A key differentiator between OD and Change Management is scalability

1) Highly professional Organizational Development is impossible to scale. The personality of the practitioner, the trust he or she builds with the client, the accrued knowledge and experience of the individual practitioner cannot be scaled.

2) OD assumes change is constant; “constant  changing”  is a semi chaotic process ,made more effective and tenable when appropriately enabled by OD.

Change Management believes changes have beginnings and ends, and can be managed like a project.Many OD people believe (I certainly do) that change is not managed like Change Management  believes it is.

Enabling constant change like OD does  is less scalable and marketable  than “managing” change, like CM purports to do.

3) Commercial needs have led to the development of OD tools, but in the hand of the unskilled professional OD practitioner, these tools are useless, (what we call in Hebrew a “gold ring in a pigs’ nose”)

Furthermore, highly skilled practitioners use very few tools, although they have a wide eclectic knowledge of these tools.

4) Obviously, Change Management assumes change can be managed. Management has tools and templates and process. Once these tools and process become workable templates, many folks can be “scaled up” to become Change Managers.

While the personality of the Change Manager carries some weight which is non scalable, the tools and processes and templates can scale up NCG’s (new college graduates) in no time, forming armies of Change Managers.

6) I am old enough (64) to remember the TQMers who almost put OD out of business, until the software industry showed us all how far you can get delivering half cooked crap, denting  the myth of the overwhelming value of quality. (“You don’t like this version-buy the next one”.)

 As the world speeds up and the pace of constant change becomes even more furious driving organizational life into deeper chaos , the sexy myth of the manageability of change may experience “some” difficulty.  CM will become another TQM. Because there is no scalable  “cookbook” for dealing with change.

7) The very lack of scalability of OD is what makes it sustainable when well practiced.

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3 thoughts on “A key differentiator between OD and Change Management is scalability

  1. As I’ve said all along, both OD & change are an art, not a science. There are simply too many variables to human behavior (& especially group/mass behavior) for anything dealing with such things to ever be a science.

  2. I’m not sure that skilled practitioners use very few tools, Allon, so much as they pick & choose & customize/adapt tools to the specific situation & to their own personalities/styles.

    I like to use the examples of the various modalities in Psychology. The truly effective practitioners/therapists either create their own modality or take bits & pieces from multiple other modalities to create something that works for them. If you really look at it, the only one who ever made pure Gestalt work effectively was Perls; the only one who could make pure Transactional Analysis work was Berne; the only one who could make pure Freudian work was Freud; etc., etc.

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