OD need not straggle behind


Almost every aspect of organizational life has changed beyond recognition in the past decade.

  • People who share neither values, culture or language work together. (new diversity)
  • Global organizational politics is riddled with complex, survival site agendas. (new conflicts)
  • People “message”/ email more than they talk, because teams are mainly virtual. (new communication)
  • Management is all about task promotion and self-survival. Employees are far less engaged. (new values)
  • The human resource is seen as dispensable. (new motivations)

What has changed in the way OD is practiced?

In my opinion, very little. OD is tap dancing and dithering on the stage, with lots of internal focus and debate about side issues as organization life is reconfigured.

This is happening because the gatekeepers of OD are holding back. As OD lost  ground,  OD guidelines became an orthodox religion.

This is why the battle for globalizing OD is an uphill run. The hill is steep and the wind is blowing in our face.

My advice to OD people who want to remain in shape and relevant is to learn about Global OD instead about how to market yesterday’s produce.

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4 thoughts on “OD need not straggle behind

  1. Organization development needs to do organization development on itself.
    Yet. I believe there are some universal values that Lewin and crowd brought to the surface such as the concept of feedback, awareness of group process, engaging employees, whole system thinking etc.

  2. Hi Roland
    Thanks for following my blog. I am honoured.
    Agree about awareness of group process and whole system thinking.
    Engagement as practised is TOO subversive and counter cultural-needs to be rethought.
    Feedback needs to be totally retooled and WILL INCLUDE non feedback as feedback.

  3. During the pre-industrial age, people worked on things they knew about, with people they knew and with processes and technology they knew. When the shift took place to the inddustrial age, people worked on things they did not know about, with people they did not know and technologies they did not know. It seems to me that the shift from culturally-sensitized traditional OD to Global OD is akin this change. Adaptation is insufficient, transformation of thinking is required.

  4. Another good one, Allon. One more I would offer up for the list is that the organizations themselves are evolving into new forms such that many of its members are not salaried employees. These individuals (call them consultants, contractors, etc) may belong to multiple entities simultaneously. This trend was predicted years ago by Irish philosopher Charles Handy in his concept of the portfolio worker. I am an example of this where I work for several organizations at once. For OD consultants, this is a new reality that we need to become more attuned to. Many of our clients have such varied portfolios. It’s like a kaleidoscope.

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