving key goals. OD helps organization members gain the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct these activities by involving them in the change process. Second, an effective organization has high financial and technical performance, including sales growth, acceptable profits, quality products and services, and high productiv- ity. OD helps organizations achieve these ends by leveraging social science practices to lower costs, improve products and services, and increase productivity. Finally, an effective organization has satisfied and loyal customers or other external stakeholders and an engaged, satisfied, and learning workforce. The organization’s performance responds to the needs of external groups, such as stockholders, customers, suppli- ers, and government agencies, which provide the organization with resources and legitimacy. Moreover, it is able to attract and motivate effective employees, who then perform at higher levels. Other forms of organizational change clearly differ from OD in their focus. Management consulting, for example, primarily addresses financial performance, whereas operations management or industrial engineering focuses on productivity.

Organization development can be distinguished from change management and organizational change. OD and change management both address the effective imple- mentation of planned change. They are both concerned with the sequence of activities, processes, and leadership issues that produce organization improvements. They differ, however, in their underlying value orientation. OD’s behavioral science foundation supports values of human potential, participation, and development in addition to

4 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

performance and competitive advantage. Change management focuses more narrowly on values of cost, quality, and schedule.7 As a result, OD’s distinguishing feature is its concern with the transfer of knowledge and skill so that the system is more able to manage change in the future. Change management does not necessarily require the transfer of these skills. In short, all OD involves change management, but change man- agement may not involve OD.

Similarly, organizational change is a broader concept than OD. As discussed above, organization development can be applied to managing organizational change. However, it is primarily concerned with managing change in such a way that knowledge and skills are transferred to build the organization’s capability to achieve goals and solve problems. It is intended to change the organization in a particular direction, toward improved problem solving, responsiveness, quality of work life, and effectiveness. Organizational change, in contrast, is more broadly focused and can apply to any kind of change, includ- ing technical and managerial innovations, organization decline, or the evolution of a system over time. These changes may or may not be directed at making the organization more developed in the sense implied by OD.

The behavioral sciences have developed useful concepts and methods for helping organizations to deal with changing environments, competitor initiatives, technologi- cal innovation, globalization, or restructuring. They help managers and administrators to manage the change process. Many of these concepts and techniques are described in this book, particularly in relation to managing change.


In each of the previous editions of this book, we argued that organizations must adapt to increasingly complex and uncertain technological, economic, political, and cultural changes. We also argued that OD could help an organization to create effec- tive responses to these changes and, in many cases, to proactively influence the strategic direction of the firm. The rapidly changing conditions of the past few years confirm our arguments and accentuate their relevance. According to several observ- ers, organizations are in the midst of unprecedented uncertainty and chaos, and nothing short of a management revolution will save them.8 Three major trends are shaping change in organizations: globalization, information technology, and manage- rial innovation.9

First, globalization is changing the markets and environments in which organizations operate as well as the way they function. New governments, new leadership, new mar- kets, and new countries are emerging and creating a new global economy with both opportunities and threats.10 The toppling of the Berlin Wall symbolized and energized the reunification of Germany; the European Union created a cohesive economic block that alters the face of global markets; entrepreneurs appeared in Russia, the Balkans, and Siberia to transform the former Soviet Union; terrorism has reached into every corner of economic and social life; and China is emerging as an open market and global economic influence. The rapid spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and its economic impact clearly demonstrated the interconnectedness among the social environment, organizations, and the global economy.

Second, information technology is redefining the traditional business model by changing how work is performed, how knowledge is used, and how the cost of doing business is calculated. The way an organization collects, stores, manipulates, uses, and transmits information can lower costs or increase the value and quality of prod- ucts and services. Information technology, for example, is at the heart of emerging e-commerce strategies and organizations., Yahoo!, and eBay are among

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the survivors of a busted dot-com bubble, Google has emerged as a major competitor to Microsoft, and the amount of business being conducted on the Internet is pro- jected to grow at double-digit rates. Moreover, the underlying rate of innovation is not expected to decline. Electronic data interchange—a state-of-the-art technology application a few years ago—is now considered routine business practice. The ability to move information easily and inexpensively throughout and among organizations has fueled the downsizing, delayering, and restructuring of firms. The Internet has enabled a new form of work known as telecommuting; organization members from Captial One and Cigna can work from their homes without ever going to the office. Finally, information technology is changing how knowledge is used. Information that is widely shared reduces the concentration of power at the top of the organization. In choosing “You” as the 2006 Person of the Year, Time magazine noted that the year was “a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It’s about . . . Wikipedia . . . YouTube and . . . MySpace. It’s about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes (emphasis added).”11 Organization members now share the same key information that senior managers once used to control decision making.

Third, managerial innovation has responded to the globalization and information technol- ogy trends and has accelerated their impact on organizations. New organizational forms, such as networks, strategic alliances, and virtual corporations, provide organizations with new ways of thinking about how to manufacture goods and deliver services. The strategic alliance, for example, has emerged as one of the indispensable tools in strategy imple- mentation. No single organization, not even IBM, Mitsubishi, or General Electric, can control the environmental and market uncertainty it faces. Sun Microsystems’ network is so complex that some products it sells are never touched by a Sun employee. In addition, change innovations, such as downsizing or reengineering, have radically reduced the size of organizations and increased their flexibility; new large-group interventions, such as the search conference and open space, have increased the speed with which organizational change can take place; and organization learning interventions have acknowledged and leveraged knowledge as a critical organizational resource.12 Managers, OD practitioners, and researchers argue that these forces not only are powerful in their own right but are interrelated. Their interaction makes for a highly uncertain and chaotic environment for all kinds of organizations, including manufacturing and service firms and those in the public and private sectors. There is no question that these forces are profoundly affecting organizations.

Fortunately, a growing number of organizations are undertaking the kinds of organizational changes needed to survive and prosper in today’s environment. They are making themselves more streamlined and nimble, more responsive to external demands, and more ecologically sustainable. They are involving employees in key decisions and paying for performance rather than for time. They are taking the initia- tive in innovating and managing change, rather than simply responding to what has already happened.

Organization development plays a key role in helping organizations change them- selves. It helps organizations assess themselves and their environments and revitalize and rebuild their strategies, structures, and processes. OD helps organization mem- bers go beyond surface changes to transform the underlying assumptions and values governing their behaviors. The different concepts and methods discussed in this book increasingly are finding their way into government agencies, manufacturing firms, mul- tinational corporations, service industries, educational institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. Perhaps at no other time has OD been more responsive and practically relevant to organizations’ needs to operate effectively in a highly complex and chang- ing world.

6 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

OD is obviously important to those who plan a professional career in the field, either as an internal consultant employed by an organization or as an external consultant practicing in many organizations. A career in OD can be highly rewarding, providing challenging and interesting assignments working with managers and employees to improve their organizations and their work lives. In today’s environment, the demand for OD professionals is rising rapidly. For example, large professional services firms must have effective “change management” practices to be competitive. Career oppor- tunities in OD should continue to expand in the United States and abroad.

Organization development also is important to those who have no aspirations to become professional practitioners. All managers and administrators are responsible for supervising and developing subordinates and for improving their departments’ perfor- mance. Similarly, all staff specialists, such as financial analysts, engineers, information technologists, or market researchers, are responsible for offering advice and counsel to managers and for introducing new methods and practices. Finally, OD is important to general managers and other senior executives because OD can help the whole organi- zation be more flexible, adaptable, and effective.

Organization development can also help managers and staff personnel perform their tasks more effectively. It can provide the skills and knowledge necessary for establish- ing effective interpersonal relationships. It can show personnel how to work effectively with others in diagnosing complex problems and in devising appropriate solutions. It can help others become committed to the solutions, thereby increasing chances for their successful implementation. In short, OD is highly relevant to anyone having to work with and through others in organizations.


A brief history of OD will help to clarify the evolution of the term as well as some of the problems and confusion that have surrounded it. As currently practiced, OD emerged from five major backgrounds or stems, as shown in Figure 1.1. The first was the growth of the National Training Laboratories (NTL) and the development of training groups, otherwise known as sensitivity training or T-groups. The second stem of OD was the classic work on action research conducted by social scientists interested in applying research to managing change. An important feature of action research was a technique known as survey feedback. Kurt Lewin, a prolific theorist, researcher, and practitioner in group dynamics and social change, was instrumental in the development of T-groups, survey feedback, and action research. His work led to the creation of OD and still serves as a major source of its concepts and methods. The third stem reflects a normative view of OD. Rensis Likert’s participative management framework and Blake and Mouton’s Grid® OD suggest a “one best way” to design and operate organizations. The fourth background is the approach focusing on productivity and the quality of work life. The fifth stem of OD, and the most recent influence on current practice, involves strategic change and organization transformation.

Laboratory Training Background This stem of OD pioneered laboratory training, or the T-group—a small, unstruc- tured group in which participants learn from their own interactions and evolving group processes about such issues as interpersonal relations, personal growth, lead- ership, and group dynamics. Essentially, laboratory training began in the summer of 1946, when Kurt Lewin and his staff at the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were asked by the Connecticut Interracial Commission and the Committee on Community Interrelations of the

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Laboratory Training

Action Research/Survey Feedback

Normative Approaches

Quality of Work Life

Strategic Change

1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 C








E Today

American Jewish Congress for help in research on training community leaders. A workshop was developed, and the community leaders were brought together to learn about leadership and to discuss problems. At the end of each day, the research- ers discussed privately what behaviors and group dynamics they had observed. The community leaders asked permission to sit in on these feedback sessions. Reluctant at first, the researchers finally agreed. Thus, the first T-group was formed in which people reacted to data about their own behavior.13 The researchers drew two conclu- sions about this first T-group experiment: (1) Feedback about group interaction was a rich learning experience, and (2) the process of “group building” had potential for learning that could be transferred to “back-home” situations.14

As a result of this experience, the Office of Naval Research and the National Education Association provided financial backing to form the National Training Laboratories, and Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, was selected as a site for further work (since then, Bethel has played an important part in NTL). The first Basic Skill Groups were offered in the summer of 1947. The program was so successful that the Carnegie Foundation provided support for programs in 1948 and 1949. This led to a permanent program for NTL within the National Education Association.

In the 1950s, three trends emerged: (1) the emergence of regional laboratories, (2) the expansion of summer program sessions to year-round sessions, and (3) the expansion of the T-group into business and industry, with NTL members becom- ing increasingly involved with industry programs. Notable among these industry efforts was the pioneering work of Douglas McGregor at Union Carbide, of Herbert Shepard and Robert Blake at Esso Standard Oil (now ExxonMobil), of McGregor and Richard Beckhard at General Mills, and of Bob Tannenbaum at TRW Space Systems.15

The Five Stems of OD Practice [Figure 1.1][Figure 1.1]

8 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

Applications of T-group methods at these companies spawned the term “organization development” and, equally important, led corporate personnel and industrial relations specialists to expand their roles to offer internal consulting services to managers.16

Over time, T-groups have declined as an OD intervention. They are closely associ- ated with that side of OD’s reputation as a “touchy-feely” process. NTL, as well as UCLA and Stanford, continues to offer T-groups to the public, a number of proprietary programs continue to thrive, and Pepperdine University and American University con- tinue to utilize T-groups as part of master’s level OD practitioner education. The practi- cal aspects of T-group techniques for organizations gradually became known as team building—a process for helping work groups become more effective in accomplishing tasks and satisfying member needs. Team building is one of the most common and institutionalized forms of OD today.

Action Research and Survey Feedback Background Kurt Lewin also was involved in the second movement that led to OD’s emergence as a practical field of social science. This second background refers to the processes of action research and survey feedback. The action research contribution began in the 1940s with studies conducted by social scientists John Collier, Kurt Lewin, and William Whyte. They discovered that research needed to be closely linked to action if organization members were to use it to manage change. A collaborative effort was initiated between organization members and social scientists to collect research data about an organiza- tion’s functioning, to analyze it for causes of problems, and to devise and implement solutions. After implementation, further data were collected to assess the results, and the cycle of data collection and action often continued. The results of action research were twofold: Members of organizations were able to use research on themselves to guide action and change, and social scientists were able to study that process to derive new knowledge that could be used elsewhere.

Among the pioneering action research studies were the work of Lewin and his students at the Harwood Manufacturing Company17 and the classic research by Lester Coch and John French on overcoming resistance to change.18 The latter study led to the development of participative management as a means of getting employees involved in planning and managing change. Other notable action research contributions included Whyte and Edith Hamilton’s famous study of Chicago’s Tremont Hotel19 and Collier’s efforts to apply action research techniques to improving race relations when he was commissioner of Indian affairs from 1933 to 1945.20 These studies did much to establish action research as integral to organization change. Today, it is the backbone of many OD applications.

A key component of most action research studies was the systematic collection of survey data that were fed back to the client organization. Following Lewin’s death in 1947, his Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT moved to Michigan and joined with the Survey Research Center as part of the Institute for Social Research. The institute was headed by Rensis Likert, a pioneer in developing scientific approaches to attitude surveys. His doctoral dissertation at Columbia University developed the widely used 5-point “Likert Scale.”21

In an early study by the institute, Likert and Floyd Mann administered a companywide survey of management and employee attitudes at Detroit Edison.22 The feedback process that evolved was an “interlocking chain of conferences.” The major findings of the survey were first reported to the top management and then transmitted throughout the organization. The feedback sessions were conducted in task groups, with supervisors and their immediate subordinates discussing the data together. Although there was little substantial research evidence, the researchers intuitively felt that this was a powerful process for change.

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In 1950, eight accounting departments asked for a repeat of the survey, thus gen- erating a new cycle of feedback meetings. In four departments, feedback approaches were used, but the method varied; two departments received feedback only at the departmental level; and because of changes in key personnel, nothing was done in the remaining two departments.

A third follow-up study indicated that more significant and positive changes, such as job satisfaction, had occurred in the departments receiving feedback than in the two departments that did not participate. From those findings, Likert and Mann derived several conclusions about the effects of survey feedback on organization change. This led to extensive applications of survey-feedback methods in a variety of settings. The common pattern of data collection, data feedback, action planning, implementation, and follow-up data collection in both action research and survey feedback can be seen in these examples.

Normative Background The intellectual and practical advances from the laboratory training stem and the action research/survey-feedback stem were followed closely by the belief that a human rela- tions approach represented a “one best way” to manage organizations. This normative belief was exemplified in research that associated Likert’s Participative Management (System 4, as outlined below) style and Blake and Mouton’s Grid OD program with organizational effectiveness.23

Likert’s Participative Management Program characterized organizations as having one of four types of management systems:24

Exploitive authoritative systems (System 1) exhibit an autocratic, top-down approach to leadership. Employee motivation is based on punishment and occa- sional rewards. Communication is primarily downward, and there is little lateral interaction or teamwork. Decision making and control reside primarily at the top of the organization. System 1 results in mediocre performance. Benevolent authoritative systems (System 2) are similar to System 1, except that management is more paternalistic. Employees are allowed a little more inter- action, communication, and decision making but within boundaries defined by management. Consultative systems (System 3) increase employee interaction, communication, and decision making. Although employees are consulted about problems and deci- sions, management still makes the final decisions. Productivity is good, and employ- ees are moderately satisfied with the organization. Participative group systems (System 4) are almost the opposite of System 1. Designed around group methods of decision making and supervision, this system fos- ters high degrees of member involvement and participation. Work groups are highly involved in setting goals, making decisions, improving methods, and appraising results. Communication occurs both laterally and vertically, and decisions are linked throughout the organization by overlapping group membership. System 4 achieves high levels of productivity, quality, and member satisfaction.

Likert applied System 4 management to organizations using a survey-feedback process. The intervention generally started with organization members completing the Profile of Organizational Characteristics.25 The survey asked members for their opinions about both the present and ideal conditions of six organizational features: leadership, motivation, communication, decisions, goals, and control. In the second stage, the data were fed back to different work groups within the organization. Group members examined the discrepancy between their present situation and their ideal, generally using System 4

10 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

as the ideal benchmark, and generated action plans to move the organization toward System 4 conditions.

Blake and Mouton’s Grid Organization Development originated from research about managerial and organizational effectiveness.26 Data gathered on organizational excel- lence from 198 organizations located in the United States, Japan, and Great Britain found that the two foremost barriers to excellence were planning and communica- tions.27 Each of these barriers was researched further to understand its roots, and the research resulted in a normative model of leadership—the Managerial Grid.

According to the Managerial Grid, an individual’s style can be described according to his or her concern for production and concern for people.28 A concern for produc- tion covers a range of behaviors, such as accomplishing productive tasks, developing creative ideas, making quality policy decisions, establishing thorough and high-quality staff services, or creating efficient workload measurements. Concern for production is not limited to things but also may involve human accomplishment within the organi- zation, regardless of the assigned tasks or activities. A concern for people encompasses a variety of issues, including concern for the individual’s personal worth, good working conditions, a degree of involvement or commitment to completing the job, security, a fair salary structure and fringe benefits, and good social and other relationships. Each dimension is measured on a 9-point scale and results in 81 possible leadership styles.

For example, 1,9 managers have a low concern for production and a high concern for people: They view people’s feelings, attitudes, and needs as valuable in their own right. This type of manager strives to provide subordinates with work conditions that provide ease, security, and comfort. On the other hand, 9,1 managers have a high concern for production but a low concern for people: They minimize the attitudes and feelings of subordinates and give little attention to individual creativity, conflict, and commitment. As a result, the focus is on the work organization.

Blake and Mouton proposed that the 9,9 managerial style is the most effective in overcoming the communications barrier to corporate excellence. The basic assumptions behind this managerial style differ qualitatively and quantitatively from those underly- ing the other managerial styles, which assume there is an inherent conflict between the needs of the organization and the needs of people. By showing a high concern for both people and production, managers allow employees to think and to influence the organi- zation, thus promoting active support for organizational plans. Employee participation means that better communication is critical; therefore, necessary information is shared by all relevant parties. Moreover, better communication means self-direction and self- control, rather than unquestioning, blind obedience. Organizational commitment arises out of discussion, deliberation, and debate over major organizational issues.

One of the most structured interventions in OD, Blake and Mouton’s Grid Organization Development has two key objectives: to improve planning by develop- ing a strategy for organizational excellence based on clear logic, and to help managers gain the necessary knowledge and skills to supervise effectively. It consists of six phases designed to analyze an entire business and to overcome the planning and communi- cations barriers to corporate excellence. The first phase is the Grid Seminar, a 1-week program where participants analyze their personal style and learn methods of problem solving. Phase two consists of team development and phase three involves intergroup development. In phase four, an ideal model of organizational excellence is developed and in phase five, the model is implemented. The final phase consists of an evaluation of the organization.

Despite some research support, the normative approach to change has given way to a contingency view that acknowledges the influence of the external environment, technology, and other forces in determining the appropriate organization design and management practices. Still, Likert’s participative management and Blake and Mouton’s Grid OD frameworks are both used in organizations today.

11CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

Productivity and Quality-of-Work-Life Background The contribution of the productivity and quality-of-work-life (QWL) background to OD can be described in two phases. The first phase is described by the original projects devel- oped in Europe in the 1950s and their emergence in the United States during the 1960s. Based on the research of Eric Trist and his colleagues at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London, early practitioners in Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden developed work designs aimed at better integrating technology and people.29 These QWL programs generally involved joint participation by unions and management in the design of work and resulted in work designs giving employees high levels of discretion, task variety, and feedback about results. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of these QWL programs was the discovery of self-managing work groups as a form of work design. These groups were composed of multiskilled workers who were given the neces- sary autonomy and information to design and manage their own task performances.

As these programs migrated to America, a variety of concepts and techniques were adopted and the approach tended to be more mixed than in European practice. For example, two definitions of QWL emerged during its initial development.30 QWL was first defined in terms of people’s reaction to work, particularly individual outcomes related to job satisfaction and mental health. Using this definition, QWL focused pri- marily on the personal consequences of the work experience and how to improve work to satisfy personal needs.

A second definition of QWL defined it as an approach or method.31 People defined QWL in terms of specific techniques and approaches used for improving work.32 It was viewed as synonymous with methods such as job enrichment, self-managed teams, and labor–management committees. This technique orientation derived mainly from the growing publicity surrounding QWL projects, such as the General Motors–United Auto Workers project at Tarrytown and the Gaines Pet Food plant project. These pio- neering projects drew attention to specific approaches for improving work.

The excitement and popularity of this first phase of QWL in the United States lasted until the mid-1970s, when other more pressing issues, such as inflation and energy costs, diverted national attention. However, starting in 1979, a second phase of QWL activity emerged. A major factor contributing to the resurgence of QWL was growing international competition faced by the United States in markets at home and abroad. It became increasingly clear that the relatively low cost and high quality of foreign-made goods resulted partially from the management practices used abroad, especially in Japan. Books extolling the virtues of Japanese management, such as Ouchi’s Theory Z,33 made best-seller lists.

As a result, QWL programs expanded beyond their initial focus on work design to include other features of the workplace that can affect employee productivity and satis- faction, such as reward systems, work flows, management styles, and the physical work environment. This expanded focus resulted in larger-scale and longer-term projects than had the early job enrichment programs and shifted attention beyond the individual worker to work groups and the larger work context. Equally important, it added the critical dimension of organizational efficiency to what had been up to that time a primary concern for the human dimension.

At one point, the productivity and QWL approach became so popular that it was called an ideological movement. This was particularly evident in the spread of qual- ity circles within many companies. Popularized in Japan, quality circles are groups of employees trained in problem-solving methods that meet regularly to resolve work- environment, productivity, and quality-control concerns and to develop more efficient ways of working. At the same time, many of the QWL programs started in the early 1970s were achieving success. Highly visible corporations, such as General Motors, Ford, and Honeywell, and unions, such as the United Automobile Workers, the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers, the Communications Workers of America, and the Steelworkers,

12 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

were more willing to publicize their QWL efforts. In 1980, for example, more than 1,800 people attended an international QWL conference in Toronto, Canada. Unlike previous conferences, which were dominated by academics, the presenters at Toronto were mainly managers, workers, and unionists from private and public corporations.

Today, this second phase of QWL activity continues primarily under the banner of “employee involvement” (EI) as well as total quality management and six-sigma pro- grams, rather than of QWL. For many OD practitioners, the term EI signifies, more than the name QWL, the growing emphasis on how employees can contribute more to run- ning the organization so it can be more flexible, productive, and competitive. Recently, the term “employee empowerment” has been used interchangeably with the term EI, the former suggesting the power inherent in moving decision making downward in the organization.34 Employee empowerment may be too restrictive, however. Because it draws attention to the power aspects of these interventions, it may lead practitioners to neglect other important elements needed for success, such as information, skills, and rewards. Consequently, EI seems broader and less restrictive than does employee empowerment as a banner for these approaches to organizational improvement.

Strategic Change Background The strategic change background is a recent influence on OD’s evolution. As organ- izations and their technological, political, and social environments have become more complex and more uncertain, the scale and intricacies of organizational change have increased. This trend has produced the need for a strategic perspective from OD and encouraged planned change processes at the organization level.35

Strategic change involves improving the alignment among an organization’s envi- ronment, strategy, and organization design.36 Strategic change interventions include efforts to improve both the organization’s relationship to its environment and the fit between its technical, political, and cultural systems.37 The need for strategic change is usually triggered by some major disruption to the organization, such as the lifting of regulatory requirements, a technological breakthrough, or a new chief executive officer coming in from outside the organization.38

One of the first applications of strategic change was Richard Beckhard’s use of open systems planning.39 He proposed that an organization’s environment and its strategy could be described and analyzed. Based on the organization’s core mission, the differ- ences between what the environment demanded and how the organization responded could be reduced and performance improved. Since then, change agents have proposed a variety of large-scale or strategic-change models;40 each of these models recognizes that strategic change involves multiple levels of the organization and a change in its culture, is often driven from the top by powerful executives, and has important effects on per- formance. More recently, strategic approaches to OD have been extended into mergers and acquisitions, alliance formation, and network development.41

The strategic change background has significantly influenced OD practice. For exam- ple, implementing strategic change requires OD practitioners to be familiar with com- petitive strategy, finance, and marketing, as well as team building, action research, and survey feedback. Together, these skills have improved OD’s relevance to organizations and their managers.


Current practice in organization development is strongly influenced by these five backgrounds as well as by the trends shaping change in organizations. The laboratory training, action research and survey feedback, normative, and QWL roots of OD are evident in the strong value focus that underlies its practice. The more recent influence

13CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

of the strategic change background has greatly improved the relevance and rigor of OD practice. They have added financial and economic indicators of effectiveness to OD’s traditional measures of work satisfaction and personal growth. All of the backgrounds support the transfer of knowledge and skill to the client system and the building of capacity to better manage change in the future.

Today, the field is being influenced by the globalization and information technology trends described earlier. OD is being carried out in many more countries and in many more organizations operating on a worldwide basis. This is generating a whole new set of interventions as well as adaptations to traditional OD practice.42 In addition, OD must adapt its methods to the technologies being used in organizations. As information technology continues to influence organization environments, strategies, and struc- tures, OD will need to manage change processes in cyberspace as well as face-to-face. The diversity of this evolving discipline has led to tremendous growth in the number of professional OD practitioners, in the kinds of organizations involved with OD, and in the range of countries within which OD is practiced.

The expansion of the OD Network (, which began in 1964, is one indication of this growth. It has grown from 200 members in 1970 to 2,800 in 1992 to 4,031 in 1999 and has remained stable with about 4,000 in 2007. At the same time, Division 14 of the American Psychological Association, formerly known as the Division of Industrial Psychology, has changed its title to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology ( In 1968, the American Society for Training & Development ( set up an OD division, which currently operates as the OD/Leadership Community with more than 2,000 members. In 1971, the Academy of Management established a Division of Organization Development and Change (, which currently has more than 2,600 mem- bers. Pepperdine University (http://bschool., Bowling Green State University (, and Case Western Reserve University ( offered the first master’s degree programs in OD in 1975, and Case Western Reserve University began the first doctoral program in OD. Organization development now is being taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels in a large number of universities.43

In addition to the growth of professional societies and educational programs in OD, the field continues to develop new theorists, researchers, and practitioners who are building on the work of the early pioneers and extending it to contemporary issues and conditions. The first generation of contributors included Chris Argyris, who developed a learning and action-science approach to OD;44 Warren Bennis, who tied executive leadership to stra- tegic change;45 Edie Seashore, who keeps interpersonal relationships and diversity in the forefront of practice;46 Edgar Schein, who developed process approaches to OD, including the key role of organizational culture in change management;47 Richard Beckhard, who focused attention on the importance of managing transitions;48 and Robert Tannenbaum, who sensitized OD to the personal dimension of participants’ lives.49

Among the second generation of contributors are Warner Burke, whose work has done much to make OD a professional field;50 Larry Greiner, who has brought the ideas of power and evolution into the mainstream of OD;51 Edward Lawler III, who has extended OD to reward systems and employee involvement;52 Anthony Raia and Newton Margulies, who together have kept our attention on the values underlying OD and what those mean for contemporary practice;53 and Peter Vaill, Craig Lundberg, Billie Alban, Barbara Bunker, and David Jamieson, who continue to develop OD as a practical science.54

Included among the newest generation of OD contributors are Dave Brown, whose work on action research and developmental organizations has extended OD into community and societal change;55 Thomas Cummings, whose work on sociotechni- cal systems, self-designing organizations, and transorganizational development has

14 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

led OD beyond the boundaries of single organizations to groups of organizations and their environments;56 Max Elden, whose international work in industrial democracy draws attention to the political aspects of OD;57 Richard Woodman, William Pasmore, Rami Shani, and Jerry Porras, who have done much to put OD on a sound research and conceptual base;58 and Peter Block, who has focused attention on consulting skills, empowerment processes, and reclaiming our individuality.59 Others making important contributions to the field include Ken Murrell, who has focused attention on the inter- nationalization of OD;60 Sue Mohrman, who has forged a link between organization design and OD;61 Chris Worley, who has pushed the integration of OD with strategy and organization design;62 David Cooperrider and Jim Ludema, who have turned our attention toward the positive aspects of organizations;63 and Bob Marshak, who alerts us to the importance of symbolic and covert processes during change.64 These academic contributors are joined by a large number of internal OD practitioners and external consultants who lead organizational change.

Many different organizations have undertaken a wide variety of OD efforts. In many cases, organizations have been at the forefront of innovating new change tech- niques and methods as well as new organizational forms. Larger corporations that have engaged in organization development include General Electric, Boeing, Texas Instruments, American Airlines, DuPont, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, General Foods, Procter & Gamble, IBM, Raytheon, Wells Fargo Bank, the Hartford Financial Services, and Limited Brands. Traditionally, much of the work was considered confi- dential and was not publicized. Today, however, organizations increasingly are going public with their OD efforts, sharing the lessons with others.

OD work also is being done in schools, communities, and local, state, and federal gov- ernments. Several reviews of OD projects were directed primarily at OD in public admin- istration.65 Extensive OD work was done in the armed services, including the army, navy, air force, and coast guard, although OD activity and research activities have ebbed and flowed with changes in the size and scope of the military. Public schools began using both group training and survey feedback relatively early in the history of OD.66 Usually, the projects took place in suburban middle-class schools, where stresses and strains of an urban environment were not prominent and ethnic and socioeconomic differences between consultants and clients were not high. In more recent years, OD methods have been extended to urban schools and to colleges and universities.

Organization development is increasingly international. It has been applied in nearly every country in the world. These efforts have involved such organizations as Saab (Sweden), Imperial Chemical Industries (England), Shell Oil Company, Orrefors (Sweden), Akzo-Nobel (The Netherlands), the Beijing Arbitration Commission and Neusoft Corporation (China), Air New Zealand, and Vitro (Mexico).

Although it is evident that OD has expanded vastly in recent years, relatively few of the total number of organizations in the United States are actively involved in formal OD programs. However, many organizations are applying OD approaches and tech- niques without knowing that such a term exists.


This book presents the process and practice of organization development in a logical flow, as shown in Figure 1.2. Part 1 provides an overview of OD that describes the process of planned change and those who perform the work. It consists of two chapters. Chapter 2 discusses the nature of planned change and presents some models describing the change process. Planned change is viewed as an ongoing cycle of four activities: entering and contracting, diagnosing, planning and implementing, and evaluating and institutional- izing. Chapter 3 describes the OD practitioner and provides insight into the knowledge and skills needed to practice OD and the kinds of career issues that can be expected.

Overview of the Book [Figure 1.2][Figure 1.2]

Part 1: Overview of Organization Development

Part 3: Human Process Interventions

Interpersonal and Group Process Approaches (Chapter 12)

Organization Process Approaches (Chapter 13)

Part 4: Technostructural Interventions

Restructuring Organizations (Chapter 14)

Employee Involvement (Chapter 15)

Work Design (Chapter 16)

Part 6: Strategic Change Interventions

Transformational Change (Chapter 20)

Continuous Change (Chapter 21)

Transorganizational Change (Chapter 22)

Entering and Contracting (Chapter 4)

Feeding Back Diagnostic Information (Chapter 8)

Diagnosing Organizations (Chapter 5)

Designing Interventions (Chapter 9)

Diagnosing Groups and Jobs (Chapter 6)

Leading and Managing Change (Chapter 10)

Collecting and Analyzing Diagnostic Information (Chapter 7)

Evaluating and Institutionalizing OD Interventions (Chapter 11)

Part 2: The Process of Organization Development

The Nature of Planned Change (Chapter 2)

The Organization Development Practitioner (Chapter 3)

Part 7: Special Applications of Organization Development

Organization Development in Global Settings (Chapter 23)

OD in Health Care, School Systems, the Public Sector, and Family-Owned Businesses (Chapter 24)

Future Directions in Organization Development (Chapter 25)

Part 5: Human Resource Management Interventions

Performance Management (Chapter 17)

Developing Talent (Chapter 18)

Managing Workforce Diversity and Wellness (Chapter 19)

15CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

Part 2 is composed of eight chapters that describe the process of organization devel- opment. Chapter 4 characterizes the first activity in this process: entering an organiza- tional system and contracting with it for organization development work. Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 present the steps associated with the next major activity of the OD process: diagnosing. This involves helping the organization understand its current functioning

16 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

and discover areas for improvement. Chapters 5 and 6 present an open-systems model to guide diagnosis at three levels of analysis: the total organization, the group or department, and the individual job or position. Chapters 7 and 8 review methods for collecting, analyzing, and feeding back diagnostic data. Chapters 9 and 10 address issues concerned with the third activity: designing OD interventions and implement- ing change. Chapter 9 presents an overview of the intervention design process. Major kinds of interventions are identified, and the specific approaches that make up the next four parts of the book are introduced. Chapter 10 discusses the process of leading and managing change. It identifies key factors contributing to the successful implementa- tion of change programs. Chapter 11 describes the final activity of the planned change process: evaluating OD interventions and establishing them as a permanent part of organizational functioning.

Parts 3 through 6 present the major interventions used in OD today. Part 3 (Chapters 12 and 13) is concerned with human process interventions aimed at the social pro- cesses occurring within organizations. These are the oldest and most traditional inter- ventions in OD. Chapter 12 describes interpersonal and group process approaches, such as process consultation, third-party interventions, and team building. Chapter 13 presents more systemwide process approaches, such as organizational confrontation meetings, intergroup relations, and large-group interventions.

Part 4 (Chapters 14, 15, and 16) reviews technostructural interventions that are aimed at organization structure and at better integrating people and technology. Chapter 14 is about restructuring organizations; it describes the alternative methods of organizing work activities as well as processes for downsizing and reengineering the organization. Chapter 15 presents interventions for improving employee involve- ment. These change programs increase employee knowledge, power, information, and rewards through parallel structures, total quality management, and high-involve- ment organizations. Chapter 16 describes change programs directed at work design, both of individual jobs and of work groups, for greater employee satisfaction and productivity.

Part 5 (Chapters 17, 18, and 19) presents human resource management interven- tions that are directed at integrating people into the organization. These interventions are associated traditionally with the human resource function in the organization and increasingly have become a part of OD activities. Chapter 17 concerns the process of performance management. This is a cycle of activities that helps groups and individu- als to set goals, appraise work, and reward performance. Chapter 18 discusses inter- ventions that build human talent and capital in the organization, including coaching, career planning and development, and management and leadership development. Chapter 19 presents two interventions that address and leverage workforce diversity and improve employee wellness.

Part 6 (Chapters 20, 21, and 22) concerns strategic interventions that focus on organizing the firm’s resources to gain a competitive advantage in the environment. These change programs generally are managed from the top of the organization and take considerable time, effort, and resources. Chapter 20 presents three interventions having to do with organization transformation, including integrated strategic change, organization design, and culture change. Chapter 21 describes continuous change inter- ventions, including self-design, learning and knowledge management, and creating built to change organizations. Finally, Chapter 22 describes three transorganizational interventions: merger and acquisition integration processes, alliance formation and management, and network development and change.

Part 7 (Chapters 23, 24, and 25) is concerned with special topics in OD. Chapter 23 describes the practice of OD in international settings. OD in organizations operating outside of the United States requires modification of the interventions to fit the coun- try’s cultural context. Organization development in worldwide organizations is aimed

17CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

at improving the internal alignment of strategy, structure, and process to achieve global objectives. Furthermore, the practice of OD in global social change organizations promotes sustainable development and improves human potential in emerging coun- tries. Chapter 24 presents broad applications of OD in different kinds of organizations, including educational, government, family-owned, and health care agencies. Finally, Chapter 25 examines the future of organization development, including the trends affecting the field and the prospects for its influence on organization effectiveness.


This chapter introduced OD as a planned change discipline concerned with apply- ing behavioral science knowledge and practices to help organizations achieve greater effectiveness. Managers and staff specialists must work with and through people to achieve organizational objectives, and OD can help them form effective relationships with others. Organizations are faced with rapidly accelerating change, and OD can help them cope with the consequences of change. The concept of OD has multiple meanings. The definition provided here resolved some of the problems with earlier definitions. The history of OD reveals its five roots: laboratory training, action research and survey feedback, normative approaches, productivity and quality of work life, and strategic change. The current practice of OD goes far beyond its humanistic origins by incorporating concepts from organization strategy and design that complement the early emphasis on social processes. The continued growth in the number and diversity of OD approaches, practitioners, and involved organizations attests to the health of the discipline and offers a favorable prospect for the future.

1. C. Worley and A. Feyerherm, “Reflections on the Future of OD,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 39 (2003): 97–115.

2. W. Burke, Organization Development: Principles and Practices (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982).

3. W. French, “Organization Development: Objectives, Assumptions, and Strategies,” California Management Review 12, 2 (1969): 23–34.

4. R. Beckhard, Organization Development: Strate gies and Models (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1969).

5. M. Beer, Organization Change and Development: A Systems View (Santa Monica, Calif.: Goodyear Publishing, 1980).

6. W. Burke and D. Bradford, “The Crisis in OD,” in Reinventing Organization Development, eds. D. Bradford and W. Burke (San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2005): 1–14.

7. N. Worren, K. Ruddle, and K. Moore, “From Organization Development to Change Manage ment: The Emergence of a New Profession,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 35 (1999): 273–86; J. Hayes, The Theory and Practice of Change Manage ment (New York: Palgrave, 2002); R. Paton and J. McCalman, Change Management (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2000).

8. G. Hamel, The Future of Management (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2007); W. Burke, Organization Change (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2002); D. Watts, Six Degrees (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003); M. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1999); S. Chowdhury, ed., Organization 21C (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002); B. Jones and M. Brazzel (eds.), The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change (San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2006).

9. T. Stewart, “Welcome to the Revolution,” Fortune (December 13, 1993) 66–80; M. Hitt, R. Ireland, R. Hoskisson, Strategic Management 7th ed. (Mason, OH: Southwestern College Publishing, 2006).

10. T. Friedman, The World is Flat (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006); J. Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2005); A. Chua, World on Fire (New York: Doubleday, 2002); International Forum on Globalization, Alternatives to Economic Globalization (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2002).

11. Time Magazine, “Person of the Year,” Time (December 25, 2006).

12. M. Anderson, ed., Fast Cycle Organization Develop- ment (Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing,


18 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

2000); M. Hammer and J. Champy, Reengineering the Corporation (New York: HarperCollins, 1993); P. Senge, The Fifth Discip line (New York: Doubleday, 1990).

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14. L. Bradford, “Biography of an Institution,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 3 (1967): 127; A. Marrow, “Events Leading to the Establishment of the National Training Laboratories,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 3 (1967): 145–50.

15. Kleiner, Age of Heretics; M. Mortara, “Organi zation Development and Change at TRW Space Technology Laboratories” (unpublished master’s thesis, Pepperdine University, 2003).

16. W. French, “The Emergence and Early History of Organization Development with Reference to Influences upon and Interactions among Some of the Key Actors,” in Contemporary Organization Develop- ment: Current Thinking and Applications, ed. D. Warrick (Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1985): 12–27.

17. A. Marrow, D. Bowers, and S. Seashore, Manage- ment by Participation (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).

18. L. Coch and J. French, “Overcoming Resistance to Change,” Human Relations 1 (1948): 512–32.

19. W. Whyte and E. Hamilton, Action Research for Management (Homewood, Ill.: Irwin-Dorsey, 1964).

20. J. Collier, “United States Indian Administra tion as a Laboratory of Ethnic Relations,” Social Research 12 (May 1945): 275–76.

21. French, “Emergence and Early History,” 19–20.

22. F. Mann, “Studying and Creating Change,” in The Planning of Change: Readings in the Applied Behavioral Sciences, eds. W. Bennis, K. Benne, and R. Chin (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1962), 605–15.

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24. Likert, Human Organization.

25. Ibid.

26. Blake and Mouton, The Managerial Grid; Blake and Mouton, Corporate Excellence; Blake and Mouton, Building a Dynamic Corporation; R. Blake and A. McCanse, Leadership Dilemmas—Grid Solutions (Houston: Gulf, 1991).

27. Blake and Mouton, Corporate Excellence.

28. Blake and Mouton, Managerial Grid.

29. A. Rice, Productivity and Social Organization: The Ahmedabad Experiment (London: Tavistock Publi cations, 1958); E. Trist and K. Bamforth, “Some Social and Psychological Consequences of the Longwall Method of Coal-Getting,” Human Relations 4 (January 1951): 1–38; P. Gyllenhamer, People at Work (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1977); E. Thorsrud, B. Sorensen, and B. Gustavsen, “Socio technical Approach to Industrial Democracy in Norway,” in Handbook of Work Organization and Society, ed. R. Dubin (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1976): 648–87; Work in America: Report of a Special Task Force to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1973); L. Davis and A. Cherns, eds., The Quality of Working Life, 2 vols. (New York: Free Press, 1975).

30. D. Nadler and E. Lawler III, “Quality of Work Life: Perspectives and Directions” (working paper, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1982); L. Davis, “Enhancing the Quality of Work Life: Develop ments in the United States,” International Labour Review 116 (July–August 1977): 53–65; L. Davis, “Job Design and Productivity: A New Approach,” Personnel 33 (1957): 418–30.

31. Ibid.

32. R. Ford, “Job Enrichment Lessons from AT&T,” Harvard Business Review 51 (January–February 1973): 96–106; J. Taylor, J. Landy, M. Levine, and D. Kamath, Quality of Working Life: An Annotated Bibliography, 1957–1972 (Center for Organizational Studies, Graduate School of Management, University of California at Los Angeles, 1972); J. Taylor, “Experi- ments in Work System Design: Economic and Human Results,” Personnel Review 6 (1977): 28–37; J. Taylor, “Job Satisfaction and Quality of Working Life: A Reassessment,” Journal of Occupational Psychology 50 (December 1977): 243–52.

33. W. Ouchi, Theory Z (Reading, Mass.: Addison- Wesley, 1981).

34. J. Vogt and K. Murrell, Empowerment in Organizations (San Diego: University Associates, 1990).

35. M. Jelinek and J. Litterer, “Why OD Must Become Strategic,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 2, eds. W. Pasmore and R. Woodman (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1988), 135–62; P. Buller, “For Successful Strategic Change: Blend OD Practices with Strategic Management,” Organizational Dynamics (Winter 1988): 42–55; C. Worley, D. Hitchin,

19CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

and W. Ross, Integrated Strategic Change (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1996).

36. Worley, Hitchin, and Ross, Integrated Strategic Change; N. Rajagopalan and G. Spreitzer, “Toward a Theory of Strategic Change: A Multi-Lens Perspective and Integrative Framework,” Academy of Management Review 22 (1997): 48–79.

37. R. Beckhard and R. Harris, Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change, 2d ed. (Read- ing, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987); N. Tichy, Manag- ing Strategic Change (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1983); E. Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985); C. Lundberg, “Working with Culture,” Journal of Organization Change Management 1 (1988): 38–47.

38. D. Miller and P. Freisen, “Momentum and Revolution in Organization Adaptation,” Academy of Management Journal 23 (1980): 591–614; M. Tushman and E. Romanelli, “Organizational Evolution: A Metamorphosis Model of Convergence and Reorientation,” in Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 7, eds. L. Cummings and B. Staw (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1985), 171–222.

39. Beckhard and Harris, Organizational Transitions.

40. T. Covin and R. Kilmann, “Critical Issues in Large- Scale Organization Change,” Journal of Organization Change Management 1 (1988): 59–72; A. Mohrman, S. Mohrman, G. Ledford Jr., T. Cummings, and E. Lawler, eds., Large-Scale Organization Change (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989); W. Torbert, “Leading Organizational Transformation,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 3, eds. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1989), 83–116; J. Bartunek and M. Louis, “The Interplay of Organization Development and Organization Transformation,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 2, eds. W. Pasmore and R. Woodman (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1988), 97–134; A. Levy and U. Merry, Organizational Transformation: Approaches, Strategies, Theories (New York: Praeger, 1986).

41. M. Marks and P. Mirvis, Joining Forces (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998).

42. A. Jaeger, “Organization Development and National Culture: Where’s the Fit?” Academy of Management Review 11 (1986): 178; G. Hofstede, Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values (London: Sage, 1980); P. Sorensen Jr., T. Head, N. Mathys, J. Preston, and D. Cooperrider, Global and International Organization Development (Champaign, Ill.: Stipes, 1995); A. Chin (with C. Chin), Internationalizing OD: Cross-Cultural Experiences of NTL Members (Alexandria, VA.: NTL Institute, 1997).

43. G. Varney and A. Darrow, “Market Position of Master-Level Graduate Programs in OD,” OD

Practitioner 27 (1995): 39–43; OD Institute, Inter- national Registry of O.D. Professionals and O.D. Handbook (Cleveland: OD Institute, 1995); G. Varney and A. Darrow, “Name Recognition of Master’s Level Graduate Programs in Organization Development and Change,” OD Practitioner 30 (1998): 36–40.

44. C. Argyris and D. Schon, Organizational Learning II (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1996); C. Argyris, R. Putnam, and D. Smith, Action Science (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985).

45. W. Bennis, Managing People Is Like Herding Cats: Warren Bennis on Leadership (New York: Executive Excellence, 1997); W. Bennis and B. Nanus, Leaders (New York: Harper & Row, 1985).

46. B. Patwell and E. Seashore, Triple Impact Coaching (Columbia, Maryland: Bingham House Books, 2006).

47. E. Schein, Process Consultation Revisited: Creating the Helping Relationship (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1999); E. Schein, Process Consultation: Its Role in Organization Development (Reading, Mass.: Addison- Wesley, 1969); E. Schein, Process Consultation Volume II: Lessons for Managers and Consultants (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987); E. Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership, 2d ed. (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 1997).

48. Beckhard and Harris, Organizational Transitions; R. Beckhard and W. Pritchard, Changing the Essence (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992); R. Beckhard, Agent of Change (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997).

49. R. Tannenbaum and R. Hanna, “Holding On, Letting Go, and Moving On: Understanding a Neglected Perspective on Change,” in Human Systems Development, eds. R. Tannenbaum, N. Margulies, and F. Massarik (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985), 95–121.

50. W. Burke, Organization Development: Principles and Practices (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982); W. Burke, Organization Development: A Normative View (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987); W. Burke, “Organi- zation Development: Then, Now, and Tomorrow,” OD Practitioner 27 (1995): 5–13.

51. L. Greiner, “Evolution and Revolution as Organi- zations Grow,” Harvard Business Review 50 (July– August 1972): 37–46; L. Greiner and V. Schein, Power and Organizational Development: Mobilizing Power to Implement Change (Reading, Mass.: Addison- Wesley, 1988).

52. E. Lawler III, Pay and Organization Development (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1981); E. Lawler III, High-Involvement Management (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1986); E. Lawler III, From the Ground Up (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996); E. Lawler III, Rewarding Excellence (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000).

20 CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

53. A. Raia and N. Margulies, “Organization Development: Issues, Trends, and Prospects,” in Human Systems Development, eds. R. Tannenbaum, N. Margulies, and F. Massarik (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 1985), 246–72; N. Margulies and A. Raia, “Some Reflections on the Values of Organizational Development,” Academy of Management OD Newsletter 1 (Winter 1988): 9–11.

54. P. Vaill, “OD as a Scientific Revolution,” in Contemporary Organization Development: Current Thinking and Applications (Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman, 1985), 28–41; C. Lundberg, “On Organization Development Interventions: A General Systems-Cybernetic Per- spective,” in Systems Theory for Organizational Development, ed. T. Cummings (Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons, 1980), 247–71; P. Frost, L. Moore, M. Louis, and C. Lundberg, Reframing Organizational Culture (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1991); D. Jamieson and J. O’Mara, Managing Work- force 2000 (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991); D. Jamieson and C. Worley, “The Practice of Organization Development,” in Handbook of Organization Development. ed. T. Cummings (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007); B. Bunker and B. Alban, “Introduction to the Special Issue on Large Group Interventions,” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 41 (2005): 9–15; B. Bunker, B. Alban, and R. Lewicki, “Ideas in Currency and Practice: Has the Well Gone Dry,” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 40 (2004): 403–23.

55. L. D. Brown and J. Covey, “Development Organi- zations and Organization Development: Toward an Expanded Paradigm for Organization Development,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 1, eds. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1987), 59–87.

56. T. Cummings and S. Srivastva, Management of Work: A Socio-Technical Systems Approach (San Diego: University Associates, 1977); T. Cummings, “Transorganizational Develop ment,” in Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 6, eds. B. Staw and L. Cummings (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1984), 367–422; T. Cummings and S. Mohrman, “Self-Designing Organizations: Towards Implementing Quality-of-Work-Life Innovations,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 1, eds. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1987), 275–310.

57. M. Elden, “Sociotechnical Systems Ideas as Public Policy in Norway: Empowering Participation through Worker-Managed Change,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 22 (1986): 239–55.

58. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore, Research in Organizational Change and Development, vols. 1–16 (Oxford: Elsevier, 1987–2007); W. Pasmore, C. Haldeman, and A. Shani, “Sociotechnical Systems: A North American Reflection on Empirical Studies in North America,” Human Relations 32 (1982): 1179– 204; W. Pasmore and J. Sherwood, Sociotechnical

Systems: A Source Book (San Diego: University Associates, 1978); J. Porras, Stream Analysis: A Powerful Way to Diagnose and Manage Organizational Change (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987); J. Porras, P. Robertson, and L. Goldman, “Organization Development: Theory, Practice, and Research,” in Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2d ed., ed. M. Dunnette (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1990); J. Collins and J. Porras, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (New York: Harper Business, 1997); A. Shani, S. Mohrman, W. Pasmore, B. Stymne, and N. Adler (eds.), Handbook of Collabo- rative Management Research (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007).

59. P. Block, Flawless Consulting (Austin, Tex.: Learning Concepts, 1981); P. Block, The Empowered Manager: Positive Political Skills at Work (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 1987); P. Block, Stewardship (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1994); P. Block, The Answer to How Is Yes (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2002).

60. K. Murrell, “Organization Development Experi- ences and Lessons in the United Nations Development Program,” Organization Development Journal 12 (1994): 1–16; J. Vogt and K. Murrell, Empowerment in Organizations (San Diego: Pfeiffer, 1990); K. Murrell and M. Meredith, Empowering Employees (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000); M. Miller, S. Fitzgerald, K. Murrell, J. Preston, and R. Ambekar, “Appreciative Inquiry in Building a Transcultural Strategic Alliance: The Case of a Biotech Alliance Between a U.S. Multinational and an Indian Family Business,” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 41 (2005): 91–111.

61. S. Mohrman, S. Cohen, and A. Mohrman, Designing Team-Based Organizations (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995); S. Cohen and G. Ledford Jr., “The Effectiveness of Self-Managing Teams: A Quasi- Experiment,” Human Relations 47 (1994): 13–43; G. Ledford and E. Lawler, “Research on Employee Participation: Beating a Dead Horse?” Academy of Management Review 19 (1994): 633–36; G. Ledford, E. Lawler, and S. Mohrman, “The Quality Circle and Its Variations,” in Productivity in Organizations: New Perspectives from Industrial and Organizational Psychology, eds. J. Campbell, R. Campbell, and Associates (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1988); Mohrman, Ledford, Mohrman, et al., Large-Scale Organization Change.

62. Worley, Hitchin, and Ross, Integrated Strategic Change; E. Lawler and C. Worley, Built to Change (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006).

63. D. Cooperrider, “Positive Image, Positive Action: The Affirmative Basis for Organizing,” in Appreciative Management and Leadership, eds. S. Srivastva, D. Cooperrider, and Associates (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990); D. Cooperrider and S. Srivastva, “Appreciative Inquiry in Organizational Life,” in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 1, eds. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore (Greenwich, Conn.:

21CHAPTER 1 General Introduction to Organization Development

JAI Press, 1987), 129–70; J. Ludema, T. Wilmot, and S. Srivastva, “Organizational hope: Reaffirming the constructive task of social and organizational inquiry,” Human Relations 50 (1997): 1015–53; J. Ludema, D. Whitney, B. Mohr, and T. Griffin, The Apprecia tive Inquiry Summit: A Practitioner’s Guide for Leading Large- Group Change (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2003).

64. R. Marshak, Covert Processes at Work: Managing the Five Hidden Dimensions of Organizational Change (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006); L. Heracleous and R. Marshak, “Conceptualizing organizational discourse as situated symbolic action,” Human Relations 57 (2004): 1285–313.

65. R. Golembiewski, C. Proehl, and D. Sink, “Success of OD Applications in the Public Sector, Toting Up the Score for a Decade, More or Less,” Public Administration

Review 41 (1981): 679–82; R. Golembiewski, Humanizing Public Organizations (Mt. Airy, Md.: Lomond, 1985); P. Robertson and S. Seneviratne, “Outcomes of Planned Organi zation Change in the Public Sector: A Meta-Analytic Comparison to the Private,” Public Administration Review 55 (1995): 547–61.

66. R. Shmuck and M. Miles, Organizational Development in Schools (Palo Alto, Calif.: National Press Books, 1971); R. Havelock, The Change Agent’s Guide to Innovation in Education (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Techno logy, 1973); R. Schmuck and P. Runkel, “Organization Development in Schools,” Consultation 4 (Fall 1985): 236–57; S. Mohrman and E. Lawler, “Motivation for School Reform” (working paper, Center for Effective Organi zations, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1995).


Chapter 2 The Nature of Planned Change

Chapter 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

Overview of Organization Development


The Nature of Planned Change

The pace of global, economic, and technological development makes change an inevitable fea- ture of organizational life. However, change that happens to an organization can be distinguished from change that is planned by its members. In this book, the term change will refer to planned change. Organization development is directed at bringing about planned change to increase an organization’s effectiveness and capability to change itself. It is generally initiated and imple- mented by managers, often with the help of an OD practitioner from either inside or outside of the organization. Organizations can use planned change to solve problems, to learn from experi- ence, to reframe shared perceptions, to adapt to external environmental changes, to improve performance, and to influence future changes.

All approaches to OD rely on some theory about planned change. The theories describe

the different stages through which planned change may be effected in organizations and explain the temporal process of applying OD methods to help organization members man- age change. In this chapter, we first describe and compare three major theories of organiza- tion change that have received considerable attention in the field: Lewin’s change model, the action research model, and the positive model. Next, we present a general model of planned change that integrates the earlier models and incorporates recent conceptual advances in OD. The general model has broad applicability to many types of planned change efforts and serves to organize the chapters in this book. We then discuss different types of change and how the process can vary depending on the change situation. Finally, we present several critiques of planned change.


Conceptions of planned change have tended to focus on how change can be imple- mented in organizations.1 Called “theories of changing,” these frameworks describe the activities that must take place to initiate and carry out successful organizational change. In this section, we describe and compare three theories of changing: Lewin’s change model, the action research model, and the positive model. These frameworks have received widespread attention in OD and serve as the primary basis for a general model of planned change.

Lewin’s Change Model One of the earliest models of planned change was provided by Kurt Lewin.2 He conceived of change as modification of those forces keeping a system’s behavior stable. Specifically, a particular set of behaviors at any moment in time is the result of two groups of forces: those striving to maintain the status quo and those pushing for change. When both sets of forces are about equal, current behaviors are maintained in what Lewin termed a state of “quasi-stationary equilibrium.” To change that state, one can increase those forces pushing


24 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

for change, decrease those forces maintaining the current state, or apply some combination of both. For example, the level of performance of a work group might be stable because group norms maintaining that level are equivalent to the supervisor’s pressures for change to higher levels. This level can be increased either by changing the group norms to support higher levels of performance or by increasing supervisor pressures to produce at higher levels. Lewin suggested that decreasing those forces maintaining the status quo produces less tension and resistance than increasing forces for change and consequently is a more effective change strategy.

Lewin viewed this change process as consisting of the following three steps, which are shown in Figure 2.1(A):

Unfreezing. This step usually involves reducing those forces maintaining the organization’s behavior at its present level. Unfreezing is sometimes accomplished through a process of “psychological disconfirmation.” By introducing information that shows discrepancies between behaviors desired by organization members and those behaviors currently exhibited, members can be motivated to engage in change activities.3

Moving. This step shifts the behavior of the organization, department, or individ- ual to a new level. It involves intervening in the system to develop new behaviors, values, and attitudes through changes in organizational structures and processes. Refreezing. This step stabilizes the organization at a new state of equilibrium. It is frequently accomplished through the use of supporting mechanisms that rein- force the new organizational state, such as organizational culture, rewards, and structures.

Lewin’s model provides a general framework for understanding organizational change. Because the three steps of change are relatively broad, considerable effort has gone into elaborating them. For example, the planning model developed by Lippitt, Watson, and Westley arranges Lewin’s model into seven steps: scouting, entry, diagno- sis (unfreezing), planning, action (moving), stabilization and evaluation, and termina- tion (refreezing).4 Similarly, Kotter’s eightwstage process can be mapped onto Lewin’s phases: establishing a sense of urgency, creating the guiding coalition, developing a vision and strategy, and communicating the change vision (unfreezing); empowering broad-based action, generating short-term wins (moving); and consolidating gains and producing more change, and anchoring new approaches in the culture (refreezing).5

Lewin’s model remains closely identified with the field of OD, however, and is used to illustrate how other types of change can be implemented. For example, Lewin’s three-step model has been used to explain how information technologies can be imple- mented more effectively.6

Action Research Model The classic action research model focuses on planned change as a cyclical process in which initial research about the organization provides information to guide subsequent action. Then the results of the action are assessed to provide further information to guide further action, and so on. This iterative cycle of research and action involves con- siderable collaboration among organization members and OD practitioners. It places heavy emphasis on data gathering and diagnosis prior to action planning and imple- mentation, as well as careful evaluation of results after action is taken.

Action research is traditionally aimed both at helping specific organizations imple- ment planned change and at developing more general knowledge that can be applied to other settings.7 Although action research was originally developed to have this dual focus on change and knowledge generation, it has been adapted to OD efforts in which the major emphasis is on planned change.8 Figure 2.1(B) shows the cyclical




25CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

phases of planned change as defined by the original action research model. There are eight main steps.

Problem Identification. This stage usually begins when an executive in the orga- nization or someone with power and influence senses that the organization has one or more problems that might be solved with the help of an OD practitioner. Consultation with a Behavioral Science Expert. During the initial contact, the OD practitioner and the client carefully assess each other. The practitioner has his or her own normative, developmental theory or frame of reference and must be



Comparison of Planned Change Models [Figure 2.1][Figure 2.1]

(A) Lewin’s Planned Change Model




(B) Action Research


Problem Identification

Consultation with Behavioral Science Expert

Feedback to Key Client or Group

Joint Diagnosis of Problem

Joint Action Planning


Data Gathering after Action

(C) Positive Model

Initiate the Inquiry

Inquire into Best Practices

Discover Themes

Envision a Preferred Future

Design and Deliver Ways to Create

the Future

Data Gathering and Preliminary Diagnosis

26 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

conscious of those assumptions and values.9 Sharing them with the client from the beginning establishes an open and collaborative atmosphere. Data Gathering and Preliminary Diagnosis. This step is usually completed by the OD practitioner, often in conjunction with organization members. It involves gathering appropriate information and analyzing it to determine the underlying causes of organizational problems. The four basic methods of gathering data are interviews, process observation, questionnaires, and organizational performance data (unfortunately, often overlooked). One approach to diagnosis begins with observation, proceeds to a semistructured interview, and concludes with a ques- tionnaire to measure precisely the problems identified by the earlier steps.10 When gathering diagnostic information, OD practitioners may influence members from whom they are collecting data. In OD, any action by the OD practitioner can be viewed as an intervention that will have some effect on the organization.11

Feedback to a Key Client or Group. Because action research is a collaborative activity, the diagnostic data are fed back to the client, usually in a group or work- team meeting. The feedback step, in which members are given the information gath- ered by the OD practitioner, helps them determine the strengths and weaknesses of the organization or unit under study. The consultant provides the client with all relevant and useful data. Obviously, the practitioner will protect confidential sources of information and, at times, may even withhold data. Defining what is relevant and useful involves consideration of privacy and ethics as well as judgment about whether the group is ready for the information or if the information would make the client overly defensive. Joint Diagnosis of the Problem. At this point, members discuss the feedback and explore with the OD practitioner whether they want to work on identified problems. A close interrelationship exists among data gathering, feedback, and diagnosis because the consultant summarizes the basic data from the client mem- bers and presents the data to them for validation and further diagnosis. An impor- tant point to remember, as Schein suggests, is that the action research process is very different from the doctor–patient model, in which the consultant comes in, makes a diagnosis, and prescribes a solution. Schein notes that the failure to estab- lish a common frame of reference in the client–consultant relationship may lead to a faulty diagnosis or to a communication gap whereby the client is sometimes “unwilling to believe the diagnosis or accept the prescription.” He believes that “most companies have drawers full of reports by consultants, each loaded with diagnoses and recommendations which are either not understood or not accepted by the ‘patient.’ ”12

Joint Action Planning. Next, the OD practitioner and the client members jointly agree on further actions to be taken. This is the beginning of the moving process (described in Lewin’s change model), as the organization decides how best to reach a different quasi-stationary equilibrium. At this stage, the specific action to be taken depends on the culture, technology, and environment of the organization; the diagnosis of the problem; and the time and expense of the intervention. Action. This stage involves the actual change from one organizational state to another. It may include installing new methods and procedures, reorganizing structures and work designs, and reinforcing new behaviors. Such actions typically cannot be implemented immediately but require a transition period as the organi- zation moves from the present to a desired future state.13

Data Gathering After Action. Because action research is a cyclical process, data must also be gathered after the action has been taken to measure and determine the effects of the action and to feed the results back to the organization. This, in turn, may lead to rediagnosis and new action.







27CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

The action research model underlies most current approaches to planned change and is often considered synonymous with OD. Recently, it has been refined and extended to new settings and applications, and consequently, researchers and practitioners have made requisite adaptations of its basic framework.14

Trends in the application of action research include movement from smaller subunits of organizations to total systems and communities.15 In these larger contexts, action research is more complex and political than in smaller settings. Therefore, the action research cycle is coordinated across multiple change processes and includes a diversity of stakeholders who have an interest in the organization. (We describe these applica- tions more thoroughly in Chapters 20, 21, and 22.) Action research also is applied increasingly in international settings, particularly in developing nations in the southern hemisphere.16 Embedded within the action research model, however, are “northern hemisphere” assumptions about change. For example, action research traditionally views change more linearly than do Asian cultures, and it treats the change process more col- laboratively than do Latin American and African countries. To achieve success in these settings, action research is tailored to fit cultural assumptions. (See “Different Types of Planned Change” below and Chapter 23.) Finally, action research is applied increasingly to promote social change and innovation, as demonstrated most clearly in community development and global social change projects.17 These applications are heavily value laden and seek to redress imbalances in power and resource allocations across different groups. Action researchers tend to play an activist role in the change process, which is often chaotic and conflictual. (Chapter 23 reviews global social change processes.)

In light of these general trends, contemporary applications of action research have sub- stantially increased the degree of member involvement in the change process. This contrasts with traditional approaches to planned change, whereby consultants carried out most of the change activities, with the agreement and collaboration of management.18 Although consultant-dominated change still persists in OD, there is a growing tendency to involve organization members in learning about their organization and how to change it. Referred to as “participatory action research,” “action learning,” “action science,” or “self-design,” this approach to planned change emphasizes the need for organization members to learn firsthand about planned change if they are to gain the knowledge and skills needed to change the organization.19 In today’s complex and changing environment, some argue that OD must go beyond solving particular problems to helping members gain the competence needed to change and improve the organization continually.20

In this modification of action research, the role of OD consultants is to work with members to facilitate the learning process. Both parties are “co-learners” in diagnosing the organization, designing changes, and implementing and assessing them.21 Neither party dominates the change process. Rather, each participant brings unique information and expertise to the situation, and they combine their resources to learn how to change the organization. Consultants, for example, know how to design diagnostic instruments and OD interventions, and organization members have “local knowledge” about the organiza- tion and how it functions. Each participant learns from the change process. Organization members learn how to change their organization and how to refine and improve it. OD consultants learn how to facilitate complex organizational change and learning.

The action research model will continue to be the dominant methodological basis for planned change in the near future. But the basic philosophy of science on which traditional action research operates is also evolving and is described below.

The Positive Model The third model of change, the positive model, represents an important departure from Lewin’s model and the action research process. Those models are primarily deficit based; they focus on the organization’s problems and how they can be solved so it functions

28 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

better. The positive model focuses on what the organization is doing right. It helps members understand their organization when it is working at its best and builds off those capabilities to achieve even better results. This positive approach to change is consistent with a growing movement in the social sciences called “positive organizational scholar- ship,” which focuses on positive dynamics in organizations that give rise to extraordinary outcomes.22 Considerable research on expectation effects also supports this model of planned change.23 It shows that people tend to act in ways that make their expectations occur. Thus, positive expectations about the organization can create an anticipation that energizes and directs behavior toward making those beliefs happen.

The positive model has been applied to planned change primarily through a pro- cess called appreciative inquiry (AI).24 As a “reformist and rebellious” form of social constructionism, AI explicitly infuses a positive value orientation into analyzing and changing organizations.25 Social constructionism assumes that organization members’ shared experiences and interactions influence how they perceive the organization and behave in it.26 Because such shared meaning can determine how members approach planned change, AI encourages a positive orientation to how change is conceived and managed. It promotes broad member involvement in creating a shared vision about the organization’s positive potential. That shared appreciation provides a powerful and guiding image of what the organization could be.

Drawing heavily on AI, the positive model of planned change involves five phases that are depicted in Figure 2.1(C).

Initiate the Inquiry. This first phase determines the subject of change. It empha- sizes member involvement to identify the organizational issue they have the most energy to address. For example, members can choose to look for successful male–female collaboration (as opposed to sexual discrimination), instances of cus- tomer satisfaction (as opposed to customer dissatisfaction), particularly effective work teams, or product development processes that brought new ideas to market especially fast. If the focus of inquiry is real and vital to organization members, the change process itself will take on these positive attributes. Inquire into Best Practices. This phase involves gathering information about the “best of what is” in the organization. If the topic is organizational innovation, then members help to develop an interview protocol that collects stories of new ideas that were developed and implemented in the organization. The interviews are conducted by organization members; they interview each other and tell stories of innovation in which they have personally been involved. These stories are pulled together to create a pool of information describing the organization as an innovative system. Discover the Themes. In this third phase, members examine the stories, both large and small, to identify a set of themes representing the common dimensions of people’s experiences. For example, the stories of innovation may contain themes about how managers gave people the freedom to explore a new idea, the sup- port organization members received from their coworkers, or how the exposure to customers sparked creative thinking. No theme is too small to be represented; it is important that all of the underlying mechanisms that helped to generate and support the themes be described. The themes represent the basis for moving from “what is” to “what could be.” Envision a Preferred Future. Members then examine the identified themes, chal- lenge the status quo, and describe a compelling future. Based on the organization’s successful past, members collectively visualize the organization’s future and develop “possibility propositions”—statements that bridge the organization’s cur- rent best practices with ideal possibilities for future organizing.27 These propositions should present a truly exciting, provocative, and possible picture of the future.





29CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

Based on these possibilities, members identify the relevant stakeholders and critical organization processes that must be aligned to support the emergence of the envi- sioned future. The vision becomes a statement of “what should be.” Design and Deliver Ways to Create the Future. The final phase involves the design and delivery of ways to create the future. It describes the activities and cre- ates the plans necessary to bring about the vision. It proceeds to action and assess- ment phases similar to those of action research described previously. Members make changes, assess the results, make necessary adjustments, and so on as they move the organization toward the vision and sustain “what will be.” The process is continued by renewing the conversations about the best of what is.

Comparisons of Change Models All three models—Lewin’s change model, the action research model, and the posi- tive model—describe the phases by which planned change occurs in organizations. As shown in Figure 2.1, the models overlap in that their emphasis on action to imple- ment organizational change is preceded by a preliminary stage (unfreezing, diagnosis, or initiate the inquiry) and is followed by a closing stage (refreezing or evaluation). Moreover, all three approaches emphasize the application of behavioral science knowl- edge, involve organization members in the change process to varying degrees, and recognize that any interaction between a consultant and an organization constitutes an intervention that may affect the organization. However, Lewin’s change model differs from the other two in that it focuses on the general process of planned change, rather than on specific OD activities.

Lewin’s model and the action research model differ from the positive approach in terms of the level of involvement of the participants and the focus of change. Lewin’s model and traditional action research emphasize the role of the consultant with rela- tively limited member involvement in the change process. Contemporary applications of action research and the positive model, on the other hand, treat both consultants and participants as co-learners who are heavily involved in planned change. In addi- tion, Lewin’s model and action research are more concerned with fixing problems than with focusing on what the organization does well and leveraging those strengths.


The three models of planned change suggest a general framework for planned change as shown in Figure 2.2. The framework describes the four basic activities that practi- tioners and organization members jointly carry out in organization development. The arrows connecting the different activities in the model show the typical sequence of events, from entering and contracting, to diagnosing, to planning and implementing change, to evaluating and institutionalizing change. The lines connecting the activi- ties emphasize that organizational change is not a straightforward, linear process but involves considerable overlap and feedback among the activities. Because the model serves to organize the remaining parts of this book, Figure 2.2 also shows which spe- cific chapters apply to the four major change activities.

Entering and Contracting The first set of activities in planned change concerns entering and contracting (described in Chapter 4). Those events help managers decide whether they want to engage further in a planned change program and to commit resources to such a process. Entering an organization involves gathering initial data to understand the problems facing the organization or to determine the positive areas for inquiry. Once


30 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

this information is collected, the problems or opportunities are discussed with man- agers and other organization members to develop a contract or agreement to engage in planned change. The contract spells out future change activities, the resources that will be committed to the process, and how OD practitioners and organization members will be involved. In many cases, organizations do not get beyond this early stage of planned change because one or more situations arise: Disagreements about the need for change surface, resource constraints are encountered, or other methods for change appear more feasible. When OD is used in nontraditional and interna- tional settings, the entering and contracting process must be sensitive to the context in which the change is taking place.

Diagnosing In this stage of planned change, the client system is carefully studied. Diagnosis can focus on understanding organizational problems, including their causes and conse- quences, or on collecting stories about the organization’s positive attributes. The diag- nostic process is one of the most important activities in OD. It includes choosing an appropriate model for understanding the organization and gathering, analyzing, and feeding back information to managers and organization members about the problems or opportunities that exist.

Diagnostic models for analyzing problems (described in Chapters 5 and 6) explore three levels of activities. Organization issues represent the most complex level of analy- sis and involve the total system. Group-level issues are associated with department and group effectiveness. Individual-level issues involve the way jobs are designed and performed.

Gathering, analyzing, and feeding back data are the central change activities in diag- nosis. Chapter 7 describes how data can be gathered through interviews, observations, survey instruments, or such archival sources as meeting minutes and organization charts. It also explains how data can be reviewed and analyzed. In Chapter 8, we describe the process of feeding back diagnostic data. Organization members, often in collaboration with an OD practitioner, jointly discuss the data and their implications for change.

Planning and Implementing Change In this stage, organization members and practitioners jointly plan and implement OD interventions. They design interventions to achieve the organization’s vision or goals and make action plans to implement them. There are several criteria for designing interventions, including the organization’s readiness for change, its current change capability, its culture and power distributions, and the change agent’s skills and abilities

General Model of Planned Change [Figure 2.2][Figure 2.2]

Entering and

Contracting (Chapter 4)

Diagnosing (Chapters


Planning and Implementing

Change (Chapters 9–10,


Evaluating and Institutionalizing

Change (Chapter 11)

31CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

(discussed in Chapter 9). Depending on the outcomes of diagnosis, there are four major types of interventions in OD:

Human process interventions at the individual, group, and total system levels (Chapters 12 and 13) Interventions that modify an organization’s structure and technology (Chapters 14, 15, and 16) Human resources interventions that seek to improve member performance and wellness (Chapters 17, 18, and 19) Strategic interventions that involve managing the organization’s relationship to its external environment and the internal structure and process necessary to support a business strategy (Chapters 20, 21, and 22).

Chapters 23 and 24 present specialized information for carrying out OD in interna- tional settings and in such nontraditional organizations as schools, health care institu- tions, family-owned businesses, and the public sector.

Implementing interventions is concerned with leading and managing the change process. As discussed in Chapter 10, it includes motivating change, creating a desired future vision of the organization, developing political support, managing the transition toward the vision, and sustaining momentum for change.

Evaluating and Institutionalizing Change The final stage in planned change involves evaluating the effects of the intervention and managing the institutionalization of successful change programs so they persist. (Those two activities are described in Chapter 11.) Feedback to organization mem- bers about the intervention’s results provides information about whether the changes should be continued, modified, or suspended. Institutionalizing successful changes involves reinforcing them through feedback, rewards, and training.

Application 2.1 describes the initiation of a planned change process in a government organization. It provides especially rich detail on the planning and implementing phase of change, and on how people can be involved in the process.28


The general model of planned change describes how the OD process typically unfolds in organizations. In actual practice, the different phases are not nearly as orderly as the model implies. OD practitioners tend to modify or adjust the stages to fit the needs of the situation. Steps in planned change may be implemented in a variety of ways, depending on the client’s needs and goals, the change agent’s skills and values, and the organization’s context. Thus, planned change can vary enormously from one situ- ation to another.

To understand the differences better, planned change can be contrasted across situations on three key dimensions: the magnitude of organizational change, the degree to which the client system is organized, and whether the setting is domestic or international.

Magnitude of Change Planned change efforts can be characterized as falling along a continuum ranging from incremental changes that involve fine-tuning the organization to fundamental changes that entail radically altering how it operates.29 Incremental changes tend to involve limited dimensions and levels of the organization, such as the decision-making processes of work groups. They occur within the context of the organization’s existing business strategy, structure, and culture and are aimed at improving the status quo.





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2 .1 Planned Change at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA) was created by a California state law in October 2001; this gave it the responsibility to establish and operate airports within San Diego County. Most importantly, from Thella Bowens’s perspective, the law required the San Diego Unified Port District (Port of San Diego) to trans- fer operation of San Diego’s international airport to the SDCRAA by January 2003. Bowens was the current senior director of the Aviation Division within the Port of San Diego that was responsible for operating the San Diego International Airport. When the law was passed, she was named Interim Executive Director of the SDCRAA, and assigned an interim advisory board to help manage the transition.

Bowens’s tenure with the organization gave her an important understanding of the organization’s operations and its history. For example, the San Diego International Airport accounted for about $4.3 billion or roughly 4% of San Diego’s regional economy. Forecasts called for air travel to more than double to 35 million passengers by 2030, and contribute up to $8 billion to the regional econ- omy. In addition, Bowens had participated in the Aviation Division’s strategic planning process in 2001. She was well positioned to lead this effort.

As she thought about managing the start-up of the SDCRAA, two broad but interdependent categories of initial activity emerged: developing the transition plan and dealing with the legal and regulatory issues.

DEVELOPING THE TRANSITION PLAN In April 2002, Bowens took the senior team from the old Aviation Division to an off-site workshop to discuss the creation and management of an effec- tive transition process. This group understood the importance of SDCRAA quickly becoming a stand- alone agency and the need to be seen differently in the marketplace. The group recommended revising the existing strategic plan, to hire staff to research, discuss, and create a transition plan, and to con- duct retreats with employees from multiple organi- zational levels. In response, Bowens chartered the

Airport Transition Team to ensure the smooth and seamless transfer of operations and public services provided by the airport without regard to which agency was responsible for their provision.

In May 2002, seven employees were handpicked from the Aviation Division to become members of the Airport Transition Team and relieved of their day-to-day job responsibilities so they could focus on the transition. The selection criteria included the ability to work within a process yet think out- side of the box, to communicate well with others in a team, and to influence directors and man- agers without having formal authority. A one- and-a-half-day kick-off meeting was held to set expectations, to communicate goals and respon- sibilities, and to initiate the team. A “war room” was established for the team to keep records, hold meetings, and serve as a communication hub. The team named themselves the “Metamorphs.”

Many Metamorph members came from differ- ent parts of the organization and, having never worked together, needed to rely on each other to effectively design the transition process. Senior team member Angela Shafer-Payne, then director of Airport Business and Administration, worked closely with the Metamorphs and led formal team- building activities throughout the year. Through their work together, the Metamorphs discovered how large and daunting the organizational change was and yet appreciated the unique, once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to make an impact. As one member put it, “How many times in your life can you say that you helped put together a brand-new organization?”

The Metamorphs decided that to meet their char- ter, any transition plan had to be designed spe- cifically to minimize disruption to customers and service, minimize airport and nonairport financial impacts, and properly address and resolve all legal and regulatory matters. These criteria guided the creation of 12 functional teams (which expanded later to 19). Responsibility for the teams was divided among the transition team members, and each team was composed of employees from the old Aviation Division and other Port of San Diego departments. Their mission was to

33CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

collect data, establish new or parallel functions for the SDCRAA, and highlight any issues related to the start-up of that particular function. Once the teams were in place, they were given tools to use and questions that needed to be addressed. Each team set aside time to review all of the records in each functional area. For example, the human resources functional team consisted of Aviation Division employees, HR professionals from the Port of San Diego, and Port attorneys; it was charged with developing the actual transi- tion mechanism, HR operations, and HR organi- zational structure. Another team focused on the environmental issues involved in the transition. They examined over 100 different environmental permits held by the Port of San Diego to under- stand if SDCRAA needed a similar permit, needed to be a co-permittee with the Port of San Diego, or if the SDCRAA could stand alone. If it were a stand-alone situation, then documentation would be prepared to transfer the permit.

To ensure that no issues fell through the cracks, three distinct peer reviews were held in the sum- mer and fall of 2002. The peer review panels were staffed by professionals within the aviation indus- try, people who had experienced a transition of some type within an organization, or those who were integral to the start-up of the organization. The first peer review panel examined the transi- tion plan and offered advice on whether to add any other critical and/or missing components. The second peer review panel, consisting of mostly human resources professionals, examined the proposed organizational structure. The final peer review panel focused on the IT systems portion of the transition plan because of technology’s critical role in the overall success of many of the internal processes.

DEALING WITH THE LEGAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES By January 2002, the SDCRAA was not yet a full agency and had only one employee, Thella Bowens. Despite all the work of the Metamorphs and the functional teams, and sometimes because of it, Bowens also had to interface with the California legislature. The original legislation (California Senate Bill AB93 [2001–2002]) provided a frame- work for setting up the new agency but left many questions unanswered, including issues relating to

property transfer (SDCRAA would lease land from the Port on a 66-year lease) and the transitioning of employees from one public agency to another. To provide clarity and another layer of under- standing, “clean-up” legislation (SB 1896) was passed in mid-2002. Together with the original bill, the legislation protected employees to ensure no loss of jobs or benefits. This gave the Metamorphs additional information and guidance to deal with employee contract issues. For example, in the middle of the transition planning process, the Port District had to renegotiate its union contract. The Metamorphs had to work closely with the airport’s external counsel, the Port of San Diego counsel, and state senators to ensure a smooth negotiation.

Finally, Bowens and the Metamorphs had to address changes to federal security regulations outlined in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that resulted from the September 11, 2001, attacks. Those events caused a number of disruptions for many stakeholders in the air transportation indus- try. They required the transition plan to include a component that focused on keeping costs con- tained to enable aviation partners, the airlines, the gate gourmets, and tenants, to weather the storm.

IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION The final transition plan was presented to the interim board and then to the Board of Port Commissioners for approval in October 2002. The approved plan was comprised of several compon- ents, including an IT conversion plan and the process for formally transferring responsibility to the SDCRAA, but the key elements were human resources and communication plans.

The human resources plan specified the transition of 145 budgeted Aviation Division employees to 52 vacancies plus the 90 other positions identified by the Metamorphs to make the organization whole. The plan called for all of the positions to be filled by mid-2005. The human resources plan also provided for the purchase of services, like the Harbor Police, from the Port of San Diego until mid-2005.

The communication plan was critical to the imple- mentation phase. The Metamorphs regularly car- ried information about their progress to coworkers in their respective departments. In addition, com- munication meetings with the entire organization, called “all hands meetings,” were held to provide

3434 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

information about the transition. The Airport Transition Plan contained a special emphasis on the needs of the employee. Bowens understood the sociotechnical nature of change and did not want the human factor to be forgotten in the midst of all the legal, technical, and other transitions. She included a number of change management education sessions for all employees. The change management education sessions were developed to reassure employees; to encourage genuine, candid, frequent, high-quality communications; and to neutralize anxiety and fears.

During the sessions, employees were (1) updated on the progress of the transition; (2) introduced to change theories, models, and concepts; and (3) encouraged to share their issues, fears, anxieties, concerns, and creative ideas. Employee input was organized into themes, then documented and com- municated to Bowens and her direct reports. The leadership team was committed to answering ques- tions and addressing concerns that emerged from the change management sessions. Airport managers met regularly to select and answer questions for publication in the organization newsletter or live communication at “all hands meetings.” In addition, the employee satisfaction survey was updated with questions to learn about transition concerns.

Thella Bowens was named President and CEO of the SDCRAA on January 1, 2003. By June 2003, the SDCRAA had received awards based on superb customer service and outstanding levels of perform- ance. The SDCRAA, based on all available metrics, is successfully operating San Diego’s international airport and serving over 15.2 million passengers on 620 daily flights in and out of the airport. Part of the success is due to the way the transition plan was developed. Because of the broad participation in its creation, many employees understood the plan. When issues arose, identifying the personnel to become part of an ad hoc problem-solving group already familiar with the topic was easy.

“Ms. Bowens accomplished the extraordinary job of leading a successful transition of the airport from the Unified Port of San Diego to the Authority,” said Joseph W. Craver, Authority (SDCRAA) Chairman. “She is highly regarded and respected for both her breadth of knowledge of aviation management issues and her visionary leader- ship.” Thella Bowens added, “Fortunately, we’ve been supported by very dedicated professional employees who have exhibited great resolve and sheer hard work through the transition process, and continue to do so as we create a ‘world-class’ organization.”

Fundamental changes, on the other hand, are directed at significantly altering how the organization operates. They tend to involve several organizational dimensions, includ- ing structure, culture, reward systems, information processes, and work design. They also involve changing multiple levels of the organization, from top-level management through departments and work groups to individual jobs.

Planned change traditionally has been applied in situations involving incremental change. Organizations in the 1960s and 1970s were concerned mainly with fine-tuning their bureaucratic structures by resolving many of the social problems that emerged with increasing size and complexity. In those situations, planned change involves a relatively bounded set of problem-solving activities. OD practitioners are typically contracted by managers to help solve specific problems in particular organizational systems, such as poor communication among members of a work team or low cus- tomer satisfaction scores in a department store. Diagnostic and change activities tend to be limited to the defined issues, although additional problems may be uncovered and may need to be addressed. Similarly, the change process tends to focus on those

35CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

organizational systems having specific problems, and it generally terminates when the problems are resolved. Of course, the change agent may contract to help solve addi- tional problems.

In recent years, OD has been increasingly concerned with fundamental change. As described in Chapter 1, the greater competitiveness and uncertainty of today’s environ- ment have led a growing number of organizations to alter drastically the way in which they operate. In such situations, planned change is more complex, extensive, and long term than when applied to incremental change.30 Because fundamental change involves most features and levels of the organization, it is typically driven from the top, where corporate strategy and values are set. Change agents help senior executives cre- ate a vision of a desired future organization and energize movement in that direction. They also help them develop structures for managing the transition from the present to the future organization and may include, for example, a program management office and a variety of overlapping steering committees and redesign teams. Staff experts also may redesign many features of the firm, such as performance measures, rewards, plan- ning processes, work designs, and information systems.

Because of the complexity and extensiveness of fundamental change, OD profes- sionals often work in teams comprising members with different yet complementary areas of expertise. The consulting relationship persists over relatively long time periods and includes a great deal of renegotiation and experimentation among consultants and managers. The boundaries of the change effort are more uncertain and diffuse than those in incremental change, thus making diagnosis and change seem more like dis- covery than like problem solving. (We describe complex strategic and transformational types of change in more detail in Chapters 20, 21, and 22.)

It is important to emphasize that fundamental change may or may not be develop- mental in nature. Organizations may drastically alter their strategic direction and way of operating without significantly developing their capacity to solve problems and to achieve both high performance and quality of work life. For example, firms may simply change their marketing mix, dropping or adding products, services, or customers; they may drastically downsize by cutting out marginal businesses and laying off managers and workers; or they may tighten managerial and financial controls and attempt to squeeze more out of the labor force. On the other hand, organizations may undertake fundamental change from a developmental perspective. They may seek to make them- selves more competitive by developing their human resources; by getting managers and employees more involved in problem solving and innovation; and by promoting flexibility and direct, open communication. The OD approach to fundamental change is particularly relevant in today’s rapidly changing and competitive environment. To succeed in this setting, firms such as General Electric, Kimberly-Clark, ABB, Hewlett- Packard, and Motorola are transforming themselves from control-oriented bureaucra- cies to high-involvement organizations capable of changing and improving themselves continually.

Degree of Organization Planned change efforts also can vary depending on the degree to which the organi- zation or client system is organized. In overorganized situations, such as in highly mechanistic, bureaucratic organizations, various dimensions such as leadership styles, job designs, organization structure, and policies and procedures are too rigid and overly defined for effective task performance. Communication between management and employees is typically suppressed, conflicts are avoided, and employees are apa- thetic. In underorganized organizations, on the other hand, there is too little constraint or regulation for effective task performance. Leadership, structure, job design, and policy are poorly defined and fail to direct task behaviors effectively. Communication

36 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

is fragmented, job responsibilities are ambiguous, and employees’ energies are dis- sipated because they lack direction. Underorganized situations are typically found in such areas as product development, project management, and community develop- ment, where relationships among diverse groups and participants must be coordinated around complex, uncertain tasks.

In overorganized situations, where much of OD practice has historically taken place, planned change is generally aimed at loosening constraints on behavior. Changes in leadership, job design, structure, and other features are designed to liberate suppressed energy, to increase the flow of relevant information between employees and manag- ers, and to promote effective conflict resolution. The typical steps of planned change— entry, diagnosis, intervention, and evaluation—are intended to penetrate a relatively closed organization or department and make it increasingly open to self-diagnosis and revitalization. The relationship between the OD practitioner and the management team attempts to model this loosening process. The consultant shares leadership of the change process with management, encourages open communications and confronta- tion of conflict, and maintains flexibility in relating to the organization.

When applied to organizations facing problems in being underorganized, planned change is aimed at increasing organization by clarifying leadership roles, structuring communication between managers and employees, and specifying job and departmen- tal responsibilities. These activities require a modification of the traditional phases of planned change and include the following four steps:31

Identification. This step identifies the relevant people or groups who need to be involved in the change program. In many underorganized situations, people and departments can be so disconnected that there is ambiguity about who should be included in the problem-solving process. For example, when managers of differ- ent departments have only limited interaction with each other, they may disagree or be confused about which departments should be involved in developing a new product or service. Convention. In this step, the relevant people or departments in the company are brought together to begin organizing for task performance. For example, depart- ment managers might be asked to attend a series of organizing meetings to discuss the division of labor and the coordination required to introduce a new product. Organization. Different organizing mechanisms are created to structure the newly required interactions among people and departments. This might include creating new leadership positions, establishing communication channels, and specifying appropriate plans and policies. Evaluation. In this final step, the outcomes of the organization step are assessed. The evaluation might signal the need for adjustments in the organizing process or for further identification, convention, and organization activities.

In carrying out these four steps of planned change in underorganized situations, the relationship between the OD practitioner and the client system attempts to reinforce the organizing process. The consultant develops a well-defined leadership role, which might be autocratic during the early stages of the change program. Similarly, the con- sulting relationship is clearly defined and tightly specified. In effect, the interaction between the consultant and the client system supports the larger process of bringing order to the situation.

Application 2.2 is an example of planned change in an underorganized situation. In this case, the change agent is a person from industry who identifies a multifaceted problem: University research that should be helpful to manufacturing organizations is not being shaped, coordinated, or transferred. In response, he forms an organization to tighten up the relationships between the two parties.32





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Planned Change in an Underorganized System The Institute for Manufacturing and Automation Research (IMAR) was founded in 1987 in Los Angeles by a group of manufacturing indus- try members. In its earliest stages of develop- ment, one person who had a clear picture of the obstacles to manufacturing excellence was Dale Hartman, IMAR’s executive director and former director for manufacturing at Hughes Aircraft Company. He and several other industry associ- ates pinpointed the predominant reasons for flagging competitiveness: needless duplication of effort among manufacturing innovators; difficul- ties in transferring technological breakthroughs from university to industry; frequent irrelevance of university research to the needs of industry; and the inability of individual industry members to commit the time and funds to research projects needed for continued technological advances.

Hartman and his colleagues determined that organizations should create a pool of funds for research and concluded that the research would most efficiently be carried out in existing uni- versity facilities. They worked through at least several plans before they arrived at the idea of the IMAR consortium. The U.S. Navy had been inter- ested in joint efforts for innovations in artificial intelligence, but its constraints and interests were judged to be too narrow to address the problems that Hartman and the others identified.

Networking with other industry members—TRW, Hughes, Northrop, and Rockwell—and two uni- versities with which Hughes had been engaging in ongoing research—the University of Southern California (USC) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)—this original group formed a steering committee to investigate the viability of a joint research and development consortium. Each of the six early planners contributed $5,000 as seed money for basic expenses. The steering committee, based on experience in cooperative research, determined that a full-time person was needed to assume leadership of the consor- tium. Members of the committee persuaded Dale Hartman to retire early from Hughes and take on IMAR’s leadership full-time. Hartman brought with him a wealth of knowledge about barri- ers to innovation and technology transfer, and a solid reputation in both industry and academia

that was crucial for the success of multiple-sector partnerships. As a former Hughes networker, he knew how to lobby state and federal government sources for funds and legislation that promoted industry innovation. He also knew a host of tal- ented people in southern California whom he would persuade to become IMAR members.

In his 30 years in manufacturing, Hartman found that university-driven research had not pro- duced a respectable yield of usable information. University research was frequently irrelevant to industry needs and seldom provided for transfer of usable innovation to the plant floor. Industry was only tangentially involved in what the university was doing and Hartman saw little opportunity for the two sectors to benefit from a partnership. Therefore, it was determined that IMAR would be user-driven. Industry would set the agenda by choosing projects from among university propos- als that promised to be of generic use to industry members, and it would benefit by influencing the direction of research and receiving early informa- tion about research results.

In the next several months, the steering commit- tee and Hartman met regularly to define common research needs and locate funding sources. They sought industry sponsors from high-technology companies with an understanding of the prob- lems in manufacturing research and a desire to do more than merely supply money. They wanted members who would be willing to get involved in IMAR’s programs. Furthermore, they wanted all members to be able to use the results of IMAR’s generic research while not competing directly with each other. Finally, they decided that they wanted a relatively small membership. If the membership grew too large, it might become unwieldy and thus obstruct efforts to get things done.

IMAR’s industrial advisory board was formed with six industrial organizations represented—Xerox, Hughes, TRW, Northrup, IBM, and Rockwell—in addition to USC and UCLA. Members were to pay $100,000 each and make a three-year com- mitment to IMAR. With initial objectives in place and a committed membership, Hartman was already searching for additional funding sources. He was successful in getting a bill introduced in California’s state legislature, later signed by the

38 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

governor, that authorized the state department of commerce to fund IMAR $200,000. Moreover, IMAR was able to tie into the Industry–University Cooperative Research Center Program (IUCRCP) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) by forming an industry–university consortium called the Center for Manufacturing and Automation Research (CMAR). NSF funded CMAR with a $2 million grant and a five-year commitment. NSF funding in particular was sought because of the instant credibility that NSF sponsorship gives to such an institute.

NSF requested that several more universities be added to the consortium. In addition, an NSF eval- uator was to be present at all IMAR meetings and conduct ongoing evaluation of CMAR’s progress. IMAR already had UCLA and USC among its members and now added four university affiliates to work on research projects: the University of California, Irvine; University of California, Santa Barbara; Caltech; and Arizona State University. The IMAR steering committee then voted to fund research projects at an affiliated university only if it involved cooperation with either USC or UCLA. Each of the four university affiliates was paired with either USC or UCLA. Each affiliate univer- sity was selected because it provided expertise in an area of interest to IMAR’s industrial member- ship. Arizona State, for example, had expertise in knowledge-based simulation systems in indus- trial engineering, a field of special concern to IMAR’s membership. IMAR funded a number of projects, including projects between the affiliated universities, between joint investigators at USC and UCLA, and independent projects at USC and UCLA. Figure 2.3 shows IMAR’s structure.

CMAR operated under the auspices of IMAR with the same board of directors serving both consortia. There are two codirectors of CMAR: Dr. George Bekey, chairman of the Computer Science Department at USC, and Dr. Michel Melkanoff, director of UCLA’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing. As codirectors they had an indi- rect reporting relationship to Dale Hartman. Their responsibilities included distributing the research funds and serving as the focal point on their respective campuses. Questions from project team members are directed to one or the other codirec- tor, depending on the project. Each of the codi- rectors takes responsibility for managing project team members and providing rewards, such as

reduced course loads, to research professors wher- ever possible.

The codirectors further work to encourage infor- mal ties with industry members. For example, Dr. Bekey initiated efforts to have IMAR represent- atives regularly visit others’ facilities to encourage them to cooperate and share ideas. That practice further deepens each industrial member’s commit- ment to IMAR because the representatives were associating with one another and other colleagues in the workplace. In the event that an industry or university representative left, an associate was more likely to be there to take his or her place. Further, Bekey noted that the association between industry and university helped industry to over- come its short-term orientation and helped uni- versity people appreciate applied problems and manufacturing needs.

IMAR’s board of directors set the research agenda at annual reviews in which it made recommenda- tions for topics to be funded. IMAR took these rec- ommendations and translated them into “requests for proposals” that were circulated among the participating university members. CMAR’s codi- rectors then solicited proposals from the univer- sity membership. Researchers’ proposals were evaluated and ranked by industry representatives and then passed back to the industry advisory board, which made final determinations on which projects would be funded.

Not only did IMAR engage in research projects, such as microelectronics, digital computers, lasers, and fiber optics, it worked to resolve critical problems for manufacturing innovation research. One area of study was technology transfer. IMAR established a pilot production facility that Hartman called “a halfway house for manufacturing.” The facility permitted basic research to be brought to maturity and was capable of producing deliverable parts. The facility also engaged in systems-level research in such areas as management and sys- tems software, and provided an excellent training ground for students.

Another strength of IMAR was its affiliation with an NSF evaluator who was appointed to follow the progress of the industry–university cooperative research center. Dr. Ann Marczak was IMAR’s initial NSF evaluator. NSF conducted regular audits of the 39 IUCRCPs it sponsored and made information available about survey results, others’ reports of what works, and so

39CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

forth. Dr. Marczak served a valuable function to IMAR as an objective source of feedback. After her first evaluation, for example, Marczak recommended that a project team be formed to conduct ongoing progress assessment for each of the research projects IMAR sponsored. The evaluator’s findings also served as NSF’s means of

determining how well each of the funded centers was performing. A center was judged successful if after five years it could exist without NSF funds. NSF also evaluated each center in terms of how much industry money its projects generated, how much additional money the center generated in research projects, the number of patents granted,

Organizational Structure of the Institute for Manufacturing and Automation Research (IMAR)

[Figure 2.3][Figure 2.3]


Industry Advisory Board

Executive Director

Center for Manufacturing and Automation Research (CMAR)

National Science Foundation Evaluator






Project Project

Industry Advisory Board

4040 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

products produced, and the satisfaction of faculty and industry participants.

After two years of operation, IMAR had dealt with many of the problems that so frequently plague collaborative research and development efforts among organizations. It had a well-defined purpose that was strongly supported by its mem- bers. It was well structured and had a good balance of resources and needs among its mem- bership. Formal and informal communication networks were established. It had strong leader- ship. Members of IMAR respected Hartman for his technological expertise and skills as a net- worker. Hartman had a strong sense of IMAR’s mission. After a discussion with him, one got the sense that there was not an obstacle he would not overcome. His vision continued to inspire

commitment among the IMAR membership. As one member put it, “You end up wanting to see what you can do for the cause.”

Not only did IMAR have the commitment of a full-time leader and strong feedback from its NSF evaluator, it involved user-driven research. Although the research was basic, it was chosen by the users themselves to benefit all members of the consortium. If the research had been applied, it would have been more difficult for members to find projects yielding information that all of them could use. The involvement of multiple universi- ties further provided the talent of top researchers in diverse areas of technological expertise. Finally, NSF was furnishing a large proportion of the funding for the first five years as well as regular evaluations.

Domestic vs. International Settings Planned change efforts have traditionally been applied in North American and European settings, but they are increasingly used outside of these cultures. Developed in Western societies, OD reflects the underlying values and assumptions of these cul- tural settings, including equality, involvement, and short-term time horizons. Under these conditions, it works quite well. In other societies, a different set of cultural values and assumptions can be operating and make the application of OD problematic. In con- trast to Western societies, for example, the cultures of most Asian countries are more hierarchical and status conscious, less open to discussing personal issues, more con- cerned with “saving face,” and have a longer time horizon for results. These cultural differences can make OD more difficult to implement, especially for North American or European practitioners; they may simply be unaware of the cultural norms and values that permeate the society.

The cultural values that guide OD practice in the United States, for example, include a tolerance for ambiguity, equality among people, individuality, and achievement motives. An OD process that encourages openness among individuals, high levels of participation, and actions that promote increased effectiveness is viewed favorably. The OD practitioner is also assumed to hold these values and to model them in the conduct of planned change. Most reported cases of OD involve Western-based organi- zations using practitioners trained in the traditional model and raised and experienced in Western society.

When OD is applied outside of North America or Europe (and sometimes even within these settings), the action research process must be adapted to fit the cultural context. For example, the diagnostic phase, which is aimed at understanding the current drivers of organization effectiveness, can be modified in a variety of ways. Diagnosis can involve many organization members or include only senior executives;

41CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

be directed from the top, conducted by an outside consultant, or performed by internal consultants; or involve face-to-face interviews or organizational documents. Each step in the general model of planned change must be carefully mapped against the cultural context.

Conducting OD in international settings can be highly stressful on OD practitioners. To be successful, they must develop a keen awareness of their own cultural biases, be open to seeing a variety of issues from another perspective, be fluent in the values and assumptions of the host country, and understand the economic and political context of business in the host country. Most OD practitioners are not able to meet all of those cri- teria and partner with a “cultural guide,” often a member of the client organization, to help navigate the cultural, operational, and political nuances of change in that society.


Despite their continued refinement, the models and practice of planned change are still in a formative stage of development, and there is considerable room for improvement. Critics of OD have pointed out several problems with the way planned change has been conceptualized and practiced.

Conceptualization of Planned Change Planned change has typically been characterized as involving a series of activities for carrying out effective organization development. Although current models outline a general set of steps to be followed, considerably more information is needed to guide how those steps should be performed in specific situations. In an extensive review and critique of planned change theory, Porras and Robertson argued that planned change activities should be guided by information about (1) the organizational features that can be changed, (2) the intended outcomes from making those changes, (3) the causal mechanisms by which those outcomes are achieved, and (4) the contingencies upon which successful change depends.33 In particular, they noted that the key to organiza- tional change is change in the behavior of each member and that the information avail- able about the causal mechanisms that produce individual change is lacking. Overall, Porras and Robertson concluded that the information necessary to guide change is only partially available and that a good deal more research and thinking are needed to fill the gaps. Chapters 12 through 24 on OD interventions review what is currently known about change features, outcomes, causal mechanisms, and contingencies.

A related area where current thinking about planned change is deficient is knowl- edge about how the stages of planned change differ across situations. Most models specify a general set of steps that are intended to be applicable to most change efforts. However, the previous section of this chapter showed how change activities can vary depending on such factors as the magnitude of change, the degree to which the client system is organized, and whether the change is being conducted in a domestic or an international setting. Considerably more effort needs to be expended identifying situ- ational factors that may require modifying the general stages of planned change. That would likely lead to a rich array of planned change models, each geared to a specific set of situational conditions. Such contingency thinking is greatly needed in planned change.

Planned change also tends to be described as a rationally controlled, orderly process. Critics have argued that although this view may be comforting, it is seriously mislead- ing.34 They point out that planned change has a more chaotic quality, often involving shifting goals, discontinuous activities, surprising events, and unexpected combina- tions of changes. For example, executives often initiate changes without plans that clarify their strategies and goals. As change unfolds, new stakeholders may emerge

42 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

and demand modifications reflecting previously unknown or unvoiced needs. Those emergent conditions make planned change a far more disorderly and dynamic process than is customarily portrayed, and conceptions need to capture that reality.

Most descriptions of planned change typically describe a beginning, middle, and end to the process. Critics have argued that planned change models that advocate evalu- ation and institutionalization processes reinforce the belief that the organization will “refreeze” into some form of equilibrium following change.35 In the face of increasing globalization and technological change, it is unlikely that change will ever “be over.” Executives, managers, and organization members must be prepared for constant change in a variety of organizational features that are not obvious in most models of planned change.

Finally, the relationship between planned change and organizational performance and effectiveness is not well understood. OD traditionally has had problems assessing whether interventions are producing observed results. The complexity of the change situation, the lack of sophisticated analyses, and the long time periods for producing results have contributed to weak evaluation of OD efforts. Moreover, managers have often accounted for OD efforts with post hoc testimonials, reports of possible future benefits, and calls to support OD as the right thing to do. In the absence of rigorous assessment and measurement, it is difficult to make resource allocation decisions about change programs and to know which interventions are most effective in certain situations.

Practice of Planned Change Critics have suggested several problems with the way planned change is carried out.36

Their concerns are not with the planned change model itself but with how change takes place and with the qualifications and activities of OD practitioners.

A growing number of OD practitioners have acquired skills in a specific technique, such as team building, total quality management, AI, large-group interventions, or gain sharing, and have chosen to specialize in that method. Although such specialization may be necessary, it can lead to a certain myopia given the complex array of techniques that define OD. Some OD practitioners favor particular techniques and ignore other strategies that might be more appropriate, tending to interpret organizational problems as requiring the favored technique. Thus, for example, it is not unusual to see consul- tants pushing such methods as diversity training, reengineering, organization learning, or self-managing work teams as solutions to most organizational problems.

Effective change depends on a careful diagnosis of how the organization is function- ing. Diagnosis identifies the underlying causes of organizational problems, such as poor product quality and employee dissatisfaction, or determines the positive opportunities that need to be promoted. It requires both time and money, and some organizations are not willing to make the necessary investment. Rather, they rely on preconceptions about what the problem is and hire consultants with skills appropriate to solve that problem. Managers may think, for example, that work design is the problem, so they hire an expert in job enrichment to implement a change program. The problem may be caused by other factors such as poor reward practices, however, and job enrichment would be inappropriate. Careful diagnosis can help to avoid such mistakes.

In situations requiring complex organizational changes, planned change is a long- term process involving considerable innovation and learning on-site. It requires a good deal of time and commitment and a willingness to modify and refine changes as the circumstances require. Some organizations demand more rapid solutions to their problems and seek quick fixes from experts. Unfortunately, some OD consultants are more than willing to provide quick solutions.37 They sell prepackaged programs for organizations to adopt. Those programs appeal to managers because they typically

43CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

include an explicit recipe to be followed, standard training materials, and clear time and cost boundaries. The quick fixes have trouble gaining wide organizational support and commitment, however, and seldom produce the positive results that have been advertised.

Other organizations have not recognized the systemic nature of change. Too often, they believe that intervention into one aspect or subpart of the organization will be sufficient to ameliorate the problems, and they are unprepared for the other changes that may be necessary to support a particular intervention. For example, at Verizon, the positive benefits of an employee involvement program did not begin to appear until after the organization redesigned its reward system to support the cross-functional collaboration necessary to solve highly complex problems. Changing any one part or feature of an organization often requires adjustments in the other parts to maintain an appropriate alignment. Thus, although quick fixes and change programs that focus on only one part or aspect of the organization may resolve some specific problems, they generally do not lead to complex organizational change or increase members’ capacity to carry out change.38


Theories of planned change describe the activities necessary to modify strategies, structures, and processes to increase an organization’s effectiveness. Lewin’s change model, the action research model, and the positive model offer different views of the phases through which planned change occurs in organizations. Lewin’s change model views planned change as a three-step process of unfreezing, moving, and refreezing. It provides a general description of the process of planned change. The action research model focuses on planned change as a cyclical process involving joint activities between organization members and OD practitioners. It involves multiple steps that overlap and interact in practice: problem identification, consultation with a behavioral science expert, data gathering and preliminary diagnosis, feedback to a key client or group, joint diagnosis of the problem, joint action planning, action, and data gathering after action. The action research model places heavy emphasis on data gathering and diagnosis prior to action planning and implementation, and on assessment of results after action is taken. In addition, change strategies often are modified on the basis of continued diagnosis, and termination of one OD program may lead to further work in other areas of the firm. The positive model is oriented to what the organization is doing right. It seeks to build on positive opportunities that can lead to extraordinary performance.

Planned change theories can be integrated into a general model. Four sets of activities—entering and contracting, diagnosing, planning and implementing, and evaluating and institutionalizing—can be used to describe how change is accomplished in organizations. These four sets of activities also describe the general structure of the chapters in this book. The general model has broad applicability to planned change. It identifies the steps an organization typically moves through to implement change and specifies the OD activities needed to effect change. Although the planned change models describe general stages of how the OD process unfolds, there are different types of change depending on the situation. Planned change efforts can vary in terms of the magnitude of the change, the degree to which the client system is organized, and whether the setting is domestic or international. When situations differ on those dimensions, planned change can vary greatly. Critics of OD have pointed out several problems with the way planned change has been conceptualized and practiced, and specific areas where planned change can be improved.

44 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

1. W. Bennis, Changing Organizations (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966); J. Porras and P. Robertson, “Organization Development Theory: A Typology and Evaluation,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, vol. 1, eds. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1987), 1–57.

2. K. Lewin, Field Theory in Social Science (New York: Harper & Row, 1951).

3. E. Schein, Process Consultation, vols. 1 and 2 (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987).

4. R. Lippitt, J. Watson, and B. Westley, The Dynamics of Planned Change (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1958); J. Kotter, Leading Change (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Business School Press, 1996).

5. J. Kotter, Leading Change (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996).

6. R. Benjamin and E. Levinson, “A Framework for Managing IT-Enabled Change,” Sloan Management Review 35 (Summer 1993): 23–33.

7. A. Shani and G. Bushe, “Visionary Action Research: A Consultation Process Perspective,” Consultation 6 (Spring 1987): 3–19; G. Sussman and R. Evered, “An Assessment of the Scientific Merit of Action Research,” Administrative Science Quarterly 12 (1978): 582–603.

8. W. French, “Organization Development: Objectives, Assumptions, and Strategies,” California Management Review 12 (1969): 23–34; A. Frohman, M. Sashkin, and M. Kavanagh, “Action Research as Applied to Organization Development,” Organization and Admini- strative Sciences 7 (1976): 129–42; E. Schein, Organi- zational Psychology, 3d ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1980).

9. D. Jamieson and C. Worley, “The Practice of Organization Development,” in Handbook of Organi- zation Development, ed. T. Cummings (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007); N. Tichy, “Agents of Planned Change: Con gruence of Values, Cognitions, and Actions,” Administrative Science Quarterly 19 (1974): 163–82.

10. M. Beer, “The Technology of Organization Development,” in Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, ed. M. Dunnette (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1976), 945.

11. E. Schein, Process Consultation Revisited: Building the Helping Relationship (Reading, Mass.: Addison- Wesley, 1998).

12. E. Schein, Process Consultation: Its Role in Organization Development (Reading, Mass.: Addison- Wesley, 1969), 6.

13. R. Beckhard and R. Harris, Organizational Transitions, 2d ed. (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987).

14. P. Reason and H. Bradbury (eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, 2d ed. (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2007).

15. A. Shani, S. Mohrman, W. Pasmore, B. Stymne, and N. Adler (eds.), Handbook of Collaborative Management Research (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007).

16. M. Swantz, E. Ndedya, and M. Saiddy Masaiganah, “Participatory Action Research in Southern Tanzania, with Special Reference to Women,” in Handbook of Action Research, eds. P. Reason and H. Bradbury (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2001); K. Murrell, “Evaluation as Action Research: The Case of the Management Development Institute in Gambia, West Africa,” International Journal of Public Admini- stration 16, 3 (1993): 341–56; J. Preston and L. DuToit, “Endemic Violence in South Africa: An OD Solution Applied to Two Educational Settings,” International Journal of Public Administration 16 (1993): 1767–91.

17. D. Brown, “Participatory Action Research for Social Change: Collective Reflections with Asian Nongovernmental Development Organizations,” Human Relations 46, 2 (1993): 208–27; D. Cooperrider and J. Dutton (eds.), Organizational Dimensions of Global Change: No Limits to Cooperation (Newbury Park, Calif.: Corwin Press, 1999); D. Bornstein, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

18. W. Burke, Organization Development: A Normative View (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987); J. Heron and P. Reason, “The Practice of Cooperative Inquiry: Research ‘with’ Rather than ‘on’ People,” in Handbook of Action Research, eds. P. Reason and H. Bradbury (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2001).

19. D. Greenwood, W. Whyte, and I. Harkavy, “Participatory Action Research as Process and as Goal,” Human Relations 46, 2 (1993): 175–92; G. Morgan and R. Ramirez, “Action Learning: A Holographic Metaphor for Guiding Social Change,” Human Relations 37 (1984): 1–28; C. Argyris, R. Putnam, and D. Smith, Action Science (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985); S. Mohrman and T. Cummings, Self-Designing Organizations: Learning How to Create High Performance (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1989).

20. P. Senge, The Fifth Discipline (New York: Doubleday, 1990).

21. M. Weisbord, Productive Workplaces (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987).

22. K. Cameron, J. Dutton, and R. Quinn (eds.), Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline (New York: Berrett-Kohler, 2003).


45CHAPTER 2 The Nature of Planned Change

23. D. Eden, “Creating Expectation Effects in OD: Applying Self-Fulfilling Prophecy,” in Research in Organizational Change and Develop ment, vol. 2, eds. W. Pasmore and R. Woodman (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1988); D. Cooperrider, “Positive Image, Positive Action: The Affirmative Basis for Organizing,” in Appreciative Management and Leadership, eds. S. Srivastva, D. Cooperrider, and Associates (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990).

24. D. Cooperrider and D. Whitney, “A Positive Revolution in Change: Appreciative Inquiry,” in Appreciative Inquiry: Rethinking Human Organization Toward a Positive Theory of Change, eds. D. Cooperrider, P. Sorensen, D. Whitney, and T. Yaeger (Champaign, Ill.: Stipes Publishing, 2000), 3–28; J. Watkins and B. Mohr, Appreciative Inquiry (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass, 2001).

25. I. Hacking, The Social Construction of What? (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999).

26. P. Berger and T. Luckman, The Social Construction of Reality (New York: Anchor Books, 1967); K. Gergen, “The Social Constructionist Movement in Modern Psychology,” American Psychologist 40 (1985): 266–75; V. Burr, An Introduction to Social Constructionism (London: Routledge, 1995).

27. Gergen, “Social Constructionist Movement”; D. Cooperrider, F. Barrett, and S. Srivastva, “Social Construction and Appreciative Inquiry: A Journey in Organization Theory,” in Management and Organization: Relational Alternatives to Individualism, eds. D. Hosking, P. Dachler, and K. Gergen (Aldershot, England: Avebury Press, 1995).

28. This application was submitted by Dr. Evelyn D. Robertson, who participated in the airport’s tran- sition. The following documents were used in devel- oping the case: Air Transportation and the Future of the San Diego Region: The Impact of Constrained Air Transportation Capacity on the San Diego Regional Economy. Airport Economic Analysis (Fall 2000), Port of San Diego, San Diego Association of Govern ments, 2–3, sandag/ publicationid_374_507.pdf; The Impacts of Constrained Air Transportation Capacity on the San Diego Regional Economy, Final Report, January 5, 2000, Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc., p. 1, http://www.san .org/sdcraa/documents/sandag/publicationid_227_ 546.pdf; San Diego Inter national Airport Web site, Planning; California Senate Bill AB93, California State Session 2000–2001, Introduced by Assembly Member Wayne (Coauthors: Assembly Members Kehoe and Vargas) (Principal coauthor: Senator Peace) (Coauthor: Senator Alpert) http://; San Diego Port District, Internal Document, COMPASS, 2002; San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, live interview teleconference,

Angela Shafer-Payne, Vice President, Strategic Planning.

29. D. Nadler, “Organizational Frame-Bending: Types of Change in the Complex Organization,” in Corporate Transformation, eds. R. Kilmann and T. Covin (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1988), 66–83; P. Watzlawick, J. Weakland, and R. Fisch, Change (New York: W. W. Norton, 1974); R. Golembiewski, K. Billingsley, and S. Yeager, “Measuring Change and Persistence in Human Affairs: Types of Change Generated by OD Designs,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 12 (1975): 133–57; A. Meyer, G. Brooks, and J. Goes, “Environmental Jolts and Industry Revolutions: Organizational Responses to Discontinuous Change,” Strategic Management Journal 11 (1990): 93–110.

30. A. Mohrman, G. Ledford Jr., S. Mohrman, E. Lawler III, and T. Cummings, Large-Scale Organi- zation Change (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1989).

31. L. D. Brown, “Planned Change in Under- organized Systems,” in Systems Theory for Organi zation Development, ed. T. Cummings (Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons, 1980), 181–203.

32. T. Cummings and M. Nathan, “Fostering New University–Industry Relationships,” in Making Organizations Competitive, ed. R. Kilman (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991).

33. Porras and Robertson, “Organization Develop- ment Theory”; J. Porras and P. Robertson, “Organi- zation Development: Theory, Practice, and Research,” in Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2d ed., vol. 3, eds. M. Dunnette and M. Hough (Palo Alto, Calif: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1992).

34. T. Cummings, S. Mohrman, A. Mohrman, and G. Ledford, “Organization Design for the Future: A Collaborative Research Approach,” in Doing Research That Is Useful for Theory and Practice, eds. E. Lawler III, A. Mohrman, S. Mohrman, G. Ledford, and T. Cummings (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985), 275–305.

35. E. Lawler and C. Worley, Built to Change (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006).

36. Jamieson and Worley, “The Practice of Organization Development”; Frohman, Sashkin, and Kavanagh, “Action Research”; Mohrman and Cummings, Self-Designing Organizations; M. Beer, R. Eisenstat, and B. Spector, “Why Change Programs Don’t Produce Change,” Harvard Business Review 6 (November–December 1990): 158–66.

37. C. Worley and R. Patchett, “Myth and Hope Meet Reality: The Fallacy of and Opportunities for Reducing Cycle Time in Strategic Change,” in Fast Cycle Organization Development, ed. M. Anderson (Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing, 2000).

38. Beer, Eisenstat, and Spector, “Change Programs.”

The Organization Development Practitioner Chapters 1 and 2 provided an overview of the field of organization development and a descrip- tion of the nature of planned change. This chapter extends that introduction by examining the people who perform OD. A closer look at OD practitioners can provide a more personal perspective on the field and can help us under- stand how and why OD relies so heavily on personal relationships between practitioners and organization members.

Much of the literature about OD practitioners views them as internal or external consultants providing professional services—diagnosing systems, developing interventions, and helping to implement them. More recent perspectives expand the practice scope to include profes- sionals in related disciplines, such as industrial psychology and strategic management, as well as line managers who have learned how to carry out OD to change and develop their organizations.

A great deal of opinion and some research studies have focused on the necessary skills and knowledge of an effective OD practitioner. Studies of the profession provide a comprehensive list of

basic skills and knowledge that all effective OD practitioners must possess.

Most of the relevant literature focuses on people specializing in OD as a profession and addresses their roles and careers. The OD practitioner’s role can be described in relation to its position: internal to the organization, external to it, or in a team comprising both internal and external consultants. The OD practitioner’s role can also be examined in terms of its marginal- ity in organizations, of the emotional demands made on the practitioner, and of where it fits along a continuum from client-centered to consultant-centered functioning. Finally, organi- zation development is an emerging profession providing alternative opportunities for gain- ing competence and developing a career. The stressful nature of helping professions, however, suggests that OD practitioners must cope with the possibility of professional burnout.

As in other helping professions, such as medicine and law, values and ethics play an important role in guiding OD practice and in minimizing the chances that clients will be neglected or abused.


Throughout this text, the term organization development practitioner refers to at least three sets of people. The most obvious group of OD practitioners are those people specializing in OD as a profession. They may be internal or external consultants who offer professional services to organizations, including their top managers, functional department heads, and staff groups. OD professionals traditionally have shared a common set of humanistic values promoting open communications, employee involvement, and personal growth and development. They tend to have common training, skills, and experience in the social processes of organizations (for example, group dynamics, decision making, and


47CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

communications). In recent years, OD professionals have expanded those traditional values and skill sets to include more concern for organizational effectiveness, com- petitiveness, and bottom-line results, and greater attention to the technical, structural, and strategic parts of organizations. That expansion, mainly in response to the highly competitive demands facing modern organizations, has resulted in a more diverse set of OD professionals geared to helping organizations cope with those pressures.1

The second set of people to whom the term OD practitioner applies are those special- izing in fields related to OD, such as reward systems, organization design, total quality, information technology, and business strategy. These content-oriented fields increas- ingly are becoming integrated with OD’s process orientation, particularly as OD projects have become more comprehensive, involving multiple features and varying parts of organizations. The integrated strategic change intervention described in Chapter 20, for example, is the result of marrying OD with business strategy.2 A growing number of pro- fessionals in these related fields are gaining experience and competence in OD, mainly through working with OD professionals on large-scale projects and through attending OD training sessions. For example, most of the large accounting firms diversified into management consulting and change management.3 In most cases, professionals in these related fields do not subscribe fully to traditional OD values, nor do they have extensive OD training and experience. Rather, they have formal training and experience in their respective specialties, such as industrial engineering, information systems, or health care. They are OD practitioners in the sense that they apply their special competence within an OD-like process, typically by engaging OD professionals and managers to design and implement change programs. They also practice OD when they apply their OD com- petence to their own specialties, thus spreading an OD perspective into such areas as compensation practices, work design, labor relations, and planning and strategy.

The third set of people to whom the term applies are the increasing number of man- agers and administrators who have gained competence in OD and who apply it to their own work areas. Studies and recent articles argue that OD increasingly is applied by managers rather than by OD professionals.4 Such studies suggest that the faster pace of change affecting organizations today is highlighting the centrality of the manager in managing change. Consequently, OD must become a general management skill. Along those lines, Kanter studied a growing number of firms, such as General Electric, Hewlett- Packard, and 3M, where managers and employees have become “change masters.”5 They have gained the expertise to introduce change and innovation into the organization.

Managers tend to gain competence in OD through interacting with OD professionals in actual change programs. This on-the-job training frequently is supplemented with more formal OD training, such as the various workshops offered by the National Training Laboratories (NTL), USC’s Center for Effective Organizations, the Center for Creative Leadership, the Gestalt Institute, UCLA’s Extension Service, and others. Line manag- ers increasingly are attending such external programs. Moreover, a growing number of organizations, including Capital One, Disney, and General Electric, have instituted in- house training programs for managers to learn how to develop and change their work units. As managers gain OD competence, they become its most basic practitioners.

In practice, the distinctions among the three sets of OD practitioners are blurring. A growing number of managers have transferred, either temporarily or permanently, into the OD profession. For example, companies such as Procter & Gamble have trained and rotated managers into full-time OD roles so that they can gain skills and experi- ence needed for higher-level management positions. Also, it is increasingly common to find managers using their experience in OD to become external consultants. More OD practitioners are gaining professional competence in related specialties, such as business process reengineering, reward systems, and organization design. Conversely, many specialists in those related areas are achieving professional competence in OD. Cross-training and integration are producing a more comprehensive and complex kind

48 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

of OD practitioner—one with a greater diversity of values, skills, and experience than a traditional practitioner.


The literature about OD competencies reveals a mixture of personality traits, experiences, knowledge, and skills presumed to lead to effective practice. For example, research on the characteristics of successful change practitioners yields the following list of attributes and abilities: diagnostic ability, basic knowledge of behavioral science techniques, empa- thy, knowledge of the theories and methods within the consultant’s own discipline, goal-setting ability, problem-solving ability, ability to perform self-assessment, ability to see things objectively, imagination, flexibility, honesty, consistency, and trust.6 Although these qualities and skills are laudable, there has been relatively little consensus about their importance to effective OD practice.

Two projects currently seek to define, categorize, and prioritize the skills and knowl- edge required of OD practitioners. In the first effort, a broad and growing list of well- known practitioners and researchers are asked to review and update a list of professional competencies. The most recent list has grown to 187 statements in nine areas of OD practice, including entry, start-up, assessment and feedback, action planning, inter- vention, evaluation, adoption, separation, and general competencies.7 The statements range from “staying centered in the present, focusing on the ongoing process” and “understanding and explaining how diversity will affect the diagnosis of the culture” to “basing change on business strategy and business needs” and “being comfortable with quantum leaps, radical shifts, and paradigm changes.” Recent items added to the list relate to international OD, large-group interventions, and transorganization skills.

To understand the relative importance of this long list, Worley and his colleagues col- lected data from 364 OD practitioners.8 The average respondent had six–ten years of OD experience, a master’s degree, and came from the United States. The results suggested an underlying structure to the list. Twenty-three competencies were generated that reflected both the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct planned change processes and the individual characteristics necessary to be an effective OD practitioner. Similar to other lists, the competencies included the ability to evaluate change, work with large-scale change efforts, create implementation plans, and manage diversity. One of the more surprising results, however, was the emergence of “self mastery” as the most important competence. The results supported the long-held belief that good OD practi- tioners know themselves and that such knowledge forms the basis of effective practice.

The second project, sponsored by the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management,9 seeks to develop a list of competen- cies to guide curriculum development in graduate OD programs. More than 40 OD practitioners and researchers worked to develop the two competency lists shown in Table 3.1. First, foundation competencies are oriented toward descriptions of an exist- ing system. They include knowledge from organization behavior, psychology, group dynamics, management and organization theory, research methods, and business practices. Second, core competencies are aimed at how systems change over time. They include knowledge of organization design, organization research, system dynamics, OD history, and theories and models for change; they also involve the skills needed to manage the consulting process, to analyze and diagnose systems, to design and choose interventions, to facilitate processes, to develop clients’ capability to manage their own change, and to evaluate organization change.

The information in Table 3.1 applies primarily to people specializing in OD as a pro- fession. For them, possessing the listed knowledge and skills seems reasonable, espe- cially in light of the growing diversity and complexity of interventions in OD. Gaining

49CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

Knowledge and Skill Requirements of OD Practitioners


Knowledge 1. Organization behavior A. Organization culture B. Work design C. Interpersonal relations D. Power and politics E. Leadership F. Goal setting G. Conflict H. Ethics 2. Individual psychology A. Learning theory B. Motivation theory C. Perception theory 3. Group dynamics A. Roles B. Communication

processes C. Decision-making process D. Stages of group

development E. Leadership 4. Management and

organization theory A. Planning, organizing,

leading, and controlling B. Problem solving and

decision making C. Systems theory D. Contingency theory E. Organization structure F. Characteristics of

environment and technology

G. Models of organization and system

5. Research methods/statistics A. Measures of central

tendency B. Measures of dispersion C. Basic sampling theory D. Basic experimental

design E. Sample inferential


1. Organization design: the decision process associated with formulating and aligning the elements of an organizational system, including but not limited to structural systems, human resource systems, information systems, reward systems, work design, political systems, and organization culture

A. The concept of fit and alignment

B. Diagnostic and design model for various sub-systems that make up an organization at any level of analysis, including the structure of work, human resources, information systems, reward systems, work design, political systems, and so on

C. Key thought leaders in organization design

2. Organization research: field research methods; interviewing; content analysis; design of questionnaires and interview protocol; designing change evaluation processes; longitudinal data collection and analysis; understanding and detecting alpha, beta, and gamma change; and a host of quantitative and qualitative methods

3. System dynamics: the description and understanding of how systems evolve and develop over time, how systems respond to exogenous and endogenous disruption as well as planned interventions (e.g., evolution and revolution, punctuated equilibrium theory, chaos theory, catastrophe theory, incremental vs. quantum change, transformation theory, and so on)


[Table 3.1][Table 3.1]

50 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

Knowledge and Skill Requirements of OD Practitioners, (continued )


6. Comparative cultural perspectives

A. Dimensions of natural culture

B. Dimensions of industry culture

C. Systems implications 7. Functional knowledge of

business A. Interpersonal

communication (listening, feedback, and articulation)

B. Collaboration/working together

C. Problem solving D. Using new technology E. Conceptualizing F. Project management G. Present/education/coach

4. History of organization development and change: an understanding of the social, political, economic, and personal forces that led to the emergence and development of organization development and change, including the key thought leaders, the values underlying their writings and actions, the key events and writings, and related documentation

A. Human relations movement B. NTL/T-groups/sensitivity

training C. Survey research D. Quality of work life E. Tavistock Institute F. Key thought leaders G. Humanistic values H. Statement of ethics 5. Theories and models for

change: the basic action research model, participatory action research model, planning model, change typologies (e.g., fast, slow, incremental, quantum, revolutionary), Lewin’s model, transition models, and so on

Skills 1. Managing the consulting process: the ability to enter, contract, diagnose, design appropriate interventions, implement those interventions, manage unprogrammed events, and evaluate change process

2. Analysis/diagnosis: the abilities to conduct an inquiry into a system’s effectiveness, to see the root cause(s) of a system’s current level of effectiveness; the core skill is interpreted to include all systems—individual, group, organization, and multiorganization—as well as the ability to understand and inquire into one’s self

[Table 3.1][Table 3.1]

51CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner


3. Designing/choosing appropriate, relevant interventions: understanding how to select, modify, or design effective interventions that will move the organization from its current state to its desired future state

4. Facilitation and process consultation: the ability to assist an individual or group toward a goal; the ability to conduct an inquiry into individual and group processes such that the client system maintains ownership of the issue, increases its capacity for reflection on the consequences of its behaviors and actions, and develops a sense of increased control and ability

5. Developing client capability: the ability to conduct a change process in such a way that the client is better able to plan and implement a successful change process in the future, using technologies of planned change in a values-based and ethical manner

6. Evaluating organization change: the ability to design and implement a process to evaluate the impact and effects of change intervention, including control of alternative explanations and interpretation of performance outcomes

competence in those areas may take considerable time and effort, and it is questionable whether the other two types of OD practitioners—managers and specialists in related fields—also need that full range of skills and knowledge. It seems more reasonable to suggest that some subset of the items listed in Table 3.1 should apply to all OD prac- titioners, whether they are OD professionals, managers, or related specialists. Those items would constitute the practitioner’s basic skills and knowledge. Beyond that back- ground, the three types of OD practitioners likely would differ in areas of concentration. OD professionals would extend their breadth of skills across the remaining categories in Table 3.1; managers would focus on the functional knowledge of business areas; and related specialists would concentrate on skills in their respective areas.

Knowledge and Skill Requirements of OD Practitioners [Table 3.1][Table 3.1]

PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

Based on the data in Table 3.1 and the other studies available, all OD practitioners should have the following basic skills and knowledge to be effective.

Intrapersonal Skills or “Self-Management” Competence. Despite the growing knowl- edge base and sophistication of the field, organization development is still a human craft. As the primary instrument of diagnosis and change, practitioners often must process complex, ambiguous information and make informed judgments about its rel- evance to organizational issues.

The core competency of analysis and diagnosis listed in Table 3.1 includes the ability to inquire into one’s self, and as noted above, it remains one of the cornerstone skills in OD.10 Practitioners must have the personal centering to know their own values, feelings, and purposes as well as the integrity to behave responsibly in a helping relationship with others. Bob Tannenbaum, one of the founders of OD, argued that self-knowledge is the most central ingredient in OD practice and suggested that prac- titioners are becoming too enamored with skills and techniques.11 There are data to support his view. A study of 416 OD practitioners found that 47% agreed with the statement, “Many of the new entrants into the field have little understanding of or appreciation for the history or values underlying the field.”12 Because OD is a highly uncertain process requiring constant adjustment and innovation, practitioners must have active learning skills and a reasonable balance between their rational and emo- tional sides. Finally, OD practice can be highly stressful and can lead to early burnout, so practitioners need to know how to manage their own stress.

Interpersonal Skills. Practitioners must create and maintain effective relationships with individuals and groups within the organization and help them gain the competence necessary to solve their own problems. Table 3.1 identifies group dynamics, comparative cultural perspectives, and business functions as foundation knowledge, and managing the consulting process and facilitation as core skills. All of these interpersonal competen- cies promote effective helping relationships. Such relationships start with a grasp of the organization’s perspective and require listening to members’ perceptions and feelings to understand how they see themselves and the organization. This understanding provides a starting point for joint diagnosis and problem solving. Practitioners must establish trust and rapport with organization members so that they can share pertinent information and work effectively together. This requires being able to converse in members’ own language and to give and receive feedback about how the relationship is progressing.

To help members learn new skills and behaviors, practitioners must serve as role mod- els of what is expected. They must act in ways that are credible to organization members and provide them with the counseling and coaching necessary to develop and change. Because the helping relationship is jointly determined, practitioners need to be able to negotiate an acceptable role and to manage changing expectations and demands.

General Consultation Skills. Table 3.1 identifies the ability to manage the consult- ing process and the ability to design interventions as core competencies that all OD practitioners should possess. OD starts with diagnosing an organization or department to understand its current functioning and to discover areas for further development. OD practitioners need to know how to carry out an effective diagnosis, at least at a rudimentary level. They should know how to engage organization members in diagnosis, how to help them ask the right questions, and how to collect and analyze information. A manager, for example, should be able to work with subordinates to determine jointly the organization’s or department’s strengths or problems. The manager should know basic diagnostic questions (see Chapters 5 and 6), some methods for gathering informa- tion, such as interviews or surveys, and some techniques for analyzing it, such as force- field analysis or statistical means and distributions (see Chapters 7 and 8).

In addition to diagnosis, OD practitioners should know how to design and execute an intervention. They need to be able to define an action plan and to gain


53CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

commitment to the program. They also need to know how to tailor the intervention to the situation, using information about how the change is progressing to guide implementation (see Chapter 11). For example, managers should be able to develop action steps for an intervention with subordinates. They should be able to gain their commitment to the program (usually through participation), sit down with them and assess how it is progressing, and make modifications if necessary.

Organization Development Theory. The last basic tool OD practitioners should have is a general knowledge of organization development, such as is presented in this book. They should have some appreciation for planned change, the action research model, and the positive approaches to managing change. They should be familiar with the range of available interventions and the need for evaluating change programs. Perhaps most important is that OD practitioners should understand their own role in the emerging field of organization development, whether it is as an OD professional, a manager, or a specialist in a related area.


Most of the literature about OD practitioners has focused on people specializing in OD as a profession. In this section, we discuss the role and typical career paths of OD professionals.

Role of Organization Development Professionals Position Organization development professionals have positions that are either internal or external to the organization. Internal consultants are members of the organization and may be located in the human resources department or report directly to a line manager. They may perform the OD role exclusively, or they may combine it with other tasks, such as compensation practices, training, or employee relations.13 Many large organiza- tions, such as Boeing, Raytheon, Disney, Microsoft, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, Weyerhaeuser, Kimberly Clark, and Citigroup, have created specialized OD consulting groups. These internal consultants typically have a variety of clients within the organiza- tion, serving both line and staff departments.

External consultants are not members of the client organization; they typically work for a consulting firm, a university, or themselves. Organizations generally hire external consultants to provide a particular expertise that is unavailable internally, to bring a different and potentially more objective perspective into the organization development process, or to signal shifts in power.14 Table 3.2 describes the differences between these two roles at each stage of the action research process.15

During the entry process, internal consultants have clear advantages. They have ready access to and relationships with clients, know the language of the organization, and have insights about the root cause of many of its problems. This allows internal consultants to save time in identifying the organization’s culture, informal practices, and sources of power. They have access to a variety of information, including rumors, company reports, and direct observations. In addition, entry is more efficient and congenial, and their pay is not at risk. External consultants, however, have the advan- tage of being able to select the clients they want to work with according to their own criteria. The contracting phase is less formal for internal consultants and there is less worry about expenses, but there is less choice about whether to complete the assign- ment. Both types of consultants must address issues of confidentiality, risk project ter- mination (and other negative consequences) by the client, and fill a third-party role.

During the diagnosis process, internal consultants already know most organization members and enjoy a basic level of rapport and trust. But external consultants often have higher status than internal consultants, which allows them to probe difficult

PART 1 Overview of Organization Development


Entering • Source clients • Build relationships • Learn company jargon • “Presenting problem” challenge • Time consuming • Stressful phase • Select project/client according to

own criteria • Unpredictable outcome

• Ready access to clients • Ready relationships • Knows company jargon • Understands root causes • Time efficient • Congenial phase • Obligated to work with everyone • Steady pay

Contracting • Formal documents • Can terminate project at will • Guard against out-of-pocket

expenses • Information confidental • Loss of contract at stake • Maintain third-party role

• Informal agreements • Must complete projects assigned • No out-of-pocket expenses • Information can be open or

confidential • Risk of client retaliation and loss of

job at stake • Acts as third party, driver (on behalf

of client), or pair of hands

Diagnosing • Meet most organization members for the first time

• Prestige from being external • Build trust quickly • Confidential data can increase

political sensitivities

• Has relationships with many organization members

• Prestige determined by job rank and client stature

• Sustain reputation as trustworthy over time

• Data openly shared can reduce political intrigue

Intervening • Insist on valid information, free and informed choice, and internal commitment

• Confine activities within boundaries of client organization

• Insist on valid information, free and informed choice, and internal commitment

• Run interference for client across organizational lines to align support

Evaluating • Rely on repeat business and customer referral as key measures of project success

• Seldom see long-term results

• Rely on repeat business, pay raise, and promotion as key measures of success

• Can see change become institutionalized

• Little recognition for job well done

SOURCE: M. Lacey, “Internal Consulting: Perspectives on the Process of Planned Change,”Journal of Organizational Change Management 8 (1995): 76, © 1995. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

The Differences Between External and Internal Consulting [Table 3.2][Table 3.2]

issues and assess the organization more objectively. In the intervention phase, both types of consultants must rely on valid information, free and informed choice, and internal commitment for their success.16 However, an internal consultant’s strong ties to the organization may make him or her overly cautious, particularly when powerful others can affect a career. Internal consultants also may lack certain skills and experi- ence in facilitating organizational change. Insiders may have some small advantages in


55CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

being able to move around the system and cross key organizational boundaries. Finally, the measures of success and reward differ from those of the external practitioner in the evaluation process.

A promising approach to having the advantages of both internal and external OD consultants is to include them both as members of an internal–external consulting team.17 External consultants can combine their special expertise and objectivity with the inside knowledge and acceptance of internal consultants. The two parties can use complementary consulting skills while sharing the workload and possibly accomplish- ing more than either would by operating alone. Internal consultants, for example, can provide almost continuous contact with the client, and their external counterparts can provide specialized services periodically, such as two or three days each month. External consultants also can help train their organization partners, thus transferring OD skills and knowledge to the organization.

Although little has been written on internal–external consulting teams, studies suggest that the effectiveness of such teams depends on members developing strong, supportive, collegial relationships. They need to take time to develop the consulting team, confronting individual differences and establishing appropriate roles and rela- tionships. Members need to provide each other with continuous feedback and also make a commitment to learn from each other. In the absence of these team-building and learning activities, internal–external consulting teams can be more troublesome and less effective than either internal or external consultants working alone.

Application 3.1 provides a personal, first-person account of the internal and external consulting positions as well as interactions between them.18

Marginality A promising line of research on the professional OD role centers on the issue of marginality.19 The marginal person is one who successfully straddles the boundary between two or more groups with differing goals, value systems, and behav- ior patterns. Whereas in the past, the marginal role always was seen as dysfunctional, marginality now is seen in a more positive light. There are many examples of marginal roles in organizations: the salesperson, the buyer, the first-line supervisor, the integra- tor, and the project manager.

Evidence is mounting that some people are better at taking marginal roles than are others. Those who are good at it seem to have personal qualities of low dogma- tism, neutrality, open-mindedness, objectivity, flexibility, and adaptable information- processing ability. Rather than being upset by conflict, ambiguity, and stress, they thrive on it. Individuals with marginal orientations are more likely than others to develop integrative decisions that bring together and reconcile viewpoints among opposing organizational groups and are more likely to remain neutral in controversial situations. Thus, research suggests that the marginal role can have positive effects when it is filled by a person with a marginal orientation. Such a person can be more objective and bet- ter able to perform successfully in linking, integrative, or conflict-laden roles.20

A study of 89 external OD practitioners and 246 internal ones (response rates of 59% and 54%, respectively) showed that external professionals were more comfort- able with the marginal role than were internal professionals. Internal consultants with more years of experience were more marginally oriented than were those with less experience.21 These findings, combined with other research on marginal roles, suggest the importance of maintaining the OD practitioner’s marginality, with its flexibility, independence, and boundary-spanning characteristics.

Emotional Demands The OD practitioner role is emotionally demanding. Research and practice support the importance of understanding emotions and their impact on the practitioner’s effectiveness.22 The research on emotional intelligence in organizations suggests a set of abilities that can aid OD practitioners in conducting successful change efforts. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and express emotions

The Internal Consultant’s View I am an agent of change. I am also a member of this organization. I was hired for my OD skills, but also for the fact that I was seen as a “cultural fit.” Sometimes I struggle between my dual roles of “team member” and “free radical.” After all, it is my job to disrupt the status quo around here, helping leaders to find ways to make the organiza- tion more effective.

I have the great advantage of knowing and under- standing how my organization works—its pro- cesses, policies, norms, and areas of resistance. I can usually anticipate how difficult a given change will be for members of the organization, and where the resistance will come from. Because I believe in the mission of my organization, I am able to cope with the inevitable challenges of the change pro- cess. Still, I am frequently a magnet for resistance and a receptacle of institutional anxiety. While I understand how people can be frustrated and frightened by change, it can still be difficult for me to bear the disruption I help to create.

To keep myself sharp and healthy, I breathe, run, meditate, and read. I take every learning oppor- tunity that comes my way, and work diligently to create and maintain a network of colleagues who can support me through the rough patches. I find that my best support comes not from friends, but from people who know and understand the hard work of planned change.

As an internal consultant, I have exposure to many of the same people over time—executives, managers, and employees get to know who I am and what I do. I get to know who they are and what they do. I have the opportunity to lever- age my executive relationships from project to project; over time the executives here have come to understand my work and trust my skills as a consultant. This understanding and trust saves us time and energy each time we work together. Of course, I realize that if I fail one of my executive clients, my life in this organization could become less pleasant. That can stress me out when I’m working on a messy or unpopular project. After all, my performance review is affected by client

feedback, and my compensation is tied to people’s perceptions of my performance. This can make it difficult to press forward with risky interventions. I am proud of my reputation around here—proud of the fact that I have built solid relationships at the executive level, that managers respect my work, and that employees value having me in the organization. Still, I am ever aware that I must walk the fine line between “respected insider” and “paid agitator.”

Sometimes I’m lonely—often I’m the only OD per- son working in an organization; sometimes there are two or more of us, but we’re always spread so thin that connecting is difficult and truly sup- porting one another is virtually impossible. I may work with other staff people—HR for instance— but they don’t always understand my role and can’t really relate to my challenges. Sometimes they can be resentful of my relationship with the client, which makes me feel alienated. I enjoy my client groups, but I must be careful not to over- identify with them; the greatest value I bring to my clients is a clean “outsider” perspective. I can’t do hard change efforts with them if I’m worried about them liking me. Being a lone ranger can be thrilling, but being an outsider can get tiring.

Occasionally I bring in an external consultant to work on a specific project or problem in my organi- zation. This can be both challenging and rewarding for me. It is time consuming to bring an outsider up to speed on my organization’s business, processes, and politics. I seek external consultants who will fit in our culture, while helping us see our issues more clearly and realistically. I enjoy the process of partnering with people who have exposure to other organizations, who possess different skills and strengths from mine, and who understand the inherent discomfort of the change process. Still, this can be risky, because my reputation will be affected by this person’s work and the outcomes we are able to achieve. When it works best, my partnership with the external consultant leads to improved effectiveness for my organization, while affording me a valued learning opportunity and professional support.

Personal Views of the Internal and External Consulting Positions

ap p

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3 .1

57CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

The best thing to me about being an internal consultant is knowing that I am contributing to the mission of my organization with every client I work with, every day.

The External Consultant’s View I am an agent of change. I work for many different organizations of varying sizes with different mis- sions and goals. I spend most of my time helping managers, HR people, and internal consultants initiate and manage change—both planned and unplanned. I enjoy the variety in my work and the learning that comes from seeing the way change happens in different organizations and contexts.

But it is hard being an “outsider.” I must work quickly to understand each new organization I work with. As an outsider it can be frustrating to navigate the inner workings of the organiza- tion—its politics, pecking order, and culture—and to root out what’s important and what’s not. In my role, I’m not around while the unglamorous, time-consuming, and important work of nurturing a change along is being done. So, although I experience the risk and excitement of some part of the change, I do not always get to experience the whole change process from start to finish. I rarely get to see the project bear fruit and the organization become more effective as a result of the work I’ve done. Sometimes the process feels incomplete, and I almost always wonder how much I’ve actually helped.

Being an external consultant is both rewarding and risky work. On the one hand, I am seen as an expert. I am appreciated for my assistance, applauded for my knowledge, and liked for my interpersonal skills. I have the benefit of many revenue sources, so I’m never overly dependent on one client. I am often rewarded handsomely for my time and effort, although most people mistake “daily fee” as actual income and forget about self- employment taxes and the health benefits I have to pay myself. The other truth is that I am always

at risk—economic crises, budget cuts, personnel changes, executive shake ups, organizational poli- tics, and the occasional hostile HR person are but a few of the land mines an external consultant faces. For the most part, I feel pleased and rewarded for my work as a consultant. But I always know that my situation is dependent on my client’s situation, and I can never afford to get too comfortable.

When I’m hired by an executive or manager, sometimes the HR person or internal consultant may be resistant, feeling threatened by my presence. When this happens, I have to find ways to address their concern, partner with them, and still do the important work of organizational change. Sometimes just creating space for the conversation by using simple probes—“You seem very concerned about this situation” or “You must feel pretty unsupported right now”—help me uncover their discomfort so we can move forward. Sometimes these relationships are difficult throughout the engagement. It’s the downside of being brought in as an “expert.”

I am asked by clients to perform a wide variety of tasks ranging from content expert to process expert to personal coach. Regardless of the request, however, I am frequently aware of an unspoken need on the part of the client—manager, HR person, or internal consultant—to have me sup- port his or her project, position, or person. When the request is to support a project, it is usually clear. When the request is to support a position, it is less clear but typically surfaces during the course of our work together. However, when the request is to support the individual personally, the request is almost never overt. This is where my self- as-instrument work serves me best, helping me to understand the unspoken—the question behind the question. While my goal is always to help my client organizations become more effective, I never forget that change can happen many different ways and at multiple levels of the system. It is my work to be aware of opportunities to intervene, and to have the skill and courage to do so as an outsider.

58 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

appropriately, to use emotions in thought and decisions, and to regulate emotion in one’s self and in others.23 It is, therefore, a different kind of intelligence from problem- solving ability, engineering aptitude, or the knowledge of concepts. In tandem with traditional knowledge and skill, emotional intelligence affects and supplements ratio- nal thought; emotions help prioritize thinking by directing attention to important information not addressed in models and theories. In that sense, some researchers argue that emotional intelligence is as important as cognitive intelligence.24

Reports from OD practitioners support the importance of emotional intelligence in practice. From the client’s perspective, OD practitioners must understand emotions well enough to relate to and help organization members address resistance, commit- ment, and ambiguity at each stage of planned change. Despite the predominant focus on rationality and efficiency, almost any change process must address important and difficult issues that raise emotions such as the fear of failure, rejection, anxiety, and anger.25 OD practitioners can provide psychological support, model appropriate emo- tional expression, reframe client perspectives, and provide resources. OD practitioners must also understand their own emotions. Ambiguity, unfamiliarity, or denial of emo- tions can lead to inaccurate and untimely interventions. For example, a practitioner who is uncomfortable with conflict may intervene to defuse an argument between two managers because of the discomfort he or she feels, not because the conflict is destruc- tive. In such a case, the practitioner is acting to address a personal need rather than intervening to improve the system’s effectiveness.

Evidence suggests that emotional intelligence increases with age and experience.26

Research also supports the conclusion that competence with emotions can be devel- oped through personal growth processes such as sensitivity training, counseling, and therapy. It seems reasonable to suggest that professional OD practitioners dedicate themselves to a long-term regimen of development that includes acquiring both cogni- tive learning and emotional intelligence.

Use of Knowledge and Experience The professional OD role has been described in terms of a continuum ranging from client centered (using the client’s knowledge and experience) to consultant centered (using the consultant’s knowledge and experience), as shown in Figure 3.1. Traditionally, OD consultants have worked at the client- centered end of the continuum. Organization development professionals, relying mainly on pro- cess consultation and team building (see Chapter 12), have been expected to remain neutral, refusing to offer expert advice on organizational problems. Rather than con- tracting to solve specific problems, the consultant has tended to work with organization members to identify problems and potential solutions, to help them study what they are doing now and consider alternative behaviors and solutions, and to help them discover whether, in fact, the consultant and they can learn to do things better. In doing that, the OD professional has generally listened and reflected upon members’ perceptions and ideas and helped clarify and interpret their communications and behaviors.

The recent proliferation of OD interventions in the structural, human resource man- agement, and strategy areas has expanded that limited definition of the professional OD role to include the consultant-centered end of the continuum. In many of the newer approaches, the consultant may have to take on a modified role of expert, with the consent and collaboration of organization members. For example, managers trying to bring about a major structural redesign (see Chapter 14) may not have the appropri- ate knowledge and expertise to create and manage the change and need the help of an OD practitioner with experience in this area. The consultant’s role might be to present the basic concepts and ideas and then to struggle jointly with the managers to select an approach that might be useful to the organization and to decide how it might best be implemented. In this situation, the OD professional recommends or prescribes particular changes and is active in planning how to implement them. This expertise, however, is always shared rather than imposed.

59CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

With the development of new and varied intervention approaches, the OD profes- sional’s role needs to be seen as falling along the entire continuum from client cen- tered to consultant centered. At times, the consultant will rely mainly on organization members’ knowledge and experiences to identify and solve problems. At other times, it will be more appropriate to take on the role of an expert, withdrawing from that role as managers gain more knowledge and experience.

Careers of Organization Development Professionals In contrast to such long-standing occupations as medicine and law, organization devel- opment is an emerging practice, still developing the characteristics of an established profession: a common body of knowledge, educational requirements, a recognized code of ethics, and rules and methods for governing conduct. People enter professional OD careers from various educational and work backgrounds. Because they do not have to follow an established career path, they have some choice about when to enter or leave an OD career and whether to be an internal or external consultant.27

Despite the looseness or flexibility of the field, most professionals have had specific training in OD. That training can include relatively short courses (one day to two weeks), programs, and workshops conducted within organizations or at outside institutions (such as NTL, USC, University Associates, Columbia University, the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and UCLA). OD training also can be more formal and lengthy, including master’s programs (for example, at Pepperdine University, American University, Benedictine University, Bowling Green State University, Case Western Reserve University, Loyola University, and the Fielding Institute) and doctoral training (for example, at Benedictine University, Pepperdine University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University Teachers College, USC, the Fielding Institute, George Washington University, UCLA, and Stanford University).

As might be expected, career choices widen as people gain training and experience in OD. Those with rudimentary training tend to be internal consultants, often taking on OD roles as temporary assignments on the way to higher managerial or staff positions.

Plans implementation

Recommends and/or prescribes

Proposes criteria

Identifies available options

Feeds back data

Probes and gathers data

Clarifies and interprets

Listens and reflects

Refuses to become involved

Use of Consultant’s Knowledge and Experience

Use of Client’s Knowledge and Experience

SOURCE: Adapted by permission of the authors from W. Schmidt and A. Johnson, “A Continuum of Consultancy Styles” (unpublished manuscript, July 1970), p. 1.

Use of Consultant’s Versus Client’s Knowledge and Experience [Figure 3.1][Figure 3.1]

60 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

Holders of master’s degrees generally are evenly split between internal and external con- sultants. Those with doctorates may join a university faculty and do consulting part-time, join a consulting firm, or seek a position as a relatively high-level internal consultant.

External consultants tend to be older, to have more managerial experience, and to spend more of their time in OD than do internal practitioners. However, one study suggested there were no differences between internal and external consultants in pay or years of consulting experience.28 Perhaps the most common career path is to begin as an internal consultant, gain experience and visibility through successful interventions or publishing, and then become an external consultant. A field study found that internal consultants acquired greater competence by working with external consultants who purposely helped develop them. This development took place through a tutorial arrangement of joint diag- nosis and intervention in the organization, which gave the internal consultants a chance to observe and learn from the model furnished by the external consultants.29

There is increasing evidence that an OD career can be stressful, sometimes leading to burnout.30 Burnout comes from taking on too many jobs, becoming overcommitted, and generally working too hard. The number-one complaint of OD practitioners is constant traveling.31 OD work often requires six-day work weeks, with some days running as long as 15 hours. Consultants may spend a week working with one organization or department and then spend the weekend preparing for the next client. They may spend 50–75% of their time on the road, living in planes, cars, hotels, meetings, and restaurants. Indeed, one practitioner has suggested that the majority of OD consultants would repeat the phrase “quality of work life for consultants” this way: “Quality of work life? For consultants?”32

OD professionals increasingly are taking steps to cope with burnout. They may shift jobs, moving from external to internal roles to gain more predictable hours or avoid travel. They may learn to pace themselves better and to avoid taking on too much work. Many are engaging in fitness and health programs and are using stress-management techniques, such as those described in Chapter 19.


Values have played an important role in organization development from its begin- ning. Traditionally, OD professionals have promoted a set of values under a humanistic framework, including a concern for inquiry and science, democracy, and being helpful.33

They have sought to build trust and collaboration; to create an open, problem-solving climate; and to increase the self-control of organization members. More recently, OD practitioners have extended those humanistic values to include a concern for improving organizational effectiveness (for example, to increase productivity or to reduce turn- over) and performance (for example, to increase profitability). They have shown an increasing desire to optimize both human benefits and production objectives.34

The joint values of humanizing organizations and improving their effectiveness have received widespread support in the OD profession as well as increasing encouragement from managers, employees, labor leaders, and government officials. Indeed, it would be difficult not to support those joint concerns. But in practice, OD professionals face serious challenges in simultaneously pursuing greater humanism and organizational effective- ness.35 More practitioners are experiencing situations in which there is conflict between employees’ needs for greater meaning and the organization’s need for more effective and efficient use of its resources. For example, expensive capital equipment may run most efficiently if it is highly programmed and routinized, but people may not derive satisfac- tion from working with such technology. Should efficiency be maximized at the expense of people’s satisfaction? Can technology be changed to make it more humanly satisfying while remaining efficient? What compromises are possible? How do these trade-offs shift when they are applied in different social cultures? These are the value dilemmas often faced when we try to optimize both human benefits and organizational effectiveness.

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In addition to value issues within organizations, OD practitioners are dealing more and more with value conflicts with powerful outside groups. Organizations are open systems and exist within increasingly turbulent environments. For example, hospitals are fac- ing complex and changing task environments. This has led to a proliferation of external stakeholders with interests in the organization’s functioning, including patients, suppliers, medical groups, insurance companies, employers, the government, stockholders, unions, the press, and various interest groups. Those external groups often have different and com- peting values for judging the organization’s effectiveness. For example, stockholders may judge the firm in terms of earnings per share, the government in terms of compliance with equal employment opportunity legislation, patients in terms of quality of care, and ecology groups in terms of hazardous waste disposal. Because organizations must rely on these external groups for resources and legitimacy, they cannot simply ignore these competing values. They must somehow respond to them and try to reconcile the different interests.

Recent attempts to help firms manage external relationships suggest the need for new interventions and competence in OD.36 Practitioners must have not only social skills like those proposed in Table 3.1 but also political skills. They must understand the distribution of power, conflicts of interest, and value dilemmas inherent in managing external relationships, and be able to manage their own role and values with respect to those dynamics. Research suggests this is especially true in interorganizational and international applications of OD.37 Interventions promoting collaboration and sys- tem maintenance may be ineffective in this larger arena, especially when there are power and dominance relationships among organizations and competition for scarce resources. Under those conditions, OD practitioners may need more power-oriented interventions, such as bargaining, coalition forming, and pressure tactics.

For example, organizations are coming under increasing pressure to align their prac- tices with ecologically sound design principles. Popular and scientific concerns over global warming, toxic waste, natural resource depletion, and sustainability each have formida- ble nonprofit groups, citizen action committees, and professional lobbyists representing them. In addition, an increasing number of consulting firms are marketing products and processes to help organizations achieve a more sustainable relationship with the environ- ment. In response, firms have “gone green,” announced contributions to environmental funds, and created alliances with environmental nongovernmental groups. Many argue that these changes are more window dressing than real, more political than operational, and more public relations than substantive. To be fair, a number of organizations have made important changes in their philosophies, strategies, and resource allocations. As a result, the relationships between organizations and environmental groups range from benign to hostile to collaborative. People practicing OD in such settings may need to help organizations manage these relationships and implement strategies to manage their constituencies effectively. That effort will require political skills and greater attention to how the OD practitioner’s own values fit with those of the organization.


Ethical issues in OD are concerned with how practitioners perform their helping rela- tionship with organization members. Inherent in any helping relationship is the poten- tial for misconduct and client abuse. OD practitioners can let personal values stand in the way of good practice or use the power inherent in their professional role to abuse (often unintentionally) organization members.

Ethical Guidelines To its credit, the field of OD always has shown concern for the ethical conduct of its practitioners. There have been several articles and symposia about ethics in OD.38

In addition, statements of ethics governing OD practice have been sponsored by the

62 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

Organization Development Institute (, the American Society for Training & Development (, and a consor- tium of professional associations in OD. The consortium has sponsored an ethical code derived from a large-scale project conducted at the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The project’s purposes included preparing critical incidents describing ethical dilemmas and using that material for pre- professional and continuing education in OD, providing an empirical basis for a state- ment of values and ethics for OD professionals, and initiating a process for making the ethics of OD practice explicit on a continuing basis.39 The ethical guidelines from that project appear in the appendix to this chapter.

Ethical Dilemmas Although adherence to statements of ethics helps prevent the occurrence of ethical problems, OD practitioners still encounter ethical dilemmas. Figure 3.2 is a process model that explains how ethical dilemmas can occur in OD. The antecedent condi- tions include an OD practitioner and a client system with different goals, values, needs, skills, and abilities. The entry and contracting phase of planned change is intended to address and clarify these differences. As a practical matter, however, it is unreason- able to assume that all of the differences will be identified and resolved. Under such circumstances, the subsequent intervention process or role episode is almost certainly subject to role conflict and role ambiguity. Neither the client nor the OD practitioner is clear about respective responsibilities. Each party is pursuing different goals, and each is using different skills and values to achieve those goals. The role conflict and ambi- guity may produce five types of ethical dilemmas: misrepresentation, misuse of data, coercion, value and goal conflict, and technical ineptness.

Misrepresentation Misrepresentation occurs when OD practitioners claim that an intervention will produce results that are unreasonable for the change program or the situation. The client can contribute to the problem by portraying inaccurate goals and needs. In either case, one or both parties are operating under false pretenses and an ethical dilemma exists. For example, in an infamous case called “The Undercover Change Agent,” an attempt was made to use sensitivity training in an organization whose top management did not understand it and was not ready for it. The OD consul- tant sold this interpersonally intense intervention as the activity that would solve the problems facing the organization. After the president of the firm made a surprise visit to the site where the training was being held, the consultant was fired because the nature and style of the sensitivity training was in direct contradiction to the president’s concepts about leadership.40 Misrepresentation is likely to occur in the entering and contracting phases of planned change when the initial consulting relationship is being established. To prevent misrepresentation, OD practitioners need to gain clarity about the goals of the change effort, and to explore openly with the client its expected effects, its relevance to the client system, and the practitioner’s competence in executing the intervention.

Misuse of Data Misuse of data occurs when information gathered during the OD pro- cess is used punitively. Large amounts of information are invariably obtained during the entry and diagnostic phases of OD. Although most OD practitioners value openness and trust, it is important that they be aware of how such data are going to be used. It is a human tendency to use data to enhance a power position. Openness is one thing, but leaking inappropriate information can be harmful to individuals and to the organi- zation. It is easy for a consultant, under the guise of obtaining information, to gather data about whether a particular manager is good or bad. When, how, or if this infor- mation can be used is an ethical dilemma not easily resolved. To minimize misuse of data, practitioners should reach agreement up front with organization members about

63CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

how data collected during the change process will be used. This agreement should be reviewed periodically in light of changing circumstances.

Coercion Coercion occurs when organization members are forced to participate in an OD intervention. People should have the freedom to choose whether to participate in a change program if they are to gain self-reliance to solve their own problems. In team building, for example, team members should have the option of deciding not to become involved in the intervention. Management should not decide unilaterally that team building is good for members. However, freedom to make a choice requires knowledge about OD. Many organization members have little information about OD interventions, what they involve, and the nature and consequences of becoming involved with them. This makes it imperative for OD practitioners to educate clients about interventions before choices are made for implementing them.

Coercion also can pose ethical dilemmas for the helping relationship between OD practitioners and organization members. Inherent in any helping relationship are pos- sibilities for excessive manipulation and dependency, two facets of coercion. Kelman pointed out that behavior change “inevitably involves some degree of manipulation and control, and at least an implicit imposition of the change agent’s values on the cli- ent or the person he [or she] is influencing.”41 This places the practitioner on two horns of a dilemma: (1) Any attempt to change is in itself a change and thereby a manipula- tion, no matter how slight, and (2) there exists no formula or method to structure a change situation so that such manipulation can be totally avoided. To attack the first aspect of the dilemma, Kelman stressed freedom of choice, seeing any action that limits freedom of choice as being ethically ambiguous or worse. To address the second aspect, Kelman argued that the OD practitioner must remain keenly aware of her or his own value system and alert to the possibility that those values are being imposed on a client. In other words, an effective way to resolve this dilemma is to make the change effort as open as possible, with the free consent and knowledge of the individuals involved.


Values Goals Needs


• Role conflict • Role ambiguity

Role of the

Change Agent

Role of the

Client System

Role Episode

• Misrepresentation • Misuse of data • Coercion • Value and goal conflict • Technical ineptness

Ethical Dilemmas

SOURCE: Kluwer Academic Publishers, Journal of Business Ethics 11 (1992): 665, “Ethical Dilemmas in Organization Development: A Cross-Cultural Analysis,” L. White and M. Rhodeback, Figure 1. © 1992, Kluwer. With kind permission of Kluwer Academic Publishers.

A Role Episodic Model of Ethical Dilemmas [Figure 3.2][Figure 3.2]

64 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

The second facet of coercion that can pose ethical dilemmas for the helping relation- ship involves dependency. Helping relationships invariably create dependency between those who need help and those who provide it.42 A major goal in OD is to lessen clients’ dependency on consultants by helping clients gain the knowledge and skills to address organizational problems and manage change themselves. In some cases, however, achieving independence from OD practitioners can result in clients being either coun- terdependent or overdependent, especially in the early stages of the relationship. To resolve dependency issues, consultants can openly and explicitly discuss with the cli- ent how to handle the dependency problem, especially what the client and consultant expect of one another. Another approach is to focus on problem finding. Usually, the client is looking for a solution to a perceived problem. The consultant can redirect the energy to improved joint diagnosis so that both are working on problem identification and problem solving. Such action moves the energy of the client away from depen- dency. Finally, dependency can be reduced by changing the client’s expectation from being helped or controlled by the practitioner to a greater focus on the need to manage the problem. Such a refocusing can reinforce the understanding that the consultant is working for the client and offering assistance that is at the client’s discretion.

Value and Goal Conflict This ethical conflict occurs when the purpose of the change effort is not clear or when the client and the practitioner disagree over how to achieve the goals. The important practical issue for OD consultants is whether it is justifiable to withhold services unilaterally from an organization that does not agree with their values or methods. OD pioneer Gordon Lippitt suggested that the real question is the following: Assuming that some kind of change is going to occur anyway, doesn’t the consultant have a responsibility to try to guide the change in the most constructive fashion pos- sible?43 That question may be of greater importance and relevance to an internal consul- tant or to a consultant who already has an ongoing relationship with the client.

Argyris takes an even stronger stand, maintaining that the responsibilities of pro- fessional OD practitioners to clients are comparable to those of lawyers or physicians, who, in principle, may not refuse to perform their services. He suggests that the very least the consultant can do is to provide “first aid” to the organization, as long as the assistance does not compromise the consultant’s values. Argyris suggests that if the Ku Klux Klan asked for assistance and the consultant could at least determine whether the KKK was genuinely interested in assessing itself and willing to commit itself to all that a valid assessment would entail concerning both itself and other groups, the consultant should be willing to help. If later the Klan’s objectives proved to be less than honestly stated, the consultant would be free to withdraw without being compromised.44

Technical Ineptness This final ethical dilemma occurs when OD practitioners try to implement interventions for which they are not skilled or when the client attempts a change for which it is not ready. Critical to the success of any OD program is the selec- tion of an appropriate intervention, which depends, in turn, on careful diagnosis of the organization. Selecting an intervention is closely related to the practitioner’s own values, skills, and abilities. In solving organizational problems, many OD consultants emphasize a favorite intervention or technique, such as team building, total quality management, or self-managed teams. They let their own values and beliefs dictate the change method.45 Technical ineptness dilemmas also can occur when interventions do not align with the ability of the organization to implement them. Again, careful diag- nosis can reveal the extent to which the organization is ready to make a change and possesses the skills and knowledge to implement it.

Application 3.2 presents an ethical dilemma that arises frequently in OD consulting.46

What points in the process represent practical opportunities to intervene? Do you agree with Todd’s resolution to the problem? What other options did she have?

Kindred Todd and the Ethics of OD Kindred Todd had just finished her master’s degree in organization development and had landed her first consulting position with a small consult- ing company in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The president, Larry Stepchuck, convinced Todd that his growing organization offered her a great oppor- tunity to learn the business. He had a large number of contacts, an impressive executive career, and several years of consulting experience behind him.

In fact, the firm was growing; adding new clients and projects as fast as its president could hire consultants. A few weeks after Todd was hired, Stepchuck assigned her to a new client, a small oil and gas company. “I’ve met with the client for several hours,” he told her. “They are an impor- tant and potentially large opportunity for our firm. They’re looking to us to help them address some long-range planning issues. From the way they talk, they could also use some continuous quality improvement work as well.”

As Todd prepared for her initial meeting with the client, she reviewed financial data from the firm’s annual report, examined trends in the client’s industry, and thought about the issues that young firms face. Stepchuck indicated that Todd would first meet with the president of the firm to discuss initial issues and next steps.

When Todd walked into the president’s office, she was greeted by the firm’s entire senior manage- ment team. Team members expressed eagerness to get to work on the important issues of how to improve the organization’s key business processes. They believed that an expert in continuous qual- ity improvement (CQI), such as Todd, was exactly the kind of help they needed to increase efficiency and cut costs in the core business. Members began to ask direct questions about technical details of CQI, the likely timeframe within which they might expect results, how to map key processes, and how to form quality improvement teams to identify and implement process improvements.

Todd was stunned and overwhelmed. Nothing that Stepchuck said about the issues facing this com- pany was being discussed and, worse, it was clear that he had sold her to the client as an “expert” in CQI. Her immediate response was to suggest that all of their questions were good ones, but that

they needed to be answered in the context of the long-range goals and strategies of the firm. Todd proposed that the best way to begin was for team members to provide her with some history about the organization. In doing so, she was able to avert disaster and embarrassment for herself and her company, and to appear to be doing all the things necessary to begin a CQI project. The meet- ing ended with Todd and the management team agreeing to meet again the following week.

Immediately the next day, Todd sought out the president of her firm. She reported on the results of the meeting and her surprise at being sold to this client as an expert on CQI. Todd suggested that her own competencies did not fit the needs of the client and requested that another consultant—one with expertise in CQI—be assigned to the project.

Larry Stepchuck responded to Todd’s concerns: “I’ve known these people for over ten years. They don’t know exactly what they need. CQI is an important buzzword. It’s the flavor of the month and if that’s what they want, that’s what we’ll give them.” He also told her that there were no other consultants avail- able for this project. “Besides,” he said, “the president of the client firm just called to say how much he enjoyed meeting with you and was looking forward to getting started on the project right away.”

Kindred Todd felt that Stepchuck’s response to her concerns included a strong, inferred ultimatum: If you want to stay with this company, you had bet- ter take this job. “I knew I had to sink or swim with this job and this client,” she later reported.

As Todd reflected on her options, she pondered the following questions:

• How can I be honest with this client and thus not jeopardize my values of openness and honesty?

• How can I be helpful to this client?

• How much do I know about quality improve- ment processes?

• How do I satisfy the requirements of my employer?

• What obligations do I have?

• Who’s going to know if I do or don’t have the credentials to perform this work?

• What if I fail?

ap p

lication 3


66 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

After thinking about those issues, Todd summarized her position in terms of three dilemmas: a dilemma of self (who is Kindred Todd?), a dilemma of compe- tence (what can I do?), and a dilemma of confidence (do I like who I work for?). Based on the issues, Todd made the following tactical decisions. She spent two days at the library reading about and studying total quality management and CQI. She also contacted several of her friends and former classmates who had experience with quality improvement efforts.

Eventually, she contracted with one of them to be her “shadow” consultant—to work with her behind the scenes on formulating and implementing an intervention for the client.

Based on her preparation in the library and the discussions with her shadow consultant, Kindred Todd was able to facilitate an appropriate and effective intervention for the client. Shortly after her assignment was completed, she resigned from the consulting organization.


This chapter has examined the role of the organization development practitioner. The term OD practitioner applies to three sets of people: individuals specializing in OD as a profession, people from related fields who have gained some competence in OD, and managers having the OD skills necessary to change and develop their organizations or departments. Comprehensive lists enumerate core and advanced skills and knowl- edge that an effective OD specialist should possess, but a smaller set of basic skills and knowledge is applicable for all practitioners at all levels. These include four kinds of background: intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, general consultation skills, and knowledge of OD theory.

The professional OD role can apply to internal consultants who belong to the orga- nization undergoing change, to external consultants who are members of universities and consulting firms or are self-employed, and to members of internal–external con- sulting teams. The OD practitioner’s role may be described aptly in terms of marginal- ity and emotional demands. People with a tolerance for marginal roles seem especially suited for OD practice because they are able to maintain neutrality and objectivity and to develop integrative solutions that reconcile viewpoints among opposing orga- nizational departments. Similarly, the OD practitioner’s emotional intelligence and awareness are keys to implementing the role successfully. Whereas in the past the OD practitioner’s role has been described as standing at the client end of the continuum from client-centered to consultant-centered functioning, the development of new and varied interventions has shifted the role of the OD professional to cover the entire range of that continuum.

Although OD is still an emerging field, most practitioners have specific training that ranges from short courses and workshops to graduate and doctoral education. No single career path exists, but internal consulting is often a stepping-stone to becoming an external consultant. Because of the hectic pace of OD practice, specialists should be prepared to cope with high levels of stress and the possibility of career burnout.

Values have played a key role in OD, and traditional values promoting trust, col- laboration, and openness have been supplemented recently with concerns for improving organizational effectiveness and productivity. OD specialists may face value dilemmas in trying to jointly optimize human benefits and organization performance. They also may

67CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

encounter value conflicts when dealing with powerful external stakeholders, such as the government, stockholders, and customers. Dealing with those outside groups may take political skills, as well as the more traditional social skills.

Ethical issues in OD involve how practitioners perform their helping role with clients. As a profession, OD always has shown a concern for the ethical conduct of its practitio- ners, and several ethical codes for OD practice have been developed by various profes- sional associations. Ethical dilemmas in OD arise around misrepresentation, misuse of data, coercion, value and goal conflict, and technical ineptness.


1. A. Church and W. Burke, “Practitioner Attitudes about the Field of Organization Development,” in Research in Organization Change and Development, eds. W. Pasmore and R. Woodman (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1995).

2. C. Worley, D. Hitchin, and W. Ross, Integrated Strategic Change (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1996).

3. R. Henkoff, “Inside Anderson’s Army of Advice,” Fortune (October 4, 1993); N. Worren, K. Ruddle, and K. Moore, “From Organization Development to Change Management: The Emergence of a New Profession,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 35 (1999): 273–86.

4. M. Beer and E. Walton, “Organization Change and Development,” Annual Review of Psychology 38 (1987): 229–72; S. Sherman, “Wanted: Company Change Agents,” Fortune (December 11, 1999): 197–98.

5. R. Kanter, The Change Masters (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983).

6. R. Lippitt, “Dimensions of the Consultant’s Job,” in The Planning of Change, eds. W. Bennis, K. Benne, and R. Chin (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1961), 156–61; C. Rogers, On Becoming a Person (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971); “OD Experts Reflect on the Major Skills Needed by Consultants: With Comments from Edgar Schein,” Academy of Management OD Newsletter (Spring 1979): 1–4; K. Shepard and A. Raia, “The OD Training Challenge,” Training and Development Journal 35 (April 1981): 90–96; E. Neilsen, Becoming an OD Practitioner (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1984); S. Eisen, J. Cherbeneau, and C. Worley, “A Future-Responsive Perspective for Competent Practice in OD,” in Practicing Organization Development, 2d ed., eds. W. Rothwell and R. Sullivan (San Diego: Pfeiffer, 2005); A. Church, “The Professionalization of Organi- zation Development,” in Research in Organization Change and Development, eds. R. Woodman and W. Pasmore (Oxford: JAI Press, 2001); A. Freedman and R. Zackrison, Finding Your Way in the Consulting Jungle (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001).

7. R. Sullivan and K. Quade, “Essential Competencies for Internal and External OD Consultants,” in Practicing Organization Development, eds. W. Rothwell, R. Sullivan, and G. McLean (San Diego: Pfeiffer, 1995).

8. C. Worley, W. Rothwell, and R. Sullivan, “Compe- tencies of OD Practitioners,” in Practicing Organization Development, 2d ed., eds. W. Rothwell and R. Sullivan (San Diego: Pfeiffer, 2005).

9. C. Worley and G. Varney, “A Search for a Common Body of Knowledge for Master’s Level Organization Development and Change Programs —An Invitation to Join the Discu ssion,” Academy of Management ODC Newsletter (Winter 1998): 1–4.

10. C. Worley and A. Feyerherm, “Reflections on the Future of Organization Development,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 39 (2003): 97–115; Worley, Rothwell, and Sullivan, “Competencies of OD Practitioners.”

11. B. Tannenbaum, “Letter to the Editor,” Consul- ting Practice Communique, Academy of Management Managerial Consultation Division 21, 3 (1993): 16–17; B. Tannenbaum, “Self-Awareness: An Essential Element Underlying Consultant Effectiveness,” Journal of Organizational Change Mana gement 8, 3 (1995): 85–86.

12. A. Church and W. Burke, “Practitioner Attitudes about the Field of Organization Develo pment,” in Research in Organizational Change and Development, eds. Pasmore and Woodman.

13. M. Lacey, “Internal Consulting: Perspectives on the Process of Planned Change,” Journal of Organizational Change Management 8, 3 (1995): 75–84.

14. M. Kaarst-Brown, “Five Symbolic Roles of the External Consultant–Integrating Change, Power, and Symbolism,” Journal of Organizational Change Management 12 (1999): 540–61.

15. Lacey, “Internal Consulting.”

16. C. Argyris, Intervention Theory and Method (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1973).

17. A. Foss, D. Lipsky, A. Orr, B. Scott, T. Seamon, J. Smendzuik-O’Brien, A. Tavis, D. Wissman, and

68 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

C. Woods, “Practicing Internal OD,” in Practicing Organization Development, 2d ed., eds. W. Rothwell and R. Sullivan (San Diego: Pfeiffer, 2005); E. Kirkhart and T. Isgar, “Quality of Work Life for Consultants: The Internal–External Relationship,” Consultation 5 (Spring 1986): 5–23.

18. This application was developed by Kimberly McKenna based on her experiences as both an exter- nal and internal OD practitioner and on Kirkhart and Isgar, “Quality of Work Life for Consultants.”

19. R. Ziller, The Social Self (Elmsford, N.Y.: Pergamon, 1973).

20. W. Liddell, “Marginality and Integrative Decisions,” Academy of Management Journal 16 (March 1973): 154–56; P. Brown and C. Cotton, “Marginality, A Force for the OD Practitioner,” Training and Development Journal 29 (April 1975): 14–18; H. Aldrich and D. Gerker, “Boundary Spanning Roles and Organi- zational Structure,” Academy of Management Review 2 (April 1977): 217–30; C. Cotton, “Marginality—A Neglected Dimension in the Design of Work,” Academy of Management Review 2 (January 1977): 133–38; N. Margulies, “Perspectives on the Marginality of the Consultant’s Role,” in The Cutting Edge, ed. W. Burke (La Jolla, Calif.: University Associates, 1978), 60–79.

21. P. Brown, C. Cotton, and R. Golembiewski, “Marginality and the OD Practitioner,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 13 (1977): 493–506.

22. C. Lundberg and C. Young, “A Note on Emo tions and Consultancy,” Journal of Organizational Change Management 14 (2001): 530–38; A. Carr, “Understanding Emotion and Emotiona lity in a Process of Change,” Journal of Organizational Change Management 14 (2001): 421–36.

23. D. Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books, 1995); R. Cooper and A. Sawaf, Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations (New York: Grosset/Putnum, 1997); P. Salovey and D. Sluyter, eds., Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence (New York: Basic Books, 1997).

24. Goleman, Emotional Intelligence.

25. J. Sanford, Fritz Kunkel: Selected Writings (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1984); Lundberg and Young, “Note on Emotions”; Carr, “Under standing Emotion.”

26. J. Ciarrochi, J. Forgas, and J. Mayer, Emotional Intelligence in Everyday Life: A Scientific Inquiry (New York: Psychology Press, 2001).

27. D. Kegan, “Organization Development as OD Network Members See It,” Group and Organization Studies 7 (March 1982): 5–11.

28. D. Griffin and P. Griffin, “The Consulting Survey,” Consulting Today, Special Issue (Fall 1998): 1–11 (http://

29. J. Lewis III, “Growth of Internal Change Agents in Organizations” (Ph.D. Diss., Case Western Reserve University, 1970).

30. G. Edelwich and A. Brodsky, Burn-Out Stages of Disillusionment in the Helping Professions (New York: Human Science, 1980); M. Weisbord, “The Wizard of OD: Or, What Have Magic Slippers to Do with Burnout, Evaluation, Resistance, Planned Change, and Action Research?” OD Practitioner 10 (Summer 1978): 1–14; M. Mitchell, “Consultant Burnout,” in The 1977 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators, eds. J. Jones and W. Pfeiffer (La Jolla, Calif: University Associates, 1977), 145–56.

31. Griffin and Griffin, “Consulting Survey.”

32. T. Isgar, “Quality of Work Life of Consultants,” Academy of Management OD Newsletter (Winter 1983): 2–4.

33. P. Hanson and B. Lubin, Answers to Questions Most Frequently Asked about Organization Development (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1995).

34. Church and Burke, “Practitioner Attitudes.”

35. D. Jamieson and C. Worley, “The Practice of Organization Development,” in Handbook of Organi- zation Development, ed. T. Cummings (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2008); M. Wheatley, R. Tannenbaum, P. Griffin, and K. Quade, Organ ization Development at Work (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2003).

36. Church, “Professionalization of Organization Development”; S. Guastello, Chaos, Catastrophe, and Human Affairs (Mahwah, N.J.: LEA Publishers, 1995); R. Stacey, D. Griffin, and P. Shaw, Complexity and Management (London: Routledge, 2000); R. Garud, A. Kumaraswamy, and R. Langlois, Managing in the Modular Age (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2003); A. Shani and P. Docherty, Learning by Design (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2003).

37. R. Saner and L. Yiu, “Porous Boundary and Power Politics: Contextual Constraints of Organization Development Change Projects in the United Nations Organizations,” Gestalt Review 6 (2002): 84–94.

38. D. Jamieson and W. Gellermann, “Values, Ethics, and OD Practice,” in The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change, eds. B. Jones and M. Brazzel (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2006); T. Egan and W. Gellermann, “Values, Ethics, and Practice in the Field of Organization Development,” in Practicing Organization Development, 2d ed., eds. W. Rothwell and R. Sullivan (San Francisco: Pfeifer, 2005); D. Coghlan and A. Shani, “Roles, Politics, and Ethics in Action Research Design,” Systemic Practice and Action Research 18 (2005): 533–51; D. Bowen, “Value Dilemmas in Organization Development,” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 13 (1977): 545–55; L. White and K. Wooten, “Ethical Dilemmas in Various Stages of Organization Development,” Academy of Mana gement

69CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

Review 8 (1963): 690–97; K. Scalzo, “When Ethics and Consulting Collide” (unpublished master’s thesis, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, Los Angeles, Calif., 1994); L. White and M. Rhodeback, “Ethical Dilemmas in Organization Development: A Cross-Cultural Analysis,” Journal of Business Ethics 11, 9 (1992): 663–70; M. Page’, “Ethical delimmas in organ ization development consulting practice” (unpublished master’s thesis, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, Los Angeles, Calif., 1998).

39. W. Gellerman, M. Frankel, and R. Ladenson, Values and Ethics in Organization and Human System Development: Responding to Dilemmas in Professional Life (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990).

40. W. Bennis, Organization Development: Its Nature, Origins, and Prospects (Reading, Mass.: Addison- Wesley, 1969).

41. H. Kelman, “Manipulation of Human Behavior: An Ethical Dilemma for the Social Scientist,” in The Planning of Change, 2d ed., eds. W. Bennis, K. Benne,

and R. Chin (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1969), 584.

42. E. Schein, Process Consultation Revisited (Rea ding, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1999); R. Beckhard, “The Dependency Dilemma,” Consultants’ Comm unique 6 (July–September 1978): 1–3.

43. G. Lippitt, Organization Renewal (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969).

44. C. Argyris, “Explorations in Consulting–Client Relationships,” Human Organizations 20 (Fall 1961): 121–33.

45. J. Slocum Jr., “Does Cognitive Style Affect Diagnosis and Intervention Strategies?” Group and Organization Studies 3 (June 1978): 199–210.

46. This application was submitted by Kathy Scalzo, an OD consultant in western Canada. It is based on an actual case from her interviews with OD consul- tants on how they resolve ethical dilemmas. The names and places have been changed to preserve anonymity.

70 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development


Ethical Guidelines for an Organization Development/Human Systems Development (OD/HSD) Professional Sponsored by the Human Systems Development Consortium (HSDC), a significant integrative effort by Bill Gellermann has been under way to develop “A Statement of Values and Ethics for Professionals in Organization and Human System Development.” HSDC is an informal collection of the leaders of most of the professional associations related to the application of the behavioral and social sciences. A series of drafts based on extensive contributions, comments, and discussions involving many professionals and organizations has led to the following version of this statement.

As an OD/HSD Professional, I commit to supporting and acting in accordance with the following guidelines:

I. Responsibility for Professional Development and Competence A. Accept responsibility for the consequences of my acts and make every effort to

ensure that my services are properly used.

B. Recognize the limits of my competence, culture, and experience in providing services and using techniques; neither seek nor accept assignments outside those limits without clear understanding by the client when exploration at the edge of my competence is reasonable; refer client to other professionals when appropriate.

C. Strive to attain and maintain a professional level of competence in the field, including

1. broad knowledge of theory and practice in

a. applied behavioral science generally.

b. management, administration, organizational behavior, and system behavior specifically.

c. multicultural issues including issues of color and gender.

d. other relevant fields of knowledge and practice.

2. ability to

a. relate effectively with individuals and groups.

b. relate effectively to the dynamics of large, complex systems.

c. provide consultation using theory and methods of the applied behavioral sciences.

d. articulate theory and direct its application, including creation of learning experiences for individuals, small and large groups, and for whole systems.

D. Strive continually for self-knowledge and personal growth; be aware that “what is in me” (my perceptions of myself in my world) and “what is outside me” (the realities that exist apart from me) are not the same; be aware that my values, beliefs, and aspirations can both limit and empower me and that they are primary determinants of my perceptions, my behavior, and my personal and professional effectiveness.

E. Recognize my own personal needs and desires and deal with them responsibly in the performance of my professional roles.

F. Obtain consultation from OD/HSD professionals who are native to and aware of the specific cultures within which I work when those cultures are different from my own.

II. Responsibility to Clients and Significant Others A. Serve the short- and long-term welfare, interests, and development of the cli-

ent system and all its stakeholders; maintain balance in the timing, pace, and magnitude of planned change so as to support a mutually beneficial relationship between the system and its environment.

71CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

B. Discuss candidly and fully goals, costs, risks, limitations, and anticipated out- comes of any program or other professional relationship under consideration; seek to avoid automatic confirmation of predetermined conclusions, either the client’s or my own; seek optimum involvement by client system members in every step of the process, including managers and workers’ representatives; fully inform client system members about my role, contribution, and strategy in work- ing with them.

C. Fully inform participants in any activity or procedure as to its sponsorship, nature, purpose, implications, and any significant risk associated with it so that they can freely choose their participation in any activity initiated by me; acknowledge that their choice may be limited with activity initiated by recognized authorities; be par- ticularly sensitive to implications and risks when I work with people from cultures other than my own.

D. Be aware of my own personal values, my values as an OD/HSD professional, the values of my native culture, the values of the people with whom I am working, and the values of their cultures; involve the client system in making relevant cultural differences explicit and exploring the possible implications of any OD/HSD interven- tion for all the stakeholders involved; be prepared to make explicit my assumptions, values, and standards as an OD/HSD professional.

E. Help all stakeholders while developing OD/HSD approaches, programs, and the like, if they wish such help; for example, this could include workers’ representatives as well as managers in the case of work with a business organization.

F. Work collaboratively with other internal and external consultants serving the same client system and resolve conflicts in terms of the balanced best interests of the client system and all its stakeholders; make appropriate arrangements with other internal and external consultants about how responsibilities will be shared.

G. Encourage and enable my clients to provide for themselves the services I pro- vide rather than foster continued reliance on me; encourage, foster, and support self-education and self-development by individuals, groups, and all other human systems.

H. Cease work with a client when it is clear that the client is not benefiting or the contract has been completed; do not accept an assignment if its scope is so limited that the client will not benefit or it would involve serious conflict with the values and ethics outlined in this statement.

I. Avoid conflicts of interest.

1. Fully inform the client of my opinion about serving similar or competing orga- nizations; be clear with myself, my clients, and other concerned stakeholders about my loyalties and responsibilities when conflicts of interest arise; keep parties informed of these conflicts; cease work with the client if the conflicts cannot be adequately resolved.

2. Seek to act impartially when involved in conflicts between parties in the client system; help them resolve their conflicts themselves, without taking sides; if necessary to change my role from serving as impartial consultant, do so explic- itly; cease work with the client, if necessary.

3. Identify and respond to any major differences in professionally relevant values or ethics between myself and my clients with the understanding that conditions may require ceasing work with the client.

4. Accept differences in the expectations and interests of different stakeholders and realize that those differences cannot be reconciled all the time.

J. Seek consultation and feedback from neutral third parties in case of conflict between myself and my client.

72 PART 1 Overview of Organization Development

K. Define and protect the confidentiality of my client–professional relationships.

1. Make limits of confidentiality clear to clients/participants.

2. Reveal information accepted in confidence only to appropriate or agreed-upon recipients or authorities.

3. Use information obtained during professional work in writings, lectures, or other public forums only with prior consent or when disguised so that it is impossible from my presentations alone to identify the individuals or systems with whom I have worked.

4. Make adequate provisions for maintaining confidentiality in the storage and dis- posal of records; make provisions for responsibly preserving records in the event of my retirement or disability.

L. Establish mutual agreement on a contract covering services and remuneration.

1. Ensure a clear understanding of and mutual agreement on the services to be performed; do not shift from that agreement without both a clearly defined professional rationale for making the shift and the informed consent of the clients/participants; withdraw from the agreement if circumstances beyond my control prevent proper fulfillment.

2. Ensure mutual understanding and agreement by putting the contract in writ- ing to the extent feasible, yet recognize that

a. the spirit of professional responsibility encompasses more than the letter of the contract.

b. some contracts are necessarily incomplete because complete information is not available at the outset.

c. putting the contract in writing may be neither necessary nor desirable.

3. Safeguard the best interests of the client, the profession, and the public by making sure that financial arrangements are fair and in keeping with appropri- ate statutes, regulations, and professional standards.

M. Provide for my own accountability by evaluating and assessing the effects of my work.

1. Make all reasonable efforts to determine if my activities have accomplished the agreed-upon goals and have not had other undesirable consequences; seek to undo any undesirable consequences, and do not attempt to cover up these situations.

2. Actively solicit and respond with an open mind to feedback regarding my work and seek to improve.

3. Develop, publish, and use assessment techniques that promote the welfare and best interests of clients/participants; guard against the misuse of assessment results.

N. Make public statements of all kinds accurately, including promotion and advertis- ing, and give service as advertised.

1. Base public statements providing professional opinions or information on sci- entifically acceptable findings and techniques as much as possible, with full recognition of the limits and uncertainties of such evidence.

2. Seek to help people make informed choices when making statements as part of promotion or advertising.

3. Deliver services as advertised and do not shift without a clear professional rationale and the informed consent of the participants/clients.

III. Responsibility to the Profession A. Act with due regard for the needs, special competencies and obligations of my col-

leagues in OD/HSD and other professions; respect the prerogatives and obligations of the institutions or organizations with which these other colleagues are associated.

73CHAPTER 3 The Organization Development Practitioner

B. Be aware of the possible impact of my public behavior upon the ability of col- leagues to perform their professional work; perform professional activity in a way that will bring credit to the profession.

C. Work actively for ethical practice by individuals and organizations engaged in OD/HSD activities and, in case of questionable practice, use appropriate channels for confronting it, including

1. direct discussion when feasible.

2. joint consultation and feedback, using other professionals as third parties.

3. enforcement procedures of existing professional organizations.

4. public confrontation.

D. Contribute to continuing professional development by

1. supporting the development of other professionals, including mentoring with less experienced professionals.

2. contributing ideas, methods, findings, and other useful information to the body of OD/HSD knowledge and skill.

E. Promote the sharing of OD/HSD knowledge and skill by various means including

1. granting use of my copyrighted material as freely as possible, subject to a mini- mum of conditions, including a reasonable price defined on the basis of profes- sional as well as commercial values.

2. giving credit for the ideas and products of others.

IV. Social Responsibility A. Strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights and the

promotion of social justice.

B. Be aware that I bear a heavy social responsibility because my recommendations and professional actions may alter the lives and well-being of individuals within my client systems, the systems themselves, and the larger systems of which they are subsystems.

C. Contribute knowledge, skill, and other resources in support of organizations, pro- grams, and activities that seek to improve human welfare; be prepared to accept clients who do not have sufficient resources to pay my full fees at reduced fees or no charge.

D. Respect the cultures of the organization, community, country, or other human system within which I work (including the cultures’ traditions, values, and moral and ethical expectations and their implications), yet recognize and constructively confront the counterproductive aspects of those cultures whenever feasible; be sensitive to cross-cultural differences and their implications; be aware of the cul- tural filters which bias my view of the world.

E. Recognize that accepting this statement as a guide for my behavior involves hold- ing myself to a standard that may be more exacting than the laws of any country in which I practice.

F. Contribute to the quality of life in human society at large; work toward and support a culture based on mutual respect for each other’s rights as human beings; encour- age the development of love, trust, openness, mutual responsibility, authentic and harmonious relationships, empowerment, participation, and involvement in a spirit of freedom and self-discipline as elements of this culture.

G. Engage in self-generated or collaborative endeavor to develop means for helping across cultures.

H. Serve the welfare of all the people of Earth, all living things, and their environment.