The OD “House of Lords”- is a crumbling palace

Because of the Western bias of Organization Development, OD’s concepts, values and tools are inappropriate to many issues impacting global organizations. As a matter of fact, OD is biased in action and behaves with the same intolerance which gave birth to OD’s creation.

Text books, articles and web sites dedicated to OD ignore the irrelevancy of the OD profession to problems of global organizing.  Even OD conferences pay only minor lip service to the crushing need to develop OD’s relevance.

Written material and conferences recycle the same traditional old crap repackaged in new slogans. Alternatively, folks reminisce about the good old days… the good old days when white liberal UK and US based males established the OD profession which the next generation inherited and then “froze” OD’s design. The world changed and OD stayed put, except for the moronic design of OD products, whose goal was to make money, not further OD’s cause.

There is a wonderful expression in Chinese 哑巴吃饺子,心里有数 which means “When a mute person eats some dumplings, he knows how many he has eaten, albeit he cannot speak. In other words, people know things that they do not or cannot express.

OD practitioners know how much irrelevance is bombarded at them by the old guard, they just do not speak up. Why? Because the old guard controls the keys to the palace. The palace may be crumbling, but they have the keys…the keys to keynotes, the key to publications, the keys to budgets-because they sit in the House of Lords.

OD conferences are good for networking and PR, but little else. In other words, we all know that besides networking, conferences have minimal value. New content is not provided, but no one says anything. Few OD books really innovate anything new, except new tools for a crumbling paradigm.

The old OD guard is trying to ensure that OD stays at it is. At most, practitioners need “some cultural skills”, mumble the Lords. Nonsense, claims this author. It is OD itself that needs to be modified. In the domain of global OD, the present elite needs to listen, not preach, read and not write. They are not ready.

Imagine that the Lords of OD stopped perfuming the pig and dedicated a conference, or a book, to examine how to make OD relevant in global organizations.

Could you imagine a book, or OD conference on these 5 subject?

1) Root Canal 101: Breaking Away from the Founding Fathers

Since organizational reality has changed radically since OD’s founding fathers first murmured their ideas, OD can become relevant when its tools are not biased. The profession must be realigned around global organizing.

2) Organization diagnosis in discrete and face saving cultures

3) A culturally contingent role of OD Consultant:

Expert, Mediator, Enabler, Masked Executive

4) Retooling OD:

What are the alternatives to free flowing team interventions,”conflict management” and ways and means of by-passing the need for direct communication, and how to do OD “offstage”.

5) Managing the Major Polarities in Global OD

-openness and discretion

-involvement and stability

-respect and change

-ascription and achievement

The OD power elite in OD does not have a clue about these topics so they shut these topics down. So the voices of those of us who advocate the globalization of OD are expressed mainly in avant guard blogs like this.


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